"The pages are still blank, but there is a miraculous feeling of the words being there, written in invisible ink and clamoring to become visible." -Vladimir Nobokov

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Copenhagen: A Love Letter

Dear Copenhagen,
      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


  1. Thank you, I enjoyed this. Have you been to Florence? I'd love to read your impressions.

    1. I have! I'm actually studying abroad there now, and Copenhagen was a weekend trip I took with my friends. I've written several recaps of my time here, but I'll probably write something more like this at the end of my time here in early March, when I leave to spend the second half of my program in London! Thanks for reading!

  2. I was about to write a note about how your expressive writing drew me into this wonderful place when the Blue Jays started screaming in my yard and I dashed out to find the feathers, the only thing left behind by the hawk that was enjoying a late lunch on this beautiful day. To feel, to hear, to embrace this world is the best experience of all and I am so glad you are embracing your time in Europe!

    1. Thank you Mary Anne! My time spent at Sims definitely taught me that something is always going on around you and that you have to pay attention or you'll miss it! Hope all is well with you, and thanks for reading and taking the time to comment!