On Saturday, I packed my bag with sheets, extra socks, and plenty of snacks, and headed into the woods with my Outdoor LLC.
“Woods” is a bit of a strong word– the park where we hiked was bisected by a road and a small town, and there were people walking their dogs or riding their bikes down the paths. Nevertheless, Mølleåen boasts a wide range of landscape types, from swamps to forests, in a relatively small area of land. I always get so excited by the unique landscapes and animals in a new country. I find even simple things, like Denmark’s different species of ducks that I would never see in the US, so fun and magical (but maybe that’s just because I’m an absolute nerd).
We started off walking around the lake by way of a very swampy path (fun fact: swamps are characterized by woody plants, while marshes contain mostly grasses). Luckily, I was wearing my all-purpose, industrial strength, waterproof Timberland boots— it had rained the entire week prior, and the path was scattered with large puddles. Sturdy, waterproof boots are a must when living in Denmark, especially if you plan on venturing outside the city. Our guide and LLC coordinator, Aiyo, is extremely knowledgeable about the local flora and fauna, as well as about the history of the area. He showed us a type of moss that you can not only get fresh drinking water from, but also can be used as toilet paper (if needed).
Aiyo also showed us a small overlook with a beautiful view of the candy-colored houses below, as well as a few trees equipped with a rope swing. Some were brave enough to attempt climbing the tree itself, and we were amazed when Aiyo climbed to the very top of the tree with the ease of a monkey.
Because it was supposed to rain, we ended up staying in a hostel for the night, rather than outside. Walking up to the hostel felt a bit like something out of a Scooby-doo movie, with its dark windows and twisted trees looming against the grey sky. On the contrary, the inside was incredibly cozy and warm, with a common room where we could make a fire in the old iron stove and play cards by candlelight. Dinner was my first real, traditional Danish meal– pork meatloaf and potatoes with some sort of heavenly cream sauce, and grape jam to go on top. Not something I would recommend eating everyday unless you want your stomach to feel like a rock, but delicious nonetheless.
After breakfast, with the sun making a guest appearance, we walked just a few kilometers to the sea. At first, we were disappointed by the “private” fences lining the shore, until someone informed us that no one is technically allowed to own any land 50 meters from the water. With the law on our side, we hopped the short fences and basked in the ocean’s cold glory (Kids, don’t try this at home).
Before heading home, we meandered through “Dyrehaven,” which literally means “Deer Park.” Here, you can walk through beautiful, wild open fields, as well as dense forest. We even spotted some people riding horses, in the traditional hunting spirit. The King’s old hunting lodge stands tall in the center of the park, and is still occasionally used for royal events.
The park certainly lived up to its name; we spotted a large family of dozens of deer munching on hay by the old stables. I couldn’t get quite close enough to take a picture, but I did have a good old-fashioned staring contest with the herd’s alpha male.
We were never too far from civilization during the trip, but I still felt we were able to experience nature to the fullest, despite being a mere train ride from the city. Copenhagen’s urban nature and proximity to the ocean are perfect ways to escape from the center of the city, without breaking the bank or needing serious outdoor skills. This weekend was a wonderful opportunity to do just that, while at the same time forming tighter bonds as an LLC family.