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The Real Hygge

Snow in Denmark

Yesterday morning I woke to a surprising site – snow. A severe storm was slowly taking over Denmark and, being on Jutland, this was a concern. Instead of staying the two nights planned in Aarhus, it was decided to take the two and a half hour ferry ride to Sealand at 3PM that day instead. Where we were to stay that night would be planned when the boat had docked and we could see the road conditions.

The long, bumpy ferry ride kept us on edge and, when we landed in the dark, the tension wasn’t relieved; snow had overtaken the roads. We had planned to return the car to Holbæk and have our cousin meet and drive us back to her home but the roads were too severe for that. Instead, we decided to just pay for an extra day with the car and drive straight to her house + slowly.

It was near white out conditions on unfamiliar roads for over an hour until we stopped at a very little sport center near my cousin’s home. There was a small cafeteria with low lights and candles and so we read Danish home magazines while drinking tea as we waited for my cousin to meet us to lead us the way to her country home.

When she arrived, we got back in the car and drove once again in the winter storm. The 7KM drive seemed so much longer and i didn’t feel at east until we drove into her driveway, stepped into her house, and took off my coat.

And then, then I relaxed. There were candles on the walls, glowing in that inviting way. There were candles in the living room. She had food all prepared, ready for us all to eat – which we did over a four hour time frame in between lots of talking, laughing and sometimes just being.

When I woke up this morning I was happy – we were snowed in. Nowhere to go. Nothing to do. No one to see. At home, quiet, with family. And so I took a walk by myself, up the little country streets in the quiet snow. It was peaceful and I was content – even though it was perhaps the coldest I’ve ever been.

When I returned home we lingered over breakfast; tablecloth on the table, all the dishes properly set, candle burning, coffee brewing and lots of conversation. These are how the Danes are; easy ceremony and lots of talking with ease. They have a little magic in them, I swear, making you not want to leave. Just when you are to rise from the table they offer you more food, or more conversation. They never want the hygge to end. And neither do I.

My cousin Britta (Bree-tah) son, Brian (bree-ahn), came over and all of us (my mum and Britta’s husband Bussa (boos-zah) sat again for hours talking about family, politics, weather, the U.S. (they had just come from a 3 week tour), Denmark and all its changes and life in general. Of course, we ate with candles as our backdrop.

After a few hours, I napped in Britta’s office (our temporary room), which was heavenly: she’s a holistic healer with acupuncture, acupressure and massage. Her office has a beautiful pink wall with white accents and duvets and lots of candles, which make the room smell so divine. It was a good nap and now, here I am. I can hear my mother and Brian talking as they prepare dinner and I am looking forward to yet another meal and entertainment that is only provided by us.

If someone were to ask me which of the days has been my favourite, it would have to be today. There were no grand sites to see, no luxurious hotel rooms to sit in, no shopping done at all but instead, a day spent being with family, eating good food, looking outside to the snow, relaxing fully and just loving every minute without having to explain why – that is Hygge. And as the Danes would say, I will leave tomorrow being very hyggelit.


1 Comment

  1. February 27, 2007 / 6:56 AM

    Your comments make me want to visit Denmark. It hasn’t been on my list of places I want to see, but I have now added it. It sounds lovely and peaceful.