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Danish Treat

I have been anxious to share my observations after a special last week of 2022, in Copenhagen and the island of Fyn ( pronounced Foon). Christmas week in Denmark is an interesting time. As I learned several weeks before heading there, Denmark may be one of the only countries in Europe that does not have Christmas markets past Dec. 25th. They start tearing down decorations the morning of the 26th in Copenhagen and are quite ready to move on- Bah humbug! I was sad to learn this as I had dreamt of seeing a Christmas market in Europe for many years. Thankfully the island of Fyn was less anxious to rid traces of Christmas and was still very festive. We also knew the days would be short and the weather would be misty and cold. There was a bit of rain every day of the trip and it was chilly in that damp, we are surrounded by water, kind of way. The language is also one of the most challenging to pronounce, so my rule of learning at least some basic phrases when I visit a foreign country, went out the window. I managed to learn "tak" which means "thank you", but sadly, did not get much further than that.

I have watched movies filmed in Copenhagen over the years which is why for years I have wanted to visit. I decided to watch two more on the plane ( by the way SAS is one of my favorite new airlines for it's brand new planes, nice staff and timely departures)-

I watched " The Danish Girl" and "A Royal Affair" both great period films. I love learning about the history of a country before I visit so that when I walk around, I have a sense of understanding and context. I also love that feeling that I am entering a time capsule. The stunning light I remember admiring in some of those films is not a filter or a special effect. I have never seen light quite like that which shines on Denmark. The closest I can recall is in nearby Netherlands, which I learned largely inspired the architecture and art in Denmark. I had the pleasure of looking at architecture and learning about a history which spans nearly a thousand years from the Vikings, when we explored Fyn, to the elegant, Neoclassical architecture, the majority of which remains in Copenhagen.

Even if you are not interested in history, you must visit at least one castle ( or Slot as they call them) in Denmark, as is a country is full of them. We visited Fredricksborg castle in Copenhagen, which is known as one of the most well preserved Renaissance castles in the world. The church in the castle was truly jaw dropping and needless to say, you feel like royalty walking around this exquisite place. Perhaps you prefer modern innovation? For those of you who lean towards modern, the Danes adore the environment, social justice, and the coolest designs that not only look futuristic, but always serve a function. Speaking of innovation...if you love cutting edge cuisine, this is your place and Copenhagen is world renowned for it. If you need to go to the world famous 3 star Michelin, Noma, you better hurry up as it will be closing this year. While that restaurant is a bit exorbitant for us, we had some amazing meals. Personally, at times however, I felt the dishes were a bit too heavily sauced. My personal culinary, stand outs for this trip were: the most incredible breads and butter ( which rival France any day ) and those Danish open faced sandwiches. There are restaurants and cool bars everywhere. Whether you want something fancy and hip or a cozy brewery (because yes they also love their beer), there is something for everyone. If you love to shop, Copenhagen has gorgeous clothing, interior/ home, flower/ garden and high end consignment stores ( some of the best I have seen). However, many are closed during Christmas week, so plan to go another time if that is high on your list.

Some other helpful hints: Denmark is one of the most family/ kid oriented countries. There are tons of fun activities for children and every museum, no matter what the subject matter, goes out of their way to appeal to everyone's tastes, including the littles. There is a very low crime rate here and considering the post Covid state of many cities around the world, this one looked to have very little visible impact compared to most. Hailing a taxi is not a thing. If you are not walking, or on a bike (which is unappealing in winter), it's best to use the public transit, which is one of the nicest and cleanest I have ever seen. It is easy to use and gets you to all the places you want to go. If you want to do something touristy and fun/ very worth while, I highly recommend a boat trip from Nyhavn. Seeing Copenhagen from the water is a whole different experience and a lot of fun. Filled with canals and very low clearance bridges, it's a great way to see and learn more about the city. Again, I would imagine more so in summer, but the boats are covered/ heated for winter.

Lastly, I would not go all the way to Copenhagen and skip the other gorgeous islands and countryside. It will give you a whole different feel for the beauty, landscape and culture of Denmark that you cannot get if you just stay in the city. I only had time for one and was happy it was Fyn. The magical island is full of picturesque, Medieval towns, more museums, shops, restaurants and yes, castles!

Godt nytår! ( happy new year!)

photos above listed from top left:

Fredricksborg castle, Typical home in Fyn, flowers at Torvehallerne Market, Town square at night, Faaborg, Design Museum in Copenhagen, Light in Fyn, Openfaced sandwiches,

Gorgeous tulips, Colorful, lively Nyhavn where boats launch.

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