This is my second blog post about my trip to Denmark (see part 1 first). This post is going to be centred on my downtime in Denmark. We worked hard while we were there but oh my life did we play hard!
The three weeks in Sønderborg have to be up there in the most fun I’ve ever had in my life. I laughed daily, ate well and drank probably too much. For me I had amazing hours at my placement (no split shifts), mainly starting very early in the morning which meant the majority of the time I had the evenings to enjoy and when I was on evening shifts I had the mornings to enjoy! I also had a few days off during my stay meaning I got to see a lot of what Denmark has to offer including delicious fresh food (a lot of steak), the sunny beach and lots of interesting amusements.
Our main recreational day was the trip to Copenhagen when everyone gets pulled out of their placements in order to fly to Copenhagen for the day. As a travel lover, Copenhagen is somewhere I’d always wanted to go – it looked beautiful and vibrant. After flying from Sønderborg to Denmark in the morning we all got taxis from the airport to a pastry shop/café called La Glace. All I can say is it’s probably the prettiest patisserie I’ve ever been to, the cakes were stunning (and delicious) and they gave me an entire pot of cream to go with my hot chocolate!
From La Glace the group split depending on what they wanted to do with their day. Going to Copenhagen there was one thing I was particularly set on doing and that was going to see the Little Mermaid statue which has to be the most iconic tourist spot in Denmark. Shannon and I then set off for the hop on, hop off tour bus station as we thought this would be the best way to see the city. On the open air bus we could see all of Copenhagen’s sights as we drove past and when we got to the Little Mermaid we hopped off towards the sea of tourists. Where the Little Mermaid sits on a rock there were a few stepping stones which tourists were clambering over (some more elegantly than others) to have their picture taken. Because I’m British, I impatiently waited for my turn as an entire family had their pictures taken individually – I’m pretty sure there were at least seven children. So, after help from Shannon and a tourist lady, I climbed over to have my moment (in front of around 300 tourists) with the statue!
After getting me safely on solid ground again, we were back on the bus ahead of our next stop, Rosenborg Castle. I love stately homes, castles, cathedrals etc.… basically anywhere with great architecture and massive gardens. At Rosenborg Castle I found the statue of Hans Christian Anderson, a stream and a lot of flower arches. Also. one thing I was surprised to learn was that the pizza in Denmark is delicious – who knew? After some shopping and pizza we flew back to Sønderborg. I don’t really have anything interesting say about the flights since I cannot stay awake. This was one of the most memorable days in Denmark.
One of the other trips was a visit to Flensburg in Germany. Sønderborg is right on the German border so we were able to catch a bus which took about an hour to get there. It was a beautifully sunny day in Flensburg. We walked down the high street, looking in shops and cafes and tried a fair amount of rum in a little rum shop – I brought a little bottle to make rum cake.
Before going to Germany I had a short list of things I wanted to accomplish – drink a big German beer and eat a German sausage (wurst). These were things I felt were quintessential German experiences but it wasn’t as easy as it sounds. Drinking a German beer was pretty easy as around an hour after arriving I was happily sat under an umbrella drinking a huge German beer at a café. Finding a German sausage was a little more difficult. Being English I just assumed as a German tradition, sausages would be readily available in all German towns. Wrong! Imagine in nearly 30 degree heat, ten British teenagers hunting for a bratwurst in a German village, it’s a slightly weird sight. After about an hour and a half of walking around Flensburg, we finally got some sausages. Although we now call it ‘fake Germany’ due to the lack of sausage, it’s a beautiful little town with a boat port, lots of shops, stalls and restaurants. I also managed to get one of my favourite foods which are chocolate covered strawberries.
Apart from these two main trips the other leisure time I enjoyed in Denmark was amazing. This included eating, drinking, sunbathing and other activities. In Denmark one thing I can’t dispute was that I had a lot of laughs whether this is chilling in the hostel, walking home from the restaurant late at night or going to the supermarket, every day was eventful.
One of my other favourite activities had to be going to the escape room. I had never been to an escape room before so had no idea what I was letting myself in for. An escape room is basically a puzzle game where you’re locked in a room for an hour and have to solve various riddles and puzzles to escape. The rooms all have different themes and storylines in order to keep the game interesting. I was in a pirate themed room which consisted of finding various treasures to get a key to unlock the door which we did with just seconds to spare. All I can say is trapping people in a locked room really showcases real personalities, the problem solvers, the gigglers and the downright aggressively competitive (you know who you are). The escape room was so much fun and was a great change to the other nights on the trip.
Another great day was when my head chef Klaus threw a little BBQ party and invited us all down. This was a great time to relax and have a chance to mingle with the other staff in a non-work environment. We played games in the sun and had gorgeous hot dogs from the BBQ. We had a lot of fun and the Danish singing definitely has to be the highlight of the trip for me, never seen anything like it!
One of my main leisure activities in Denmark was going to the beach and everyone knew that if I wasn’t at placement this is where they would find me. I came back a completely different shade of brown to when I left, the tan gains were strong! I spent as much time on the beach as physically possible, whether this meant waking up early to go before my shift or to hot foot it from my placement. The beach in Sønderborg was stunning, sandy and with clean water (apart from a few clusters of jellyfish). The beach shack served hotdogs, beer, ice cream, slushies, soft drinks, chips and more. The sea was warm for the whole three weeks apart from the very first day when it was ice cold! The boys spent the majority of the time bombing off the end of the bridge into the sea and I spent most my time rotating from back to front sunbathing and avoiding getting my hair wet when I paddled. The first day on the beach was amazing since we all went down as a group, buried Steven and made a mermaid around him. It was so funny and a great start to the trip. Going to the beach was also hilarious as the group got more and more red the further into the three weeks whereas I turned a golden brown in the 28 degree heat (I’m not smug about that at all).
Another great day in Sønderborg was the Ringriderfesten, an equestrian-based festival which included a huge parade down the main street (I felt very patriotic) with bands and dancing all over the town. Being in Denmark for Ringriderfesten added an amazing vibe to the trip and another layer of interest to the quaint seaside town that is Sønderborg.
A gem of Sønderborg also has to be the pastry shop, Lagkagehuset. My daily visits to heaven were worthwhile as I’ve never tasted pastry so good. If you’ve never had pastry in Denmark, you’ve never actually had pastry! The taste, flavour and texture all seemed amplified every time I ate a flødeboller.
In 28 degree heat, walking around the charming streets of Sønderborg was one of my favourite pastimes, finding multi-coloured houses and rose bushes and small parks with picturesque bandstands was brilliant. Just exploring in general meant I got to know Sønderborg even more. But some of the best times in Denmark were just chilling and relaxing in bars, restaurants and the hostel, drinking and laughing as a group. We ate well, cooking for one another and gifting large cakes to the group as well as picking up beers on the way back from placements.
So if you couldn’t tell from this post, I fell in love with Denmark and pretty much had to be dragged back to England by my lecturer! To finish, this opportunity isn’t all work but it isn’t all play – it’s the experience as a whole. If you want to read about my placement, check out my first post from last week.
If you have any questions or want to know more about the fun things to do in Denmark, direct Instagram message me or tweet me at @UCBloggers!