Great Danes

Great Danes

Wherever did we find
This simple
Dishonesty
That says
We are islands?

Not in the
Blood that
Burns with
Longing for
Touch.

Not in the
Mind that
Pines for
Intermingled
Thought and word.

Not in the
Chest that
Aches for
Echoed pain
We witness.

Only in the
Ego, which
Begs for
Undivided
Attention
From hands
And heart
And mind
And never yields
To trust
To truth
To love.

BW 7/30/16

 

On our last full day in Copenhagen we wandered from spectacle to spectacle. We climbed the Roundtower of Charles IV. We saw Rosenberg Castle and played on its grounds. Then we went to the train station and secured passage to Stockholm NOT at the last possible second. (Look at us go! Strugglefest has taught us things!) We even walked through the intentional community known as Christiania. That is a plot of land in central Copenhagen claimed by squatters that became a commune separate from the EU in the ’70s. Wild!

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This video is dedicated to Jamie Davis! Rosenberg Castle is visible behind us.

 

Later we walked over to Alex and Michael’s apartment to drop in on them like they invited us to. We relaxed for a bit then walked through the parks beside their house. One part of the park was wild-looking (mostly) and the other half was perfectly manicured and topped with a bright yellow mansion. We learned that the yellow building was the King’s summer palace and the wild park was historically the hunting grounds. The park borders the Copenhagen Zoo. We got a glimpse of some rare Danish zebra and elephants. Then we played some music as the sun set on the palace yard. There were swans and children wandering about, funny-shaped trees, and a 15 foot fountain to complete the scene. Alex and Michael relaxed on my cello case to listen while Wormwood conversed for a bit. Afterwards Alex said, “That backdrop was almost a little too perfect.” 🙂

Speaking of old friends, this video is dedicated to the lovely Simone Dietzler!

 

The group of us then returned to their apartment and Michael fixed up a splendid dinner, complete with red wine and Danish Cadbury-egg-type candies for dessert. The company was fantastic and we laughed well into the night. We don’t know Danish culture too well, but Ben and I were pretty sure the night was full of Hygge. We walked back to our hostel that night talking about how much we both miss hosting people at our own apartments. It’s something we’ve both always enjoyed, but lacking a base of operations for so many weeks really drives home the blessing that is company. We’re incredibly grateful to Alex and Michael for sharing their night with us and making us feel so welcome! SkÃ¥l, you two!

Now we are in Stockholm, enjoying the sights and doing a little island hopping to boot. We’ll update y’all soon with tales of Sweden, but we want to take this moment to share some dedication videos.

This one goes out to Katie Grier and Paul Goudreault! We found this outdoor amphitheater in a Stockholm park and decided to imagine an audience of our favorite people.


This video is for Andrea Galdames and her lovely family! Note that there is a tiny, white dog scuttling around our feet halfway through this set, but the camera was too high to see her. Adorable! Wish we could share the visual.


This last one is dedicated to Kate Connors, her husband, and her 22 children! 😉 The buildings across the water behind us belong to Stockholm’s city center. Beautiful, eh?

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Hygge

Hygge

A singular stick
surely grown
nourished to fullness
and flowering
remains easily broken

A column
artfully crafted
powerfully made
of finest stone
topples alone
in the slightest breeze

A seed
set on the wind
remains forever
only possibility
without Earth,
Water, and
Celestial Fire

-BD 7/30/16

I, Ben, might be moving to Copenhagen…People in Minnesota have often confused me as being from one of these Scandinavian countries because of some sort of “accent” they hear on my voice. About a year ago a women was so convinced that I was actually from Denmark that she simply refused to accept that I was from Iowa. Also, the past few winters, I have attempted to adopt the Danish concept of “Hygge” into my daily life. More on that soon. I take these all as signs that maybe Denmark has been calling all these years…Don’t worry Mom, I don’t really think it’ll happen 😉

After hopping off the train from Lauenburg, we stepped onto the streets and realized that they have a different idea of what streets should be. Instead of road and sidewalk, they have an automotive road, a bike road, then a sidewalk. As a result, over 50% of all residents bike to work and use bikes as their primary mode of transportation! It’s a city whose busy streets are not cluttered with honking horns, but smiling faces on bicycles with baskets.

On top of that we’ve come to learn that employees have a minimum 5 weeks vacation (many employers offer and encourage more), 12-month maternity leave, universal health care, free higher education, a vocational education path, 3 years of free Danish classes if immigrating, “night ravens” (locals who volunteer on weekends to help make sure people get home safely), and many more things that this staunch Bernie supporter swooned over. Also, simple things we’ve noticed reflect an embrace of ideas of cooperation and conservation. For example, we saw a relatively new brick wall built along a park. A thick tree branch jutted out in a way that would disrupt the wall. Instead of cutting out the branch or entire tree as one would expect, a fenced portion of the wall was built that allowed room for the tree branch to continue to grow while maintaining an effective wall. Brilliant! And last but not least, a concept that eludes direct translation, “Hygge.” It is pronounced something like “HUE-gah.”

The closest translation is “cozy” but it carries with it more than just physical comforts. It can be used as a noun, a verb, or an adjective. One brief definition I’ve read says, “A fundamental quality of Danish culture, Hygge cannot be translated using a single word. Rather, it includes many of the pleasures we associate with everyday living – relaxing with friends, enjoying good food, and creating a cozy evening by lighting a candle or two.” For a more extended read on the idea, check this article out.

http://www.mnn.com/family/family-activities/blogs/how-hygge-can-help-you-get-through-winter

We enjoyed a night of Hygge during our last night in Lauenburg. Many families gathered for about 30 minutes of music then enjoyed the back patio together until bed time for the kiddos. So, in the spirit of Hygge, we invite you to casually join us on the back patio for our full performance at the Jugendherberge in Lauenburg. Maybe grab a glass of wine, a cup of coffee or tea, a loved one, light some candles, and take a moment to slow down and enjoy togetherness and music. Mark Landson, we’d like to dedicate this one to you!

In Copenhagen, after a day venturing through the cemetery where Hans Christian Andersen and Soren Kierkegaard are buried, we met up with an old friend of Baylen’s, Alex Murray. She currently lives in Copenhagen and showed us some great spots about town. We played some music after dark on the main canal and then headed off to a bar that was so Hygge. Here is a video from the cemetery dedicated to Sarah Richardson and then one from the main canal dedicated to Matt Latchaw. Enjoy!

Candlelight, homemade snickerdoodles, a drink, old friends and new, a carpenter’s bench for a table, and old, worn chairs. Here’s to Hygge!

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