Denmark's the Spot- Part 2
Airplane rides have morphed into this dreadful, though thoroughly enjoyable pastime of mine.
I’m fully aware I have loads of school work to accomplish. With a makeshift desk in front of me and a literal seatbelt keeping me in one spot, the amount of homework I could crank out would be unreal. The thing is, I’m equally keen on the idea of using my time above the clouds to edit pictures and blog about my experiences.
So here I am yet again- a four hour plane ride ahead of me, and my Spanish homework has yet to be touched. Lo siento (sorry about it).
What a bitter sweet moment it was taking off from Copenhagen. This city has absolutely outdone itself in hosting six restless and curious Americans. Yesterday was our second full day in the city, and it was just as charming as the first. With Jenny, Johnny, and Ethan splitting off to go on to new adventures in Poland and Germany, Friday morning was our last real time together.
Caro, Meg, and I slept in a little later than the other three, as we had the remainder of the day to see the rest of the city. Breakfast was the driving force behind the three of us getting on with our day, and with a bakery across the street from us, we all had a little extra motivation to speed the getting ready process up.
Mo, our precious hostel roommate, commanded us to celebrate Saint Patrick’s day to the fullest, and we promised him we wouldn’t let him down. Breakfast was some crazy savory pastry for me and Caro. Meg ordered an immaculate looking apple pastry of sorts, and let us steal a few bites. I can confirm that paradise is somewhere close to that corner bakery.
About halfway into our break, we realizedour coffee habit was not our bank account’s friend. Living up to our “we ball on a budget” motto, we scouted out cheaper options and discovered the gem that is 7-Eleven. Thankfully, 7-Elevens are everywhere, and the coffee is pretty dang good. I was so conditioned to seeing them everywhere across Denmark (and Sweden for that matter) that I found it concerning when I went more than 100 meters without spotting one. Strange thing, man.
By the time we finished breakfast, it was almost lunch, which would have been perfectly acceptable had we not made plans to meet up with Jen, Ethan and Johnny at the Copenhagen Street Food building again for lunch. The boys had skipped over the food oasis the day before, and we assured them that they couldn’t leave Copenhagen without checking it off their list. Plus, it was an excuse for us girls to go for round two.
Taking advantage of the wonderful public transportation system, we caught a bus to Old Town, where I got off only to be seduced by yet another Danish pastry shop. I swear, they’re all out to get me. From the window, I spotted the Danish pastry I had been searching for all trip, and from that moment on, it was game over for me. I went inside and asked for a slice of wienerbrød (I swear on my life it's called that). Turns out, they only sell them in one size: infant human. Seeing what must have been a look of utter horror and surprise on my face, the precious baker grabbed her knife and handed me a huge slice, “For you, we’ll make an exception.”
Let me tell you, if the little bakery’s pure kindness didn’t win you over, the pastries certainly will. I kid you not, on Friday, May 18th at 11:15 am, I died and went to heaven. In addition to my fancy wienerbrød, I ordered a fruitcake thing because it made me think of my grandparents. The Danish have nothing on my grandparent’s fruitcake, but it was enjoyable nonetheless. To top it all off, as I took my first bite of that goodness, the Royal Danish Army came marching through the street, the sounds of their instruments paralyzing us in our tracks.
With the sweets stowed safely away in my bag, the three of us made out way to Strøget, a pedestrian-only street lined with uber luxe designer stores. Here, we indulged our millionaire alter-egos, though every bit of our cover was blown when Caro stumbled upon a troll statue and draped herself over it, begging for a photo. Oh, well. The posh life was never for me, anyway.
The walk from Strøget to Paper Island was just as scenic as the day before, though this round, the wind was so aggressive that walking was almost impossible as certain times. Had we had flaps of fabric from our coat’s underarm to the sides, we absolutely would have taken off into the Copenhagen sky like birds. We made it across the bridge- no joke- in half the time as the day before because we had mega acceleration assistance from mother nature.
At Copenhagen Street Food, we reunited with the other three for our last meal together. The boys ended up with a makeshift 5 course meal, each course from a different food truck stall. Jen ordered some crazy good pizza on baguette bread. I opted for a new favorite dish of mine- Korean bibimbap. Meg went for the sweet potato fries while Caro opted for some Irish food to celebrate the holiday.
I think the most dangerous thing about Copenhagen is its ability to make you hungry even when you’re certain you’re really, really not hungry. It’s like you just enter the country with a new language full of ways to say yes to food.
“I drank this bottle of water, so like I’m probably too hydrated. Do you think I should get that pastry?” or the “OMG, Danish babe to the left is checking you out. Don’t look. Here’s the rest of my croissant.” And every time we say yes.
