Efterårsferie

Efterårsferie, autumn holiday, as mentioned in my previous post has come and gone.

We started it off with a trip to Egeskov Slot and the rest of the week was just the girls and I. So here’s a brief summary of how it went…

Monday, I had Danish lessons. I’ve been taking them over Skype so the time is more flexible and more one on one. This time the girls had to sit in. Our girls seem to have this switch. As soon as video chat comes on, they go into hyper-drive. Everything must be louder, toilet jokes every other sentence and all around silliness. Happens EVERY. TIME. WE. VIDEO. CHAT.

My Danish instructor was very understanding. He was able to get Claire involved by having her draw a picture of herself and have her help me name body parts in Danish. Claire’s attention span only lasted an hour so my meeting was cut a little shorter than usual. Avery (the shy one) did not like being asked questions by him so she quickly sulked away to color and play.

Tuesday brought us to Lego House and Legoland. These are absolute must sees if you have children and come to Denmark. In fact, if you’ve ever played with Legos, go experience it! It is 100% worth the money.

Lego House involves many different aspects. First, you get a wristband that has a special chip in it. It gives you access to the house. It will also be used to store all your memories/Lego creations online for you to download later. A few examples below:

There are so many different areas. We cruised the Lego creations made by people around the world, we made our own Lego figures, we made critter creations, a stop-motion movie, saved the mammoths, dived into a Duplo pit, etc. So so so many adventures. This time of year the Lego house is also dressed up for Halloween so the girls loved pointing out the Lego Jack O’Lanterns or black cats.

They also got to “shake the rats” out of an exhibit. It pretty much involved them removing pieces that had been in a spot for too long. They loved being given that responsibility.

We spent most of the day at Lego House so we made it to Legoland pretty late. Most of the rides were closing down but we were able to ride a few and spend the rest of the time in Duplo Playground.

The reason I was okay with us being late to Legoland was that there were going to be fireworks just after sunset. Since we had missed the 4th of July fireworks, I figured this could be a good substitute.

When the banging started, Avery started screaming. She and I slipped into a hallway while Claire watched the fireworks outside. They were loud but Claire was having a great time. While covering Avery’s ears, I tried to watch the fireworks. Next year, I’m bringing sound earmuffs for her.

The next day was again another Danish lesson then a trip to a friend’s house. She was someone I had been in contact with before the move and I couldn’t wait to actually meet her in person. It’s just hard to make the time work with us both having busy families and our own schudels. Luckily, Wednesday worked out and we were able to meet up.

Our kids had a fun time playing together and it was so nice to talk face to face instead of through chat. She has been so extremely helpful. So very lucky to have someone answer all my questions no matter how silly they may be! When we left their house, Claire was asking when we can come back or invite them to our house. We had a great Wednesday!

Thursday was a trip to Kolding. They have a cute little park where I figured the girls could run around and let out some energy. But I did forget we were in Denmark (sarcasm) and that it rains a lot and had been raining a lot. It was a muddy mess. While I did make the girls wear their waterproof gear, they both refused to listen to me about wearing their boots. So let’s just say we didn’t play on the equipment as much as we would have like.

BUT we did get to ride around the lake in a paddle boat. We had rowed around the lake before but Claire really wanted to try the paddle boat. The park offers life jackets for free so we put them on and had a great time.

Friday came with a new experience. Claire got sick. Fever, sore throat and chills. I noticed some sores in her throat and immediately thought strep. I was nervous calling the doctors office. In Denmark, you are assigned an office. You can change but there is a fee. I had seen a doctor once for my driver’s license but this was a new ballgame, I had a sick child. I called the office first and was connected to a message, in Danish. I waited a bit to see if it would connect to another line but then hung up. Was I suppose to enter Claire’s CPR number (special number given to every resident of Denmark, think SS#)? What did it say? This was the first moment I really felt like a foreigner.

After a few deep breaths and a venting phone call to my husband, I tried again and was connect to someone on the other line.

Me: Taler du engelsk?

Answer: Ja? Yes?

I explained my daughter’s symptoms and was told to come ASAP.

