It’s an instinct to seek control in our lives. Still, due to the impossible nature of controlling the millions of forces at play, we’re leaving pieces of our day up to luck. Some of these days, luck is our friend, and others, you’d swear you’re cursed.
This proved to be true recently.
Aisling and I went from an everything-working-against-us day in Copenhagen on Saturday, to, by chance, a picture perfect day in small Danish town with a flower field on Sunday.
How did we get here?
Sunday morning, we wake up feeling refreshed. It’s amazing how well two people can sleep in a single bed once they’ve been exhausted by unfortunate luck the day prior. Today, things were going to go well; they were due.
We were planning on visiting Denmark’s most renowned museum, the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art. Mention Copenhagen, and you’ll be recommended to visit the site for its unique architecture, landscapes, and picturesque Danish vistas..
We packed a lunch to avoid the pain of paying $12 for coffee and $45 for a sandwich as suggested by a friend. These prices aren’t unique to the museum however, Denmark really is that expensive.
Aisling and her exchange friends have learned to pay as the Danish do. They tell me I’ll “become numb” to it. I clearly haven’t been here for long enough because my wallet still feels it.
We get on the subway. $15. Okay, I’ll stop complaining.
The museum is about an hour away, and the metro, once outside the city core, is a train above ground. An attraction in itself, the subway’s oversized windows frame the Danish landscapes and towns you’ll be passing through. The metro, the parks, the city streets… it’s uncanny how beautiful things are here. Denmark pulls off what Canada strives to be, almost as if it’s a parallel universe. Clean friendly city meets nature in an enchanted storybook, all the while maintaining a cool relaxed European feel.
En route, close to the last stop, our view becomes enveloped by a glowing field of yellow, brilliant flowers that catch our eye. The train flys by them, but I’m hoping it would stop so we’d have a moment to take it all in. But it goes several kilometers before coming to its next station.
I turn to Aisling, want to get off here?
We jump off. The trains come about every hour, so there’s some level of commitment to doing this. The early start we got to spend more time at the museum is now for not.
We look around at the train station. There’s no cabs. No bikes. No people.
“Should we just walk around I guess? Those farm fields were really far back, I don’t know how we could get to them.”
“Yeah” says Aisling… I really appreciate travelling with someone who’s easy going and spontaneous.
We start down the street and pass by a local on a bike, we flag him down. He recommends a small art museum a short walk away. Following his direction, we turn the corner and pass a row of Danish townhouses. Either I’m in a storybook and there’s little magical elves and gnomes living in them, or the Danish are little magical elves and gnomes. It’s the only thing that would explain how the town could be so enchanted.
Each window makes way for an interior that looks like it could be the cover of a House & Home magazine. At the core of Danish design is the feeling of Hygge (pronounced Hhewg, that’s the easiest word I’ve come across here, try saying Smørrebrød, the local delicacy, pickled fish on an open faced sandwich)
Hygge “a quality of cosiness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being”. It’s a design principle, it’s a lifestyle, and it’s a common identity for the Danish. And if not by evidence of the enchanted towns, it’s clearly a term that’s working for them, as they’re also the world’s happiest country, and have the world’s best healthcare. Social capitalism & Hygge for the win.
After the row of townhouses, we approached a field. Some context, Aisling and I are both wearing her blazers (she’s got a well curated collection of blazers, that not only look great on her, but also fit me) that we decided to wear to dress up for the museum.
So now, here we are, walking through a field, in a small Danish town, wearing blazers. A sign, in my opinion, that things are working out well today.
We catch sight in the distance, at the edge of the field and through the trees…Yellow. It must be the flowers. No way we’re actually going to see these. We thought we were walking to the local art museum.
We continue to follow the locals directions, which also seem as though they’ll bring us closer to the flowers. And then, we arrived..
Clearly, we’re not the only ones charmed by the flowers. There’s two locals taking in the sunshine by the field, and the town’s art museum is conveniently across the street from the field. In fact, there’s more than one field, as far as we can look, and walk, we’re surrounded by yellow fields of flowers (turns out they’re being farmed to produce rapeseed oil). I’m glad I like the colour yellow. It’d be the difference between one of the most magical days, to a literal nightmare.
We enjoyed our lunch that we packed for the museum on the field. A picnic. That worked out too well.
We continue to explore the town for the remainder of the day. We discovered that the forests there were as magical as the fields. And we also discovered the town was close to the ocean. As we kept walking, further away from the train station, we found ourselves watching the sunset over a little spot on the coast. We never went to the museum. No modern art museum could ever give me the adventure and beauty that this day rewarded both of us with. And to think the day before was so hectic. It’s true that these forces balance out in the end, and you’ve got to get back on the horse taking chances if you want to discover your own little slice of yellow heaven.