Writing from the Helsingor to Sweden ferry (and now Malmo, Sweden), I reflect on the last couple of days. Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and even today.. The days have been a bit slower paced than most of our time spent in Copenhagen, but in a peaceful and just-as-much fun kind of way. I have been so busy at every moment over the last two years that I have rarely given myself the chance to breathe and actually be in the moment. The thought is always to the next step.. and then the next step.. and then the next step. To be fair, I love being busy, but finding that balance is on my mind.
On Friday, the forecast said rain and a lot of it. For the day off from heavy activity, our group was tasked with creating something in a creative way. I awoke late Friday morning laughing at Gilly reading the two Limericks that he had already written (he ended up with 4), and they were actually really great. I decided to head out into the rain and find something to sketch. I rode my bike to the nearest art shop for some supplies, which ended up only being a couple of blocks away. I went for a ride through the tight streets and alleys of the city, rain soaking me while doing it. To see the main retail areas of the city still bustling with shoppers was a great scene so I decided to capture it for my sketch on the back of a postcard. Even though I am pretty extroverted, and even though I absolutely love this group of people that I get to experience this with, it was nice to have some time on my own for reflection and thinking. Later on we presented our art pieces and recapped on all of our amazing experiences in Copenhagen with the professionals from Oregon that we were traveling with. Our group ended the evening with some music and dancing in Christiania – Copenhagen’s “Freetown”.
Saturday morning, we packed our bags and were off on a bicycle trip to Helsingor, about 40 km north of Copenhagen. It was sad to leave Copenhagen, but exciting to head onto the next journey. The first stop was at an old port and shipping yard just outside of the “centrum” of Copenhagen that has become a modern mixed-use community. It has much detail focused around bicycle transportation, which have direct routes out of the development to the main route into town, while the cars have more indirect routes. There are offices in an old silo building and an active roof garden on top of the parking deck (one of only a few decks that I saw in Copenhagen). By the time we made it to our next stop, the cold wind and rain had stopped and we arrived at a park, featuring an 800-year-old petrified tree and a 200-year-old theme park. The theme park was so cool! There was a bar where many adults were drinking, while kids and teenagers, and of course us, were running around riding the rides. This theme park is how I imagine the theme parks of our parents and grandparents were. Smaller scale, classic food and rides, and a couple of sweet coasters. I picture Boblo Island in the Detroit River having been like this. It was great and I’m glad I finally encountered something like Boblo. After some rides and a bite to eat, we rode on.
The ride took us along the commuter rail tracks through a heavily wooded area. There were deer, lots of slugs and snails (getting smashed by our tires), and then we encountered our first bicycle crash on the trip. Our two California Poly students swerved into each other and a few others end up on the ground and in the bushes as well. When I came down the hill and around the bend is when I needed to stop. Everyone was ok, and we all had a nice laugh about it at dinner later in the day; especially, when thinking about Jordan appearing from the bushes with her bike with a smile on her face. We continued on with a stop for ice cream and to the Marina Abramović exhibit at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art. What a crazy, whacky artist she was, who very clearly creates much enjoyment for patrons and deep thought about living. After the museum, the sun finally started peaking through the clouds and we had to take off some layers. We made it to Helsingor as the skies cleared, saw the famous castle that Hamlet is based off, and ate from some food trucks in the beautiful weather. Our hostel was on a white sand beach and brought the feeling of a Michigan summer upon me. I was the only student to go into the water because it was freezing, but it ended up being quite refreshing and woke me up for some fun around the fire. We played guitar, stayed warm, and enjoyed some random fireworks shows in both directions of us. Apparently, these fireworks were happening for Wedding Day, which is every Saturday in Denmark’s summer. I couldn’t stop smiling at the luck and chance that created this experience, thinking about the people around me and the beauty of what we had seen and where we were residing. I’m sure the Captain Morgan’s helped too 🙂
Let me remind you that our entire 40 km trip was along a bicycle trail, lane, or bicycle-friendly road. Sunday and Monday, we exited our bicycle utopia of Denmark and continued on excitedly into Sweden!