It’s been a while since I’ve written a post and figured it was time for a bit of an update on life here in Denmark.
The girls are back in school! They are so happy to be back but everything is different. The class sizes have been split in half for the older classes (primary/elementary). The classes are not to intermingle with other classes during the school day. Students are to maintain a 2 meter (6 ft) distance from each other during class and lunch. The lunch hall has flowed into another room to accommodate this. Library books are put in quarantine for three days. Lunch is now served by the teachers to each student. It is no longer buffet style. Toilets and playgrounds are dedicated to one class. Claire says she washes her hands seven times a day and everything is constantly wiped down. Avery’s toys are cleaned and dried outside. Hugs are strongly discouraged although kids will be kids and Avery has admitted to lots of hugs with her classmates. Parents are no longer allowed in the school. The video below does an excellent job explaining how Denmark schools opened and the new policies in place.
Things are beginning to roll here in Denmark as well. We are currently in phase 2 of reopening (total of 4 phases).
-Phase 1 was the opening of daycares, preschools and elementary/primary schools. Businesses such as hair salons and tattoo parlors and the like were allowed to open with certain precautions.
-Phase 2 started this week and continues into next week. Older kids (6th-10th) will join the schools. The 2 meter rule will be reduced to 1 meter and the 10 person ban will not apply to schools anymore. Claire will be back with her entire class but they are still not allowed to play with students in other classes. This will continue to mean dedicated toilets and playgrounds for each class.
Sports, without spectators, were allowed to begin along with club sports that are done outdoors. Many private companies could open. Zoo safaris were allowed to open but guests must stay in their cars. Retail and department stores were opened but huge sales to drive in customers were strongly discouraged. Restaurants, cafes and bars could open with limits on operating hours, physical distancing and the number of guests. Vocational schools, libraries, churches and after-school education are allowed to open as long as social distancing is continued.
-Phase 3 is set to start June 8th but the prime minister has stated that there is a chance it may be set in to motion earlier since the infection rate appears to be holding steady here. It is currently at 0.7 and the goal is to keep it below 1.
The group size limit is expected to be raised from 10 to 30-50 in June.
Opening June 8th (or earlier), will be culture and activity centers, amusement parks, zoos, summer camps/activities for all ages, the public sector, adult education, colleges and indoor sports.
DR and TV2 (the main media in Denmark) will be allowed to open if the infection rate continues to be low.
Of course, guidelines are to be enforced.
-Phase 4 will not occur until the beginning of August. Night club life will be allowed to open, all gyms and indoor sports and leisure facilities may open and the ban on events of over 500 people may be lifted at the end of the month.
What I’m probably watching the closest is the border situation. The border remains closed in Denmark. However, Sweden remains open and never closed (they also have the highest infection rate and death in the Nordic countries). Germany desperately wants to open the border before the summer holidays as lots of Germans have holiday homes in Denmark. Germany also wants to get tourists into Germany. As a result, Germany announced it was ready to open the borders on Friday. Denmark said no; it was not ready and wanted to coordinate with others.
Norway has said no travel at all. It has strongly advised all citizens to stay in Norway this summer and foreigners are not allowed in unless they own a home or have family in Norway.
The Danish government has announced it will make a decision on or before June 1st about travel to and from Denmark. We are patiently waiting…
So what have we been doing?
Exploring Denmark’s nature.
Happily, Denmark is full of national parks and surrounded by sea. When the two combine, it makes for one amazing trip. I truly find the sea so relaxing and I love escaping to it whenever we have a chance.
One weekend, we decided to go Sønderskov on a Sunday as it had plenty of geocaches and sat right next to the sea. To be correct, it’s a strait called Little Belt (Lillebælt). We found several geocaches on our walk towards it.
When we came upon it, we found a camping area. There were multiple picnic tables, a shelter and even an ax for chopping wood to burn in one of the fire pits. There was also a bench on the edge of a small cliff that was questionable to sit on. It honestly looked like it could tumble down at any moment as many of the surrounding trees had already done.
The girls decided it was a good time to have a snack.
We then made our way down to the shore and looked for sea shells, remains of crabs and anything else we could find. I found a neat looking piece of driftwood that I was tempted to pull home.
After a while at the beach, we headed back to the car. We left finding all 10 geocaches.
