LIFE: Vashtie’s First Trip to Denmark

As many of you know, I have traveled quite a bit for work and to many lovely places like Paris/France, London/England, Johannesburg/South Africa, Abu Dhabi/Dubai, etc. I am very appreciative of this perk of my job, but it’s also quite new to my life as I didn’t grow up as a traveler with a traveling family. I’ve learned two things over the years:

1. Research the City/Country You Are Visiting. Learn Some Basics of Their Language/Culture.

-It makes a huge difference, even if where you’re going they speak the language you speak. It’s a nice gesture and locals will appreciate it – but also it’s just a bit rude and ignorant not to know the basic rules of other societies you plan to visit. Most of us function with this subconscious idea that; the culture we know is the only one that matters, but our laws are not internationally congruent and you could break the law without actually knowing it in other countries and be tried and fined accordingly no matter how powerful the country you are from is. Just check this Cosmopolitan Magazine article, in some countries ordering an alcoholic beverage, swearing, or flushing the toilet at night are major law breakers.

2. Be Open & Try New Things.
I’m not saying go on an illegal drug bender, but maybe if you don’t normally eat bread and the city you’re visiting is known for it’s rye bread – you should try it. It’s also another way to be respectful of the locals, while showing your interest in their culture.

Anyways, while I (a typical American) have learned a lot about Europe through my travels – I’ve found that Scandinavia is a much different culture than what I had experienced in the greater part of Europe. A lot of you are probably like “duh!”, but I’m learning. Here are some basics:

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WHAT IS SCANDINAVIA?

Scandinavia is a region in Northern Europe, characterized by common ethnocultural North Germanic heritage and mutually intelligible North Germanic languages. The term Scandinavia in local usage covers the three kingdoms of Denmark, Norway and Sweden, Finland and Iceland.

WHAT DOES NORDIC MEAN?

These countries are also referred to as Nordic Countries, Nordic meaning “North” since they are located in the Northern most part of Europe, but they also include The Faroe Islands and Greenland.

Also, I should mention – this fascinating unwritten law of the Nordic countries…the Law of Jante.

The Law of Jante is the description of a pattern of group behavior towards individuals within Nordic countries that negatively portrays and criticizes individual success and achievement as unworthy and inappropriate. The Jante Law as a concept was created by the Dano-Norwegian author Aksel Sandemose, who, in his novel A Fugitive Crosses His Tracks (En flyktning krysser sitt spor, 1933, English translation published in the USA in 1936), identified the Law of Jante as ten rules. Sandemose’s novel portrays the small Danish town Jante (modeled upon his native town Nykøbing Mors as it was at the beginning of the 20th century, but typical of all small towns and communities), where nobody is anonymous.

The ten rules state:

  1. You’re not to think you are anything special.
  2. You’re not to think you are as good as we are.
  3. You’re not to think you are smarter than we are.
  4. You’re not to imagine yourself better than we are.
  5. You’re not to think you know more than we do.
  6. You’re not to think you are more important than we are.
  7. You’re not to think you are good at anything.
  8. You’re not to laugh at us.
  9. You’re not to think anyone cares about you.
  10. You’re not to think you can teach us anything.

I mean, its definitely opposite of how people feel and function in most countries – even in America. Although, I believe this law isn’t as prominent as it was – I can see how this mentality can create a more peaceful and harmonious community. I totally felt it while in Copenhagen…

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Well, here are just a few pictures from my trip. I spent so much time doing Insta-Stories – that I forgot to take real pictures. There’s always next time, right?!

Anyways, off top – people from Denmark are Danish and they are Danes and they speak Danish. What we refer to as a “Danish” pastry in America is not technically Danish (it’s Viennese), but they have the same thing – instead they call it “wienerbrød” (Vienna bread). In fact, according to Wikipedia:

“The origin of the Danish pastry is often ascribed to a strike amongst bakery workers in Denmark in 1850. The strike caused bakery owners to hire workers from abroad, among them several Austrian bakers, who brought along new baking traditions and pastry recipes. The Austrian pastry of Plundergebäck soon became popular in Denmark and after the labour disputes ended, Danish bakers adopted the Austrian recipes, adjusting them to their own liking and traditions by increasing the amount of egg and fat for example. This development resulted in what is now known as the Danish pastry.

One of the baking techniques and traditions that the Austrian bakers brought with them was the Viennese lamination technique. Due to such novelties the Danes called the pastry technique “wienerbrød” (Vienna bread) and, as mentioned, that name is still in use in Northern Europe today. At that time, almost all baked goods in Denmark were given exotic names.”

Waking up in Copenhagen. It was grey and cold, but not colder than New York. Everyone rides bikes, mostly, and there is even a big bike lane that you will get run over in if you are not paying attention. I quite like the bike movement; it’s great exercise and emits no pollution.

*Photo via nyc.streetsblog.org

There is lots of sightseeing to do; from art galleries to shops to the royal castles to even nature like (what else) The Botanical Garden! It was so gorgeous and peaceful. There are also a couple of winding staircases to allow you a top floor view of the trees and things. It was so fascinating to see from that perspective because normally you are looking up at trees…I hope they don’t hate the way they look from that angle, I know it’s so unflattering for me.

According to their website:

“The Botanical Garden is a unique green space in the heart of Copenhagen, which invites engagement in the world of nature. The garden is part of the Natural History Museum of Denmark and differs significantly from other parks in the city by being a living museum with research, public outreach, teaching and nature conservation as its main tasks. Here, you will find Denmark’s largest scientific collection of plants – including species that are either threatened or extinct in nature.”

My photo does not do it justice. Take a look at these…

Also, there are wonderful museums like the Rosenborg which was built in 1606-34 by Christian IV and holds the Danish Crown Jewels and Royal Regalia. It was super fascinating to see all the family jewels, up close and personal.

  

Hercules Flighting A Lion

Don’t even get me started on the food. Everywhere I went, it was delicious meals and a ton of places offered vegan friendly options…which, in my opinion, is not like New York. There were even more gluten-free dishes and raw/vegan restaurants than I expected.

The view was also very special…

I didn’t take any pictures here, but the Louisiana Museum was so intimate and lovely. It felt like I went to someone’s big beautiful home to look at their unbelievable multi-billion dollar art collection.

This was the dining hall and the food options were so amazing! But, it was the only roller coaster ride trying to get a table, which didn’t look as peaceful or empty as this and was first come/first serve.

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I must make mention, that the people of Copenhagen were chill. Like, they minded their own business (because privacy is important to them) – but they were nice (yet not in your face friendly, which I know Americans tend to be or fake.) My first night there, I saw a man literally collapse into a seizure on the street – and he looked like he would die. While I stood their shocked and unable to think (jetlag met with confusion), random strangers immediately stopped and went right into care-taking mode. It was so beautiful to see it happen.

Well, that is all to report right now. I promise to take better pictures next time and NOT just Insta-Story. I’ll be going back again soon. If there is something more you’d like me to share, then let your girl know 😉

xo, va$htie.

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