No waiting line. Swiped her CPR card at the front and headed for the waiting room. We were seen in ten minutes (just at closing I may add).

There was no nurse. No weighing, checking of blood pressure, complete history work up. Nothing like what I experience in the states.

Claire was in tears because 1) she was tired and sick 2) she hates being sick. The doctor spoke to us in English and told Claire it was going to be ok. She was as kind as possible to Claire. She looked at Claire’s mouth and ears. She then did a swab to check for strep. And she did the test right in front of us.

No lab here. The lab was right on the table and it just involved a few drops of some liquid and the swab.

Happily, Claire tested negative for strep and the doctor told us it was likely viral. Rest and liquids were what we were told to do. And that was that. No copay or additional forms. Probably one of the quickest doctor visits I’ve been to.

Claire did “rest” all weekend (as much as a kid can) and was fever free all weekend too. She has been her happy self all week.

I, on the other hand, caught food poisoning Friday night. I was preparing seafood and must not have cleaned my hands well enough as I was the only one who worshiped the porcelain throne most of the night (TMI?).

So when the husband went oyster hunting Sunday, I was less than enthused to cook seafood so soon.

He had a great time though and learned some valuable facts about oysters. He learned that the oyster they hunted for (Pacific oyster) has become an invasive species after being introduced to the area in the mid nineties after the European oyster died out over 100 years ago. Therefore, oyster picking is not really regulated in Denmark. He learned where and when to hunt for oysters. That oysters are good in the fridge for one week. If an oyster shell is open, don’t eat it.

He brought home two buckets and set to work cleaning them and shucking some. He was brave enough to fry some up while I watched (still a bit queasy).

It was fun watching him schuck them and try something we likely would never have experienced in Iowa.

When Monday started, we were ready. Claire was so excited to go back to school. Avery was a bit hesitate but after some bribing was willing to let me leave at drop off. I was happy to have a couple hours to myself again at home, even if it was to catch up on laundry and wash dishes. Mom life.

Family Trip #7

We are just coming to the end of fall break here in Denmark. It’s a national break for all schools. Many parents will also take time off during this holiday break to spend time with family or travel.

My husband was very busy at work so he was unable to take any time off but we were able to get in a one day trip.

This trip was to Egeskov Slot. Egeskov Slot roughly translates to Oak Forest Castle. It is one of the most picturesque castles in Denmark. The castle is often featured on many Denmark tourist websites. The gardens surrounding the castle have also received international attention as one of the best gardens in the world (CNN Travel 2013).

Our main draw for going is that it seemed to have something for everyone. Playground for Avery, Halloween themed scavenger hunt for Claire, scenery and history for me and a car/motorcycle museum for the husband.

With all the great reviews and attractions, it wasn’t surprising that the entrance price was a bit high ($75 for three of us, Avery was free). So if you are considering going to Egeskov Slot, go when there is an event going on. More bang for your buck.

October’s event was Halloween. We had to figure out who had cursed Egeskov Slot. There was a map that provided directions to clues all across the grounds. Each clue location had a theme and/or characters dressed as the part. So after a brief talk to a wizard (who spoke English for us), we made our way towards Egeskov Slot.

Wow, right? Egeskov Slot is surrounded by a moat. It really sits in the middle of nowhere. The closest city is about 20 minutes away. It is in the middle of farm fields and close to the village of Kværndrup. So it really is a magnificent site.

Our first stop was the zombies. Avery was NOT a fan. She clung to her dad and refused to take part. Claire was scared but I promised her they wouldn’t touch her or eat her. She gained some confidence after that and we found our first clue.

Everything was in Danish so Google translate was our clue decoder. (FYI. Google translate works much better on Apple than Andriod.)

After catching a quick ride on a broomstick,

we made our way into the castle.

The inside of the castle was set up like a museum. The walls were displayed with different portaits of royalty, stuffed animals, weapons, and other ornate things. Pretty much I ran around telling the girls not to touch anything and to stay close.

There were also some “ghosts” roaming the castle. You could converse with them and one was suppose to be a nanny for the royal children who used to live there. She tried to explain that to Claire but Claire still thought some kids lived in the castle. I had to explain to her that the nanny was a ghost.

