So now what? Chances are that you found it scary – but incredibly
exhilarating – and are ready for more? Great! But stripping off down at the
seaside is only fun for so long. Trust me – been there – done that!
30 January 2012 – a few days before the sea turned to
If you’re determined to keep going for the whole season – which for real Vikings
is from November through to April – you’ll most likely want to join a club. A
place to change and hang up your clothes (without them blowing off down the
beach). Some clubs even have showers, toilets and saunas. But most of all,
you’ll just want a place to share your love of this Danish extreme sport with
There is a great overview of Danish clubs, with a nifty little map, at vinterbader.com They’ve
also put together a handy list of contact details for the various clubs…you can
find that here. But be warned. Winterbathing has become extremely
popular the last few years, and most clubs have waiting lists – some of them 6
28 October 2011 – my friend V bathing in fog
Yep, you don’t have to be a crazy Dane to be a winterbather but it sure
helps… See you on the bathing bridge?
When I first came to Copenhagen in 1998, I heard myths of crazy Danes who
would bathe all year round in the sea. Then I spied them myself. Crossing the
road. In their bathrobes. All along the coastal road –Strandvejen– from Hellerup (just north of Copenhagen) to Helsingør.
Yes, I thought they were Completely Nuts.
Surreal to be bathing and hear fog horns out at
Fast forward to a warm summer morning in June 2011. My friend and I were
down at the beach for a run. We spotted several ’winterbathers’ and said to
each other, “Well, that’s something we will never do!” Yep, you guessed it, half
an hour later, there we were, in the sea. Butt naked. Ha! Never say ‘never’!
We’ve been winterbathing ever since – seventeen months, woo hoo! Five days a
week. (And six or seven if we can…) Yes, we are Thoroughly Addicted.
Are you interested in trying out this ‘extreme sport’? Read on and get my
Watch out for icicles on the bathing bridge
Find an old pair of shoes that you can use to walk across the – sometimes
frozen – sand. Flipflops are only suitable for the summer.
Invest in a really good bathrobe. You need one which is long and warm.
Preferably with large pockets (in which you can put your bathing shoes, so they
don’t fly away when it’s blowing a gale).
When it’s really, really cold and the windchill is minus10 degrees, bring a
little hat. Yes, it looks strange to be bathing naked with a little woollen hat
on the top of your head but, believe me, you will be glad of it!
You’ll need a bag large enough to hold the following: a small towel (useful
for drying off your feet, or as a ‘muff’ around your freezing hands and
fingers), a thermos flask of coffee or tea and a mug (enjoy a nice hot cuppa
after your swim), a few biscuits/piece of fruit/energy bar (winterbathing
really fires up your metabolism).
Make sure you are well rested and nice and cosy before you bathe. Going into cold
water when you are tired and chilly isn’t fun.
And most important of all…
Never bathe alone – always, always, always take a friend with you. Safety
first! They’ll be bathing too? Hooray, the more the merrier! They don’t want
to swim? Hooray – you have ‘a butler’ to hold your bathing robe!
1st December = bathing naked + a Santa hat!
Join me next time for tips on what to do when you actually get to the
Happy 1 June! I’m tidying my blog desk and getting ready for the long summer break… But never fear, I’ll be back in August, when the kids are safely back at school and those pesky lunchboxes have been let out of the kitchen cupboards and are on the rampage!
In case you missed the news, we’ve just bought a summer house in Sweden and can’t wait for the handover! [counts the weeks on her fingers] So when I come back, there will no doubt be lots of posts about ‘those silly Swedes’, my attempts at speaking the lingo, yummy (and strange) Swedish foods and that most feared Swedish animal – mygga – the Swedish mosquito! ;o)
If you get bored, you can always delve into my previous blog posts here on DianeDenmark.com or DailyDenmark.com – the place where I share my love of Denmark and my first love – ‘those crazy Danes’. (Yesterday’s post about Denmark follows below.)
