I'm a little embarrassed over my last post, even though everyone who commented was kind and supportive. I know I've not had the worst or hardest road in this community and it isn't fair to refuse to be happy for other people. After talking a bit with Stef B. and Egg, I realized that it's the preponderance of women in first tri on my blogroll right now that got to me. All the first tri posts are so extra, extra stabby for me in a way that posts about second or third tri or even parenting are not. Because watching my friends meet all their first tri milestones either reminds me of how it was when I was pregnant and happy (telling Lawyer Guy about the pregnancy, seeing that gestational sac at the first ultrasound, feeling morning sickness) or reminds me of all the things I hoped and expected to do, but didn't (getting an all-clear on a good heartbeat, getting a due date, telling my parents and friends in a happy way and not a doomed, depressed way). Right now it's just too much and I need to step away. It doesn't mean that I'm not still reading and caring, though.
Okay, so in an effort to raise my mood out of the chronic doldrums it's fallen into, I'm giving you Part One of the long overdue Scandinavia trip recap I promised. Get ready for everyone's favorite activity: boring (faceless) pictures of other people's vacations!
Our trip started rather inauspiciously in Copenhagen in the middle of a torrential downpour:
We saw a bit of the city anyway, visiting some art museums and attempting to follow one of the walking tours in my guide book (yes, I am the kind of traveler who insists on seeing EVERYTHING that a guide books stars or recommends, much to Lawyer Guy's dismay and aching feet). The rain quickly became oppressive however (the most rain Denmark has received on a single day in FIFTY YEARS, I kid you not), and we had to go back to our hotel.
A few words about our hotel. First, it was really lovely and well appointed and the staff was exceedingly pleasant. Second, um...it was in the red light district (forgot to mention that detail, Conde Nast Traveler!), so Lawyer Guy and I entertained ourselves with games of "Prostitute or Just Waiting For a Ride For Over Three Hours?" on our walks back to the hotel at night. (And another note: prosties in Denmark certainly cover up more than their North American counterparts. I've seen whores on Tenth Ave--from the safety of a cab--in the dead of winter wearing miniskirts and heels, but these gals were in jeans and boots.) Third, when we were shown to our room that first morning THERE WAS A CHILD'S CRIB SET UP NEXT TO THE BED. Awesome. Thanks for the reminder, Denmark. They took it out in a hurry.
Okay, so despite the driving rain and gale-force winds and our jetlag, we went out to dinner at a fabulous restaurant around the corner from our hotel, Cofoco. Probably the best meal we had our entire time there. It reminded me of our favorite NYC restaurants in its trendiness and yet lack of pretension, and the food was exceptional (part of the New Danish movement that uses local, seasonal Scandinavian ingredients in inventive ways). It was awesome. Worth getting wet and walking past the "All-Naked Arousing Sex Show" twice.
The next day was still overcast, but we headed about three hours north of Copenhagen (by train) to Aarhus, the second largest city in Denmark, to visit K, my family's former exchange student. We had a wonderful, authentic Danish Sunday lunch and we got to spend time with my Danish sister's kids, these total cherubs:
Incidentally, her home is like a parody of clean Danish modern design, all light, open spaces and (authentic original) midcentury minimalist furniture. To wit:
I could not believe two children under the age of five lived here. There was not a toy on the ground or a single piece of clutter, not even in the bathroom or the children's bedroom.
After a wonderful lunch and a walk down by the sea (which they have a view of though that giant window), Lawyer Guy and I took the train back to Copenhagen for cocktails and dinner reservations at Nimb, a fancy-shmancy hotel in Tivoli Gardens. Then we walked around Tivoli at night, which is a beautiful, whimsical amusement park in the center of the city. Here's the exterior of Nimb seen from the park to give you a sense of what it looks like in the dark:
The whole park is lit like that, with Chinese lanterns hanging in the trees and lights on all the roller coasters. It's quite a sight. We lingered there eating treats and walking around until about midnight, when we went back to our hotel, a short walk away.
We started off the next morning right, with this for breakfast:
Those pastries were utterly insane. We then walked (and walked and walked) the calories off, visiting Stroget, the long pedestrian shopping street through the center of town, and some cool women's clothing shops that the New York Times travel section had recently recommended. I got an adorable tunic top and pink cheetah print winter hat with pompom! (And I'll talk more about shopping in Stockholm, but I just want to say that the prices in both cities were SO reasonable. Things that I'd expect to see priced around $300-$400 at places like Scoop and Searle in NYC were $100-$200 there. This note is mainly for Sienna, who I think will appreciate this information).
After shopping, we went on a canal tour of the city and then walked up to Rosenborg Palace, a gorgeous seventeenth century moated castle in the middle of a lovely and peaceful park. We ate a crazy-good lunch in the park:
(Yes, I take pictures of food. My favorite thing about going on vacation is eating, so I want to keep my delightful gustatory memories fresh. And the big hunt of red meat is mine, all mine!)
We walked the length of our city back to the hotel and rested for an hour or so before changing for dinner. I put on my charming new tunic, bought that morning. But before dinner, we went back to Tivoli to go on some rides, which had already closed the previous night by the time we finished dinner. I am not a daredevil, to say the least. This ferris wheel was about as scary as I was willing to get:
It gave us an incredible view of the park and the city. Later, there were some bumper boats that I did a piss poor job of steering, much to Lawyer Guy's amusement:
I live dangerously.
We finished up the night with dinner at an excellent Thai restaurant near our hotel and then glasses of wine in the hotel's pleasant and private back courtyard. Then it was off to bed in anticipation of an early rising the next morning for our train ride to Stockholm--which must wait for another post, as this one is too long already.
I'm back, and it's hopefully not a once-off!!
4 months ago