Thursday, April 29, 2010


Today the main topic at the lunch table were breast implants and how normal breasts do not look that way unless with push-up bras.. and how weird they feel when touched... All that in front of the professor and three female group members. Two of the latter were actually rather active participants in the discussion, by the way.

You have to love Danes - low power distance . VERY low. :)

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Falling sick

Yesterday it seemed I was coming down with something - physically, I had not felt as bad for quite some time. I was cold, shivering, having trouble breathing and so on.

I feel a lot better today, thankfully - instead of feeling ill, I just feel like I have been beaten up - which is kind of what hapenned in jiujitsu practice yesterday :P Nevertheless, I will stay at home today, just in case.

Sunday, April 25, 2010


We went to Legoland in Bilund with Dominik and Natasha today. Some highlights:

All the submarines in Legoland are Yellow. There are at least two.

There are a bunch of watery rides that involve a nice calm ride around canals.. and then a long ride down ending in a splash. Designers clearly know the psychology though - the longer the ride, the more satisfied people are - even when most of the ride is just a filler.

Prices (for food) are quite reasonable - quite comparable to those in Aarhus, maybe + 10 or 15 %. Buying bread to cook over the fire cost just 10 DKK and provided for a fairly filling meal. Coffe was 18 DKK.

4D cinema can mean a 3D cinema with special effects such as smoke, raindrops and a light show. No movement though.

There is quite a bit of blatant advertising around for companies tied in with the attractions (like trucks in Miniland having Coca-cola logos or the gas station at Lego Driving school being a Statoil).

Miniland has working water locks and dykes that ships pass through on their preprogrammed circles. Also, bridges that get raised when ships try to pass.. Impressive.

There are two roller coaster type things. However, they have something far more ingenious - industrial robot arms that have chairs stuck on their ends, that you can program yourself (to an extent) and then sit in those chairs and let it throw you around.. D. chose the highest difficulty setting, which basically meant we were spun 360 degrees in every which direction and spent half the time on the ride feet up. Anyone going there should bring groin protection with them, though.

There is now an aquarium there.. that has an intro video, that emulates a submarine driving into Atlantis. There is also a small petting zoo where you get to touch crabs and starfish.. and a life-size replica of a great white on the wall.. which is HUGE - the height from the belly to the tip of the tail fin being about my height.

Also I now use a keyring with a Chewbacca lego piece on it.

Friday, April 23, 2010

The Spring party

I had a talk in the afternoon, which went fairly well. The solution without a problem that I presented was greeted fairly well, and both Ivan and Jesper thought it would be enough for a paper, even without a proper application.

However, the evening was even more fun - there was the department spring party (Maljorca themed, by the way), which I should have bought a ticket to in advance (but hadnt because it did not seem like a good idea two weeks ago when I had just arrived). However, as some people had called in sick, I was allowed to attend free of charge.

Food was good, company was good (the whole crypto team being there, save for Tomas) and this time I again got to dance a little.. this time, even not alone. I really did have fun and enjoyed it.. should try to do it a bit more often when I get back to Estonia.

Also - if anyone (female) wants to go to ballroom dancing courses during the next semester and needs a partner, please let me know :)

Thursday, April 22, 2010


is a small town on the border of Germany and Denmark. Dominik had to go there to get his office chair repaired and he asked whether I wanted to tag along. I did.

So today I woke up at 7.30 - as usual - made coffe and practiced bass - again, as usual - and then at around 8.30 started waiting for a phone call from Dominik who should have been here by then. He called at 8.40 and said he would start driving towards me. So I went outside and sat on the porch, listening to my mp3 player... for 20 minutes :) So much for swiss precision, although, in his defence, he is german, and a very laid back one at that, thankfully :) Anyways, the weather was nice so I do not regret coming out a bit earlier than needed.

So we drove for roughly two hours.. and at some point arrived in Flensburg. I did not notice when we crossed the border, just at some point Dominik told me that we are in germany now. Strange. Anyways, we dropped off the chair, patted the cute little schnautser that the store owner had and then drove down to the old town to have a look around.

