When in Denmark…

…do NOT do as the Danish do.

I was visiting my sister for the weekend with the intention of attending this massive festival in Denmark. The theme was Fairytale, so I bought a pink wig for 5 euros, attempted to tie dye a dress, spent way too much of my time making a flower crown, then called it a day. I don’t think even half that amount of effort was needed.

I arrived two days before the festival was going to take place. My sister and her roommate had this really adorable costume idea. They were going to be dragon eggs! I was jealous and felt lame in comparison, but honestly hadn’t had the time or money to invest in something creative. The plan was fairly simple: head over to a friend’s apartment close to the parade, drink a little, then join the festivities.

On the walk to the friend’s place, we got a little taste of what awaited us. We passed crowds all decked out in different costumes, most were silly, some were creative and then there was the occasional black-face. I am not sure why this is still acceptable in Europe. Yes, they don’t have the same history with slavery and segregation as the US, but they still had slavery, segregation and were responsible for colonization.

The gathering at the apartment was chill, people were still getting ready and the anticipation was high.

Things quickly disintegrated. We left the apartment, our baby carriage jam packed full of alcohol in tow (yes, people use their children’s pram to transport liquor, or if they don’t have any kids buy one especially for this occasion). This should have been a red flag.

 

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Not my photo (obviously). Credit in the corner. This photographer was not only brave to bring a super expensive camera to this shit-show, but also took really nice photos. Thanks!

 

We wandered down a pretty abandoned street, then as we rounded the corner onto the main road I was confronted with a scene of mass pandemonium. The street was packed with very intoxicated people, in the street, on the sidewalk, barely hanging onto crudely made floats, stumbling in the wrong direction and, of course, dancing to American rap music.

As we got further enmeshed in the parade, I saw maybe the strangest of Danish traditions — peeing in public. There were people on all sides of me either peeing against the sides of apartment building (if male) or just squatting on the sidewalk (if female), in FULL view of EVERYONE!

I admit that I am a prude American (a term I didn’t realize was actually true until I entered a European dressing room for the first time), so this was way out of my comfort zone. The whole scene turned into a horror movie as it dawned on me that the small rivers of water flowing in the street was not beer, as I had initial thought.

I was way too sober for this festival, but I wasn’t about to start drinking only to then be forced to use the sidewalk as a bathroom.

Reykjadalur

More Iceland spamming! Sorry, guys, but I really loved it here.

Our last stop on the Golden Circle brought us to the hot spring river, Reykjadalur (which sounds a lot different than it’s spelled). It was an hour hike to the springs, which was beautiful, but the hills nearly killed me. All the walking I did the past week did not make up for the fact that I haven’t really worked out in 3 months and my stamina has all but disappeared, haha.

It was worth it though. The springs were so cool and not too crowded. The blue lagoon was really nice, but this felt like a less touristy and more nature-y alternative. I would love to visit when there’s snow covering the surrounding hills and mountains.

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I was so happy to reach the destination and unload, I didn’t actually take many photos when I got there. My bad.

 

So Many Waterfalls

The nature in Iceland is amazing! I can’t remember the last time I went somewhere other than a city center of some sort. Even though we were staying in Reykjavik it was never overwhelming or claustrophobic like a lot of capitals.

I am thinking I want to take more trips into nature. Even though I was exhausted, it was a really nice feeling at the end of a day full of walking, climbing and breathtaking nature.

Inside the Volcano

I woke up the morning of our excursion and had a weird memory. It was one of those memories where you don’t know if you dreamt it or if it actually happened. I was 90 percent sure someone had told me that the inside of the volcano would be 100 degrees (fahrenheit, I am sure). So I kept that in mind while dressing for this trip, only putting on a thin sweater, one of my jackets and leaving my scarf behind, despite it being 40 degrees F outside.

When we board the bus taking us to the volcano, the guide hops on afterwards to announce that we are heading into the mountains, and she hopes that we are all dressed warmly enough. Then she describes what to expect inside the volcano. Like the inside of a refrigerator, were her exact words. Turns out we also had to hike 45 minutes across a windy, baron plane. THANKFULLY, they provided us with giant yellow windbreakers for the hike, so I didn’t freeze to death. I feel like I wasn’t the only unprepared tourist on this hike.

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The elevator ride down was absolutely terrifying and way too slow. The man operating the lift decided to mess with us and stopped it abruptly making it feel as if we were about to fall.

Side story: We met two people on this hike that live in the same small-ish Danish town my sister lives in. One of which was at the same party as my sister, but they hadn’t met until this hike. What a small world!

Gunnuhver

I am in Iceland at the moment with my sisters! This is the first time the three of us have done a trip together, and it’s been absolutely amazing.

Summers in Iceland aren’t particularly warm, but the sun never sets, which I could get used to (if that meant I would never have to deal with total darkness)

I’ll post more stuff from and about Iceland later, but this post will focus on a haunted Geyser we went to the other day. I got some pretty cool photos while there. Four of which I gif-ed (made up a new word!) together. I’ve become a little obsessed with gif-ing of late. I spent 5 hours creating one for my About page, and a few months ago I spent 2 weeks attempting to make a stop motion of my travels. That was an epic fail, but the attempt was fun… I guess. And to make up for the fact that I had to put my stop motion project on hold (most likely indefinitely) I’ve been attempting gifs! It’s so much fun! I suggest everyone try it.

Aislinn-Smoke

This was the first geyser I’ve seen up close or walked through for that matter. It smelled like rotten eggs and felt uncomfortably wet and warm when it blew over my face. Being caught in the middle is also very suffocating, but it turns the rocks surrounding it a very beautiful white and it’s mesmerizing to stare at.

