With much inspiration from one of my favourite travel bloggers, Adventurous Kate, I’ve decided to start this new thing, where I recap the month that has gone by mainly from photos posted to my instagram and snapchat stories, starting (very conveniently) with January 2018. This allows me to reflect on the past month and also give an introduction to the destinations that I visited, as well as write about my life in Denmark, which doesn’t get much column space on this blog in general.

2x exams

January 2018 has been a month of exams and excessive reading! At the beginning of the month, I had an oral exam in my course on the Neolithic and Bronze Age in Southern Scandinavia, and shortly after that my two-week written exam on archaeological theory began. I wrote a paper titled “On the Verge of Neolithization: Group Identity and Social Boundaries in the Late Mesolithic”, where I discussed the social changes that may have led to the neolithization of Southern Scandinavia based on patterned paddles from the Late Mesolithic Ertebølle Culture. It was a very interesting topic that I might take up again at some point during my academic career. Thankfully, both of my exams went well with A+ in both, and now I feel even more motivated for my future career as an archaeologist!

My working life

In January, I also started the training for my new job at the National Museum of Denmark (!). I’m so excited to begin working there in February! As well as this, I was also working 14,5 hours a week at Bonnier Publications, a magazine publishing company. Gotta earn some money for those travels!

Home to Jutland

I did find the time to go on a few trips in January as well. At the beginning of the month, I went to Jutland for a few days to visit my family, while I was doing my written exam. I love coming home to Jutland, mainly to see my family and cat, but also to explore our coastline, which is full of great Mesolithic archaeology. I’ve found several flint tools from settlements dating the Ertebølle Culture near Hov and Alrø in Eastern Jutland over the last twelve months, and I will continue to search for more (it’s one of my favourite hobbies!).

This time around, I wanted to go to Alrø and Gylling to see if I could find some new settlements. My little brother Brandon came along with me and we actually found one flint tool at a new spot, which I’ll be exploring some more the next time I go home. We also went to a settlement on Alrø, which I found back in the spring of 2017, where we found some more flint tools! This location is definitely one to be kept an eye on, as it offers many interesting finds each time I’m there.

First travel of the year

After my written exam was finally done, I went on a week-long trip to Russia and Azerbaijan. It definitely doesn’t sound like a lot of time spent in two such interesting (and big) countries, and it wasn’t enough at all! But I still got to have some amazing experiences and explore some pretty spectacular places.

I first flew to Moscow, where I had a 21-hour stopover. I explored the center of the city and also took some trips out to castles and churches on the outskirts of the city. My favourite place was at the Church of the Ascension, where I watched the sunset, before returning to the airport for my midnight flight to Baku. Moscow blew me away! It was a great first taste of Russia.

I spent my first day and the last two days in Azerbaijan in the capital of Baku, a weirdly modern city with flameshaped sky scrapers, big boulevards and fancy restaurants that doesn’t represent the rest of the country at all. I loved Baku though, especially my hostel and the fun and relaxing atmosphere there! I didn’t want to leave it in the end!

In between my stays in Baku, I went on a two-day trip to Sheki, a mountain city in the north of Azerbaijan, near the border to Russia. I spent my days there exploring the richly decorated palaces of Sheki, visiting an old church in the nearby village of Kish and hiking in the snow with a taxi driver!

When I got back to Baku, I also went on a day trip to Gobustan National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which is home to ancient petroglyphs that date from the Upper Palaeolithic and through to the Middle Ages!

20 kilometers from the petroglyphs, there’s natural wonder which is quite rare – over 400 mud volcanos that occasionally spit out mud!! Getting there was through a road full of mud, where the taxi got stuck multiple times! But it was worth every effort, as the mud volcanos really are a wondrous sight.

On my last day in Azerbaijan, I went on an evening trip with two new friends who I’d met at the hostel to Yanar Dag, a burning mountain! The flames are caused by hydrocarbon gases emanating from below the earth’s surface! Locals told us that the fire is said to have been burning for thousands of years! Despite it being zero degrees out, we decided to chill there for a few hours, as the flames kept us warm and cozy.

I flew back home to Denmark on the 30th, as I had to work for two days. I was sad to see the trip end, but quite glad to see the end of January, which has been a stressful month with all the exams and work (oh, and a little bit of rabies that I picked up in Baku!!).

Destinations visited in January 2018

  • Copenhagen, Hov and Alrø, Denmark
  • Moscow, Russia
  • Baku, Sheki, Kish and Gobustan, Azerbaijan

Highlights

  • Getting an A+ in both my exams. I was so relieved, I even cried when I got my second result! I work really hard to get good results at uni, so it means the world to me when the efforts pay off.
  • Spending time with my family in Jutland.
  • Falling in love with Moscow.
  • Fun and games at Cheeky Carabao Backpackers Hostel in Baku.
  • Hiking in wintery Kish.
  • Visiting Janar Dag, the burning mountain.

Challenges

  • Weeks and weeks spent reading for my exams. My brain literally couldn’t take anymore at the end, but it was all worth it (see above).
  • Not sleeping for 52 hours en route from Copenhagen to Moscow to Baku! I passed out as soon as I got to my hostel in Baku.
  • Getting bit by a street cat in Baku, so I had to start the treatment against rabies. I’ve had three out of four vaccinations so far, and by the end of it all, I will have spent around 2000 DKK… BUT I’ll be rabies free!

Most popular post

The other posts

Top 10 countries of my readers

  1. United States
  2. Denmark
  3. United Kingdom
  4. Germany
  5. Australia
  6. Moldova
  7. Faroe Islands
  8. Singapore
  9. Japan
  10. Austria

Most popular Instagram picture

Hard to argue about this one. A perfect sunset in Tjørnuvík, Faroe Islands, is always a winner!

Coming up in February 2018

At the moment of writing this post, I’m actually at a hostel in Skopje, on my first trip in February, so the month has started with a bang!

February will be a month of new beginnings, because when I get back home again my fourth semester will begin. So it’s back to studying hard for those exams! Also, I’m officially starting my new job at the National Museum of Denmark, which I’m extremely excited for!

I have a trip to Jutland planned in the middle of the month, where I’m going to Moesgaard Museum in Aarhus (my favourite museum ever) and spending some quality time with my family. At home in Copenhagen, I will be reading, attending quiz nights on Thursdays (it’s so much fun, you guys!), reading, seeing my friends, reading, biking around Copenhagen – oh, and did I mention reading?

And at the end of the month, my mum and I will be off on our yearly mother/daughter trip, this year to Croatia and Slovenia, so there’s enough to look forward to in February!

What are you up to in February?

2 thoughts on “My January 2018: Exams and the Former USSR”

  1. Dear Mel, you never stop surprising me with your adventurous journey and beautiful life visions. You seem to be the person who drives her life wildly and passionately. I love your new style of blogging, you have a taste not only for traveling, but for words to share your thoughts. I’m your fan and always will be!😉

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