The old town was.. well, what you would expect in Germany, I suppose. A lot like in Cologne, although Danish influence was definately to be felt at some places. We walked around for over an hour, then had a Kebab for lunch (which, as Dominik claimed, is a distinctly german thing as the Turkish kebabs are probably quite different from what German turks serve in the western world). As a dessert, I had a waffel with liquor.. which is actually quite a tasty combination, but seemingly quite uncommon in Estonia, at least.

We then went shopping. Dominik needed some tools, so we headed for Bauhaus.. and when we got there, it turned out we actually haad the wrong store and that we needed to go to the Bauhaus 200 meters down the road. Yes - there were two large Bauhaus stores on the same street, one block apart. Strange.

Nevertheless, Dominik could not find what he was looking for so we went to another tool store, one that was attached to a large supermarket. D. also wanted to visit the Aldi (German discount store chain) there but we ran out of time and had to get back to the chair repair.

Once we had fetched the chair, D. decided to look up the closest Aldi store on his GPS - which he had bought from Aldi and which came together with all the Aldi store locations (Best advertising idea ever?). It turned out there was one just around the corner. We went in and came out with (literally) a cart full of stuff. Strange thing is - we did not even buy any alchohol. But yes, things are cheaper in germany.. and Aldi is a fairly cheap store, anyways.

On our way back, D. at some point told me - "That round thing there, that was the border" - so yes, I missed it yet again. Schengen visa space :)

Right after the border there was a building with a huge sign reading "Discount Sex Store"...

And on the road at some point there was a road sign "Fart Kontrol".. "Speed control", presumably.

Monday, April 19, 2010

New stuff

Today at the breakfast table the crypto group recounted the past week:
I got a new phone, Jesper said
I got a new girlfriend, said the guy next to him
I got a baby, said the guy right after.

But you cannot get internet on your girlfriend, or your baby - said Peter

And then a discussion broke loose as to whether which uses up more time - having a baby, a new girlfriend or a new phone.

I also got something new this evening - namely, a solution to my portable amplifier problem. It turns out that cheap 2.1 speaker system with a 15 W subwoofer is quite enough for personal use :)

Sunday, April 18, 2010


We took a day-trip with Dominik to a small (Tartu-sized) town called Viborg. The choice was quite random - Dominik just told me to pick something out and so I did :P

After picking me up, we went to get Natasha, an Ukranian girl that he had met through the personals. Natasha spoke fluent german and fluent russian, but next to no english, however.. So conversation constantly shifted between languages - me and D. in english, D. and N. in german and occasionally me and N. in russian. My russian is pretty bad, but I think I still managed to undrstand most of what she said to me.. and to reply in a more or less meaningful way most of the time..

Viborg was nice - it had two beautiful lakes and a large (and fairly old) cathedral. And we got to the cathedral just in time for a public concert - they had a choir and an organist.. The choir was ok, but the organist was definately better. When one thinks of organ, one usually thinks of solemn and grim harmonies... well, the tune played there was quite the opposite - cheery, actually.

In the evening, I tried to salvage what I could from the over-salted rice I still had in the freezer. I cooked more rice and added that.. and also added some vegetables.. and if I hjad added meat, I would have rediscovered Pilaff for I had accidentally gotten the (relative doses of) spices just right for that dish.. not quite what I was originally going for but good nonethelss.

Friday, April 16, 2010

The week in a nutshell

Not much to say, to be honest. One paper got rejected, the other one accepted. So, most of the summer, I will be at home, but I will take a trip to Australia again at some point.

Went out to a pub yesterday. A beer costs around 70 eek by the way.. and that is with a student discount. Meals in restaurants start from about 150 eeks.

It turns out that Dominik had a birthday yesterday and Ivan has one tomorrow (well, looking at the clock, today actually). So there were two free rounds of beer at Friday bar today. I only had one there though. However, after that, I had pasta at another dormitory, where an italian friend of one of the other PhD students lives. And after that, we went to a party. I danced quite a lot, actually, although sadly all of it was alone. I can blame my lack of knowledge of the culture here.. or the fact I was not quite drunk enough yet... or just my cowardiće.. anyways, it does not matter.