Another creepy feature, which was not part of the Halloween fun, was a doll hidden up in the attic. No one knows how long the doll has been tucked away in the attic. Legend has it that if the doll is moved, the castle will fall into the moat on Christmas night. Past families had actually avoided Egeskov Slot on Christmases pass for this reason. The current generation though has enjoyed Christmas at Egeskov with little fear.

Besides the history of the castle, it offered wonderful views of the gardens surrounding the castle.

After touring the castle (and only reading 1/8th of the displays due to children), we ran into Marie Antoinette.

Claire had a few questions about what was up with her neck. So she got a little French history and a lesson in the guillotine. I compared it to Nearly Headless Nick in Harry Potter to make it a little less gruesome.

The next clue on the map sent us into the gardens to find dødens hus (the house of death), edderkopskolen (the spider school) and the Barons’ graveyard (forgot the Danish on this one). We saw some enormous cabbage and rhubarb, awesome hedges, mazes and beautiful views of the castle.

Dracula’s crypt was the last stop for us on the hunt and Claire (and I ) refused to check it out completely. Luckily, the clue was right at the entrance of the crypt so we didn’t have to explore into the darkness.

We did run into Count Dracula and his wife as we left the entrance of the crypt. Claire hid behind her dad as Dracula said something scary to her in Danish. We were happy to run into him in the daylight instead of the dark crypt.

We had completed survived our Halloween hunt and decided to have our picnic. Most Danish museums allow you to bring your own lunch. Egeskov was no exception so we picked a spot that protected us from the light rain.

After lunch, we split. The girls and I headed towards the playground while the husband went to the motorcycle/car museum.

The playground was great. There were many different play areas and equipment. Each play area had a different theme and seemed to be designed for specific age groups. There were also two bounce pads. They were a little slick from the rain but it’s Denmark, you need to learn to deal with it and just have fun!

There were also two zip lines. These types of zip lines can be found in a lot of Danish playgrounds. Claire and Avery both love them. Some go slow and some go fast. These at Egeskov went fast and I had to instruct the girls to hold on TIGHT.

After more bouncing and swinging (and the return of Dad), we found some courage and decided to partake in the Tree Top Walking.

The Tree Top Walking consist of 6 platforms with bridges connecting them. As someone who is a bit afraid of heights, I do not suggest it. I had weak knees the whole time and could not look down. I was clinging on to the rope for life and grabbing the tree trunk when we reached a platform. I was more than happy to get down.

But it did provide an awesome view of Egeskov.

Claire and I decided to partake in the maze next (located on the left in the picture above).

We did get lost but they left some cheat spots to get to the center to be able to go down the slide and escape the maze. The middle provided another great view of Egeskov and the maze.

Our final stop was the fire pit. We were able to participate in a very Danish tradition. We baked some snobrød over the fire. Snobrød (link to recipe. Gluten free link) is basically twisted bread around a stick. You turn it a lot and keep it away from the flames. It took us about 15 minutes to bake it but the girls and husband loved it.

After the brød (bread), we called it a day. We had spent 5 hours in Egeskov and had had a great time. It was probably one of the least stressful trips we’ve been on for everything it offered for all age groups. A great day trip for all of us.

Family Trip #6

First trip outside of Denmark!!

*Warning. This is a LONG post.*

Where did we go?

LONDON!

The girls had a couple days off from school so we decided to hop on a plane to London. Flying within Europe is reasonably priced and after looking at prices for budget hotels, we did it!

Before going though, I was nervous. London was going to be, by far, the largest city I have ever been in. I tried to mentally prepare and I’ll tell you, a LOT of lessons were learned on this trip.

Once I booked the flights and hotels, I spent weeks months researching what we should do with kids in London. I talked to some British citizens and read many different travel blogs. From what I gathered, we could probably have spent a month in London and not see everything. Having two kids did narrow the list down some but still…we had to pick and choose based on the age of our kids and what we thought we would all like.

The itinerary was planned (by me) and we took off from the airport at 10:30 PM.

