10 THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE YOU TRAVEL TO DENMARK

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My husband and I traveled to Denmark before Christmas and traveled back to the Philippines after almost a month. It was an amazing vacation. It's something that I would keep on talking about to my family and friends and to you my dear blog readers. I was scared at first because I did not speak the language - all I know was how to count from 1 to 10 and some words and phrases and that was it. We did all the touristy activities but I love that my husband also made me experience how it was to be a local. I experienced a lot and got to see and visit so many places and learned a little more Dansk upon departure.

Fredensborg Castle - the summer residence of the Royal Family 

1. Pølser is king. - The most common pølser is the rød pølser or locally known as "red sausage". It is usually just boiled and served with creamy remoulade, mustard or catsup, crispy fried onions and pickled agurk (that's cucumber for us tourists). I ate so much pølser while on vacation and just thinking about it now makes my mouth water. Since the Danes pride themselves in growing pigs, the quality of meat is really exceptional. You can buy pølser virtually everywhere - trains, sausage wagons outside train stations, busy tourist places like Strøget, convenience stores, among others. If you opt to make your own concoction, you can just buy from groceries, boil the sausage, add the condiments and enjoy the treat. 

2. Denmark is expensive. - I mean that. I was dumbfounded when I bought a 500ml regular Coke and was billed DKK15 (around US$2.67). It gets more expensive when you go to a restaurant. A single serving costs DKK35 (around US$6 for 237ml) in one of the Tivoli restaurants where we had dinner. A 12-inch pizza from a shabby pizza store costs DKK135 (around US$25). One thing we did to save on grocery items was to make sure to scour the product magazine from grocery stores that are usually sent to every household or displayed in the store before we shop. We saved quite a bit from this. I observed though that vegetables such as bell pepper, cauliflower and brocolli were really cheap compared to vegetable prices in the Philippines. If you are planning for a trip to Denmark, make sure to stuff your wallet with extra kroner. 

3. Travel outside Copenhagen. - That's not to say that Copenhagen is not nice because I enjoyed our trips there. I however had a ball somewhere else and I would choose to travel to Jutland or Hillerod any given day. The landscape and the beaches are really captivating. The rolling hills covered with grass or snow were extraordinary. Break the tourist mold and explore outside the norm, I promise you that it will all be worth it.

Ribe Domkirke or the Our Lady of Maria Cathedral- Ribe is the oldest surviving city in Denmark. The church is located in the western coast of Southern Jutland/Jylland. Ribe was once an open trading market in the old days. I will write more about this beautiful city in another blog post. 

4. Try some smørrebrød. - Why not? It is the national sandwich of choice. It's usually a single slice of dark rye with enough serving of butter and an assortment of toppings: cheese, sild, raw egg yolk, hard boiled egg, liver pate, smoked or just plain sweet baby shrimp, red onions, capers, olives, mushrooms, bacon, smoked salmon, caviar and the list goes on and on and on. It's fun constructing your own sandwich and it usually disappears before you can even take a picture of it (at least in my case).



5. Danes love pork and potatoes. - Considering that the whole population of Denmark is only a little over 5 million, they collectively consume more pork than anyone in the world. They also love potatoes in whatever shape and form - grilled, mashed, hashed, diced, sliced, pomme frites form (fries), hot or cold. Oh yes, they even have vodka made from potatoes and I was able to try it when we had family Christmas lunch. It is a little too strong for my liking but my Dane family loves it. 

6. You will see a lot of bikes. - Everywhere and anywhere in Denmark. I kept on asking my husband for us to try to bike around the city or his hometown but he constantly rejected my wish. He's probably scared for me or maybe he is thinking that the bikes were bigger than me. If you wanted to live like the locals do, rent a bike and explore in two wheels. Trains and buses are bike friendly too so if you ever get tired, hop on the next bus or train.



7. Learn how to say skål. - This is Dansk for "cheers". Hosts usually initiate this during a meal while raising their glass of wine. You have to learn how to say it so you can then respond. It is a Scandinavian toast of friendship and goodwill.

8. Learn your 5 words before you step out of the plane. - You know you have to. I knew 1 to 10 before the plane landed so I guess I am in the clear. Kidding aside, you have to at least know how to say:



9. The Danish flag - Don't be surprised if you see raised flags even in houses. My husband told me that Danes do that whenever they are celebrating something like a homecoming, a birthday and the like. They love their flag like no other and they claim that their flag was a flag that fell from heaven. And yes, it is the world's continuously used oldest flag. They also have flags on their cake, their Christmas trees and even on their tables. Talk about patriotism.

10. It is the happiest country in the world. - If you need me to explain this, let me know by leaving a comment. 

I've fallen in-love with Denmark and I am sure you will too. Would you travel to Denmark if you have the chance?



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