I have some work to do tomorrow so I best get to sleep now.

Ow yes, and Aarhus looks really beautiful at night.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Paradise lost?

Not quite yet. Although the idea I had about BDD-s does not seem to pan out after all and the sharemind thing turns out to be not that big of an improvement as originally expected. Also, it turned out that Dominic bought two bikes here so me renting one yesterday was completely redundant.

There were nice things though. For instance, it seems that homomorphic encryption allows you to perform miracles in theory (I attended a study group where Jesper, the assistant professor here, gave a talk about them) and jujitsu is actually a lot of fun ( I attended a practice with dominic, who has been doing it for 3 years).

Anyways - the plan for tomorrow is to go to the bike rental and see whether I can get some of my money back. Then get back to my reading that Jesper gave me.. and of course attend two talks and a lecture.

Edit: It also seems I managed to sprain my ankle in the jujitsu practice.. and the teacher there said my main problem was I was just too tense - which should not be the case after 3 years of Taiji, but still somehow is. Also - I accidentally put way too much salt in my dinner today so it was just barely edible..

Yes - it was still a nice day, though :)

Monday, April 12, 2010

Just another day in Paradise

Today I had the pleasure of witnessing the Crypto groups weekly "Breakfast", which was basically a real breakfast followed by the weekly meeting where everyone tells everyone what they have been up to in the past week. I, like most others, had not gotten much done, but the BRICS retreat and settling in were good enough excuses :)

I also met Thomas Toft for the first time (he had not been at the retreat) and we discussed the sharemind protocol he had developed.. and I think managed to improve on it by roughly a factor of two.

Right after that, I was grabbed by Ivan who asked whether I would be attending his lecture.. I had completely forgotten but I did plan to take a crypto protocols course while being here so of course I followed him to the lecture hall. Ivan is quite a good lecturer by the way, as it turns out.

After the lecture, we stopped by an office two storeys below us where complexity theorists reside. I had a question about BDD-s and it actually got a rather satisfactory answer. This means I can start writing a paper together with Ivan about general secret sharing now. Hopefully, anyways - Ivan said he did not know how much time he will have for that, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Just when I was about to leave, Dominic (a post-doc that considered coming to Estonia before deciding for Aarhus) came to our door, looking for an internet connection. That was quite a surprise, as I thought he would be arriving in the beginning of may. Anyways, he is here now, which is nice - yet another familiar face.

I then proceeded to the guitar store yet again. It turns out the larger of the small amps does not even fit my (relatively roomy) backpack.. so I decided not to buy it but instead try to get a small headphone amp. Unfortunately, they did not have the model I wanted.

I also managed to rent a bike while being downtown. The bike is very light, but has only front brakes. It will take some getting used to - and I hope I will not kill anyone in the process. Again - fingers crossed.

All in all, I would like to quote a famous reggae singer:
"Sun is shining, the weather is sweet"
Life is beautiful. At least, for now :)

Sunday, April 11, 2010

I discovered the seventh position

which, on a bass guitar, is very similar to the second position in terms of having all the C major (natural) notes within the reach of four fingers.

So yes, I played bass for most of the morning in case anyone was wondering. I also read up on a few blogs and comics and made lunch, then went out for a walk again.

Today, I walked through the forest-park that is quite nearby, and finally ended up by the sea. The water is still very cold but I can easily imagine going swimming in a month or so.

When I arrived back home, I just crawled into bed and slept for an hour. I think I have a cold. When I woke, I felt quite hungry so I went to the kitchen with a pack of spaghetti and a bottle of ketchup.

Well, the kitchen had suffered from a chinese invasion while I had been away. There were at any given point 6 chinese students preparing food in the rather crowded kitchen corner. Needless to say, Taiji came in quite handy :) The faces kept changing and my final count was around 15.. which means about one quarter of the students on this floor are chinese.. I wouldnt have guessed that, as I had seen only 5 of them previously.