Both girls were extremely tired before we even took off. They did get some extra energy after a stranger offered to buy them some TY beanies at an airport shop. He said they reminded them of his little girl who was now in her 20s.

By the time we landed, Avery was half awake; Claire’s eyes were glazed over; and we had to wait in customs for 30 minutes. Avery fell asleep in her stroller before we even got through passport control but Claire, running on E, was jumping up and down trying to make the passport control agent laugh (he did smile a bit).

We located our shuttle and found our way to the first budget hotel. We were so exhausted we didn’t feel like going to customer services and complaining that there were no blankets on the beds; we just slept (although not entirely well with the lack of blankets).

DAY 1 in London:

After breakfast, we caught a shuttle back to the airport to hop on the train to downtown London. The train was fast and there were tables for us all to sit at. We played hangman and drew pictures during our train ride.

Finally, we arrived in London at Liverpool Street Station.

We paid for early check in so the first plan of attack was to find our hotel and drop off our bags. Well…there was construction right outside the station and Google maps was leading us down a closed sidewalk. So we realized quickly how crazy London streets are. They are not in near perfect squares like you’d find in a lot of US cities. A lot more circles and curves in these streets. But Google maps caught on quickly and we made it to our hotel.

We immediately checked in and even though we were a bit early for the early check in, we were able to get into our room within 15 minutes. We dropped off our bags and started walking to our first stop, Sky Garden.

Sky Garden is located in a skyscraper at 20 Fenchurch Street. It is also known as the walkie talkie building. It got into a bit a trouble when it melted some car parts and set carpets on fire. This was all due to the windows reflecting sunlight onto the ground, creating intense heat. They obviously fixed the problem and all is good now.

The Sky Garden though is located at the top. It houses a garden and wonderful views of London. Oh and it’s FREE! You just have to be sure to reserve tickets ahead of time. You will also need to go through security at the rear of the building to get to the top. With children in hand, we were escorted pretty quickly through to an elevator.

It was rainy and a bit windy the day we went so the balcony was closed. I honestly don’t think I would have had the courage to step out there anyway. The views were amazing! We could see over the Thames River and beyond. It is also a 365° view so we could see all of downtown London. There were also labels on the windows to identify skyscrapers across London. Our favorite was the Gherkin; 1) because of the name and 2) it looks like an Easter egg.

Oh and it’s called the Sky Garden because it holds London’s highest public garden. Pretty cool!

Next, we found food. Yes, there was a restaurant and cafe in the Sky Garden but it was very busy and expensive. We made a quick pit stop at a department store and used the grossest bathroom I’ve ever used in my life and headed to our next destination; Harry Potter Walking Tour.

Side note: I’m a big Harry Potter fan. I don’t have all the books memorized or know all the actors names and details but I thoroughly enjoy the books and movies. I’ve read them many, many times and own some HP merchandise. So since we were in London, I decided to book us a tour. I skipped on the Harry Potter Studio tour because it was too expensive for all of us and I would have been the only one interested. I also didn’t want to spoil anything for Claire who has just finished the first book.

After walking for about 10 minutes, we decided to take our first adventure on the Tube (subway). I bought a Visitor Oyster card before we arrived in London. If you ever go to London, get this! It made the trip so easy and kept stress over the public transit down to a minimum. We just had to concentrate hard on which line to get on. Really, it wasn’t that difficult. We just liked to double check over and over to make sure we were going the right way. I’m happy to say we didn’t get lost using the Tube. Google maps helped us get on the right line and the maps were posted all through the Tube if I lost a signal on my phone.

The girls were a little afraid of it at first. It was pretty loud rolling through the tunnels. Once on it, they loved it. They liked repeating the stations the conductor announced. I appreciated how many riders would get up when we got on and offer seats to the girls and I. No matter how busy it was, we always had a seat for the girls and I to sit on.

We made it to our location, Palace Theatre. Can you guess why the tour started there?

We were a little early for the tour so we decided to find a quick snack/dessert close by. I found a cafe with gluten free options on my app (Find Me Gluten Free) but when we got there, they were out of gluten free options. The girls were happy though.

