Map Monday – Italy

Eight days ago, I returned from an eight day trip to Italy.  The trip was a “soup of pleasantries” as my buddy Nate would say.  I want to tell you about it.  Let’s start with a map.braccianomapiano

Using Dr. Ph. Martin’s Bleedproof White and a small watercolor brush, I made this map on my ticket from the Colosseum. During the trip my friend Ella and I stayed in the lovely little lake town of Bracciano.  The white line connecting Bracciano to Rome shows the route the FR3 train takes into the city, which takes about an hour.

Things I like about Bracciano:

I. There is a medieval castle.


II. They host Renaissance festivals, one of which just happened to coincide with my 21st birthday.



Little Christian waits for the knighting ceremony to commence.

III.  Our humble abode.  We found a place through Airbnb, renting from a couple of Italian documentary filmmakers who were sweeter than pistachio gelato.  Pippo and Marina were incredibly accommodating and genuine.  They even invited us over to their home in a neighboring town for a homemade four course meal.  It was delicious.   Our place was right in the heart of old Bracciano and we were living next door to Italian families going about their daily lives.


IV. FOOD. Without a doubt, the most delicious food that I have ever consumed was at the Vino e Camino restaurant in Bracciano.  Soup: Chestnuts, leeks, and ham.  Dinner: handmade pasta with pecorino cheese and black pepper for Ella and pumpkin and parmesan risotto for me.  Dessert:  pistachio gelato and napoleon with chantilly cream and chocolate drops.  Dinner that night was nothing short of a religious experience.

din din

soup + me

V.  This girl was there with me.


VI. The town is beautiful, no denying that.  Bracciano is built on a hill, overlooking the pristine volcanic Lago di Bracciano.  Life is slower in Bracciano, and I love that.


Things I dislike about Bracciano:

I. Well I haven’t been able to think of any, but I’ll keep brainstorming.  Maybe the bathtub, it was not designed for a 6’3″ human.


Most days we hopped on the train to Rome.  In its 2,500+ years of existence, the city of Rome has been home to many of the greatest achievements of the human race.  With such history, we had much to see and it was nice having eight days to do so.

The perfect trifecta of  pizza, pasta, and gelato sustained us through the long and arduous days of visiting masterworks of the Renaissance, exploring Roman ruins, soaking up sun in piazzas, and searching for more pizza, pasta, and gelato.  

I have seen and heard about Rome all of my life;  in first grade I learned about the gladiators battling lions in the colosseum, and as a freshman in college I studied the barrel vaults the gladiators walked through, preparing to face those wild beasts.  Yet no book, photo, movie, or even the greatest teacher can recreate the sensation of running your hands against the cold travertine stone of the Colosseum.  Experiencing a place with all of the senses is the beauty of travel. I am unbelievably lucky to have this opportunity to observe.   Travel is a privilege that few people in this world have.  I owe my friends, family, community, society, and the universe a massive show of gratitude.

Below are some photos that will probably fall short of accurately depicting what I consider to be some of the best days and nights that I have spent on the earth.

Architecture, Art, Denmark, Drawing

2 places & 2 drawings

Our most recent Visual Journal assignment was to create two concept collages to capture the atmosphere of a place.  During class we visited the Botanical Gardens and the Torvehallerne, Copenhagen’s new glass marketplace.  Below are my interpretations of each space, shouldn’t be too tricky to figure out which is which.



Art, Denmark, Drawing

Louisiana II

The Arts and Culture House took our second trip to Louisiana Museum of Modern Art last night.  An exhibition called “ARCTIC” is the big attraction right now, plus there is a great exhibition comparing the life and works of Asger Jorn and Jackson Pollock.  Several of the works in the ARCTIC show really got me going, especially this sound installation called “Isfald”.

On the train to Louisiana I did a sketch in my little red Moleskine.


Well I would say more, but I am off to hear the musical noise of the Tallest Man on Earth!

Art, Drawing

Coffee + Pencil + Piazza del Popolo


I have just returned to Copenhagen from an eight day journey to Italy.

If there are adjectives in the English language that can adequately capture just how pleasant the trip was, I have yet to learn them.

A post full of photos and a tale or two will come soon, but for now this sketch of Piazza del Popolo can serve as a kind of teaser.  I did this sketch with pencil and coffee while sitting under the obelisk.

Architecture, Travel

Sweden + Finland

Now is time to finally catch up on my study tour to Sweden and Finland.

I would say that one of the best thing about DIS is that our schedule includes three, week-long breaks.  The first of these took place at the end of September.  Every student at DIS is enrolled in a core course.  My core course is Architecture Foundations.  For one of the travel weeks you travel with other students, professors, and interns from your core course program to various locations all over Europe.  These are called long study tours.

