Winterbathing – Diane in Denmark
There’s no turning back! Despite a good fight by the Indian Summer the last couple of weeks, autumn is well and truly here. I’m now wearing my gloves on my morning bike rides because it is so darn ch-ch-chilly! But, hey ho, I’m a seasoned winterbather so I’ve learned to just suck it up and enjoy the small things…here I am this morning after my skinny dip, with some seaweed in my hair! 😉 (Air temp 8c/46f , sea temp still fairly ‘high’ at 12c/53f)
But every (soggy, rain-filled) cloud has a silver lining so the onslaught of the autumnal weather means the excuse to turn up the ‘hygge‘ on, get snuggly indoors and enjoy some fantastic Danish comfort food. I can’t fathom that I’ve been blogging here for five years, have written an eleven-part series on comfort food, but have not yet mentioned…Burning Love – Brændende Kærlighed! 😉
Like most Danish comfort food, it isn’t healthy. Nor is it pretty. So you are forewarned!
Fry up a lot of bacon until it is good and crispy and crunchy. The more, the merrier. I usually buy a whole piece and chop it up myself into little strips.
Remove the bacon from the pan and fry up a whole lot of onions. I also added a carrot or two (just to get some extra veggies in). Just get the onions nice and soft. You don’t want them too brown and you don’t want them to get crunchy.
Next you are going to make up your mashed potato. Now, if you are going the whole hog, you can boil/mash/add butter/salt. But last night I used the cheat’s version and went with a packet as we didn’t have much time. Did you know that there are several types of mash mix…check the label. Some have extra oils and chemicals added. Others are basically just cooked dehydrated flakes of real potato which you then rehydrate. (A fun fact which I learned in my heydays working at the European Court of Justice in the 1990s…yes, we had a case about the ingredients, and what should be listed as ingredients, in mashed potato! Case C-144/93 Pfanni Werke)
But, as usual, I digress! Potato, potahto…you decide what kind of mash you want to use! 😉 Put your mash in a large dish, top with the soft onions, pour the crunchy bacon on top of that. You can, selvfølgelig, add some chives or parsley on the top for a green garnish. But as my DS16 (dear son, aged 16), once said when he was about 5 years old, “Mummy, why do you put grass on top of our food?” Ha! 😀 But I would suggest that you finish off the dish with some freshly ground black pepper and serve it with lots of pickled beetroot…
Then dig in!
After that you are free to go lie down on the sofa and hygge to your heart’s content…
Have a terrific Tuesday!
Welcome to the final instalment of My Danish Christmas Advent Calendar!
The Big Day is finally here! Let’s start with our lunch, which was fairly light – sild (marinated herring) and æggesalat (egg mayo)…
and varmt leverpostej med bacon og champignon (hot liver pâté with bacon and mushrooms). Washed down with julebryg!
After lunch we went to church. Or at least we tried to. Because when we got there, about 15 minutes before the third service of the day was to start – you guessed it! – there was no room left at the inn! 😉 The church had brought in extra seats but, alas, by that time it was standing room only… Which wasn’t really an option for my DSM79 (Dear Scottish Mum, aged 79). Yep, that old chestnut about those crazy Danes never going to church except for the 24 December is truly alive and well! 🙂
So we came home and watched a church service on the telly. And then, after changing into our gladrags, it was suddenly 6pm and time to start dinner – consisting of duck with prunes and apple, red cabbage, caramelised potatoes and boiled potatoes, gravy and hot salted crisps.
And who won this year’s mandelgave?
Ah, ’twas a ris à l’amandenovice! Beginner’s luck?
After dinner we danced round the Christmas tree. Very carefully. Lots of pressies under there, you see!
And then the kids started picking out gifts for us to open, one by one…
It took us – with short breaks for drinks and konfekt (homemade sweets) – about 2 hours! And then it was off to bed after a lovely long day…to wake up to a beautiful white blanket of snow on the morning of 25 December!
Terrific weather for vinterbadning (winterbathing/skinnydipping) in the Danish sea to celebrate…merry Christmas and God Jul!
Welcome to my My Danish Christmas Advent Calendar! Join me every day in opening a new door. Once again, I’ve got a host of goodies to share with you – traditional Danish Christmas recipes, traditions, songs, games, decorations, crafts and landscapes… So sit back, relax and enjoy!