After cupcakes, it was Harry Potter time. Our tour guide was Nic and he was excellent. We started with a sorting. Claire and the husband were put into the Ravenclaw house, Avery was put into Slytherin and I was in Gryffindor.

The tour included facts about JK Rowling, locations that inspired the film and actual film locations. We saw the locations that inspired Diagon and Knockturn Alley.

Those window panes are curved and very expensive to fix. There is a hefty fine if you break one. We kept the girls a safe distance from them.

Here’s a few more locations we saw that were in the movie. Drop a comment if you can guess why the location is significant.

Claire also got to act out a scene that was in the movie. She was happy to be Harry Potter.

Another thing I loved about the tour was all the London sites we were able to see. Our tour guide shared with us a lot of the history of London, including the Millennium Bridge (pictured above) and why it’s also known as the Wobbly Bridge. He also pointed out Anchor Pub (may be one of the oldest pubs in London), Borough Market, the enormous St. Paul’s Cathedral and so many other landmarks.

We ended the tour at King’s Cross Station at Platform 9 3/4. There was a very long line to get a picture and the girls were tired and hungry/hangry. So this is the only picture I was able to grab:

After that, we walked just a couple blocks to a place called Honest Burgers. Excellent. It had great service, gluten free options and a kids menu. I highly recommend. Our hostess also seated us at a window seat so were able to see down the hill to King’s Cross as the sun was setting. It was an excellent time to unwind until Claire spilled her lemonade all over.

We caught a bus back to our hotel (using the Oyster Card) and fell fast asleep.

DAY 2 in London:

First we had breakfast in the hotel, then we jumped on a double-decker bus and Tube to get to our next adventure; Thames River Cruise.

This came highly recommended by our Danish instructor and the weather forecast was decent (no downpours expected). We booked a round trip cruise on the Thames from Westminster Millennium Pier to Greenwich. Oh and we also got a discount with our Oyster Card. Score!

The first leg of the river cruise was good. The girls did get a little antsy and Avery was bored near the end of the 45 minute cruise. The captain was also our tour guide and gave us some history about the locations we saw along the riverbank (with a good amount of humor).

Waterloo Bridge or Ladies Bridge. Built mainly by women during WWII. The stone is Portland stone, a stone that cleans itself when rained on.

We came to a quick stop at Tower Bridge which is probably the most famous bridge in London. Us tourists usually mistake it for the London Bridge. But the Tower Bridge is the one that raises up and down in the middle and is featured in many London based movies.

After the quick stop at St. Katharine Pier, we continued towards Greenwich with the captain pointing out many more landmarks. There was even an American flag waving below a pub called the Mayflower, which has a replica of the boat on it’s weather vane.

We arrived at Greenwich Pier without any children jumping overboard and headed toward the Maritime Museum.

Another wonderful thing about London is that most of the museums are free. While all the exhibits may not be, you can see a lot in the free areas. And these museums are huge! Most people can probably spend hours or even days looking at all the history. People with children on the other hand can probably only spend a few hours.

On the open area near the cafe in the Maritime Museum is a large map of the world. There were even a few toy boats to sit on for the children but they were all taken by the time we got there. I enjoyed a coffee while the girls ran around and released some energy after being told to sit still on the Thames River Cruise.

After a couple minutes there, we wondered around the museum. We looked at some small model ships and the girls made some drawings, we moved onto a few more exhibits then found one of the kids areas. It involved a game where you try to shoot a pirate ship, pretend galley (ship kitchen), learning Morse Code with lights and a telegraph machine, play area and drawing area. Avery had a blast here and did not want to leave.

After a couple hours here and bribing Avery to leave the museum, we started our way towards the Royal Observatory. The view and gardens around the Maritime Museum are wonderful. Claire ran around the vast lawn space to release some more energy.

The walk, or should I say the climb, to the Royal Observatory is steep. There is a less strenuous route but it’s longer. We felt strong so we hiked our way up the steep hill (Avery enjoyed the stroller). I was a bit out of breath when we reached the top but man, the view was awesome.

