Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Morning in Denmark; Evening in Sweden

Malmö, Sweden

The kernel that turned into this trip to Europe sprouted when two friends and coworkers, Chris and Meghan, moved to Sweden last spring. We had good luck when we planned a trip to Japan around two other friends who lived in Hiroshima -- why not try it again? (The lesson to all of my friends: if you move to another country, I will be visiting you.)

As we added more cities to the trip, plane tickets -- at least reasonably priced plane tickets -- became harder to find. The trip planned itself based on the days airfare was cheapest. Unfortunately, that meant only a little more than 48 hours in Copenhagen.

Even though Meghan and Chris live in Sweden, Copenhagen is the nearest big city. In fact, Malmö -- the third largest city in Sweden -- is only a half hour train ride outside of the city. That made it easy for them to meet us in Copenhagen the morning of our only full day in the city, and then for the four of us to take the train back to Sweden to spend the afternoon and evening in Malmö. Bonus: Chris grew up in Sweden and could act as interpreter, even though pretty much everyone speaks perfect English.

We wandered around Copenhagen for awhile, stopping in Nyhavn for coffee and juice, although we didn't brave the windy outdoor seating long and moved indoors. I did, however, learn that Scandinavians are dedicated to eating al fresco -- restaurants drape blankets over the chairs for the chilly.



Blankets at a restaurant in Malmö

Then we wandered through Christiania, a neighborhood where the barbecue smoke covers up the pot smoke, graffiti art covers the walls and photos are discouraged with "No camera" paintings. We stopped for a beer at noon and continued to catch up.

I can say without a doubt that this was the one day of the entire trip in which I did the least amount of sightseeing. Chris and Meghan might disagree -- we did do a lot of walking, and we saw a lot of sights. I, however, was doing much more talking than looking around. That accounts for the fact that I have only 10 photos from that entire day -- and none at all of the four of us together.

One of my very few photos of Sweden

That afternoon we went to Malmö and basically just hung out. Ate some falafel, had a few drinks, met their friends and roommates and talked, talked, talked. When the sun went down, the scene shifted to a couple of bars a block or two away. The night quickly flew by, and before I knew it the combination of beer, conversation and my cold resulted in a lost voice. By the time Paul and I caught the 12:37 a.m. train back to Copenhagen, I could barely keep my head upright. Vacation had caught up with me.

Some of my greatest regrets stem from this part of the trip -- I wish we would've gotten to spend more time with Meghan and Chris, I wish we would've spent at least one night in Malmö, and I wish I would've taken more photos of the day. In any case, I have great memories, and a few photos or a relocated hotel room couldn't have changed the day at its core.

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