I did manage to cook my spaghetti and two eggs to go with it, though. I sat down with Bilge (the person next door to my room) and a german girl who is doing her PhD in Scientific Theory (which encapsules the philosophy, practice and history of science). She is still looking for a good topic, but after her discussion with Pirjo (the finnish PhD student also doing Computer Science) she was thinking about taking a topic related to CS. As she needed something interdiciplinary, I suggested bioinformatics to her, but that was out for personal reasons. She was considering Human-computer interaction, however, which was what Pirjo is working on. Should work.

In general, it has been one of the most unproductive weekends I have had in a long while. I enjoyed it, and am hopefully ready to get back to work on Monday.

Saturday, April 10, 2010


My alarm clock rang at 7.30 today, like every other day. However, since today is saturday, I chose to ignore it and slept on til 8.30. Then woke up, made myself a cup of coffe and sat down with my bass..

I finally left my room again at 10.10 to go get some shopping done before the stores close - in here, people actually respect the weekend and stores are open only from 10 to 14 on Saturday and are always closed on Sunday (with very few exeptions such as large food stores or cafes in the center). I first went through the general store to get an extension cord and some batteries (as my amplifier had ran out of juice). I then went to see the guitar shop I had passed on my way back home on thursday. They only had a few bass amps but they gave me directions to another store which I had not visited before and which was also a nice walking distance away. That other store had a very nice sounding and small amp, but it cost a lot, even after the discount they promised to make me. I said I would go and think about it, then went back home to read reviews.

I spent the next hour reading reviews on portable bass amps and came to the conclusion that I should go and look over one of the amps they showed me on thursday (as this seemed to be the second smallest amp that was considered to be any good other than the very expensive one I was shown) - and go explore the city center again while I am there. So I did.

Central Aarhus is very beautiful by the way. Narrow streets and old houses mixed tastefully with modern ones. Not many sights though - just the cathedral, which is quite similar to the Jaani church in Tartu, just a bit bigger. Also - the central square is quite nice - having the central library on one side and some financial institutions on the other, all built from red bricks. Kind of reminds me of the new Viru square in Tallinn, only being a bit smaller and having grass patches instead of being just pavement.

In general, the feeling I have gotten thus far from Aarhus is that it is a nice blend of features from Tallinn (size, sea, layout) and Tartu (students, general ambience). I could easily imagine living here for a longer period so Im considering trying to apply for a postdoc here at some poing. I would not have considered Denmark as an option before because of the presumed language barrier, but since EVERYONE (all the clerks in guitar stores, grocery stores and kiosks that I have visited) speaks fluent english, this is definately not a problem in reality.

After getting back from my tour of the city, I made lunch and then went to my room to read, practice bass and watch yet another episode of "The Outer Limits". Weekends are for resting, after all.

Two things that are somewhat worrying me are the amounts of food and coffe I consume - both have gone up considerably since coming here. However, I have been walking 8+ km each day so that might excuse the food part. The coffe bit is just my lazyness though and I should try to get it somewhat under control.

I would also like to say a few things about yesterday.

I visited the faculty library, which was quite interesting. It was open 24 hours and fully self-service, for instance. Also, it had couches and beanbags alongside the more common table-and-chair arrangements. Needless to say, I liked it.

Also, it turns out that each friday, they set up a bar at the lounge of the faculty and many people use that opportunity to sit down with their collegues in an informal setting. I had an interesting chat with three of my co-PhD-students, two natives and one originally from ETH Zurich, Switzerland.

Otherwise - still no luck with the bike and I also havent gotten to the bank to get myself a local account (on which they could pay me my daily allowance). Other than these things, however, I am quite settled in.

Friday, April 9, 2010


I came home from work, fried the pasta that was left over from yesterday, arrived at my room and had a brief Skype conversation with my mom.. and now all I want to do is.. well - nothing.

