But our first official morning in Denmark, en route to the Swedish island of Hven, proved to be educational...
We woke up in our little bunk beds at Brett's Aunt and Uncle's house in Copenhagen feeling well rested, excited and more than a little giddy at what the day would hold. It was the 8th anniversary of my father-in-laws passing and a special day for us all to spend together. July 14th, "Spike" day.
Sos and Finn, longtime family friends who also knew my father-in-law, met us in the morning. We'd seen photos of them for years and they of us. We already felt like kin and falling into an easy relationship was instant. Raincoats buttoned up, we walked the few blocks to the metro station near Jodi and Mogen's house and caught the train downtown.
It was hard not to stop and stare at everything. But we had a boat to catch, and we knew we'd be back along all of this...the history, the architecture, the people, the food - oh my! We'd see it all in due time.
Along with about 20 other brave souls, we boarded our vessel and quickly found ourselves jostling and bumping along the whitecaps on the way to the island. I have never loved Dramamine more in my entire life than I did that morning, watching Sos turn green as she tried to focus on the horizon.
And this is where I made my first faux pas in Europe, thank god I was among friends.
Do you see this? This was what was on our table for breakfast...take a good look - a basket of baked goods, cheese and some type of cured meat with a garnish of colorful peppers. Mmmm...
Brett's aunt, who is probably the nicest person on the face of the earth and I love dearly, advised me to "help myself," to the basket so what did I do? I reached for one of those delicious looking croissants.
I mean, isn't that what anyone would do? After all, they did have chocolate on them.
She and Sos giggled and said something about eating dessert first - I blushed. They assured me that it didn't matter. We poured our coffee and discussed everything from cultural differences to books as we watched the weather rain down on the water. That croissant was FILLED with chocolate and it wasn't long before I was kicking myself for being so impulsive, although it didn't stop me from enjoying the delicious meat and cheese (and a few of those pretty peppers) afterwards as I slugged down a 2nd cup of coffee, feeling it's warmth do the trick as it seeped through my veins.
I couldn't be happier.
And before I knew it we were there:
Kind of like "heaven" without the first "e" and "a" if you're into that sort of thing.
Brett and I restrained ourselves from being overwhelmed with the beauty of the place, but it was difficult. We climbed a hill, feeling very European at this point what with the tall grasses, adorable cottages, cobblestone and hidden gardens peeking at us every few feet, until we reached an endless plateau of gently rolling fields, flowers and clusters of small buildings.
This was where we picked up our bicycles.
And off we rode, in the rain, trying to keep our smiles closed as we peddled along so as not to end up with a salad of gnats in our teeth (always a concern while bicycling), through the fields in a place that felt very much like heaven.
Note to self: eat the meat and cheeses BEFORE the chocolate croissant when enjoying a Danish breakfast.