We also took a picture on the Prime Meridian. The Prime Meridian is what separates the globe’s western to eastern hemispheres. This particular location is also important because it’s where Greenwich Mean Time is located. It’s where time zones start and is not affected by Daylight Saving Time. It is also extremely important with weather forecasting as all our maps are released in GMT or UTC.

You can pay to go into the observatory and take a picture along the Prime Meridian with different labels of countries/cities and their longitudinal degree. But since there are a lot of expensive clocks inside and we have small children, we decided to pass on that and take this free picture outside.

After the girls ran up and down the hill a handful of times, we checked out the Peter Harrison Planetarium, which had free entry. It was small but had a lot of hands on activities for the girls. Even the chance of touching a meteorite that is estimated to be 4.5 billion years old. Pretty mind blowing huh?

After that, we walked around Greenwich a bit trying to find a gluten free restaurant to eat at. The first one we stopped had a long wait and it appeared much of the Greenwich cafes and restaurants were full. So we decided to try out some street food we saw just off the pier. It was a hit! The girls were able to get pizza, the husband had a burrito and I tried some South American cuisine.

The entire menu was gluten free so I knew I would be safe here. And it was delicious! I mean, fried cheese! How can you go wrong with that?

After lunch, we grabbed the girls some ice cream for the river cruise back to Thames River Pier.

We met some Americans on this journey back and the girls had a fun time entertaining them with knock, knock jokes and bathroom humor. I also experienced how hard it is to help a three year old in the bathroom on a rocking ship. Not an easy feat.

Back at Thames River Pier, we decided to do some walking to see some famous sites of London.

We then started walking toward Buckingham Palace. Evening was drawing near so we didn’t want to be walking around too late into the night. We walked through another park, St. James’s Park. It was a beautiful stroll.

We made it to Buckingham Palace and did a quick walk through the mall to take it in and grab some photos of the palace and Victoria Memorial.

The Union Flag was flying noting that the queen was not in Buckingham Palace at the time of our visit.

Next stop was Hamleys. It’s not a historical landmark of London but we were told by many Brits to check it out. What is it? A toy store. Five levels of toys. Five. Floors.

So after a nose to nose ride in the Tube (with people somehow making room for us to sit), we arrived at Hamleys.

The girls each picked out a toy (and the parents may have to) and we headed back to the hotel (on a bus this time) to conclude Day 2.

DAY 3:

Day three started off with breakfast again at the hotel, checking out of our room, putting our bags in their storage area and hopping on the bus to the Tube station.

Unfortunately, some sort of filming was going on along the bus route and traffic was hardly moving. We decided to jump off the bus and walk the rest of the way to the Tube. Well mother nature unleashed on us and we were soaked by the time we got to the Underground. Not a great way to start the day…

Happily, the Tube was pretty empty and we made our way to the Natural History Museum. I really like how the Underground had a walkway under the streets of London so we didn’t have to get any more wet. By the time we were back above ground, the rain had stopped and we were 20 minutes early to the opening of the museum. We walked around and enjoyed some more London architecture. And let me tell you, the Natural History Museum is gorgeous.

When we made it inside, we were greeted by a large blue whale skeleton named Hope.

The architecture just inside the museum is breathtaking. Claire chose where she wanted to go first so we made our way to the gems and minerals. Diamonds are a girls best friend, right?

There was some really neat stuff in there but our three year old was not interested. She kept climbing on the glass cabinets and was losing interest fast. Next, we tried the bugs and insects area of the museum. There were a lot of creepy hands on activities but again Avery was not having it. I’m pretty sure it had a lot to do with the large crowd, waiting in line to see a display, lack of sleep and her age.

We decided to get them fed and my husband let me explore the weather/nature side of the museum while he ate with the girls.

I found a cool lightning strike in sand (I think it was at this museum) and a slice of a sequoia tree.

Even though we only explored about 1/16 of this massive museum (seriously, you could spend a week there), we decided to go to the one next door. The Science Museum. We hoped it would have more hands-on stuff for Avery and her current temperament.

