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Happy Thanksgiving!  I’m writing this in between making pumpkin puree (eventually pumpkin pie), stuffing, and mashed potatoes, but I wanted to take a moment to recount my trip to Copenhagen last weekend.  This week is going by rather quickly, probably helped along by the fact that I returned from Copenhagen Monday night, taking advantage of my lack of classes on Mondays.  The journey began, though, on Saturday.

My flight landed in Copenhagen at 4:30, at which point it was pretty much already dark.  I was visiting a friend from high school, ET, and the plan was to meet her at my hostel and then we’d go from there.  I took out some Danish Kroner at the airport, bought my tickets for public transportation, and found my way to the appropriate train.  Timing this wasn’t hard, as these trains come every four minutes.  I was people watching on the train and trying to see as much as I could out of the darkened windows when I realized that my friend had just gotten on the train!  Marveling over the chances that we would be on the exact same train, we had a happy reunion and began chatting about our various adventures.

Seeing Copenhagen with ET was probably the best way I could have experienced the city, and it’s hard for me to compare my Copenhagen trip to any of the other cities I’ve visited because it was such a different experience.  With most places I visit, I research a bit about the place before going and have an idea of what I want to see, and then we go and learn as much as we can from signs in various languages.  I did do some research before Copenhagen, but mostly I just let ET show me the city that has been her home for three months now.  The benefit of experiencing a place this way is that I learned interesting tidbits that no sign would ever tell me, ate at places I wouldn’t have found on my own, and was able to catch up with a friend I hadn’t seen in awhile.  Any one of those things on their own would have been wonderful, but all of it together made for a really fulfilling visit.

After I checked into my hostel, we grabbed dinner at a place called Nordic Noodle, a cozy little restaurant that served, well, noodles.  The Danish concept of hygge, I learned, is prompted by the cold and dark winters and encourages people to get cozy inside with friends, often sipping hot chocolate fireside.  Candles, therefore, are pretty much a staple in Danish restaurants and cafes, which creates the appropriate atmosphere but also creates a little bit of concern anytime anyone is swinging around a coat in order to bundle up before going back outside.  I didn’t witness any candle accidents while I was there, though, so that was good!

Our second stop was another candle-lit place, a café called The Living Room, which was equally, if not more, snuggly.  We sipped hot chocolate and chatted before hitting the streets for the nighttime Copenhagen tour.  ET took me down the main street and we window-shopped, enjoying all of the Christmas decorations before turning in for the night with plans to meet in the morning for a more thorough tour.

The next day was a little overcast, but I was thankful there wasn’t more rain—that would have made our mostly outdoor plans for the day much less enjoyable!  We started the day at Norreport, one of the main metro stops, and from there walked past a few of the things we had seen the night before.  As we made our way to the Little Mermaid statue, we walked through Nyhavn, which is the touristy part of Copenhagen, and also saw the Copenhagen Opera House and National Theater.  Amalienborg, the royal residence, was also on our way, situated just in front of St. Fredrik’s Church.

We took some time to explore the Danish Resistance Museum after visiting the Little Mermaid, which was really neat.  Denmark was occupied during WWII, but retained control of their own government because Danes were believed to be a part of the Arian race.  There was, however, a large resistance movement—Danes would sabotage factories, bomb railroad tracks so that deliveries couldn’t be made, and do pretty much anything they could do make things more difficult for the Nazis.  The Danes also rose up to protect their Jewish population, as depicted in Lois Lowry’s Number the Stars, but helping many of them escape to Sweden.  The museum showed all different parts of the occupation, and it was neat to take a closer look at that period of history from a different perspective.

After the museum, we headed to another café, this one with shelves of books lining the walls.  We enjoyed a hearty lunch—and delicious brownies—there before exploring the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, which is an art museum.  We wandered around there for a bit, and then it was time for Tivoli.  Tivoli Gardens is the second oldest amusement park in the world, having opened in 1843.  There are lots of things that happen at Tivoli—rides, shows, that sort of thing—but we went to enjoy the Christmas season at Tivoli.  The park is open during the summer, then closes for a bit in September and reopens for a few weeks around Halloween before closing again to prepare for the Christmas season.  I caught it just as it opened back up—in full Christmas glory.  Little huts were set up all around, and there was a large Russian castle-like structure (we’re under the impression that the theme for this year is Russia).  There were even reindeer outside of Santa’s temporary house!  We walked around, enjoyed the sights/lights (and some licorice), and took in the wonderful scent of evergreens.

The next day was Monday, and ET had class, but I met up with her for breakfast at a bakery in town.  After we said our goodbyes, she headed to class and I headed to St. Fredrik’s for a quick visit before my flight back to Luxembourg.

Thanksgiving dinner is now over, and I had quite the adventure using teacups, tea spoons, and table spoons to measure out ingredients, but it turned out okay.  There’s nothing quite like Thanksgiving dinner with family, but we pulled together and made a decent meal out of what we had.  I have so many things to be thankful for, but family and good friends are definitely at the top of the list!