The gray gloomy weather has settled over Denmark and I haven’t written a blog post in quite awhile.
The reasoning for this is well…COVID-19. (If you’re tired of COVID news, skip on down a few paragraphs.)
My family has not been infected but it has made a significant impact in Denmark…again. The second wave of the infection has hit. It first started with my daughters’ school.
There was a case, then another, and then the school closed for two weeks to allow the infection chain to break. Everyone who was a close contact was tested twice or instructed to stay isolated for seven days to see if symptoms developed. My oldest was tested and she was negative. Then the kindergartner staff was hit and my youngest was home for a total of 3 1/2 weeks. Kindergarten is not mandatory in Denmark so we were keeping her home because she had a runny nose, then her sister’s class closed, then her class was impacted. It was a long month but they were able to attend school for at least one week before Christmas.
Before the holidays though, the infection rate had been on the increase. The government first started introducing restrictions to the capital region and to two bigger cities. Then a week later it was expanded to more municipalities. Eventually it included the whole country. These restrictions were put in place December 20th:
-All restaurants, bars and cafes closed. Takeaway allowed
-All cultural institutions (museums, theaters, etc.) closed
-Youth sports and recreations must stop but professional may continue
-All grades above 0 (1st grade) must move to online learning. This includes adult education and university.
-Stores should make unification lines (moving in same direction in aisles) and allow only a certain number of customers depending on the size of the store
-Mask enforcement and limited number of people at gatherings continues
-Public gatherings must be under 10 people and outdoors if possible.
They also made strong recommendations that family members stay home for the holidays to avoid spreading the virus to older family members.
Unfortunately, around the holidays, the UK strain (B117) was discovered to be circulating in Denmark. That prompted more restrictions that went into effect on January 3rd. In addition to the above, restrictions now include:
-Gatherings should now be under 5 people even in private homes
-2 meters (6 ft) distance should now be maintained in public (it was 1 meter)
-No one is allowed to come into the country without a negative COVID test. The test must be less than 24 hours old from departure (at least by air).
-There are different restrictions for neighboring countries like northern Germany and Sweden but I think it only applies to those who need to commute on a daily bases (not entirely sure)
Which concludes why I haven’t written a blog post. When we’re not doing online learning with either Danish or my daughters’ class, we’re doing a different activity like playing a game or crafts. So I honestly haven’t had a chance to jump on the computer and write a long post.
We also haven’t traveled anywhere since Germany. Almost every country in Europe has closed or put in mandatory 10 or 14-day quarantine. We opted to stay in Denmark instead of traveling to the USA. It was an extremely difficult decision with lots of headaches from dealing with the airline agency and homesickness. But we feel it was the safest choice for our family and our older relatives.
So what have we been filling our times with?
Crafts, baking and some geocaching.
Since my last post, we’ve celebrated a couple of holidays. We had a unicorn and penguin for Halloween. There was no trick or treating this year but the school had a little celebration. I also did a little scavenger hunt for the girls (meaning I printed off someone’s template online). We even managed to spend a day at Legoland (before the stricter shutdown) to participate in Brick or Treat (you go from a little cabin to another in Legoland and pick up special treats).
The next holiday was Thanksgiving. We had to wait until the weekend to celebrate it since Denmark doesn’t celebrate this American holiday. We were able to find cranberries and a turkey. Everything on the table was homemade except the Jell-O and stuffing (my husband loves Stove Top; had to have it imported). We also put up the Christmas tree that day.
In between Thanksgiving and Christmas is when the restrictions really started to ramp up here in Denmark. So we spent the time outdoors geocaching in many forests across Denmark. Below are just a few pictures of all we’ve seen:
We have found a LOT of geocaches over the last couple months. It has also been getting colder. Not Midwest cold but just below freezing cold. The cooler temperatures allowed me to witness an ice phenomenon on one of our geocaching tours, frost flowers:
We also went looking for trolls! Thomas Dambo is a Danish artist and is known to make artwork from recycled materials or trash. During the past summer, he hid these giants trolls across Denmark naming it “The Journey to The Giant Troldefolkefest”. So we decided to go find a few. Here are the four we found:
Looking for Stærke Storm brought us on an art/sculpture walk in Silkeborg. We found some really amazing sculptures (including one that reminded me of the USA) and the girls had a great time playing some music on some outdoor percussion instruments.
We also explored a bunch of WWII bunkers. The Bunker Museum was closed for the winter months but many of the bunkers were open for us to explore. According to the Bunker Museum website, the Germans were becoming increasingly worried about an invasion from allied forces on the west coast of Denmark. So on November 5, 1943, around 350 officers, soldiers and personnel were ordered to move from Copenhagen to Silkeborg Bad. This location picked because it was close enough to control defenses on the coast but far enough away to be out of combat. Twenty-four bunkers were built by around 600 Danes in the span of eight months.
Finally, we stopped at the highest natural point in Denmark; Ejer Bavnehøj (which may actually be the 2nd highest; Møllehøj is 500 meters away and very close to the same height). On a clear day, one can possibly see the island of Samsø and the Little Belt Bridge that connects Jutland to Fyn.
Bad news: it was very foggy when we showed up. So we couldn’t see ANYTHING from the top of the tower. Good news: it had snowed! The girls were so excited to play a bit in the snow and throw snowballs at their parents.
And before we knew it, it was Christmas!
It wasn’t an easy Christmas. We missed family so very much. I missed a lot of my family traditions, seeing my extended family and so much more.
We did our best to keep some traditions going, most of it food related. We made Christmas candy, Wassil, and cookies. We also merged in some Danish foods like risalamande, pebernødder and æbleskiver. We ate well over the break (maybe too well).
Then it was New Years. We didn’t go anywhere because well…COVID but we did enjoy some family time. The girls made crafts, drank bubbly juice, watched a movie and tried to stay up to midnight (the eldest succeeded). We watched fireworks all night (they had been going off since 5 pm) and waited for the big show at midnight. Unfortunately, it was foggy and the town was trapped in smoke by 12:10 am. We couldn’t see a thing which seems like the correct ending to 2020. What a year!?!
Now Denmark remains in lockdown but cases are continuing to fall so there is hope. Here’s hoping for a better 2021.
Stay safe and healthy everyone!