denmark, eats, travel

The Danish Summer: Magic or Myth?

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 koldskĂ„l 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.

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movies

Back in the Saddle for a Psycho Beach Party

And committing to posting again!

I won’t do the whole intro/apology “sorry for not posting for a while” thing.’ For one thing, that assumes I have actual readers beyond my best friends and boyfriend. For another, it’s just boring. It’s been a few years. I live in Copenhagen now. Moving on!

One of my favorite things about living in Denmark is the movie-going experience as a whole. It’s expensive, yes. But you get a reserved/assigned seat, the concessions include beer and wine, and every theater is immaculate.

The Danish Film Institute here in Copenhagen is one of our favorite spots, with various festivals throughout the year featuring the best of International Cinema, plus occasional screenings of old American classics.

As part of their Summer Movie Series this year, they put out a few perfect collections with names like “Sun, Summer, and Psychopaths” and “Evil Hotels.” Summertime and horror greats like Jaws, The Shining, and Psycho mixed with Euro art films like Hotel and Dirty Pretty Things, mixed with modern B-movie magic like Sharktopus. “It’s not a shark! It’s not an octopus! It is Sharktopus!”

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The highlight for me was catching the camp comedy/horror film Psycho Beach Party. Based on the off-Broadway play written by Charles Busch, the plot follows main character Florence “Chicklet” Forest, played by Lauren Ambrose, a naĂŻve, “gee-whiz” teen we soon learn has multiple suppressed personalities. When her alter-egos appear, Chicklet blacks out, emerging clueless and confused while her friends and family try to cover for her strange behavior.

A series of inexplicable Malibu murders start knocking off her cohorts one by one, and Chicklet wonders if she could be the one committing the crimes, unaware. The whole plot and character set are a direct spoof of the 1959 classic Gidget, with silly, self-aware sexual innuendoes, twangy surf sequences, and lots of slang like ‘daddy-o’ and ‘dig it’ poking fun at the 50s/60s beach party genre and constructed teen slasher plots. It definitely has its high and low points, (highlights are Busch’s turn in drag as Capt. Monica Stark, Ambrose’s short-circuit-style alter-ego purge, and a beach luau dance off starring Amy Adams), but it embodies everything a great summer flick should be, and it certainly doesn’t take itself too seriously.

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