Ancestral Land and Auf Weidersehen

Posted by Mason Allen Buskirk on July 25, 2016 in Study Abroad |

Some more time, venturing closer to the end of my first time in Europe, I had spent in the books and tending to my final essays and exams in Wuppertal, but I had the time and resources to afford to see but one more land in the Continent, before I would head home.


I chose Denmark, for, whilst I have ancestral lineage more or less in Austria, Poland, and Hungary, it is in Denmark where Laurens Andriessen Van Buskirk, the progenitor of all Van Buskirks in America and Canada, originated. He came from Holsten, Denmark via Holland prior to 1654.


He erected the Van Buskirk Homestead, Constble’s Hook, which believed to be the first house built in Bayonne, New Jersey about 1690. I am the twelfth generation of Buskirk. And so, after reserving one last railway ticket, for a final adventure, I went to Copenhagen, the capital of this land of my forefathers, and this is what I saw.


I caught my last train from Wuppertal Hauptbahnhof in the evening, and in Hamburg I caught my connection for Copenhagen, that would take me to there through the night. Whilst there were no sleeper trains to Denmark, I still made well by it, and woke up early in the morning to enjoy a most beautiful sunrise on the flat farms and meadows of the pretty Danish countryside, and we crossed what was probably the longest bridge I had ever seen or traveled across, when we were on our way to Zealand, the principal island where Copenhagen is located.


Towards six o’ clock in the morning, I finally arrived in the city, and things were sunny, and the weather cool and comfortable, but it was long before the crowds would come in, and I took fullest advantage of the situation by obtaining wonderful photographs with little haste or noise.


One of my first stops during my trek through Copenhagen on foot was The Borsen, built in 1619 to 1640 by King Christian IV.


The old stock exchange is an architectural masterpiece, and whilst intially a marketplace, it became a commodities and stock exchange in the 19th century. I then wandered down the Stroget, the world’s longest pedestrian street, to what was my favorite area in Copenhagen, Nyhavn.


It is a narrow canal, flanked by a wide promenade, and was built about 300 years ago to attract trade. The harbour is beautifully lined either side with brightly painted houses dating from the 18th century, quite characteristic of Denmark and other Scandinavian lands. Danish author Hans Christian Andersen of Odense lived here at one point.


I was then off to the Amalienborg, consisting of four identical Rococ buildings arranged symmetrically around alarge cobbled square with an imposing equestrian statue of Frederik V in the middle.


There is a changing of the guard that atkes place every day at noon outside the palace of the current Queen of Denmark, Margrethe II.


The buildings have been the home of the Danish Royal Family since 1874. Nearby is the Marmorkiken, a marble church which has one of the largest domes in Europe, and was strongly inspired by St. Peter’s in Rome.


It is constructed of pricey Norwegian marble, and took more than 150 years to complete with less expensive Danish limestone. Overlooking the harbour of Copenhagen, the subject of many postcards, Den Lille Havfrue, known in English as the Little Mermaid, has become the emblem of the city, and was sculpted by Edvard Erichsen and first unveiled in 1913.


It was inspired by the character of Hans Christian Andersen, and the original telling of the story has a tragic ending. I then ventured to the Kastellet, a fortress with grassy grounds, built by Christian IV in the 16th century.


Currrently occupied by the Danish Army, near the South entrance is the Danish Resitence Movement Museum, which charts the German occupation of Denmark in the Second World War, and the growth of the resistance that saved more than 7,000 Jews from the Nazis, and helped them escape to neutral Sweden.


I managed to explore most of Copenhagen before noon, as I had arrived so early, so for the rest of the day, I had decided to rent a bike, and enjoyed exploring until evening while giving my legs a rest.


I even managed to find a traditional Norwegian sweater, that should come in handy next winter, at a local shop, as I wanted to find at least one traditional garment of Scandinavia. The next morning, before catching my train to Odense, I fitted in a small visit to the Rosenborg Slot, originally built by Christian IV as a summer residence in 1606-1607.


It was originally inspired by the Renaissance architecture of the Netherlands. It was a fitting end to my first trip to Copenhagen, but my trip to Denmark was not yet over.


I caught the train with time to spare to Odense, which is the third-largest city in Denmark, but much of which looks like a storybook village. It lies in the heart of an area dubbed the Garden of Denmark, for the variety of vegetables grown here. This town is most famous for being the birthplace of Denmark’s most internationally famous author, Hans Christian Andersen, whose house can be found in the old town, and contains a library of his works in more than 90 languages.


And to top off what would be my last adventure in Europe, I visited the Danish Railway Museum, located right next to Odense railway station, where I would catch my train home to Wuppertal.




Inside the museum were many masterpieces from the age of steam that worked the Danish State Railways, and I couldn’t leave without having sent home one postcard featuring an image of one of them to a friend who shares my love of railways at home.


I then boarded the train in good time, and arrived home in Wuppertal, where I could rest my head in my own bed.

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Thus, my time in Germany and Europe has come to an end. It was an honor to be able to represent East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania whilst in Deutschland, and I hope you have enjoyed my retellings of my wanderings, and shall be inspired yourselves to study abroad in foreign lands, and you shall know what to go in Europe. With any luck, this is not the end of my study abroad blogs, as this autumn I’m travelling to Rikkyo University for an even longer period of time abroad, and I hope to be able to tell what I find there then as well. Tonight, I am taking one last train journey to Düsseldorf, where I shall board my plane to whisk me back across the Atlantic, and safely home in the Land of the Stars and Stripes, which I greatly miss. This has been a long and enormous adventure, for I have seen for the first time so much of Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Austria, Belgium, France, Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Denmark, and employed trains, bicycles, taxis, and my feet to move about them, and have obtained a lifetime of memories.

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…Now tell me, would you make the tour of Europe I’ve made, for anything less than studying abroad?

Auf Wiedersehen, Europe!

Auf Wiedersehen Deutschland!

Auf Wiedersehen Wuppertal!

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