Summer in Denmark has an almost mythical quality to it. When will it come? How will it behave? Will it rain? Will it last? Will it even show its face at all? Since the moment I arrived in Copenhagen, I had been regaled with tales of a golden season that would magically materialize after all the damp and darkness. OR possibly not appear at all. Only time would tell.
So after months of waiting, and wondering, and staring up at the grey cloud cover that seemed permanent and immovable, it happened. Summer arrived in Copenhagen. And it arrived in style.
I can finally say with confidence that the Danish Summer is truly worth waiting for. The city becomes a bike and boat riding paradise. The sun rises at 4am and sets at 10pm – that’s 17 hours of daylight to soak up. You are surrounded by unpolluted canals you’re encouraged to jump into. You can barbeque meat literally anywhere, via disposable grills sold in supermarkets. At the beach, men wear thongs, girls over-tan, and grandmas lounge topless while grilling, smoking, and drinking.
Summer food specialities emerge as well. I was treated to koldskål or ‘cold bowl’ – which is basically like drinking a bowl of melted vanilla ice cream with small cookies thrown in. It’s delicious. I feasted on Danish strawberries – which for Danes are unparalleled to ANY other strawberry in the world. They signal the official arrival of Summer and should be eaten often – unadorned, or drenched in heavy cream.
Then there are the perfect temperatures and zero humidity, which seem impossible after living through 10+ years of swampy, sweaty, sanity-testing NYC summers. There is no air conditioning, or even fans really. Or screens on the windows. A fresh breeze is all you get, and for the most part, it’s enough.
Scarred by dreadful years of ‘no-show summers’ and the constant unpredictability of the forecast, Danes are super sensitive when it comes to the idea of a long, lasting season. Inevitably a cool, rainy day disturbs a stretch of near perfect weather, and Danes instantly quip “Ok, we hope you enjoyed the Summer, because it’s over now.” The best part, even if it isn’t true, is that you know it easily could be.