This building had some awesome architecture and displays as well. But alas, Avery was a bit too young for this museum as well (at least the areas we checked out). We only spent a couple hours here and realized we needed to call it quits.

We left the museum and made our way to Hyde Park to see the Princess Diana Memorial Fountain.

My mom has always been a fan of English literature and Princess Diana so this was one stop I had to absolutely see before leaving London.

The weather was dreary but we learned something. The girls prefer to be outside running around then inside a museum (AKA box) and being told what to do. They were laughing, running around the fountain. They looked for nuts and leaves. They chased the birds and geese. They were so happy to be outside. Our upcoming trips may need to be altered after this revelation.

We spent a few minutes at the fountain then walked through the park towards the Tube. We saw a few other landmarks along the way like the Peter Pan statue, the Albert Memorial, the Serpentine (used in 2012 Olympics for swimming) and the Italian Gardens.

And with that we got on the Tube, picked up our bags at the hotels and hopped on a train to the airport.

All in all, it was a decent trip. I’m pretty sure you could spend an entire month in London and still not experience all you should. It has so much history, so many museums and wonderful parks. There are so many cultures in this one city. Everyone was kind on the Tube and around the city. Some even indulged my (now) seven year old in silly conversation.

But traveling with sleep deprived children (and being tired myself) made the trip a bit more stressful. Like I said earlier, we learned that the girls may need more running around space for our next trip and less structure. I may have tried to put too much into a three day schedule. Well…you live, you learn they say.

I’m glad we were able to experience it and am looking forward to our next European country.

Play and get some sun

Fall is in full swing and the days are getting noticeably shorter here in Denmark. We’ve been trying to fill our days with more outdoor adventures before the sun starts setting before 4 PM. Eeekkk!

So we’ve been fairly mellow the last couple of weeks just trying to soak in some sun.

We have five apple trees on our rental property. I know five apple trees sounds like a lot but we waited too long to pick one tree and most of its apples were on the ground; mushy. The other trees didn’t produce much so we only came up with about 30 lbs or so of apples.

I was able to make around 11 quarts of applesauce, 24 apples muffins, gluten free apple cake (US version) and æblekage (apple cake: Danish version). Æblekage is more of a trifle dessert that requires no baking. Basically, you cook some peeled apples down to applesauce type consistency. Next, make a type of crumble/crisp mixture. I used gluten free breadcrumbs, sugar and butter.

After it all has cooled a bit, it’s time to layer! Apples, crumble, whipped cream and repeat.

Very simple to make (and delicious to eat).

To get more sun, we also spent a day at a botanical garden in Kolding, Geografisk Have. Its rose garden is rated one of the most beautiful in the world. Unfortunately when we went, all the roses were long past bloom.

However, some other flower were blooming so I was able to see some other beautiful blooms. The garden was also busy with worker bees and the girls were able to learn about pollinators and pollinator hotels from a gardener. Claire now wants to build one.

The garden also had a complex hiking trail through different vegetation that originates not just in Europe but Asia and the Americas.

It also had little book nooks with books for children and adults (most in Danish, of course), a few playgrounds, a mini town, petting zoo and pony rides. A great way to get out and enjoy some sunshine!

We’ve also enjoyed a few hikes around our area. I think it’s worth noting that even though we are separated by an ocean, rural Iowa and rural Denmark look a lot alike. Judge for yourself:

The girls really enjoy hiking and geocaching. Don’t know what geocaching is? It’s basically a scavenger hunt out in nature almost anywhere in the world. It is a free app but if you pay, you’ll see more geocaches. You just need a cell phone signal, GPS locator on, bug spray and good hiking shoes. We’ve had a ball finding different geocaches and marking “Found” on the app.

As you can see, Claire absolutely loves it.

Avery is still on the fence about it.

Oh and one more BIG thing happened! We celebrated Claire’s birthday!

In Denmark, birthdays are a BIG deal. The Danish flag is typically flown at your household to signify an important day. Claire was serenaded in class with the Danish version of Happy Birthday, they all gave her cards and she provided donuts to her classmates.

Her gifts included geodes and some books. She also got to go on a very special trip. Those details coming in another post very soon…stay tuned!