Journal: 11 January 2017
Originally written, and then adapted for La Petit Magazine blog.
I’ve visited Gothenberg, Oslo, and Copenhagen, so I suppose it would be fair to say I’ve got quite an interest in Scandinavian culture. As well as consuming just about every Nordic Noir boxset available, I am an avid reader about Danish culture – and they consistently top the polls as being the happiest nation. So, we flew to Aarhus, Denmark’s second city (and this year’s City of Culture) to celebrate our wedding anniversary and hopefully adopt into our lifestyle some of their habits.
Hygge, this Danish word is everywhere. Whilst there isn’t a direct translation into English, in its essence, it is the appreciation of the simple moments in life (which are often surrounded by loved ones). The art of being hygge is cited as one of the main reasons the Danish people are so content. As a country they work less hours than the UK and spend more time with their families.
I was adamant I was going to ingratiate myself into the Danish culture and see if I could return home with ways I could improve my lifestyle.
With our trip booked, I was adamant I was going to ingratiate myself into the Danish culture and see if I could return home with ways I could improve my lifestyle. So, we started our journey by living like a Dane, and rented an AirBnB apartment from a lovely family in the Latin Quarter.
We had a long list of things we’d like to see, which I appreciate doesn’t really sound that hygge. So we said to ourselves: ‘hey, these are the things we’d like to see, so we’ll do it all in our own time and, if we don’t, then no stress’. We just took each day (and the weather) as it came.
A large part of our trip revolved around exploring the city, from their incredible food markets, local parks, museums and design shops. We did a lot of meandering and discovered some great coffee shops and pastries along the way!
With our trip being close to Christmas we chose some excursions that were more festive (and seasonal). Tivoli at night and feeding reindeers by hand (I’m not sure they were strictly reindeers, but Stanley couldn’t tell) were both magical. Bobby and I also tried Gløgg (Danish mulled wine) at the street food market, that definitely got us in the spirit!
We found the locals to be really kind, welcoming, helpful and undeniably happy. I’m sure a family-orientated society with a strong sense of community, an emphasis on slow living and an appreciation of the simple pleasures definitely contribute to a better overall wellbeing.
Despite our trip being a city break and, to a certain extent, a busy one, we genuinely came home refreshed. And I would absolutely recommend this as a destination with or without a family.
Next stop on our Scandinavian adventures is Stockholm in the summer and we’ve also snuck in a break to Lisbon in March. This is the year of the city breaks for us!