It’s been one whirlwind of a week. Since I arrived in Copenhagen last week on Thursday, my racing and travel took me to Germany, Sweden, and Denmark. The warm hospitality of friends keeps me in good food and even better company. Last year when I visited Denmark I was mainly ensconced in Gerlev punctuated with brief day trips to Copenhagen. This year, with the stress of big race behind me, I am feeling totally relaxed with no hurry to cram my vacation here in Europe. After all, there are always sights to see, local delicacy to be enjoyed, practices to attend, and I can’t possibly do it all. May as well take the lazy approach. I must let go, for the time being, of that focus and intensity that had driven my training for months.
My lazy regimen kicked off on Monday. I slept in, baked some cookies, baked a blackberry yogurt cake, and went to a fun skating practice with fellow North American skaters. The next day brought us across the water to Helsingborg, Sweden…home of IKEA headquarter! I stuffed myself silly with Scandinavian breakfast buffet, Skagen shrimp sandwich (just like what they serve at IKEA cafeterias around the world except a million times better), rum ball, graddbuller, and princess cake. Fresh cream is a mainstay in Scandinavian desserts.
The original plan for Wednesday was a brief stop in Copenhagen before taking a train to Slagelse but the heavy rain in Slagelse changed my plans. My brief stop turned into a few hours of hanging out at the main shopping district Stroget. I finally got to visit the famous pastry shop Konditori La Glace! Sitting outside at the cafe table sipping on a cup of rich hot chocolate along with a slice of their signature praline cream cake…all was right with my world. I was full of sugar and cream by the time I finished my lunch but that didn’t stop me from more chocolate and pastry shopping! I revisited Lagkagehuset, a favourite from my last trip, and even managed to do some clothes shopping. But the highlight of the day definitely belonged to a trip to Bilka, a large local supermarket. Grocery shopping in a foreign country always fascinates me and I couldn’t get enough of all the unfamiliar and sometimes strange groceries.
I always have a soft spot for pickled herrings yet they are not terribly popular back at home where I usually shop. The jars always look old and I don’t want to risk the health of my stomach. What a treat to see a full refrigerated shelf stuffed with pickled herrings of all kinds! While my hosts busied themselves with picking up ingredients of dinner, I was totally mesmerized in front of the herrings. After much consideration, I chose a box flavoured with a bit of onion, black peppercorn, and sherry. I enjoyed it over black bread piled high of Fage Greek Yogurt (yes, made IN GREECE). It was everything I hoped it would be. Tart with just a touch of sweetness. I will surely miss it once I return home!
At the insistence of my wonderful host, I also tried a Danish delicacy, koldskål. The word literally translates to “cold bowl” and it is a dessert of sweetened buttermilk floated with tiny vanilla cookies. The buttermilk concoction also contains eggs, lemon flavour, and ymer, a sour milk product. It was pleasantly tart, like a thin drinkable yogurt. The sweetness of the vanilla cookies balanced out the taste nicely and it was a tasty treat. I was glad to have the opportunity to try it!
My travel is quickly coming drawing to a close. Tomorrow will be another day on the road as we drive to Nordstrand, Germany for more racing on Sunday. By Monday night, it will be home sweet home. This trip has been satisfying in many ways yet atypical of my usual way of travel. I’ve been flying by the seat of my pants, not knowing exactly what’s in store for the next few days. Sure I may not see or do or eat as much as I could have but the enjoyment of savouring every little surprise is charming in its own ways.