Just when the Danes are in the middle of stuffing themselves with æbleskiver and quaffing great quanties of snaps, julebrygand gløgg, they seem to stop for a moment mid-December and forget about Christmas for a few days (or at least a few evenings) and everyone is glued to the telly. Why? Um, because the European Women’s Handball Championship is taking place right now. And the Danes are c.r.a.z.y. about handball. Not really surprising as the modern rules were made up by a Dane (a teacher at our local school) way back in 1898, and the Danes just seem to be very good at it. Yep, interest here in Women’s handball is only surpassed by their interest in men’s handball – when the nation will once again be glued to their tellys in January.
Me? Not a handball fan. I get my kicks (as regular readers will know) from vinterbadning. Winterbathing, skinny dipping in the Danish sea all year round! 🙂 Here’s a photo from this morning, about 8.15am, just as it was beginning to get light.
And here we are, after our second swim…sorry about the quality, but as well as being very blustery it was also raining heavily! 😛
Here’s a better photo I took last week of the Christmas tree. Just hope it doesn’t blow away in tonight’s storm “Alexander”!
The water has been really quite ‘warm’ so far this year – no sign of any snow or ice yet. But to give you an idea of how extreme it can get, here’s a picture from when we were out swimming last January. Note the snow and icicles on the steps… You don’t have to be mad to be a winterbather but it helps! 😉
Keep yourselves warm, batten down the hatches for tonight’s storm and don’t forget to check back here tomorrow when we open the next door!
Unless you’ve been hiding underneath a(n exceedingly) large rock for the last week, you won’t have escaped the worldwide media coverage of the Scottish referendum on Independence. And if you’re a regular reader, it won’t have escaped your notice that I’m from Scotland 🙂
“Oh, you’re Scottish?!”, exclaim the Danes. Before launching into, “I studied there!/We’ve toured around the highlands!” Or, “It looks so beautiful!/We would so love to go there!” (On a sidenote: when I worked in Luxembourg in the 1990s, the first comment I always got from Frenchmen was, “Oh là là – the film – Braveheart!”)
Males Danes will then often make a joke about kilts.
Then straight after that comes the classic, “Well, hey, you must drink a lot of whisky!” To be honest with you, I can’t stand the stuff… Give me a g+t!
And then there’s the really weird stuff. Like when people start serenading me with that “classic” (and I used that in the loosest sense of the word…) Shubidua song “McArine” about the mean canny Scots who brews his own whisky… Cover your ears and run for the hills! 😛
But back to the referendum. Scotland said No (or “Naw”) to Independence. Why? Well, you know, some things are just better together. Like skinny dipping (vinterbadning) in the Danish sea. Here’s a selfie from this morning with my two bffs – my tartan scarf kept us nice and cosy! (Sea temperature was actually quite warm today, 16c/60f.)
And what did we have along with our cuppa (in addition to the usual cheeky banter) after our skinny dip? Scottie dog shortbread biscuits. Yep, got to love Scotland. Land o’ (yummy) Cakes!
Have a fabulous Friday and a wonderful weekend. Together!
What a difference a month makes… Spring officially started here in Denmark on Saturday (1 March) and, though we’ve still got the odd night of frost, the erantis (Week Seven. Sea or sun?) are out in full force and things are definitely beginning to look up! To give you an example… Here’s a photo I took of my sweetie-skinny-dipping-buddy V just four weeks ago (6 February). Freezing fog and ice on the bathing steps. Yep, you don’t have to be mad to be a winterbather, but we find that it helps… 😉
And here’s me this morning. The sun was out – hooray, hooray – and we had an air temp of 4c (39.2f). Okay, okay, so the water is still a tad on the chilly side – about 3c (37.4f). But we’re not complaining. In fact, the sea was so beautiful and clear this morning that we just had to swim twice!
And there’s more good news ‘cos apparently the Danish weather gods are going to give us a beautiful, Danish spring weekend with sun, sun, sun and temperatures up to 13c (55.4f). Time to head for the beach!
A quick check-in from the beach, where I’ve just
been down for my morning swim!
