My Danish Family.

Sorry guys – this one has been a long time coming. It is a little long, but on the bright side it is mostly pictures, so not too much reading is involved. 😉

For those of you that don’t know, my heritage is half-Danish (which half I wonder?) as that is where my mother was born. So when it ended up being cheaper and simpler to fly into Denmark than to Sweden, it was not a particularly hard decision to make. And after chatting with my grandparents (who are in Australia) they suggested that I get in contact with my grandfather’s cousin to see whether she was interested in putting me up for a couple of days. Luckily for me she was. 🙂

It was a bit of a different experience being *met* at an airport, and definitely not what I am used to. There was no trying to interpret signs and bus or train timetables to work out how to get into the city, or talking to tourist information staff. I just walked out of arrivals and there was someone waiting for me. That is something that happens when you come home, not go somewhere new. But maybe, in a sense, this was *my* home too. So we left Copenhagen Airport and headed home. :)As it had been about 40hrs since I left Australia number one on my list was a shower and clean clothes! Next was a walk around the lake, dinner, and a relatively early night – for me.

I had two days in Copenhagen. I had briefly been to the city once before on one of my extended stopovers, so I had walked around the main centre, visited Tivoli, and eaten Danish hotdog. This time I had a car, and a tour guide, so we travelled off to see some of the places that were important to my grandparents when they lived here. First stop was a little town called Osted. This was the town which my grandmother grew up in, and also had the church where my grandparents were married.

A dude slaying a dragon and wearing sunnies? I like this church art.
The church – obviously from the outside!
And inside. 😉

Next we visited Lyndby, the town where my grandfather went to school. Here we visited the church and graveyard, where we found some more of my relatives – but these ones were not the sort that I could talk to. (on a side note, I would have been really interested to hear what they had to say if they *could* have talked – or if I knew how to listen to them…)

My Great Grandfather.
My Great Great Grandfather. (we think)

After that we headed down to check out the house where my grandfather grew up, and had lunch down by the fjord – complete with replica viking ships. 😀

A very cool spot to have lunch. 🙂
Ah, saily boats. I like saily boats.

Then it was on to  Roskilde to see the Domkirke, the third church of the day. This is the place where all the members of the Danish Royal Family are buried, so as a result it is pretty impressive.

Sometimes art can give a great visual insight into the time it was painted.
A view down the aisle.
This mosaic was just a little bit scary!

We finished off with a relaxing coffee by the harbour before heading home, with enough time for a stroll by the lake and some chill out time in the garden before a very relaxing outdoor dinner.

The next day it was into Copenhagen proper, but we concentrated on some of the areas I had not been to last time. We started the day with a river cruise and then headed down to the palace area, where we were lucky enough to have timed our arrival for the changing of the guards. There was enough time for a quick picnic lunch in one of Copenhagen’s parks before heading back to the airport for my flight to Iceland.

Some of the colourful buildings lining the harbour in Copenhagen.
The Royal Guard doing their thing.
Another great view for lunch. 🙂

On handing my passport to the lady at the check-in counter, I was bombarded with a stream of rapid Danish. Noting the bewildered look on my face, the woman at the counter said, rather grumpily, “OK – we will speak English – but you have a Danish name!”. On informing her that this was because my mother was born in Denmark, but I was born in Australia, she came back with: “Well, tell your mother she should have taught you Danish!”. So, mother, consider yourself told. 😛 (for everyone else, my mother came to Australia when she was a child herself, so don’t be too hard on her!)

My time in Denmark was rather short, but we managed to fit quite a lot in. It was interesting to see a little bit of my heritage and get a taste of some of the places that hold importance to my family. But the thing that struck me the most in Denmark was seeing *people* who looked like they belonged to my family. A couple of times a day, just walking down the street, or in a café, I would see someone reminded me of my mother, or my aunt, or my uncles, or my sister. This was a little bit strange, as I don’t really feel that so much at home.

I need to make sure I come back here someday…….

4 thoughts

  1. Annette. Fabulous writing. You must think about writing a book about your travelling experiences as the way you write is reading of a different kind but in such a way that you just wanto keep on reading and never put it down not even to go to the toilet, very interesting.

    1. Thanks Lykke. Glad you’re enjoying it. I will try not to let them get any longer so as to protect your bowel and bladder health. :p

  2. Cultural heritage is a funny thing. I came to Australia when I was eleven and although I love it and wouldn’t live anywhere else in the world I have never really felt like an Aussie. I only went back to Denmark a couple of years ago, and only for a very short time, and like you I was struck by seeing people to whom I could belong. I don’t get that here. To be clear this is not listed as a shortcoming of my much loved adopted country but there is sometimes a wistful desire to be amongst “my people” or, stated differently, to be with with people like me.
    I think this is a fundamental human need.

    1. I think you are right, zlxj10. Like you, it is clear in my heart that Australia, and particularly Melbourne, is my home. But sometimes I feel as though I am missing a deeper connection with my country – the link with my ancestors. I was talking to a man in Iceland about this not so long ago – about the differences between the way he relates to his country coming from a long line of Icelandic people, and the way I relate to mine, being a relative newcomer (second generation Aussie on one side, and first on the other). When I tell people about my heritage, they say “Well, you are practically European, then”. And I think that’s the difference. Even though I was born in Australia, and I identify myself primarily as Australian, there is a part of me that is tied to “other places”. This was not something I had considered before this trip to Copenhagen, and the depth of feeling I experienced on seeing people who would not look out of place at a family Christmas dinner surprised me. Maybe this is part of the reason I like to travel so much. 😀

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