After several flights involving an entire day in Shanghai, lost luggage (recovered the next day), chinese conmen (lost $10), and a burst luggage pocket (perhaps the $12 bag at Paddy’s Markets wasn’t such a good idea), I was one tired but oh-so excited student to finally be in Denmark!
Not too soon after touchdown it was Christmas, which I spent with my Danish girlfriend Laura and her family in Aarhus, located in the western part of Denmark. They have so many traditions it boggles the mind, such as singing carols while holding hands around the Christmas tree, opening presents on the night of the 24th instead of the 25th, the second and third christmas’ after boxing day (!), the 24-part Christmas shows on TV each night where children need to save Christmas (it’s actually really good), and a ‘Christmas Calendar’, which is one present a day for each day of December leading up to Christmas. Also their street lies claim to having the best set of Christmas lights in the entire of Denmark, and they even have a parade to celebrate it!
And of course soon after there was New Years to be had, which we had back in our student accommodation in Copenhagen. A Danish New Years isn’t like how it is in Australia. Here it is a full dress-up event with your fancy button-down shirts and dresses, with a big feast, and then the classic Queen’s Speech, where the Queen Margrethe will make a speech broadcast all over Denmark. At least 90% of Danes watch the speech, which I found a little surprising but nice (I don’t think as many Aussie’s would watch a New Years speech by Tony Abbott). The fireworks are -crazy-, as it’s completely legal to buy here, and it goes off all around you. I was given the honour from my corridor of lighting one of our 300-firework batteries which was awesome.
Our accommodation is the real deal, with 20/22 of the students from Denmark. It’s renowned across Denmark for being a bit of a party place and has a history dating back to the 1950’s, and has turned out to be a great way to meet other Danes. While I can only speak rudimentary Danish, they’re awesome by speaking English with me.
Copenhagen itself is lovely. There are more bicycles than people in Copenhagen (I somehow ended up with two myself), and only 30% of families in the city own a car. Even the statues like to adorn themselves in the latest cyclist apparel.
And it was apparently one of the warmest winters Denmark had ever had – really.
Next up is a trip down to Sicily!
Jay Bulgin, Copenhagen University