My Trip To Malmo, Sweden: The Sights Part 2 (Copenhagen Denmark)

Copenhagen Denmark

Last week after speaking at the Öredev software developer conference in Malmo, Sweden, my wife and I had the opportunity to see some of the sights in nearby Copenhagen Denmark.

Copenhagen is just across the straight, or the sound, or the Øresund, from Malmo Sweden.  We took the train across, which only cost about 13 US dollars.  As we were travelling across the Øresund Bridge, we could see a really cool wind farm to the south.

Once we got to the Copenhagen airport, we took the Metro train to Kongens Nytorv or The King’s New Square.  There was a construction wall around the entire square, so we didn’t actually get to see it.  Here is what the new square looks like on Google 3D maps right now.

Right when you exit the underground Metro station in the King’s New Square, you are greeted by a grand department store called Magasin.  Here is a photo of the storefront.

In the above photo of the department store, you can see two pyramid shaped glass structures on street level.  Those are big skylights opening down into the underground Metro station.  Pretty cool.  And if you look closely you can see several large glass prisms mounted inside the glass pyramids.  On a sunny day I bet those prisms shine a rainbow of light down onto the Metro passengers below!

Directly across the street from this grand department storefront stands another big beautiful and distinguished building.  It’s the Det Kongelige Teater, or Royal Danish Theatre.  This photo is actually the side of the building.

And this is the front.  Quite elaborate.  Inside it seats 1,600 and as a theatre geek I really wanted to peek inside the auditorium.  The lobby was open and there was a small cafe inside, but everything else was closed.

This is a bar and some really neat architecture that we noticed behind the Royal Danish Theatre.  It’s almost an alleyway, but it’s quite beautiful.

Just around the corner from the Royal Danish Theatre is this bright and fun canal street called Nyhavn, or New Harbour.   I dare you to try and take a photo of this place that isn’t postcard or magazine quality!  It’s practically impossible!

Nyhavn is a walking street, not a driving street.  There are a ton of small shops and bars and restaurants.  And the street is filled with these little wooden sheds selling local goods.  It’s very much a street-fair atmosphere.

Many boats and small ships line the canal.  The vintage schooners are there on permanent display and some are quite historical.  The boat pictured below is actually an old lightship.  Think lighthouse, but actually on the water.  This particular lightship served Gedser Reef in southern Denmark for over 50 years.

This was new to us.  Love locks attached to a bridge railing.  Apparently it’s a relatively new tradition for younger folks to show their unbreakable love by attaching a lock to a bridge and then tossing the key into the water.  Interesting tradition.

Some municipalities consider it vandalism.  I’m torn on the subject.  It’s kind of beautiful.  But I can see how it could get out of hand.

We noticed quite a crowd continuing past the New Harbor canal and over a bridge beyond the river.  We had nowhere to be so we joined the crowd.  There had to be something good over there.

There was a big warehouse building across the river that most people were going to.  Out front these giant seagull statues looked to be made out of thin plywood sheets.  Pretty cool.

Then we saw some people eating food outside the building so we knew we were about to enjoy a surprise lunch.  The decor for this dining area was extremely industrial and warehouse-like.  Check out the 2 story shipping container dining area pictured below.  Amazing.

Yeah.  Now I totally see that guy smirking at me while I took that photo.  I’m just glad he didn’t do anything to completely ruin my photo!   🙂

We were pleasantly surprised when we went inside the building.  It was a large warehouse space filled with about 40 colorful and fun street food vendors selling some awesome street food!  It was pretty amazing!  It’s called Copenhagen Street Food.

It’s sort of like an American food court at a shopping mall, but way way better!  Way way more choices and super unique choices too!  It’s quite literally a food truck party!

My wife and I couldn’t decide between an ostrich burger or a pulled duck burger.  So we got one of each and then we shared!  Both were crazy good!  But I couldn’t get over how yummy and juicy the pulled duck was.  There was no sauce or anything.  I think it was just pulled and then simmered in some sort of light oil.  Or maybe grease.  Don’t care.  It was delicious.  I wonder what Thanksgiving turkey would taste like if you pulled it and then simmered it in oil or grease.

The dessert selections were also pretty great.  We decided on these yummy looking cheesecakes.

In the same warehouse building, next to Copenhagen Street Food, was the Copenhagen Contemporary Art Center.  It was inexpensive and we had the time, so we paid admission and checked it out.  There were quite a lot of displays that used multimedia technology.  Videos, audio, lasers, projectors, etc.

One of the art exhibitions was a virtual reality exhibit.  Each wooden room ran a different visual and audible virtual reality loop that you could interact with.  It was pretty interesting to interact with art in that manner.

