There’s a word in Danish, hygge. Pronounced “hooga”, it means cozy. More than the typical coziness, hygge is openly used to mean an inviting environment and the feeling you get when you are enjoying good times with good people. Hygge is remembering to keep things simple, slowing down, and enjoying life. What a great concept.
From the time I learned about this trip, I planned and packed, then re-planned and re-packed, over and over. But, when it came to the actual travel to another country, it was so unreal to me. I can’t explain it, but only just before we landed in Copenhagen, did this all come into focus.
On the plane, there was a live, tracking map that followed the course of our flight. In between cat naps, I followed our plane from Chicago, as it went over Michigan, then northeast over Maine, and over the Atlantic. It was when our plane was about a half hour away from Copenhagen and the pilot made the accouncement did I begin to fully understand what was about to happen.
As we approached the city, I began looking out both sides of the plane. First, I saw a bridge, then some water. After that, the Copenhagen I saw in the travel books emerged. The feeling of anticipation was overwhelming. After our perfect landing, I wanted to sprint off of that plane and rush into our adventure immediately. Then, a thought struck me, “Wait. Stop. Take it all in.” And I did. From the modern concourse we walked through, to the outstretched line where I received the first stamp in my passport.
With perfect timing, our bags were waiting for us at baggage claim and we met our driver outside. Watching the city grow closer as we were riding in the bus, I kept looking out, trying to appreciate the scenes as they went by. A camera can sometimes cause me to lose the moment. With a short break at the hotel, we were out familiarizing ourselves with the neighborhood. We walked to Christiansborg Palace (details to come later), grabbed some local money, and had a celebratory dinner at a local, classic Danish restaurant, City Kroen. Sorry, vegetarians, Copenhagen has half as many citizens as pigs. In this place, pork is king. The traditional pork dinner was a must, and it did not dissapoint.
More than the fabulous meal, I am so thankful to be sharing these experiences with some of the best women I know: my partner in crime, Marina and our roomie, Megan have been getting to know each other in our new surroundings. Copenhagen has made me a confirmed convert to hyggism. Maybe the unreal feeling prior to leaving for this trip was due to the unknown. You can research a place, person, or thing and never have a true understanding. You know the facts, but you don’t know the story. It is something you must experience.
It is with the hygge concept in mind that I will bring you future posts as we all see more of what Copenhagen has to offer. See you at the Palace!