Vejr means weather in Danish and the “et” means “the”.
The weather is one of the topics I get asked the most about when comparing Iowa to Denmark. Recently, the weather has been less than great here.
I follow DMI or Danish Meteorological Institute (USA comparison: NOAA and NWS) on Twitter. I had felt like November was a dreary month. Drearier than it should be for fall in November even in this maritime nation. Turns out it was. According to DMI on November 26, Denmark had only averaged 25 hours of sunshine. Twenty-five hours for an entire month!!!!! Yikes! The unofficial November 2019 total looks to be around 34.7 hours (average November is 52 hours of sunshine). The record is actually 19 hours set in 1993 so I guess it could be worse.
When the sun finally came out for almost 30 minutes one day, I was super excited. I almost rolled down the windows in the car before I remembered it was only a balmy 40°F out.
A good thing about the clouds and rain is that the temperatures have stayed above freezing most days. The temperatures don’t roller coaster as much as they do in the Midwest. Our area has been stuck around 40°F most days (give or take 5°F). The lows and highs are typically always within 10°F. For example, this week’s forecast (in °F):
Chance of rain almost everyday.
My husband and I also joke about how the percentage chance of rain seems to mean something entirely different here. Ten percent chance seems to mean it’ll rain but just not all day. The higher the chance of rain the longer it’ll last. But there is always a chance of rain. Again, it’s a maritime nation, makes complete sense.
So to beat the already settling in winter blues, we decided to venture to an outdoor skating rink in Esbjerg.
The rink was nestled in downtown Esbjerg and we were there just after it opened. It definitely had a wonderful Christmas vibe going with the little Christmas shops, shopping mall and huge tree with lights.
I was excited to get on the ice again. Before you go thinking I’m a figure skater, I am not. I would say I’m more of a speedskater. Oh. And I don’t know how to stop. My stopping is the nearest wall or body. But I do know how to stay upright on skates and turn. I figured the rink would have a lot of newbies like the rest of my family.
This was Claire’s first time skating. She tends to struggle with things she is not immediately good at. After just five minutes, she wanted to give up. We tried to coach her, give her support, some tough love and encouragement. Finally, we just left her alone. That did the trick. She ventured out on her own a little bit and by the time we left, she was smiling and saying she had a great time.
Avery, on the other hand, tried it once. There were little whale ice skating aids and she made herself very comfortable on one. She enjoyed having her parents push her around the rink. There was even a little slide and we went down it multiple times.
Over an hour later, we called it a day. Claire had fallen a few too many times and Avery was SSSSSOOOOO hungry. The girls had noticed the McDonald’s right next to the rink so that was the place we decided to eat lunch. It was a quick lunch as we needed to get back to our car before our time expired on our spot.
After lunch, we drove to the Men at Sea statues. As the name suggests, it is a statue that sits in Esbjerg harbor. It is four males staring out to sea. Four 30 foot tall men. Apparently, ships can see the monument 6 miles out at sea on a clear day.
Claire was in awe of them and enjoyed climbing under them. She also liked seeing the ocean again and found many sea shells before we left (Avery was not interested and did not get out of the car).
We then stopped at an open thrift store and the girls got some roller skates. They were so excited to learn to ice skate we decided we should start teaching them to skate on wheels. We lucked out that the thrift store had skates in their shoe sizes (and mine).
As soon as we got home, they wanted to skate so we went out and gave them a try. Nobody took too big of a tumble…
The next day, we went to our first Danish Christmas market. It was fairly small but the girls were able to do some crafts. They made paper snowmen, foam clay snowmen and ate Pebernødder, a traditional Danish Christmas cookie. We weren’t sure if it was worth the drive to the market but the girls had a great time and we decided that it was a fun day.
The Christmas market was just the start of Christmas celebrations in Denmark. We’ve danced around the Christmas tree twice so far, eaten Christmas food and made Danish Christmas decorations. And with only 44 hours of average sunlight expected in December, I understand how Danes embrace the Christmas season so enthusiastically. Now we’ll just have to see if we get a white Christmas (chance of a nationwide Denmark white Christmas is only 8%).