The last time Tor and I visited Denmark was in the summer of 2014. My family has history in Denmark – my Morfar (Danish for “grandfather/mother’s father”) was born and raised in Espergærde just outside of Helsingør. He immigrated to the United States when he was a young man, but we have always remained proud of our Danish roots. The first time I traveled to Copenhagen, I was sick so I wanted a redo. I wanted to be able to walk the streets of Copenhagen and see Nyhavn in the flesh, so my husband and I made it a priority to return as soon as we could.
It happened again. I couldn’t believe my luck. We booked our trip six days before we ended up traveling to Copenhagen, but four days later I began to develop the onset of a nasty cold virus. I was determined to not let this keep me bedridden a second time in Denmark, so we raided the pharmacy in Madrid for cold medicines prior to our flight and headed off to Copenhagen the next morning with friends.
I love Denmark. Maybe I am biased because my family is from there, but even my husband loves the country and, aside from me, he doesn’t have a connection to it like I do. From the food to the fashion sense to the language to even the smells (don’t laugh but the smell of dill makes me so happy), Denmark feels like home to us. While I am not fluent in Danish anymore (I used to speak it a lot more as a child), I am able to have a simple conversation (enough to impress my husband!). I am trying to relearn Danish so that way each time I visit, I will become more fluent.
Nyhavn (“New Harbor”) is like Copenhagen’s Times Square – all the tourists flock to it. While I typically like to avoid touristy spots and instead prefer to find where the locals go, I always find an excuse to walk along Nyhavn. My Morfar had so many photos of Nyhavn to show me when I was a child. As a little girl, I was in awe of all the colorful buildings along the canal. I remember telling him I was determined to see Denmark one day and Nyhavn in person.
My Morfar passed away when I was 10, but his memory still lives on especially when I visit Copenhagen. Nyhavn is full of sailboats and ships in the harbor, which remind me of my Morfar since he was a sailor and used to collect miniatures of wooden ships in his home in New Jersey. Everywhere I go in Denmark, I am reminded of my family and that is such a wonderful, cozy feeling.
Photos by Torrance Coombs.