One of my favorite things about traveling in one place for an extended period of time is befriending locals who want to take you under their wing and even home with them if you’re lucky. Helle, who I’ve talked about a fair amount—and who has come to visit me in California and New York and Tennessee—is such a friend. In the eight months I lived in Denmark, I feel like I spent more time at her dad’s house in Kolding than I did in my own flat in Aarhus.
It was this weekend four years ago that I made my first visit to the Danish seaport, the seventh largest municipality in the country. In Denmark, for Christmas and Easter, there is a feast of mammoth proportions that you cannot even believe—sometimes as many as 13 courses, maybe more, each accompanied by a shot of foul-tasting schnapps. Although we’d moved to Denmark just after Christmas, Helle’s father Jan held a belated celebration so a few of us could partake in the traditions.
As you can imagine, largely due to said schnapps, I can’t really regale you with what happened the remainder of the night (mostly because after puking in the snow and returning inside the bar for more tequila shots, I don’t remember a whole lot)—let’s just say it resulted in me passing out in the local supermarket the following day—but the following days of exploring the quaint Danish town were lovely, hangover or not.
One of the things I loved about living in Denmark was the winter. (Simultaneously, one of the things I hated about Denmark was the winter.) Growing up in the South, I was never accustomed to a whole lot of snow; we would miss an average of one week of school a year, and it was often for frozen rain, not even powder. I was, however, used to temps well below freezing, and while I don’t prefer they stick around for a long while, I do like the shock to the system every now and again. Even as I write this from snowy Tahoe, I must say I miss having defined seasons.
I had heard Denmark’s winters weren’t as harsh as one would think. In fact, the Tennessee alum who went on my program the year before said he rarely saw snow and that the spring thaw began in early March. I’m sure it comes as no surprise then that I rarely saw a day without the white stuff—or black slush as it would turn into in the city—until early June.
But get out of the city, and the snow and ice were always oh so beautiful.
I miss Denmark. I miss the carefree days of no worries, no responsibility. I miss its simplicity.
I miss the fairy tale-like beauty all of its small towns seemed to possess.
Most of all, I miss the people with whom I shared it.
(Lucky for me, the most important one of all will be with me for many adventures to come.)
*Pre-DSLR days, so shot with a Canon PowerShot A590.
**For more Photo Friday fun, visit Delicious Baby.
Beautiful photos! I love Scandinavian culture although I must admit I prefer the short idyllic summer to the cold, dark winters.
Befriending locals and immersing deeply into a culture is definitely the greatest thing about extended travel!
This is a wonderful post. Such a beautiful country to have friendly memories. And best of all you shared them with SVV.
Beautiful photos! They really do make me want to visit Denmark, land of my ancestors.
sigh, i love your photos.
Lovely photos, beautiful country. And I never thought I’d say this, but sometimes I miss snowy winters. (I lived in Detroit, Michigan for 25 years, before coming back home to sunny California). The first heavy snowfall was always magic, turning the world into a soft white sparkling fairyland. Beautiful. Until you had to dig the car out of three feet of heavy wet snow (buried by the snowplows), scrap ice off the windshield, spend two hours (instead of the usual 30 minutes) in a miserable commute. But still… every now and then, I think about how pretty it was. And then I go out to the yard to plant pansies. In January. 🙂
Hi Joy, I saw this on the Internet. I have been trying to locate you for approximately 25 years! I am now in Canada. Please email if you ever get this note…
Holy cow, is that YOU, Scorp??? I’ve looked for you, too, but only in the U.S. I’m at work at the moment, can’t talk now, send me an email and tell me what you’ve been doing.
Just gorgeous. The only thing missing is a photo of you passed out in the supermarket 🙂
I am more Danish than anything else and yet I’ve never been to Denmark. This post is almost as good. Especially thanks to the chuckle I got over that…mustache? on Scott’s face. Heh.
How lovely! While I’ll never love winter’s cold, or the nasty slush that accumulates in the street and ruins all my shoes, there is nothing quite as magical as first snow!
I love the photos, especially the one of the poles in the water with the ice swirls.
Ahem, that would be a FULL BEARD Moose. That’s my mountain man look. All the girls like it. Keeps my entire face warm too. Bonus!
Denmark! I’m totally adding it to my Places To See list.
Interesting insights here, and I can relate. I’m subscribing to you. Thanks!
Interesting post! Looks like I need to find a friend in Denmark who I can stay with the next time I travel.