The Little Mermaid, Nyhavn, Hans Christian Andersen’s childhood house, Tivoli Gardens, Legoland, the numerous castles… Of course, if you planned a first trip to Denmark, you probably would like to see the major attractions. Who could blame you?
I like the little memories the most. All these little things that make me feel familiar when I go back, or when I see pictures or videos of places where I have been.
The smell of the water, when I get up at sunrise after spending the night in a cabin aboard the Hawila. The warmth of a mug of rich hot chocolate at Mormors Café. The sound of Aalborg’s musical fountains. The sight of Fyn Island’s bright yellow rape fields in full bloom while traveling by train…
I love to sit back and remember the people I met. The people who expected my visit, of course, but also all the people that hadn’t planned to run into me. Or more precisely to have me run into them!
There was this young man I came across while putting my trash out before leaving the apartment I had rented for a night in a University dorm. He and his friends were celebrating downstairs, and he probably noticed I was a tourist since I was way older than the average student living there. We chit-chated in the staircase, and before I knew it, I was drinking a beer and eating sausage-filled pastries with 5 or 6 young Danes…
The next day, after riding busses for a couple of hours, I was in Møn, looking for the majestic white clifs, when I ended up in a (VERY) small fishermen village. Obviously, the bus driver had forgotten to tell me that this stop was a long walk from the island’s main attraction. The badluck allowed me to meet Klaus, who kindly offered to drive me to the cliffs. There’s nothing like getting a tour with a local that isn’t getting paid for telling you why they live where they do!
In Aarhus, I visited Den Gamle By (The old town). My first solo trip was in May, which is definately not peek season tourist-wise, meaning that I was pretty much by myself to walk around the open air town museum. But in many of Den Gamle By’s buildings, there are actors playing characters. Needless to say that it must have been quite boring to work with so little people visiting, so I was welcomed very warmly everywhere I went. Chatting with the general store owner was a real charm, and the lady at the bakery treated me with a free tasting of many of the goods they usually sell to tourists.
I also have some spots that most tourists don’t know about. Places to blend in with the locals, and have a taste of what it would be like to live in Denmark. Like Slotsbageren, a fabulous bakery in Aalborg, where the chocolate filled buns (Chokolade boller) and sausage rolls are to die for… Or Osten Ved Kultorvet, in Copenhagen. I never miss the chance to go to the small cheese store, where I have a chat with Mikael, the owner. It surprised me when he recognized me, the second time I walked through the door! And I never leave without a piece of fyrmester and Viking blue cheese (to read more about Danish cheese, click here )
Well, I am blabbering…
I realize this is probably quite boring to read. I just miss Denmark, and I love to remember these little things that made every visit magical.
Because Denmark really is a magical place.