Mom visits Denmark!

December started off great with Mom’s nearly two week visit. She and I were able to enjoy each others company while exploring Christmastime in Denmark. She’s traveled to Europe a few times, but this was her first time in the country, and I think she was impressed by the sites and the hospitality of our friends.

She arrived in the afternoon, so we started her stay with a walk down Kongensgade, which is the pedestrian street near our apartment. Christmas huts were set up in the square, along with an ice skating rink. We figured a bit of coffee was in order for the drizzly day.

Mom and I both opted out of stepping on the ice. The rink is still up in January and you won’t ever see me on it. We all know I’m graceful …
Does this look like the face of someone who has been up for 24 hours? I think not. Maybe it’s the coffee.

The following day was the one day where rain was not forecasted, so we took the ferry to the island of Fanø. Once there, we walked the streets of Nordby, admiring the thatch-roofed homes and seals.

Fanø homes
Fanø has fun, artsy shops scattered about. I was told by a resident that Fanø has a very high income because many of the residents have good-paying jobs where they can telecommute. They choose to live on the remote island for its laid back culture.
Timeout for tea and Skip-Bo. As we played cards, I decided I needed to keep score since she always seemed to win when she kept score. Very suspicious.

Cook & Talk

I am so very grateful for the Esbjerg Newcomer Service. This sector of the municipality is essentially Esbjerg’s welcome wagon. They help you settle in, point you in the right direction for services and they assist us with getting to know one another. In December they had a “Cook & Talk” event where we made a traditional Danish Christmas dinner with other newcomers.

Mom, Ksenia (our neighbor and John’s coworker) and I manage the kitchen pretty well.

The menu consisted of a Danish pork roast called flæskesteg. The pork is fatty with the skin still on it. We made slices through the skin and fat, salted generously and put bay leaves in between the slices. The fat and skin made very nice crackling, almost like pork rinds. It is different than anything I’ve made, but it is quite tasty.

Flæskesteg
The remainder of the meal: boiled potatoes, brown gravy, which they call brown sauce, and caramelized potatoes. Yes, two kinds of potatoes and not a vegetable in sight. A friend told me at the end of the meal they even have potato chips to sop up the rest of the gravy that is on the plate. For dessert, we made risalamande, which is a rice pudding with whipping cream, almonds and a cherry sauce. It’s no pumpkin pie, but it’s good.

Christmas in Ribe

John and I have visited Ribe a few times, but we have never seen it at Christmas. Plus, mom was here to enjoy it with us!

We are ready to check out the oldest town in Denmark, its Christmas market (Julemarked) and its handmade market.
The handmade items were displayed for purchase in Ribe’s town hall (Rådhus).
This gentleman, with his crank music box, got us all in the holiday spirit outside Hotel Dagmar.

New Friends

It was also special for Mom to meet some of our new friends.

Ksenia invited us over for borscht. Or, maybe John asked for her to make borscht enough times that she caved. It was delicious!
Monika and her baby, Barb, served as our tour guides and took us to the beach in Blåvand to admire the sea,
the lighthouse and have lunch in Hjerting.
The lighthouse in Blåvand
We were also able to enjoy a cup of coffee and good conversation with Stine.

And, I shouldn’t forget one of the highlights, my choir performance. Ha! Due to the spurring on of Stine, I joined the International Choir with her, and we had a wonderful time. We met once a week for about 10 weeks. The end of the session fell at the beginning of December, so we did a concert. Even though our meetings / lessons were in Danish, the songs were English, sans Silent Night, which was in English, Swedish and Danish. The other songs we learned were Mamma Mia, Let me Entertain You (Robbie Williams – never heard of the guy!), Ain’t No Mountain and Sound of Silence.

Poor Mom, she couldn’t dodge the obligatory school Christmas concert this year. However, this had to be better than my junior high performance … I think … well, maybe.

This post has gotten quite long, so I’m going to leave our adventure in Copenhagen for another time.

Until next time, hej, hej!

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