Have a wonderful summer. See you on the other side!
* * * * * *
IF YOU CAN’T JOIN THEM…
Okay, so you’ve arrived in Denmark, be it for study, work or mere fascination with Danish tv drama. Though you’ve most likely – as it is for 99% of us – been lured to the Kingdom by a dashing or delectable Dane. You’re excited for the first couple of weeks but then you discover that integrating with those crazy Danes isn’t as easy as you thought. Hmm, what to do?
Become more Danish than the Danes! As Uffe Ellemann-Jensen (the former Minister for Foreign Affairs) so famously said in 1992 – when Denmark had just voted ‘No’ to the Maastricht Treaty and won the European Championship in football – “If you can’t join them, beat them!”
Just concentrate on using the ‘H’ words. HEJ, HILS and HYGGELIG. You can work them into any conversation. Use them liberally and don’t forget to gush.
“Hej!” means “Hi”. Or “Hej, hej!” which is “See you later!”
“Hvor er det hyggeligt!” “Isn’t this cosy/we’re having such a good time!”
“Hils!” or “Hils din mor/din kæreste/derhjemme!” which means, “Tell your Mum/your other half/everyone at home that I was asking for them!”
And when all attempts at conversation fail, just massage the Danish male ego and mention Euro ’92 (see above).
Eat a huge plate of havregryn (raw, rolled oats) with sugar and milk for breakfast. (Generations of Danes can’t be wrong – hey, even Michael Laudrup swears by it, see below.) Rugbrød med leverpostej (ryebread with liverpâté) for lunch. And frikadeller (meatballs) for dinner. Mmm, ‘That calls for a Carlsberg’… If you need a sweet treat, try Flødeboller (like a Scottish Tunnock’s teacake) or skumbananer (banana flavoured marshmallow covered in chocolate). And, for the very brave, lashings of [yuck] Danish lakrids (liquorice).
The Danish weather can be frightful or fantastic – and usually everything inbetween. Be prepared for all seasons in one day. All before lunchtime. As the Danes say, there’s no such thing as bad weather…just the wrong clothing. So embrace it, wear layers and invest in some waterproofs and wellie boots. Or discover your inner Viking, strip off completely and become a winterbather!
Yep, that’s me on 9 January 2012 = water temperature 1c/34f
A DANE OF TWO-HALVES
Be traditional! As I’ve said time and time again, the Danes may be ultra liberal but they’re painfully traditional. Every season, every feast, every holiday, every celebration from cradle to grave has a Danish tradition attached…
Paper woven hearts made by my DDDFIL
Yes, those crazy Danes are a constant inspiration. If you need concrete ideas, tips or some homework, may I suggest you go and read my previous blogposts? I’ve written so many blog posts about them, even I can’t remember it all.
And what will I be doing? Well, the Danish school holidays are rapidly approaching, so I’m tidying my blog desk and am ready to enjoy a long summer blog break. Like most families around these parts, we usually head south to Italy, France or Spain. But this year we’ve taken the plunge. We’ve joined 11,000 other Danish families and bought a summer house in Sweden. (Yes, yes, that means crossing The Bridge/Broen/Bron!) So I’m preparing myself for life with… those silly Swedes! 😉
I mentioned a while ago that I wanted to tidy up my blog. But somehow I’ve been putting it off, spending too much time on the details or generally, shall we say, procrastinating? ;o) Well, I’ve been tinkering with various things and – though this part is far from perfect – it’s time to jump out in faith (as the Flylady says) and get it out there.
I’ve decided to put all my ‘crazy Dane’ posts from DianeDenmark and Diane’s Daily Denmark under one roof. And because I have so many lovely photos (at least, I think they are!), I’ve gone for the ‘flipcard’ approach on the front of the website. You have to look at the website from a computer, iPad etc to get the full effect. (Looking at the mobile site from a smartphone just doesn’t do it justice.)