I’ve been home for a month and meaning to post, but it seems like writing about my trip really means it’s over. I’m long past any jet-lag and real life has resumed and has almost settled into routine again (granted syncing summer schedules is a bit crazy, so I can’t say I’ve had a ‘normal’ work week yet).
It had been a relatively long time since I was in Denmark. And even longer since my parents and I were in Denmark together. I was last there the end of 2011 and I believe it was 2007 that my parents were last there. Three and a half years for me is the longest I’ve been away in my teenage/adult life. And boy, did I miss it. Some people talk about places, the sights and sounds and the atmosphere, something that can never be recreated. And it’s rare that you truly understand what they mean. For most, home is a house or apartment, but for me, I feel so at home in the city. The familiar old streets, cozy cafes and bars humming with a familiar throaty language and clinking beer bottles. Denmark is consistently ranked as the happiest country in the world – there is no explaining, you can only experience it.
I think I was some what surprised at how much I missed it. I miss my friends, I miss my family and I miss the everyday life things. I miss Danish grocery stores and the things you can’t get here. I miss flopping onto my sofa and watching Danish shows or even the news (while not perfect, watching news about the US from outside of the country is such an eye opener. FYI America, you’re starting to look like a whiny little bitch
all most of the time). I get that I would feel the same way about Seattle if I lived in Copenhagen all the time. But I miss the years where I came home for Christmas and summer and spent the rest of the time in Denmark. But now that I’ve been in the US, I miss Denmark dearly. If only I could pack up my soccer team and bring them with me – though playing the way they have lately, they’d be relegated to a neighborhood rec team in no time.
I think what made it so hard to leave this time, was the fact that we really only had two weeks in Denmark. When I was younger, we went for longer and mostly stayed in Denmark. This time I had five days in Paris and another four in Portugal (I’ll make a separate post about those). We arrived on May 24th, left on June 2nd and were back in Denmark from the 11th-16th. Both of those days were shortened by travel. We had 12 full days.
It was near impossible to see everyone, do everything I wanted. That said, I was busy and made damn sure I was able to do as much as possible. One place that I had to visit was the Roskilde Domkirkle. I was a frequent visitor when I lived in Roskilde, the history oozing from every brick and stone in this cathedral just fascinates me. Completed in 1275, the royalty that has graced this place, both in life and in death and the regular villagers who built the town surrounding this mammoth cathedral, you can feel them all.
My favorite chapel has always been King Christian the 4th, also known as ‘The fat King’ in this family (1577-1648). Seeing that they were running out of space in the cathedral, he had his own chapel built, starting in 1613 and it was finished in 1641. He has built so much of what Copenhagen is today: The Round tower, Børsen, Kastellet, Rosenborg, Holmen Kirke, etc. And he founded the Danish East India Company, inspired by the similar Dutch company (though it was dissolved a few years after his death. I image him to be a loud, lively person. He probably wasn’t the most friendly, and killed many during the persecution of witches (one woman because she couldn’t get 15 character witnesses – yikes), but he had grand ideas and followed through with them. If I could go back in time, he would probably be the person I would choose to visit. I probably would have visited a second time before flying home, but time was limited and I didn’t make it back to Roskilde.
I had a fantastic time visiting with friends and family. It’s great to be able to meet up with people you haven’t seen in three years and fall right back into the friendship as though it’s only been a few months. I was able to meet Maria twice, once for dinner and once for brunch. I was also able to catch up with the boys for dinner and a beer at the Tap House (some place I’ve never been before). It was great to see Dorte as well, someone I’ve been friends with since Kalø (over 10 years ago). I had hoped to meet with a few others from Kalø, but time and distance were the biggest hurdles.
We celebrated my aunt and uncle’s 50th wedding anniversary. As most of you know, Danes do parties right. The festivities began with an arch going up over the doorway. The front window was blacked out with trash bags (so they couldn’t see it) and then everyone (friends, family and neighbors) returned the following morning to sing (complete with live music) first thing in the morning. Everyone is then invited in for breakfast, coffee and a bit more singing. Later that evening was a formal sit-down dinner, complete with songs, speeches and a beautiful cake made by my cousin (I helped and roughly three of the flowers on the cake were made by me).
It was slow going to unpack. As excited as I was to get my purchases unpack, it’s always a bit of a downer to pack the suitcases away.
Until next time…