As the sun was setting, at about 4pm, the Nyhavn canal started to become lit up for the evening street party.  During our leisurely walk back through the street-fair we bought some souvenirs and also some hot chocolate.  It was too early for us to eat dinner.  Plus we had just eaten lunch at the food trucks not much earlier.  But there are lots of restaurants and pubs to choose from on Nyhavn street.

One evening while we were there, we noticed all the TV’s at the pub we were eating at were showing a big World Cup qualifying game between Denmark and Ireland.  And that game was being played right there in Copenhagen!  We had no idea.  If I had known, I would have looked into tickets to attend the game.  Even though neither myself nor my wife are into soccer (football), it would have been a pretty cool thing to witness first hand right there in Denmark.

Tomorrow I’ll publish a blog post all about the wonderful food that my wife and I got to experience while we were in Malmo and Copenhagen!

Thanks for your interest!


My Trip To Malmo, Sweden: The Sights

Malmo Sweden

Last week after speaking at the Öredev software developer conference in Malmo, Sweden, my wife and I had the opportunity to see some of the sights around town.

The weather there was pretty mild with highs around 45 of 50 degF and lows around 35 or 40.  It rained one afternoon and one full day while we were there, but the rest of the time it was partly sunny.  The cold wind never really settled down, though.  It was most definitely hat, gloves, and scarf weather.  And this “Florida boy” (Florida transplant, really) doesn’t even own a scarf!

Malmo is the third largest city in Sweden, but it’s not a huge city.  It’s about the same size as the city limits of Orlando Florida.  Not including the surrounding communities.  Just the city limits proper.  So imagine if you were driving away from downtown Orlando and as soon as you hit the city limit a few miles out, it became rural countryside.  That’s Malmo Sweden.

Malmo is located at the very southern tip of Sweden, which is a very very long country north to south.  Sweden is actually the same height as America, from the top of North Dakota to the southern tip of Texas!

This photo shows several hotels along the canal.  This area of town has lots of canals and waterways.

Here you can see the famous Øresund Bridge.  This bridge crosses between Sweden and Denmark.  Part of this bridge is over the sound (the strait) and part of it tunnels underground (and under the water).  We went over this bridge 4 times while we were in town.  It’s pretty cool.

The Øresund Bridge was the setting for the popular Swedish/Danish TV crime drama titled The Bridge.  I have not seen the TV show, but I’m told it is quite good.

Here is a photo taken from the beach of the famous Turning Torso building.  It is the first twisted skyscraper in the world!  It is mostly apartments, which is pretty cool for those residents!  It’s not cheap to live there!

Here is a closer view of the Turning Torso.

The below photo, taken from the beach, shows a building in the sound called Ribersborgs Kallbadhus, which is an open-air bath.  It’s basically a walled structure on the water with pool decks and stairs and ramps into the water for easy access  to swimming in the sound.  It also has saunas for quickly jumping from hot to cold and back.  Clothes are optional at places like this and my wife and I decided that it was not for us.    🙂

Also, it was quite cold.

I have one word for these people:  Pneumonia

Also I have one more word:  Shrinkage

Do women even know about shrinkage?

This is just a really cool looking office building that was across the street from our hotel.  It’s right outside the central train station entrance.

This bank building is also right outside the central train station entrance.  I thought it was a cool melding of modern or contemporary architecture and old or historic architecture.

Malmo’s Old City Hall building was beautiful inside and out.  We were honored to have dinner there one night with the other conference speakers.  But the facade was undergoing renovation, so it was mostly covered up.  We could only get a view of the below small portion of the historic and beautiful building.

This photo shows a typical view of the downtown area of Malmo.  We noticed that bicyclists in Malmo are highly regarded by city planners.  In many areas of the city, the bike lanes were quite impressive.  Most intersections even had a set of stoplights for the cars, plus a smaller set of stoplights for the bikes, and then a third set of crossing lights for the pedestrians.

Pedestrians are definitely third class citizens to the bikers.  If you accidentally walk in a bike lane, you are likely to get run over by a speeding bike!

Here is an example of the super fancy and super expensive desserts that you might find only at the most extravagant of dinner parties or expensive restaurants in Sweden.

Just kidding! This was just the display at a small bakery at the central train station!  Yeah.  Super fancy!

Below is a photo, at dusk, of Malmo Castle.  It’s basically right in the middle of downtown.  It’s surrounded by a moat.  And there is a museum inside.  Sadly, we arrived too late to experience it.