Before anyone asks - no I did not have a hard day at work. Yes, I did stuff, but nothing extraordinarily hard. Which does not stop me from feeling as I do.

I should practice bass, read articles, socialize with my neighbors or even just read something meaningful.. but I think I am just going to lie on the bed and watch "The Outer Limits" or something..

At least it is weekend so its quite ok to let my hair down, so to say..

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Denmark - Day 3

I woke at 7.30 and went to make myself some coffe, then returned to my room to unpack my belongings (something I didn't feel like doing the night before) and then set off towards the university. On my way to the staircase I met an indian guy who was also about to leave. Of course, I introduced myself to him and asked what he was doing and where he was from. I then mentioned I had been to india just a month ago and that I had stayed in Hyderabad. Well, it turned out that that was exactly where he was from :) We walked all the way to the bus station, but then parted ways as I had decided to walk to the university.

It was a nice 40 minute walk, which meant I arrived at prof. Damgards door at exactly 10, just like I had promised ("I love it when a plan comes together"). He took me down but as the administrative staff had just left, I had to wait for a while to get the keys. I did, however, get to see my new room. His assistant professor had not arrived yet, but he told me to wait til he did and then ask him for advice about the topics.

Most of the day was actually spent on administrative stuff - filling out a form, getting the keys, getting a new sim-card, figuring out where I might be able to get a bike, asking Ivan about where the music stores are in the city, getting lunch and so on. I did have time to read about 30 pages of introduction to rational crypto and also thought a bit about a problem prof. Damgard presented to me about pseudorandom secret sharing.

I left at a quarter past four to check out the music stores in the central Aarhus. There were 3 of them, but sadly none had a small enough bass amplifier. I spent about 15 minutes in the last one though, just trying out one which was nice but still a bit too large. I then walked home, finding one more store, but just as it was closing so I did not have time to look around. I also stopped by a shop to buy a few things I was still missing. I now literally have enough food to last me two weeks easy.

I came home and started cooking dinner. This time it was pasta and I met another set of my neighbours, this time two people form turkey, two from germany, one from italy and one from South Africa. There really are all sorts of people here - from phonetics post-docs to political science bachelors students to everything else in between.

I will spend this evening as I spent it yesterday - playing my bass, reading, perhaps watching a movie. The first few days in a new place can be quite overwhelming so I do not really feel like socializing or doing anything else remotely demanding.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Denmark - Days 2-3 - BRICS retreat

I woke up at the guesthouse, had breakfast, packed up and started towards the Computer Science department. It was a nice 2 km walk, taking roughly 20 minutes with a 20 kg backpack and another 5 kg bag in one of my hands. So needless to say that on arriving inside the building, I found the first corner in which I would not get in anyones way and just set my belongings down there.

That corner was 2 meters from the front door. I saw quite a few people enter and leave, most of them not exactly sure what to think of me. The feeling was mutual, however, as I knew noone by face. So I decided to look up Ivan (the professor I am visiting) on the internet and see how he looked like. As the picture was loading, a short and slim grey-bearded man passed me... and needless to say that as I turned back to the screen, I saw his photo. Embarassing. Anyways, at some point a bus arrived and then two people went out to meet it. When they came back, I asked whether that was the bus to the BRICS retreat and, on hearing that it was, introduced myself.

Before the bus took off, I had introduced myself to about 6 people, prof. Ivan Damgard being one of them. Despite this, noone sat next to me on the bus.. so I just took out a book and read during most of the bus drive.

On arrival, however, I reverted back to the very social person that I normally am and tried to slip into a conversation with a few people.. which succeeded on a few occasions. I realized that the retreat was not only for the Crypto group and that most of the people there were PhD students (about 30 of them, and there are supposedly 65 in total). The groups were pretty similar to those in Tartu - Crypto, Bioinformatics, Programming languages and OOP (Software engineering). There were a few additional groups however - Human Computer Interaction and Algorithmic Game Theory.