Finishing lunch meant saying the first of our goodbyes to Johnny, Ethan, and bff Jen. I was not excited to see them leave at all, but I am absolutely stoked that they get to see a new part of the world. Gosh, I’m like a proud parent over here. As the three of them caught an uber back to the hostel to grab their bags and head off to the airport, the remaining three of us made it back over the expansive bridge to Old Town, this time fighting against the wind. Part of me things jumping into the freezing water and swimming over to the canals of Od Town would have been easier than that stupid windy walk. Thankfully, a bus stop was just across the bridge. We took the bus to City Center to scope out the local Saint Patrick’s day scene. Overwhelmed by people dressed in green and overpriced Irish accessories for purchase, we took our broke butts in the grocery store next door and purchased bottles of our favorite Danish cider, Somersby, and kicked off our Saint Patrick’s celebration in our hostel.
Tacky American tourists, yes. But also frugal American tourists, so hey. Pick your battles, man.
From the hostel, we took the metro to an Irish pub we had scouted out earlier in the day. Saint Patricks day in Ireland would have been ideal, but Copenhagen is probably the next best thing. Once we squeezed inside the crowded pub, we went up to the bar to order our obligatory Saint Patrick’s Day beers. My friends are the worst and continued our Danish cider kick, while I- trying to be suave- asked the bartender about the beer specials for the day. The look on his face was sheer confusion, so I tried to recover by being like “You, know, like the beer specials? Like do you have any-“ only to be cut off by this precious soul’s earnest “But ma’am, they’re all special!”
From that point, there was no salvaging the situation, so I just saved myself further embarrassment and ordered the only beer I could pronounce: Gensis.
The girls and I reconvened in a less packed corner, where we sipped with purpose to make the Irish bagpipe band more appealing. Just as we adjusted to the Irish music, the band announced their next song was something everyone could sing along to.
Then, this damn band starts belting out Sweet Home Alabama. This Irish, bagpipe playing, Copenhagen-based band singing the lyrics to the song of my state and my school,
The three of us chugged the rest of our beers and stormed to the front of the stage, screaming “Roll Tide Roll” in between every “sweet home Alabama”, as our university so lovingly conditioned us to do. The poor guy messed up a few lyrics, but who was he to know his toughest critics to date would be in the audience? And in case you’re wondering- the Danish audience sang right along. Feeling like the night had no where to go but down, the three of us decided food was the move and roamed the streets until we found a place with cheap food and a bathroom. Priorities, I know.
We wound up in a Kebob place, where I ordered pizza. I always do this. Whenever I leave the USA, I crave pizza like no one’s business, Get me back to the homeland though, and I want nothing to do with the food. It’s the strangest thing.
Anyway, so we’re sitting here at this Kebob place stuffing our faces with pizza when this chick comes up and taps Caro on the shoulder.
“This is a weird question, but do you go to the University of Alabama?”
A very confused Caro- taken off guard by the first American accent we’d encountered in a week- responds that yes, she did, while simultaneously having this movement of reciprocated recognition. Apparently, she was a Kappa Delta and the two of them worked Rush Week at Alabama together. She was studying abroad in Portugal and came to Copenhagen for Saint Patrick’s day to meet up with friends of some friends. And now, here we were, four Alabama kids in a random Kebab place in Copenhagen. The same thing happened to me in Morocco- I volunteered with a Phi Mu who also went to the University of Alabama. The world is SO SMALL, Alabama kids are everywhere, I swear.
This morning, we woke up at 8 am to our alarms. Caro had a flight to catch at noon, and Meg and I had one to catch a few hours after.
We hustled to pack up our belongings and instinctively went across the street to the same corner bakery for breakfast. We delighted again in the heavenly pastries. I spotted a gigantic, family sized pastry in the side window, and knew in that moment that I had to buy it to bring it home to my family. From the bakery, we walked across the street to Copenhagen Central Station where we had to part ways with Caro. We waved goodbye to her as she boarded her train, and just like that, there were two. Saying goodbye to best friends after such a memorable week is not an easy thing to do.
Meg and I had about two hours to kill before we had to check out of the hostel, so we got on a metro to the botanical gardens. The weather was a little dreary, which made the acres of flora all the more beautiful. Inside the gardens is a “Living Museum”, which seemed to me like a fancy way of saying a nicer than usual greenhouse. Inside was absolutely stunning. White, wrought iron spiral stairs took you to a elevated walkway, where you could circle the perimeter of the greenhouse if you were successful in dodging the overgrown leafy trees.
The "Living Museum" was so alive that it freaking fogged my camera up. The effect was kind of cool in hindsight, but totally not worth the panic attack I suffered in the moment.
Fast-forward a few hours, and Meg and I are on a plane headed to Portugal for a speedy 21 hour whirlwind tour. I am super excited about this leg of the trip. Pictures and updates to come, I promise!