I also snapped a picture of the beautiful yellow flowers on the rapeseed plants. It is a cash crop here in Denmark. I really like the smell of the flowers and the striking yellow against the typical green fields.
At home, the husband and I had a talk. We decided we needed a weekend somewhere else. Somewhere near the ocean. The girls had a Friday off of school so we decided to book a rental home near Aabenraa for a long weekend.
It’s funny how sometimes you don’t know you need something until you get it? I needed this. It was so relaxing. First off, the view was spectacular. This whole area is mainly just vacation homes and quite a few Danes were enjoying the long weekend as well. The houses sit on a bluff with all the houses facing the sea. So pretty much every house has the same, pretty view.
From the deck, we were able to watch bulk carrier ships to little fishing boats. Aabenraa Fjord is 45 meters (~147 feet) deep. It is one of the deepest in Denmark so a coal storage facility is located in Aabenraa. Big bulk carriers bring the coal in then smaller bulk carrier will ship it across Denmark.
We could also see the little tiny strip of sand that was formed just off the main land that I think is called Løjt Land (do not quote me). We saw many attempting to fish from it in the mornings.
We spent the first day jumping on the trampoline. Us parents were then reminded on why we don’t have a trampoline. Claire got hurt because too many people were jumping on the trampoline at once.
After some cuddles and a back massage, we made our way down to the beach to explore.
We counted sail boats as they came in and out of the fjord. We hunted for shells, crab skeletons and colorful rocks. We found dead jellyfish and attempted to play in the sand. It was a rocky beach so there wasn’t much sand that was good for building castles so we switched to just digging holes.
That afternoon, we played some games we found in the house. One was a Christmas themed yahtzee and the other was called Shut the Box. We then read some books, played ladder golf and jumped on the trampoline some more.
That evening, we took a walk to visit some friends who were staying in a beach house nearby.
The next day, we slept in. Late.
Claire and I decided to walk down to the beach while the husband and Avery stayed at the house.
Claire and I went the opposite direction that we had gone the day before. We found more shells and washed up crabs. It was another sunny, calm day along the beach.
After lunch, we all loaded up in the car and headed to Jørgensgård Skov to…you guessed it…geocache.
Unfortunately, my GPS decided not to work on my phone and my husband didn’t have his on him. So we had to abandon the hunt and just enjoy the hike.
It was a great hike though! Claire found a message in a bottle. It was put there by a young child named Ester. There was even a bracelet that Claire could have taken. Claire however wanted to keep it there because she thought it would be fun for someone else to find it too.
We then found a rope swing. The girls absolutely loved it. They spent a long time swinging back and forth with help from the husband giving big pushes.
What I enjoyed from this spot was the view! I could see Aabenraa from this spot. The water was also very clear. We spotted tons of little jellyfish along the shore and reminded the girls that jellyfish sting and that we should leave them alone. The girls were quite content on the swing anyway.
We finally decided it was time to head back. I’m pretty sure the girls were getting hungry which is likely the only reason I was able to pull them off the swing.
On the walk back, we spotted cows, a viking carving, and plenty of dandelion seeds to blow. The walk back took much longer because Avery had to be sure to blow as many seeds as possible.
Even the drive back to the rental was adventurous. We found a gorgeous restaurant called Restaurant Knapp. It was nestled into the woods and looked completely secluded. We also went under a tunnel and again found the beautiful yellow flowers. It was our last full day in the beach rental and we had had a great day!
The last day we cleaned the rental and spent one last time at the beach. We walked out on to the dock and watched the morning boats. I was sad to leave but left feeling refreshed and ready to take on the world again.
And that’s about the biggest adventures we’ve had.
We’re waiting to see what the next few weeks bring especially with the announcement on border control happening soon. We don’t think we’ll be traveling back to the USA though. It makes me sad to realize I won’t be able to see family physically in person for another 6-12 months. But the risk of bringing the virus home with us to our loved ones is enough to keep us in Denmark (plus the uncertainty of flights too).
If the border opens, we may travel. Or we may explore more of Denmark. We really don’t know yet.
Until then, I’ve decided to do a post to answer any questions you have about Denmark that I haven’t answered. A few I’ve gotten have been:
-What are food prices like in Denmark?
-What is the weather like?
-Is seafood more available?
If you have any, feel free to drop a comment here or on any of my social media accounts. Until then, stay healthy!