**Also this post is really long so bear with me...I will start updating more regularly I promise**
Friday night around 10:00pm I left for the Bornholm Bike Trip. I didn't really know anyone that was going, so I decided to strike up a conversation with the first people I met at the buses and go from there. I ended up making a bunch of new friends and we formed a little bike troop for the weekend! If I hadn't made that single, conscious decision to put myself out there and meet new people, my trip would have been COMPLETELY different...and definitely not as fun. Getting out of my comfort zone created new friendships that I hope will last and grow beyond our semester in Copenhagen.
Bornholm is one of Denmark's islands located in the middle of the Baltic Sea (it's actually closer to Sweden than Denmark). Bornholm is known for its beautiful bike trails, microbreweries, white sandy beaches thats sand is used for hourglasses, glass blowing, iconic smoked herring, delicious ice cream, and 500,000 pigs... We took an overnight ferry to the island, playing cards and trying to sleep for a few short hours, and eventually arrived at our hostel-by-the-sea in Gudhjem (on the eastern coast). We could literally throw a rock from our hostel into the water. The entire island is sprinkled with quaint seaside towns and farmhouses, it reminded me a lot of Maine and Massachusetts, but much more relaxed. Our little town was so relaxed in fact that on Saturday night, everything closes at 6pm...except the ice cream parlor that's open til 8pm (because it's obviously the most important establishment). However, earlier in the day we had found a small cafe/bar right by the harbor whose owner, Lukas, decided to open up late for us Americans so we could have a few beers and play cards by candlelight with classical and blues music in the background. #1 Hyggeligt experience so far...I'm starting to find it!!
But getting back to the real reason for the trip, not just drinking and sweets, we biked a TON. Saturday we biked about 33-35km and went to see the Baltic Sea Glass store/glass blowing facility, the oldest Round church in Denmark, a cool forest and pond, and a couple other side stops including horses and a berry stand. The weather was pretty...disgusting: cold, windy, and rainy, so instead of leaving bright and early at 8am, my group decided to nap until 10:30 and avoid most of the rain :) Some people might say slacking, but I would call it smart.
Where they have demonstrations!
Glass mushrooms...I bought the littlest one, how could I pass up a yellow mushroom?
Biking up the hills with the Baltic Sea in the background
My two new horsey friends :)
The Round Church built in 1150AD
Look-out windows up in the church tower
Rolling fields of Bornholm
Taking a break at a peaceful lake
A berry stand!!
Most delicious raspberries ever.
Obligatory flower picture. Note: they have dandelions in Denmark too.
On Sunday we were planning on doing the Killer Tour...65km...buuut after one long day of rain and uphills, all of us were feeling a lot less ambitious. Instead of going to the beach, we decided that seaside cliffs and caves were a lot more exciting, and I think we made the right choice!!
Pathway to the cave!
Snack time on the rocks
The cave!! It goes about 50m back and stays this narrow the whole way. A little eerie but extremely cool
On our way back, we were going to check out Svaneke (possibly pronounced: svankey, swankey, swanska, etc.), another seaside town, but I totally wiped out on my bike and that kind of threw a wrench in the whole situation. I only have a couple of bruises and scrapes, but of course oblivious me would crash right after I said I've never crashed on a bike before...karma. So Sunday's bike total was probably only 12km...but it was a fun day nonetheless. We got lunch at an awesome seafood bar, and I tried the famous smoked herring! The day ended at our favorite spot, Lukas' cafe, where we let the weekend soak in with some "hyggeligt" chats and Irish coffees :)
My classy lunch: smoked herring, a heaping portion of french fries, and a Tuborg
The remains of my Irish coffee
The beautiful windmill in Gudhjem
The Bornholm trip was the PERFECT pre-adventure to my birthday that was on Monday, September 24th!! The big 2-1 isn't all that exciting in Denmark since teens can legally drink at 16 and buy beer at 18...but I would rather be celebrating in Europe than back home at some cheesy college bar. And since it was Monday, I decided not to go out, but rather have a super "hygge-filled" evening with a few friends and my host family. The weather was terrible...rainy and very cold...but that made the evening even more cozy, and the wine and coffee were very much appreciated :) My host mom, Winnie made a typical Danish feast:
The table setting. Notice the Danish flag...that's typical for Danish birthday parties, flags everywhere!!
1. A toast of champagne- of course!
2. The fish- we had a version of smørrebrød with salmon and white asparagus
3. The main course (aka the meat)- my host parents made roasted pork loin stuffed with smoked pork and onions, and side dishes of baby yellow potatoes and peas...yummmmm
4. Coffee and tea- to warm you up :)
5. Cake or "kage"- Winnie made a three layer cake, filled with whip cream, and topped with melted dark chocolate with a thin layer of strawberry jam underneath the top layer. Talk about decadent. I'm not exaggerating when I say it was the best birthday cake I've ever received.
Also a fun little extra on my birthday...there's an international market going on just down the street from where DIS is for the whole week! I bought some birthday British fudge and cheese...just because, and I had paella too!! I can't wait to go back later this week and check out some of the French pastries...uh oh.
International Fair in Gammel Torv
Sooooo much fudge!!
Yum yum yummy paella :)
Well to end another ridiculously long blog post, here are a couple music videos that I found:
1. These guys are Norwegian...but the hilarity and relevance to Nordic v. American cultures is really funny. And the Norwegian alphabet is the same as the Danish...so just pretend they're Danes :)
2. This is a song called Drømmer Jeg by Johnny Deluxe. It's kind of a "love story" about the relationship between Sweden and Denmark. I just like the music, kind of a pop rock feel... reminds me of my punky high school days...