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Swede Times in Scandinavia

My weekend trip to Copenhagen, Denmark and southern Sweden

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Scandinavia / [scan-duh-ney-vee-uh] / noun / a place that I absolutely fell in love with and will not die before visiting again

Friday started off extremely early and after only about 2 hours of sleep. Let me tell ya... selecting a 7:00am flight seems fine and dandy until your alarm is going off at 3:00am screaming at you to wake up and get in the shower. My 3:00am wake up call left me an hour to get ready, and hour to get there and about 2 hours to get through security and find our gate. Dylan and I found our way to the airport rather easily and upon arrival, Drew met up with us outside the terminal before going through security. Next stop... Copenhagen, Denmark.

The flight was easy. Only being an hour long it would be hard to make it a difficult trek. As we landed I could see out the window that it was EXTREMELY foggy. So much so that I had no idea we were close to landing until I felt the bump of the wheels colliding with the tarmac. I felt an overwhelming sense of joy. Country number 15 was being checked off in this capital city.

My friend of many years that actually went with us to Milan as well, Hanna, lives in Sweden and so we all had planned a fun weekend on her home turf. She was to meet us at the airport and take us on her version of a city tour of Copenhagen before we crossed the border and spent the rest of the weekend in Sweden before returning to fly home to Berlin. After disembarking the plane, the three of us (Dylan, Drew and I) began to try to find our way around the airport to where we were supposed to meet up with Hanna. This airport was like a giant shopping mall with storefront after storefront going on for what seemed like miles. It was a giant labyrinth that created nothing but chaos and confusion. We finally found Hanna after figuring out where the baggage claim, and better yet, the exit, was. From there she began the weekend as our translator, instructing us on what to click on the ticket machine to purchase a train pass into the city center.


The rest of the day consisted on pretty much just wandering around point to point. In a major city with not an enormous amount of obvious touristy things to do, this was ideal. Much like Venice, getting lost was half the adventure.

After leaving the airport and getting to the city center we started looking for a good brunch place. We all had hankerings for a giant breakfast full of eggs, meat, toast and mimosas. We found something pretty close to perfect not after long. We walked in to Paludan Bogcafé with our mouths watering and our stomachs grumbling. We sat down, looked at the menu for half a second and then immediately got up to place our order at the counter. While standing in line, a man about my age approached me asking about the line. He must've heard me speaking English because he spoke to me without a fear in the world that I might not know English very well. Either that or I just gave off a non-local vibe😅 I got to talking to him for a bit and he was a Vancouver native studying abroad in Paris for the semester. Nice guy.

After ordering my massive amount of food, a hot chocolate, getting an orange juice for free and absolutely devouring my plate, we payed our bill and made our way over to Nyhavn, the colorful houses along the waterfront one thinks of when picturing Copenhagen. We hadn't been walking for long when all of a sudden we turned the corner and there they were. The houses were not as bright and saturated as the pictures on the internet portray them to be but they were still a very cool sight to see. The houses were much taller and compact then I imagined them to be and it being not peak tourist season, there were many historic boats/ships covered with tarps lining the canal. A very cool sight to see.

After taking in the surroundings for a bit we hopped on a ferry that took us around the many canals Denmark has to offer. It was a lot of fun being able to see the city from this perspective. On the ferry we made a rough plan for what the rest of the day was going to consist of.
First we would go to Freetown Christiania, an intentional community of roughly 1,000 residents where, until the beginnings of the 2010's, common Danish law did not apply. A former military barracks that was taken over by squatters, the area outlaws any pictures or videos taken in the area. This area was extremely interesting to me because EVERYONE was smoking weed or some kind of tobacco product. The place was like a safe haven for hippies and the outdoor stalls with weed strewn out on the podiums made it extremely apparent that there was no reason to hide the consumption or sale of the drug.
Second we would climb the Church of Our Saviour tower. The church, built in the early to mid 1700's, is a baroque church most famous for its external winding staircase that can be climbed by pedestrians. From 295 feet in the air, let me tell you that climbing to the top of that staircase, without any kind of harness and only a very small guardrail, it is enough to make you hold your belongings pretty tight. It was a gorgeous day though that offered absolutely amazing views of the city.

After climbing the church, we began our way back to the train station, where from there we would cross the border into Sweden and then drive to Hanna's hometown of Sölvesborg, roughly an hour and a half drive past the border city of Malmö, the third largest city in Sweden.