For my long study tour I went to Sweden and Finland.  We spent our days visiting some of the best architecture Scandinavia has to offer.  Once we arrived at a site, a group of two students from our trip would present on the building(s), followed by around an hour to explore and sketch.  Here are some highlights of the trip, mostly in the form of sketches and photographs.



Gamla Stan is the heart of historic Stockholm.  The streets in this area were winding and narrow.  This site visit was our introduction to Stockholm.  I found Stockholm to be strikingly beautiful.  The topography of the city made me realize just how flat it is in Copenhagen.  Hills and cliffs allow for expansive views of the jagged and dark Stockholm skyline.




St. Marks Church



Hammarby Sjöstad


Woodland Cemetery



Vasa Museum

Easily the most incredible museum I have ever visited.  The Vasa was a Swedish warship that sunk in the Stockholm harbor on her maiden voyage in 1628.  333 years later the ship was rediscovered and salvaged from the harbor.   98% of the original ship was recovered and is now housed in the Vasa Museum.  This is a must-see in Stockholm.





Stockholm Public Library





We took an overnight cruise from Stockholm to Turku, Finland.

Chapel of the Holy Cross

One of my favorite buildings from the trip.





Chapel of the Resurrection



Villa Mairea

A cozy home in the Finnish countryside by Alvar Aalto.  I loved this place.







Kamppi Chapel




Kiasma Museum








Myyrmäki Church



Senate Square



There is no doubt in my mind that Scandinavia must be one of the best places on this planet.  Travelling through Sweden and Finland with the purpose of observing architecture was a pleasant way to visit a new place.

I have another travel break to catch you up on, in Paris and Berlin.  Hopefully I can post a little about that before I head to Rome this Saturday!


Denmark, Map Mondays

Map Monday – Basketball


click on me

Above is a map I made on my dining room table using a shoelace from one of my basketball shoes and a 4b pencil.  This map illustrates the route that I bike to get to basketball practice.  Go ahead and click on it, everyone loves bigger pictures.

Joining a club basketball team is one of the best decisions I have made while abroad.

I first found out about the team online.  Copenhagen Business School was holding tryouts for their club basketball teams early in September, so I biked on over to tryout at a small gym in Frederiksberg.  A few days later  I received word that I had made the team and that we had our first team meeting that night.

At the meeting all of the players introduced themselves, and I was blown away by the number of different countries represented.  I have teammates from Denmark, Germany, Finland, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Czech Republic, Austria, Slovakia, Argentina, and USA.

Some are traditional students, some are masters students, some are exchange students, and others are members of the workforce.  I am the youngest player on the team at 20.  From there the ages range up to around 30.

 It has been a treat to play basketball with these guys from all over the world.  The style of play is different from that in the US.  The ball is shared around quite a bit more.  While shooting around, change is often given even if someone doesn’t hit a shot.  The dimensions of the court are shifted slightly in international play: the three point line is deeper than in college and high school ball, and the shape of the lane is shifted from a rectangle to a trapezoid.  The trapezoidal lane, which increases in width as it gets closer to the basket, encourages play towards the perimeter and forces big men outside of their comfort zone.  (update: I talked to one of my teammates about this, and it turns out they have shifted to a rectangular key, although many of the gyms we play in still have the old lines.  The key is still wider than what I am used to and the effect on gameplay is the same).  I enjoy the international style of play.

Practice is a nice mix of drills and free play.  The atmosphere is exactly what I was hoping for.  Players take the game seriously and skills are being developed, but practice is fun and there is always a laugh to be had.

We have practice twice a week: an hour and a half on Monday and two hours on Thursday.  There are games on weekends, although I havent been able to make any because of my travel breaks.

Tonight practice was canceled due to this massive wind storm Copenhagen is experiencing.  The trees outside my window are thrashing about and the clouds are sprinting across the dark sky.

Last week was one for the record books.  I will catch you up on it soon.  For now I am going to sleep, listening to the wind howl.



Au Revoir Copenhagen

Im off to Paris!

We have our second travel week here at DIS.  Flight leaves at 1400, and ill be there by 1600.  I am traveling down with a CC friend that is also doing DIS and meeting up with a bunch of friends that are taking a Block 2 French Philosophy in Paris class. Some of my favorite humans are going to be there.  Plus other friends studying in Europe will be there, should be a blast.

We will spend four nights in Paris, then on to Berlin.

I have only heard good things about Berlin.  Cannot wait to see what the scene is like down there.

Should be a week of nothing but the good stuff.

Au revoir,