You and I have been strangers for most of our lives. I heard about you in songs, maybe a passing reference in a book I was reading. I scrolled past you on Instagram. Until a couple of weeks ago, I never thought we would become acquainted, but somehow, at 5:30 am last Saturday I found myself on a train to Rome to catch a plane to visit you.
The way this trip came about is fraught with turmoil and lots of stumbling. My friend Ela does a great job of recounting it in a recent blog post, but here's the short version: We were looking for a place to go to for a weekend, and we wanted to go out of the country. After looking at Malta, Sicily, Croatia and more we settled on Brussels, Belgium. The catch? As it turns out Brussels is under a high level terrorist watch and travelers are being discouraged from going there. Cue a frantic scramble to find an interesting place that we could exchange our tickets for. That's where you came in, Copengagen, with your palaces and your gardens and the prospect of exploring the same city that Hans Christian Anderson grew up in.
You certainly stole my heart. I love your broad boulevards and your colorful buildings. Your beautiful people with their flawless style and welcoming smiles. The candles on the tables, in the windows of cafes. The glow of warm light onto a cold, dark sidewalk. I love that in the basement of the Christianborg palace, next to the ruins of the fortress walls, is a room for children with crowns and swords and costumes to play dress-up in. My friends and I were kids again in that room. I love your gardens. The huge greenhouse with the spiral staircases that we arrived at ten minutes after it closed (my only regret). The green statuary, the hedges, the forlorn beauty of it all on a cloudy day. I love that swans are not an uncommon sight. I love that Rosenborg castle still has a moat. You will always be the place where I learned that travel is not for the faint of heart, but also worth all of the stress that comes along with it.
So thank you. Thank you for the laughs and the beauty and the best chicken salad I've ever had. Thank you for the joy of admiring a small but famous statue with 20-some-odd strangers. Thank you for the mall food and the chai latte (the first one I've had since December!), and most of all, for that moment when we first climbed the stairs out of the underground platform and into the heart of the city. Nothing can top the feeling of being in a new place for the first time and the mixture of giddy excitement it inspires. I'll be back someday.
|Photo by Rachel Lynne Witzig|