I might be paraphrasing, but according to the sign before entering the area, a long time ago some lady got thrown into the geyser because she kept “causing” the deaths of people who’d wronged her. (Sounds like she pissed off the wrong person if you ask me.) Then maybe to make up for the fact that they capital-punished her without any evidence, they named the geyser after her. Poor, poor Gunna.

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Anyways, Iceland is awesome. Everyone should come here.

 

 

Trains, Buses, Boats and a Sleepy Youth

Traveling for an extended period of time isn’t without it’s pitfalls and close calls. On one such occasion, I was traveling through Denmark on my way to Germany. It seemed as if Murphy’s Law (everything that can go wrong will) was in effect that day. I woke up to an email from the train company stating simply the train I was meant to take that day had been cancelled. Panicked, I threw all my belongings in my bag, and rushed to the train station, only to wait in line for three hours with the other poor souls at the help desk. Thankfully, I was able to book another trip for that day, two hours later than the original, but at least I wouldn’t have to sleep at the train station. This being Copenhagen, there was no way I would be able to afford a place to sleep.

The re-routed trip consisted of two trains, a bus, a ferry and another train. The first leg of the journey went off without a hitch. After about 2 hours, I made it to a station on the border, where I was meant to catch a bus to the ferry.  I exited the station and walked to the bus station nearby. Thirty minutes past, but there was no sign of the bus. Dozens had come and gone at this point, but none of the drivers I asked seemed to know which bus I was talking about.

There were 8 or 9 other people in the same predicament as I was, and we eventually huddled together to think of a game plan. Nothing bonds you more to people than mutual irritation. By the time we figured they’d forgotten about us it seemed like was too late to act. The sound had set, and all the train station employees had gone home, so there was no one physically there to help us. We checked time tables, looked for an emergency phone number to call, searched the station website, but before long it looked as if I was going have to sleep at a train station after all. I claimed a bench and tested to see if my back pack would make an adequate pillow (it really didn’t, but it beats waking up with all your stuff gone, I guess). The rest of the group started to settle in around me. Suddenly a shadow fell over me. I glanced up and a lanky youth was looking down at me.

“Hey, do you mind watching my bag, while I run to the restroom?” He asked.

I nodded and sat up. I am used to strangers trusting me to watch their things. I think it must be because my face is so round, and I have dimples. Oh, and I do actually watch their stuff, haha.

A few seconds after he left, the double doors flew open, and an employee of the train station entered the waiting area announcing that a personal bus would arrive shortly to take us directly to our destination.

“I am sorry you’ll have to talk to the company directly to file a complaint or request a refund,” she then announced, like this wasn’t her first rodeo, before leaving from whence she came.

At this point, it was 11:45pm.

We all looked at one another delighted. It seemed as if we were out of the woods. The bus then pulled up outside. I glanced around for the youth, but he still hadn’t come out the bathroom. A few more minutes past, the waiting room was empty, besides myself and his backpack, and I was feeling a bit antsy and irritated. Obviously, the bus driver could see me waiting, but all the same I wanted to get going. Finally, he sauntered out of the bathroom, then started to jog when he saw the waiting room had emptied. Once we were all finally on the tiny bus and on the way, there were a string of high fives and smiles, before most people closed their eyes to nap.

The bus boarded the ferry, I battled with extreme sea sickness for the next 45 minutes, then we all got back on the bus to finish the journey.

I settled back into my seat as the driver proceeded to leave the ferry when I felt a tap on my shoulder. I turned around.

“Look.” The passenger who poked me was pointing to an empty seat, with the youth’s backpack laying across it. In my sleep deprived and sea sick state I couldn’t quite comprehend what he was trying to say.

“I think someone is missing.”

I realized in horror that he was right. That kid from earlier wasn’t on the bus, and I guess because I had waited for him to use the facilities he was now my responsibility? This was bullshit.

“Stop!” I yelled at the driver, who then screeched to a halt. I ran up to explain to him that we were leaving someone behind.

There was an audible groan throughout the bus. We then waited. And waited. And waited. But the missing guy never showed. After about 15 minutes passengers started throwing their hands up in the air, and I could see the bus driver getting antsy. Everyone just wanted to leave and I had a sinking feeling that they were in fact about to leave without him. Before that decision could be made I volunteered to go look for him. There was apprehension, but also relief in the driver’s eyes as I exited the bus. It was funny (and by funny I mean rude) that the bus driver didn’t offer to drive back to the boat, so instead I was forced to sprint back to the entrance. I had this horrible feeling that they might leave without me as well.

As I approached the entrance a crew member blocked my way.

“Mein Freund ist im Schiff… (My friend is in boat…)” I panted in grammatically incorrect German.

The guy looked at me quizzically.

“Ich muss ihn holen. Bitte? (I need to pick him up. Please?)” I pleaded, and the guy, judging that the 124 lbs girl in front of him probably wasn’t a threat, waved for me to pass.

I sprinted up 3 flights of stairs to the the main deck, thinking that I would never be able to find him. Lo and behold, I happened to immediately see his mess of brown curls sticking up from the sofa right in front of me. I approached his sleeping form and poked him on the shoulder. He was so dead to the world I had to physically shake him as hard as I could before he slowly lifted his head.

He smiled at me, but when he saw my expression and the empty deck he immediately replaced his easy expression with one of panic.

“We have to go!” Motioning frantically to the door.

While running back to the bus, he kept thanking me profusely explaining how he had just traveled back from Asia and therefore hadn’t slept in 36 hours. I was ecstatic to find the bus still waiting there for us. We were greeted with sleepy claps as we boarded, before zooming away.