Speaking of arriving late.  We were in Malmo in early November and it got dark at like 4pm!  Southern Sweden and Denmark are at the same latitude as the southern parts of Alaska.  During the day, I never saw the sun get above what I would consider the 10am position in the sky!  By the time 6 or 7pm rolled around, we felt like it was 10 or 11pm!  Crazy!  This extremely early darkness hampered some of our tourism in the area.  And it definitely hampered a lot of our photography of the area.

There are several different open-air squares in Malmo.  In the square below, there were some nice big trees that were decorated for the holidays with large lights and large ornaments.

There are quite a few grassy parks in Malmo.  I noticed that many of them are actually cemeteries.  But unlike the cemeteries in the US that I’ve experienced, these cemeteries sequester their burial plots into small squares and leave room for walking and playing in between.  Interesting concept, sharing the grassy park with the deceased.  It seemed a little strange at first.  But I think I like the idea.

A large percentage of Malmo’s residents live in apartment buildings.  So gardening is totally out of the question for most residents.  Except for those that buy one of these garden plots.  It’s an area with small plots of land that you can build a tiny house or a shed on and you can grow grass or trees and bushes or even a full blown garden.

This is a beautiful church called St. John’s Church.  It has a very smooth and rounded architecture style.  I find it soothing to look at.

We went inside to see more beauty and were surprised that there was a wedding in progress.  I quickly and quietly snapped a photo of the interior before leaving quiet as a mouse.

This awesome church is St Pauli Church.  It has a large central tower surrounded by 12 smaller towers which represent Jesus and the disciples.  It has a very sharp and rigid and angular architecture.  It’s almost shocking to look at.

This is the Caroli Church.  It was created for the German population that was living in Malmo in the 17th century.  At that time, the Germans didn’t have a church in Malmo and had to attend church across the sound in Copenhagen Denmark.  Which back then was probably not real easy to get to.  This church was designed by the same architect as the St Pauli Church above and you can see the similarities.

One place that we tried but failed to see while we were in town was the Malmo Chocolate Factory and Museum.  But we got there sort of late.  Well, it was only 3pm on a Saturday.  But they had just closed.  So we missed that, which would have been pretty cool, we think.

Tomorrow I’ll publish a blog post about some more of the fun sightseeing that my wife and I did in Copenhagen Denmark!

Thanks for your interest!


My Trip To Malmo, Sweden: The Students

Cool Minds

Last week after I finished speaking at the Öredev software developer conference in Malmo, Sweden, I had the opportunity to give a talk to students at the Cool Minds Play and Knowledge Center.

Cool Minds holds organized activities for school aged children after school and also on weekends.  The facility is very open and playful and welcoming.  The students are encouraged to explore their own ideas and be creative during the sessions.  Cool Minds makes it fun and exciting for students to learn about concepts such as creative ceramics & candles, electronics/robotics, programming/gaming, biology/chemistry, and film/media.

Watch this short promotional video about Cool Minds.  It’s pretty great.  We need some more places like this here in the US.  Large children’s museums and large science centers are great, but a small intimate instructor-led hands-on activity center like Cool Minds has several benefits over those others.

Here is the Cool Minds website link to my speaking event:


First I gave an introduction about myself and where I grew up and how I was always bent towards science and engineering.  Then I talked to the students about Mars and gave them fun facts, like the length of a year, the length of a day, and the average temperature.

I had some NASA patches and pins, so I gave those away to students who raised their hands and guessed some of these fun Mars facts.

Then I talked a little bit about the Mars rovers and described what they are doing there and what their capabilities are.

Hands-On Activity

And then we went into the fun hands-on activity.  I’m really excited about this particular activity because it’s easy enough for them to repeat at home with their parents and siblings.  And they can add to it and improve it at home too.

The activity has each student create a robotic finger for a Mars robot using common everyday items like a drinking straw, some string, a button, and a washer.  And then at the end, we combine students and they combine 4 robotic fingers to make a working robotic hand.


The students really seemed to enjoy this hands-on activity.  And they were pretty excited to have someone from NASA come to talk to them.

It was a great experience for me too.  I enjoyed seeing the Cool Minds facility and meeting its creator, Farzin Saber.  Farzin is passionate about exposing kids to fun learning activities that they might never otherwise experience.

Here is a 15 minute Ted talk about Cool Minds that Farzin gave back in January of 2017:

Tomorrow I’ll publish a blog post about some of the sightseeing my wife and I did in Malmo Sweden.

Thanks for your interest!


My Trip To Malmo, Sweden: The Conference


Last week I had the honor of giving the closing keynote presentation at the 13th annual Öredev software developer conference in Malmo, Sweden!

Here is the Öredev conference website!  (Check it out!  It actually has my face on it!)


