Spring has arrived at last, with the sun shining over Copenhagen in all its glory. The warm weather is a welcome change, however it is strange to think 13 degrees is warm, especially since I grew up in Australia.
Spring could not have come at a better time.
Påske (Easter) in Denmark is full of small traditions, with day long lunches and gækkebrev. I started my Easter weekended by having brunch and going bowling with Lousie and Daniel. My skills were a little rusty however Daniel did amazingly well and floored Lousie and I (I don’t remember how many strikes he managed!). I then stayed the with Annette, Gorm and Annika for the weekend, enjoying many walks with Max, sightseeing and baking endeavours. Saturday morning everyone got up early ready to take the train from Taastrup to Odense than Esbjerg. Our first stop, Odense, was the town where Hans Christian Andersen grew up. Around the city are different places significant to H.C. Andersen such as the house he was born, where he lived for a large part of his childhood and a school he attended, as well as the museum dedicated to him. The quaint, colourful houses along the old streets would have provided much inspiration for a child who would later go on to write some of the most well-known fairytales in history. In Esbjerg (a town on the west coast of Denmark) are four large, concrete statues of seated men looking out over the sea. Personally, I found the statues really creepy, all identical with large blank expressions, however it was definitely somewhere that I had to see whilst in Denmark. We finished off the evening with asian food and massive soft drinks before taking the train back home. It took us just over 3 hours to get from one side of Denmark to the other, which is hard to believe seen as in Australia you wouldn’t be across NSW in that time, that is more like the time it takes to get around Sydney in traffic. Sunday was full of making cheesecake and small chocolate biscuit treats ready for påskefrokost that evening, before Annette took me to visit the KØS museum in Køge. The museum holds the designs for tapestries that were made for the queen for her 50th birthday outlining the history of Denmark. They are incredibly detailed, and Annette and I enjoyed reading about each painting. I was able to meet Gorm’s side of the family at the easter dinner, as well as my older host sister, enjoying the atmosphere of a Danish påskefrokost. Påskefrokost (although at dinner time) is more of a concept rather than an event; certain dishes are eaten and it is always held with family. It is a very hygge time of year. One last tradition I should mention is gækkebrev. Once the snowbells being to bloom, a it is a Danish tradition to cut a piece of paper into a pretty shape, then write a small poem on the paper. The gækkebrev is sent to someone with a snowbell, and the receiver must guess who has sent it before Easter, otherwise they must give the sender a påskeæg. The only way to know who sent it is by leaving the correct amount of dots for your name. I sent one to Stig (with Lene’s help) and although it is fun to get chocolate (tak Stig!) the tradition itself is very cute.
Op-shopping is very popular amoung young people in Copenhagen, and I now understand why. Copenhagen has a lot of very good second-hand stores across the city. Macy and I were both interested in going to one, so on Tuesday afternoon we hopped on over to Episode near Vesterpørt station. I highly recommend doing this, especially for exchange students. Not only is it a lot of fun, I was able to find a pair of Levi’s which I saved a lot of money on. I know I will be going back very soon. On Sunday, Macy and I also visited the Zoologisk Have or Copenhagen Zoo. The sun was shining as we walked around the zoo, looking at the different animals, such as the flamingos, polar bears and otters. It was a lovely day, the weather could not have been more perfect and we even had ice-cream.
My Rotary Club held a hyttetur on Friday night, which is almost a school camp for adults. We stayed in a lodge in the countryside, cooking, eating, drinking and talking for most of the night. Danes have mastered the art of hygge, making a fancy table setting and lighting many candles, setting the mood for the evening. The place was very pretty, and I am glad I was able to spend time with my club. Tak for everything Høje Taastrup Rotary.
Nearly three months have passed, and I do not regret going on exchange at all. Denmark fits me perfectly, and with friends by my side, summer should be amazing, especially as Eurotour is just around the corner!