The first thing in the official agenda was something called "One-minute madness" where everyone was supposed to tell the others what they were doing, and was given just a minute to do so. That gave me a rather nice overview of what people were up to and who was in what group. I was sitting in the back, on top of the table in a half-lotus position. To my best estimate, the Crypto group was twice the size of all others, having 8 PhD students. It also seemed that none of them had been notified that I was coming. I found that out when they approached me en masse after the madness session, introduced themselves and welcomed me to the group.

We then had lunch and after that were given about an hour of free time. The retreat was held in a small Loony-Toons themed guesthouse that had a swimming pool, minigolf course, real golf course, artificial ski slope and a gym with bagminton nets and table tennis tables. Somewhat eclectic but otherwise really nice. After jumping a bit on the trampoline outside, I decided it would be fun to go swimming. So I did. And so it was.

The day continued with a session on Teaching and TA-ing. We were divided into groups and told to prepare a 30 minute long TA session on recursion. An organisational note is in order here - in here, PhD studies are much better structured than in Estonia. Each semester, each student is required to TA at least one course, which means he will have to give the exercise sessions for some course, or do some other teaching-related work. Also, they get paid 20 000 DKK a month and take their studies as a full-time job. It is supposedly very rare for people to finish either earlier or later than 4 years.

However - they do not have any courses on teaching - neither in the masters (as Tartu students do) nor in the PhD curriculum. So the TA session was an attempt to remedy that. After the practical exercise, the lecturer told us about student-oriented teaching methods and then gave us a more specific assignment where we should take these principles into account.

The next item in the itinerary was BRICS challenge - a team-building exercise that is supposedly different from year to year. This time, we were given a bag full of stuff and were asked to build two things - something that could weigh items from 50 to 200 grams and something that could throw an object as far as possible.

The bag contained - wooden sticks, elastic bands, a roll of string, a glue gun with 3 sticks, a small rubber ball, scissors, pen, paper, two carpet cutters and 4 bags of candy (58 g each) .

Well, for weighing, all teams settled on a scale and used the candy to calibrate. As for the catapult, we considered different alternatives, and, after much convincing on my part, settled on a mangonel design.

Our fatal mistake was using the rubber bands for torsion instead of the string. In the end, our catapult could throw the ball just 2 or so meters, while other teams managed 6 or even 8. On the final attempt the elastic bands broke, but otherwise it held together quite nicely. One of our team members later rewound it with string - and it worked considerably better then, easily being able to beat the other teams. However, it was too late by then. As our scale also failed (as we had bad luck with candy, which was actually of different weight than it should have), we got the last place. Nonetheless, it was all quite fun.

For dinner we were served a three-course meal and three different types of wine along with it. I managed to get into a rather heated discussion about what caused the financial crisis and it seemed that the other guy was a bit too drunk to notice I knew nothing about the subject.. It was fun. After dinner ended, I just went back home, meditate, practiced playing my Bass, read a bit and then went to bed. I was the first in my hut to do so. I presume the others were at the bar which was supposedly near the artificial ski slope. However, I had no idea where it would be and, to be honest, much preferred being alone as I had a long day behind me...

One thing that caught my attention was the fact that most people at the retreat (including the administrative staff) spoke native level English. When I asked Ivan about it, he blamed TV and movies, which they do not dub in Denmark. Nonetheless, their english is, on average, much better than it is on average in estonia. Essentially, Denmark is an english speaking country - much more than India is, for instance.

The second day started with a talk about administrative affairs, given by the dean of the department. There was then a session on how to go abroad where two people shared their experiences.. and also a session on how to do research, with four lecturers all discussing their views. I sat in the back row and, to enhance my hippie appearance, put my legs on the table. As before, no-one seemed to mind.

Then there was lunch and free time after that yet again. This time I asked one guy (who looked remarkably like one of my acquaintances, A.) whether he would like to play ping-pong. He did, and turned out to be roughly on my level doing some things better and others worse than me.. so we had fun.