Öredev is a 3 day conference for software developers with an attendance of a maximum of 1200 developers.  It is pretty popular in Scandinavia and has sold out for the past several years now.  During those 3 days, Öredev packed in 8 separate keynotes and a total of 140 separate technical sessions!  The schedule each day was jam packed with 7 simultaneous speakers every hour all day long with no scheduled breaks!  It was a pretty great event and the organizers did a wonderful job!

The Öredev organizers feel strongly enough about using only live speakers, that they pay for their airfare,  hotel,  and food.  The venue for the conference is an old slaughterhouse that has been cleaned up and converted into a performance theater and meeting place.  The theater seats 900, I believe.


My keynote presentation is story-based and it is called “Pioneering Mars!”  It presents the story of how we will get to Mars in the year 2034.  It describes all the missions that will pave the way and all the technologies that have to be invented first.  This version of my presentation is nearly an hour long, but I plan to create several versions of various lengths that I can pull out and present to various audience types.

Here is the official Öredev 2017 video of my 60 minute keynote on Vimeo:


My keynote presentation was very well received and I got a ton of compliments from both attendees and from other speakers!


I also gave a 40 minute technical presentation called “Writing Apps For Mars” which compares common mobile apps to the software running onboard the Mars rovers.  It was a very fun talk to create and to present.

Here is the official Öredev 2017 video of my 40 minute technical presentation on Vimeo:


Full videos of all the keynotes and talks, will be posted soon on the Öredev Vimeo channel.  And if you’re really into it, you can even scroll through and watch keynotes and technical talks from prior years!


Also, this was only the second time I’d ever left the United States.  I had a really great experience!  Tomorrow I’ll publish a blog post about a children’s activity center that I got to visit while I was in Malmo.

Thanks for your interest!


Mars Freebies!

If you didn’t already know, I work for NASA.  And this job allows me to perform public speaking quite a bit.  NASA encourages all of its employees to further the NASA story and to inform the public about what we do!  Which is pretty great!

This blog post will attempt to compile all the NASA Journey To Mars related “goodies” or “freebies” that I become aware of.  By collecting and compiling this information here, I will be able to quickly and easily direct my audience to this material.

Please email me directly or leave a comment below if you find anything wrong with this compilation or if you know of any other freebies that you would like me to add!

Thanks for your interest!


Tiny URL

The short and super easy to remember address for this page is:

Please feel free to share this tiny URL with everyone you know!

Mars Recruitment Posters

These retro looking recruitment style posters are very popular.  They depict the different type of explorers that will be needed by NASA for our Journey To Mars.

Just click on any of these thumbnails and you can view or download the full resolution image!  NASA images are all in the public domain, so you can print and share them all you want!


Mars Desktop Wallpaper

Show off your support of NASA’s Journey To Mars with these awesome high resolution desktop wallpaper designs!

Just click on any of these thumbnails and you can view or download the full resolution image and use it as your desktop wallpaper!

Mars Smartphone Wallpaper

You’ll be the coolest person around if you install one of these NASA’s Journey To Mars wallpapers on your phone!

Just click on any of these thumbnails and you can view or download the full resolution image and use it as your smartphone wallpaper!

Journey To Mars Summary Video

This short NASA video is perfect for quickly introducing an audience to NASA’s Journey To Mars.  It’s only 2 minutes long and it quickly goes over our plans.  This video includes music and voice narration.

Just click on the thumbnail and you can view or download the full resolution video!  NASA videos are all in the public domain, so you can present and share them all you want!

Journey To Mars Great Hall Exhibit Video

This is a pretty great NASA video that you can show in your venue.  It was created as a looping museum hall exhibit.  It is 8 minutes long and it details some of our plans on how we will get from where we are right now, to a point where we have astronauts living and working on Mars.  This video includes music and contains no voice narration.  There is occasional text on the screen to take the place of narration.

Just click on the thumbnail and you can view or download the full resolution video!  NASA videos are all in the public domain, so you can present and share them all you want!

Curiosity Rover Model For 3D Printing

If you have access to a 3D printer, you can download this free 3D model file and print yourself a small model of the Curiosity Rover!  It prints parts that snap together and the wheels and arms actually move!  It’s pretty cool!

Journey To Mars Logo at Lands’ End

Yeah, this is not technically free, I suppose.  But if you want to buy some Lands’ End shirts with the official NASA Journey To Mars logo on it, just ask for logo #1370228.

Hands-On Learning Activity For Students

Build Your Own Working Robot Hand!

These instructions are in work and I will update this section as soon as it is complete!  Thank you for your patience!


Thanks for visiting,
Kurt & Sam Leucht
Titusville, FL
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