things i love about denmark

As promised in an earlier post, here is a list of things I love about Denmark...

1) Bike lanes. This is the thing I will probably miss the most if I move back to the US. Despite living near my town center in Connecticut, attempting to ride a bike on simple errands was risking my life. Here, we have dedicated bike lanes with their own traffic lights, and motorists actually look out for us.

2) The bikes. My bike search has been well documented on this blog. I adore my Pashley, but I still look longingly at the Batavus, Raleigh, Velorbis, and many others. I'm appalled that upright bikes with fenders, chainguards, etc. are mainly a high-end specialty item in the US when you can buy one at the grocery store here for the equivilent of about $300 US. The US needs to get with the program on this.

3) No HFCS! Hugh fructrose corn syrup is the devil and in Denmark (and I think all of Europe), it's treated as such. I don't have wonder where it's going to pop up next because it doesn't exist here. The food tastes much better, and the Coke tastes just like it did when I was a kid. And the chocolate, OMG, the chocolate!!!

4) Cheese. Even the low-end grocery stores here have a cheese selection that would be considered "specialty" in the US. I never thought I'd see the day where brie would be a staple in my fridge. Fresh mozzarella is actually easier to find than the other kind (not fresh?) and for that, I will forgive Denmark its lack of ricotta, provolone, gruyere, and cheddar.

5) Bakeries, green grocers, florists, etc. Everything has not been consolidated into supercenters. Some people would probably find this terribly inconvenient, but I like it! I get to be that girl riding through the city streets on my black bike, skirt blowing in the wind, baguette and flowers sticking out of my wicker basket. On a fair weather day, it feels every bit as romantic as I imagined. I was doing just that the other day when someone called me "sexy". At 35, it's nice to still be sexy ;)

6) Walking streets. I love strolling the walking streets, looking in shop windows and browsing the outside displays. In the US, it's usually the clearance junk they put outside. Here, they put out the good stuff and don't seem to think too much about people walking off with it.

7) Drinking outside. It's nice to go to a park or the beach and enjoy a beer or a bottle of wine with friends.

8) Friends from all over. I learn so much by having friends from outside the US. It's fun to introduce them to things from the US and to be introduced to things from their home countries. So far, I've fallen in love with Baumse Mums, chocolate covered marshmallow bears from Norway, and the Norwegian version of Kit-Kat. I've learned from my French friends that sometimes boxed wine is actually good (psst...try Two Oceans Sauvignon Blanc) I know the proper way to slice and eat cheeses of all kinds, and I can make a pretty awesome quiche! And curry, I actually love curry, who would've guessed?

9) Secondhand furniture. Scandinavia is very design focused, and they prefer modern design. Very few people here shop secondhand, so that means I'm able to pick up really cool housewares and antique furniture for dirt cheap. Wait until you see my "new" dining table!

10) Hygge. Literally translated, it means "cosiness" but it more accurately means surrounding yourself with comforting and soothing things and shutting out life's irritations. Danish homes are mostly free of clutter, many stores sell white candles in bulk. Hygge is an intimate candlelit dinner party with friends, it's a tea party in the garden, it's a rainy afternoon spent baking, and I suppose it can exist outside of Denmark, but there's something very cosy about riding my bike through the empty streets at night and seeing white candles burning in windows and hearing people laughing around the table. It's everywhere, and I love it!