The last session was about PhD supervision, where we were again in groups and had to discuss three questions about the student-supervisor relationships - such as whether the supervisor should keep constant watch on the PhD students or not and whether he should try to help with personal problems that are not directly related to research. The discussions were somewhat stale, mainly because the answer seemed to be "It depends" for all thee questions.

Then the retreat ended. We again got on the bus and drove back to Aarhus. In there, I was given a quick tour of the relevant part of the CS building - being shown, where the coffe room is, where the Crypto team is situated and where the administrative staff are. I was then handed directions on how to get to my dormitory. So - I went to the store, bought bus tickets (yes, even store clerks speak seemingly fluent english), walked to the bus station, got on the bus and off it again, walked to the dormitory... and was stomped because the doors seemed to be closed and it could well have been past closing time... however, I saw two students who were about to enter and asked them where the office was... so they took me there.. I recieved my key, settled my baggage down in my room, asked for directions to the nearest grocery store and set off to get some food.

Well - food I did get. Pasta, noodles, spaghetti, rice, pepper, teryaki sauce, bread, jam, cheese, milk, oil, salt, sugar, frozen vegetables, tea and coffe.. costing me around 400 DKK - but most of these things will last me for quite some time, so its ok.

I then got back and proceeded to the kitchen, where I met my first neighbours - two polish exchange students. As I proceeded to prepare food, I also got acquainted with an Egyptian, two Chinese and a finnish CS PhD student called Pirjo who was in Human Computer Interaction group but could not come to the BRICS retreat. As I again had made a bit too much food (rice with eggs and vegetables), I shared it with her - and it turned out she is also a vegetarian (as she initially thought the egg I used was some type of meat). I also asked one of the chinese students whether he would be willing to teach me how to cook chinese and he said he would. However, today he had a meat dish so that would have to wait.

After dinner, I got back to my room, played my Bass and then proceeded to write this blog entry. I think I will now head to bed, as I promised Ivan to try to be at his office door at around 10 a clock.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Denmark - Day 1

Aarhus airport is a very nice small town airport probably quite similar to that of Tartu (which I have not used yet). Actually the smallest one I have yet to visit. We walked off the plane and directly into the waiting hall (no buses, no long tunnels). Which was nice. What was not so nice was the fact that just after I had started repacking my bags (so as not to have two very heavy backbacks), they announced that the bus to Aarhus would be departing.. so I just packed up again and dashed out of the airport. The bus was indeed waiting. My first surprise was the ticket, being priced at 95 DKK.

However, my surprise was quickly alleviated when I saw the first roadsign which read "Aarhus 43". Yes - the airport was 43 km away from the city. That gave me a nice view of the surrounding countryside, however. Which was quite nice, but probably quite stereotypical of western Europe as well. At some point the bus driver started calling out stops. I asked him what direction would he be entering the city from.. he pulled over and showed me on the map. It turned out that he will be stopping about half a km from where I needed to go, which was good news to me, as I had already counted on a 3 km walk from town center.

I noticed quite a few things after getting of the bus. To be precise, I noticed 3 joggers and 2 people riding bycicles. The conditions here are very favourable for both, as the car roads have bicycle lanes on both sides and the traffic itself is quite light. The best way I could find of describing this place would be as "the opposite of india" - plenty of space, very clean streets and relatively few people.

The University Guesthouse I am staying at for the first night is also incredibly nice. Small on the outside, very spacious on the inside. The guesthouse resembles a set of apartments more than it does a hotel, having a large living room with a kitchen corner for every three guest rooms.

The first order of business was getting something to eat - there were no meals on the planes and I had last eaten quite early in the morning. I remembered I had walked past a small store (REMA 1000 - logo quite resembling that "Rimi" used to have at some point). I bought pasta, garlic salt, ketchup and some cookies - costing 64 DKK. Prices here are pretty similar to those in Estonia, at least by the numbers on the price tags. However, one Danish Kroon is a bit over two Estonian kroons. Anyways, its still pretty convenient :P However, it would be nice to know how much money I will be getting from the university here..

Anways, I am just now finishing my pasta and will go out for a walk soon after. I will probably post some pictures later tonight.