Be More Danish, Part 3: Be More Outdoorsy!

Relocating family life to Copenhagen

Reading Time: 5 minutes

The first thing I should say is, this was written before the #beastfromtheeast paid us all a visit, BRRR!!! But anyway, hello ducklings! And holy mackerel, but how is it the start of March already? Does this mean we can slowly (and I’m talking sloth speed here) start looking forward to Spring springing and the winter gloom gradually receding?

Here in Copenhagen, or Rungsted Kyst to be precise, we’ve noticed daylight sticking around for that wee bit longer every day. And boy oh boy does it make a difference! I no longer have to make sure to fit in walking the dog through the woods before it gets dark at 3pm, oh no. It now stays light until just after 5pm, which gives Rufus (the dog) and me a whole two hours more to not worry about getting lost and having to follow a Hänsel and Gretel style trail of dog biscuits to find our way home. My sense of direction is so woefully lacking, I couldn’t find my way out of a paper bag. In fact, if you’re ever out with me and I’m convinced we have to turn right, ignore me and turn left. Nine times out of ten, doing the opposite of what my directional senses tell me is what’ll get you home dry while I’ll still be walking around in circles.

We had a pretty good idea what the climate on Zealand (one of the three larger islands out of the whopping 406 that make up Denmark) would be like. The husband had already lived through two whole years worth of seasons before the dogs and I followed him last summer and, in his most stoically stiff upper lip manner, declared: “It’s just like England, only two or three degrees colder”. That means just like in our former home, we get a lot of non-descript weather, with cloudy skies and drizzle and, if you’re by the coast, bitingly bracing winds. So far, so meh.

Danes are hardy creatures though and one thing we learnt pretty early on was that there is no such thing as bad weather – only inappropriate clothing.

Oh the joy though when, like last week, you wake up every day to sunshine reflected on frosty rooftops. The woods were so full of people making the most of the feeble wintery sun, even Rufus and I couldn’t have gotten lost. They might have put a restraining order out on the random woman stalking them back to civilization but at least we would have been home in time for supper.

Danes are hardy creatures though and one thing we learnt pretty early on was that, according to them, there is no such thing as bad weather – only inappropriate clothing. They really are out at any time of year, any time of day, at any temperature – be it running, walking, cycling, roller skiing, swimming (in winter, and often naked, and I’m not drunk at the time of writing this). You can think of an outdoor pursuit and you can be sure the Danes have got it covered.

Oh how much we have to learn! We took the dogs to what we hoped would be a picture perfect Christmas Eve afternoon beach walk (all the Instagram opportunities to smugly showcase our perfect Danish holiday season, obvs) when the lack of the latter saw us slink back to the car about 20 minutes later, soaked through to our underpants and feeling wholly sorry for our scuppered plans. Not the Danes though, in their water repellent coats and pants or, even better, full body boiler suits. They may be what Anna Wintour’s fashionable nightmares are made of but hey, if they keep me warm and dry, I’ll have two of each. And do you do this one in orange too?

Driving back home along the scenic coast road, eau de wet dog and soaked humans steaming up the car windows, I lost track of the number of runners entirely unperturbed by the torrent. My all time favourite was a debonair dad, jogging alongside the sea, pushing his ergonomic stroller with one hand, dog on lead in the other, looking suave. An enviable coordinational feat my slightly dyspraxic self would fail spectacularly at on a sunny day, never mind during a freezing monsoon.

I don’t want to put a sad note to this but those of you who read my last post may remember that we started the year with a very sickly Barley, our eleven year old Labradoodle lady. It breaks my heart to say that she lost the battle in the end and we’ve had to let her go. That brave girl put up one hell of a fight, as befits her stubborn poodle-y soul, and our pack of three has been feeling pretty bereft. Even more important that we keep some sense of normality up and make sure Rufus, our mischievous rescue dog and resident clown, doesn’t feel the loss of his bossy big sister too keenly. Must go find him some pawed friends to play with!

When things get tough, we take to the beach. Instant therapy! Like the last two days, when we put on some Dane-approved apparel and went on more mini-adventures. This is what we adore so much about living in Denmark. Zealand is tiny compared to the UK and we can be on the other side of the island in an hour. We often literally open Google Maps, pick anywhere along the coast or one of the Fjords that looks like it has a stretch of beach and toddle off to explore.

On Sunday, we ended up walking along a beautiful bay called Sejerø Bugt. Supremely chilly but so calm, it lifted our souls right up. And oh the gorgeous people we met! Including a couple of older ladies with their dogs, wrapped up like Michelin women in their insulated coveralls. They live a mere 800 metres from this beautiful spot. No wonder they knew how to dress for the wintry occasion.

That’s the dream, right there – to live so close to the sea, you can pad down to the beach with your morning coffee every day. And if there’s one thing our little old Lady Barley has taught us this year, it’s to not stop putting off the dream until the Neverland that is ‘one day’ and to live fully and boldly right now. So if anybody is selling a home by the beach, we’ll be in the car for a viewing before you can say “seaside porch included”.

Or yesterday, when the husband took the day off and we decided to investigate the other side of one of our other favourite beaches at Tisvilde. It’s called Liseleje and is as close to perfect as you can get. Well, perhaps not in the summer when apparently, a small stretch is officially a nudist beach – trust me, these days my wobbly bits are better left under cover of a one-piece. Two hours of being literally wind-swept along this beautiful stretch of coastline were more than worth the Bon Jovi style hair and the sand still trickling out of my ears this morning. We met a guy with his two ecstatic tiny dogs (obligatory boiler suit for the human: check), windy tears streaming down his face with the most beaming smile. Wasn’t it just a perfect day to be out for a walk? Oh Dear Danish Sir, I must agree. What an utterly epic day to be alive and kicking the sand.

If last month’s lesson in Being More Danish meant we learn to be more trusting of our fellow (Danish) humans, this month we’re developing a whole new appreciation for how clothes really do make the man. Especially if they enable us to get out and do the things that make us intrinsically happy, like seeing Rufus lollop in and out of the sea and bark furiously at a buoy he’s taken objection to.

Style be damned, I’ll have that ginormous waterproof coat, pretty please, and lollop with him.

Toodles of love to you luscious lot and see you again soon.

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  • loving your Danish adventures, while I as a Dane settled in Scotland, wrap up warm and enjoy the outdoors here! 😉

    • Hi Mette,

      How utterly lovely to see your name in the comments again, . D’you know, I was thinking of you last week. Mr Mac and I were watching the latest series of “Shetland” and were contemplating whether, one day, we might be able to go *that* isolated and move all the way there. I think we might prefer Bornholm, . Although I do love me a Scottish accent and our learning Danish efforts are still coming along painfully slowly…

      If you ever hop back over to Copenhagen, you must let me know so I can buy you a coffee and we can exchange stories.

      — Anna Mac

      • ohh Anna, somehow, I missed this notification of your comments, thank you so much, its so funny to see somebody else looking at my country, while I am conducting my own anthropology studies during my daily chores.
        I might very well take you up on the offer when I come to Kbh next time. much love. xx

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