We arrived at her home in Sweden to the sight of her dad working the grill for us. We had been told that burgers were on the menu and so the three of us Americans on this trip were very excited. After settling down and moving in to her pool house for the night, we were led into the house for our Swedish/American dinner. My mouth was watering and the sight of beer and meat on the table once I turned the corner out of the kitchen did not help my case. We sat down and chowed down. Whether it was the fact that it was home cooked or that Hanna's Dad was just that good on the grill, it was unequivocally the best meal I had eaten since arriving in Europe just over a month prior. Long story short, I went to bed extremely satisfied that night.

After dinner, Hanna had a few of her childhood friends over for a bit of a Sweden meet America get together. Being that there were three Americans and three Swedes, not including Hanna, and the fact that we were all males, we decided to let the testosterone get the best of us by having a quick game of beer pong to see which country really was the best 😎 Of course, us Americans did not let our country down. It was a close match but in the end we took the championship with moral raised high. We didn't have ping pong balls so we played with balled-up tin foil. Being that this situation created a huge mess rather quickly, we only played the one game. We, as the victors, were not too upset over this though 😅

The rest of the evening was spent having semi-drunken conversations with our Scandinavian counterparts about our own individual local and national political systems and environmental policies as well as the cultural and economic differences between our homes. Swedish beer, I found out, is not nearly as strong as the German beer back in Berlin, so while still fairly coherent, I found myself thinking about how the situation I was in was exactly why I chose to study abroad. For those kinds of conversations with individuals from different backgrounds than myself. I was very happy with life in that moment. The conversations that were being held and toward the end of the night, the heavy Swedish rock/metal music that was being blasted, made for a setting full of good times and plenty of laughter.

It had reached 3:00am... bed time.


The next day, Saturday, we woke up and immediately started getting ready for the day. Breakfast consisted of the typical Swedish meal of a kind of egg casserole of sorts. Filled with mushrooms, peppers and some other ingredients, it was very tasty. Afterwords, we walked around Hanna's home town for a bit and explored the area. Sölvesborg consists of a population of roughly 10,000 and Europe's second longest pedestrian footbridge not open to automobiles. We went inside an old church, walked across the bridge, and had some baked goods at a local bakery, where we actually ran into Hanna's mom and sister as well.

Following our exploration of Sölvesborg, we headed northwest toward Hanna's lake house about 45 minutes away on the island of Ivö. Ivö is surrounded by Ivösjön (Ivö Lake), which is the largest (55km squared/21 miles squared) and deepest (50 meters/180 feet) lake in that specific providence that we were in, Skåne. We got there and I immediately took the drone up as it was starting to get dark. The view was amazing from 350 feet in the air.


The lake house was an extremely cool place. It was recently renovated by Hanna's parents and so it was extremely clean and just decorated very well. We slept upstairs but the rest of the time we either were walking around the area, hiking in the quarry, or just relaxing either inside watching Netflix, playing games, or out on the dock. I beat Dylan in chess, made tacos, flew the drone and had tons of fun. My favorite part about the lake house was the fact that it was just so low-key. Vacations to me have always been so go go go and it was nice to be able to not worry about rushing around the city. The lake house was definitely a vibe.


Denmark, and more so Sweden, taught me so many things about myself in just the short amount of time I was there. Again, I primarily have the lake house on Ivö to thank for that. My favorite part of the trip was the time I had reflecting over my life on the dock down the hill from the house. The weather was perfect, cool with a slight breeze and partly cloudy, and the sounds of the natural world around me took me by absolute awe. I was reminded of my life back home and all the aspects I had grown to love by being in Europe for a month by that point. I found myself wishing that I could blend the freedom and lifestyle that Berlin has granted me with my friends and loved-ones back home. I am missing home because of the people there but I am still loving every aspect of what has become home away from home for now.

Midterms next week and a week from today I will be picking up my family and Meredith from the airport as well. I am so beyond excited to show them all that Berlin has shown me and I cannot wait for them to be here.

School is good, the friends and experiences I've made are even better, and life is grand.

Go check out my pictures from this trip at...

Posted by TravelingTom 04:00 Archived in Denmark Tagged landscapes bridges churches people sweden school canal denmark scandinavia study_abroad

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Oh sweet Tomtom!!! Im so happy I was able to share a little bit of my home with you guys!! It was truly a fabulous weekend well spent. Come again!

by Hanna

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