You must be wondering, what is hjem? Maybe a typo? An obscure town in Russia? It actually is the Danish word for home. We flew into Copenhagen on the 28th of February to spend a week with the host family that Amy lived with while studying abroad in Denmark in 2006. Returning to Denmark felt like a homecoming, thus the name of this post.
It was such a treat to spend time with Lene, Nils, Mathilde, Daniel, Martin, Sabrina and Mikkel! We enjoyed delicious meals each night with great conversations and lots of hygge. Hygge is a Danish word that is difficult to translate into English because it describes a feeling and atmosphere, not a place or thing. Cozy is the closest synonym, however does not do it justice. When relaxing in a Danish home, surrounded by candlelight, enjoying good company and often food and drinks as well, you get hygge.
Having spent five months living in Denmark, Amy had already seen many of the must sees, but one that had not yet been checked off the list was the Changing of the Guard at Amalienborg Palace in København (Copenhagen). We had not intended on going to see this event, but as we were driving through the city one day, Amy’s host brother, Martin, noticed the time and suggested that we stop to check it out. It was a lot of fun to watch especially since we were able to get the inside scoop from Martin, who served in the Danish Royal Guard himself. Click here to watch a video of all the action.
Over the weekend, Lene & Nils, Amy’s host parents, drove us to their summerhouse in northwest Sjælland. It was fun to see the completed house as it was under construction when Amy was living in Denmark.
We spent our days Sjӕllands Odde exploring the scenic drives, beaches, viewpoints, and historic sites of the area, which we definitely recommend as a side trip if you plan on visiting København.
We learned about some very peculiar ancient burial mounds spread out all over the landscape. They date back to the Stone Age, and we visited a well preserved site built circa 3500 B.C. At over 5,000 years old that definitely makes it the oldest building either of us has ever entered.
In the evenings we retreated back to the summerhouse for some delicious home-cooked meals and hygge time with the neighbors, Leif and Annika.
After returning from the summerhouse, we took a day trip to see Møns Klint and visit Lene’s mom on the island of Lolland. Møns Klint is a series of steep, sharp cliffs on the east coast of the Danish island called Møn, another place you should see if visiting Denmark. Descending nearly 500 stairs from the top to the beach below provides a stunning view of these chalk-white cliffs.
After driving from Møn to Lolland, we ended the day at the farm where Lene grew up. All week we had heard stories about “whiskey time,” so were much anticipating arriving to the farm so that we could experience it firsthand. Lene’s parents created this tradition of serving whiskey each day at 4pm to any friend, family member or neighbor who made it to their home in time. We really enjoyed whiskey time and think it is a fantastic tradition to bring people together for the simple purpose of savoring life after a day’s work.
It was more difficult to leave Denmark than the previous countries we have visited because we weren’t only leaving a country we love, but people we love. However, we will certainly be coming back to Denmark time and time again in the future, so instead of saying goodbye, we just said vi ses, which translates to “see you later” in Danish.