Now, as you can probably see from all the white in the above picture, the
snow is still with us here in Copenhagen. The roads are pretty bad today. And
the pavements aren’t so easy to navigate either…
In some places – despite the heroic efforts of the local council gritters
– the cycle paths have completely disappeared.
It’s always best to go and check out the terrain before you start undressing for your
swim because it’s a long, breezy, icy walk out to the pier in your bathrobe!
And today there was – selvfølgelig – plenty of ice on the pier and
on the steps down to the sea…
The steps to the right of the pier were looking a tad slippy…
But as they say, “hvor der er vilje, er der vej” (where there’s a
will, there’s a way)! And we found that the steps to the left were our best
And you know what? It felt so good today that we decided that one swim just
wasn’t enough. So we swam twice…
Have a wonderful (watery) Wednesday!
I don’t know what we’ve done to appease the Danish Weather Gods this year but – holy mackerel, Batman – we’ ve had the mildest winter since I arrived in Denmark 16 years ago!
Normally we have the first snowflakes in November. Hats, coats, gloves and thermal undwear are de rigueur through December, January and February. And, come March, we can be thoroughly sick of the white stuff, yearning for spring. Because a) it’s constantly c-c-c-cold and b) getting from A to B is a constant chore. Yep, even the short journey from home to school can involve hot chocolate and a sledge… 😉
But this winter has been ridiculously mild. Average daily temperatures of 6c (42f). Lots of rain. And long, dull, dark (and therefore pretty dreary) days.
But today the calendar says Monday 13 January. The first day we’ve awoken to a real, old-fashioned, woah-it’s-ch-ch-ch-chilly-out-there morning and a very hard frost on the ground.
And this afternoon we had our first big, beautiful snowflakes!
But, if – like me – you’re a winterbather, here’s a little word of warning. Watch your step! Here’s a video I made last week (that’s me in the green bathrobe). The noise you can hear? No, it’s not bad audio. It’s the howling wind 😛
Now, add to the above scene an air temperature of -4c (25f) with a windchill of -10c (14f) and – wow – this morning we had extreme winter bathing conditions. We ran down to the water’s edge, bathrobes flapping. Wearing gloves, hats and with extra towels around our necks – my sweetie friend H even had a fleece blanket wrapped around her waist! There was ice on the steps of the bathing bridge and on the handrail. Very slippery stuff! And your bathrobe and shoes are in real danger of flying away in those high winds. So make sure to take it in turns to swim/hold each other’s gear…
Here’a a photo I took of our bathing bridge in March last year. There was so much ice on the bridge that we had to walk into the sea from the edge… Yep, you don’t have to be mad to be a winterbather, but it helps!
Have a marvelous wintry Monday and let’s keep warm out there!
Welcome back to My Danish Christmas Advent Calendar!
Woop, woop – it’s here! 24 December and we are ready to say “God Jul!”
I started off the day – as I do most mornings – with a skinny dip in the Danish North Sea. The weather was been extremely mild this December, with an average air temperature of 6c (42f) and water temperature 3c (37f). Here we are…fresh out of the refreshing, cold water!
Christmas in Denmark officially starts around 6pm on the 24th of December with dinner…
Our dinner is always roast duck, warm red cabbage, a fresh red cabbage and carrot slaw, caramelised potatoes, boiled potatoes, warm potato crisps and lots of yummy sovs (gravy).
Dessert – as tradition dictates – is ris à l’amande (cold rice pudding with hot cherry sauce). Who’s going to find the almond and win the marcipan pig? It’s anyone’s guess!
Anyway, on to the main event of the evening for the kids…the present opening! Um – no – hold on! We have to dance round the tree first! Yep, we all join hands and dance and sing around the Christmas tree. Normally we sing “Nu er det jul igen!“, “Jingle Bells” and “Højt fra træets grønne top!”
And then the presents can be opened! One at a time, slowly, at random. So that everybody can see who got what from whom. Which makes for a loooooooong process. For us, it usually takes about two hours…
And – hey – thank you for joining me for my Danish Christmas Advent Calendar! I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about those crazy Danes and their fantastic month long Christmas…
God Jul! Merry Christmas!
You know you’re in Denmark when…
The Danes just love the saying, “Der findes intet der hedder dårligt vejr, kun dårligt påklædning!” (“There’s no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing!” – Alfred Wainright) And we have more than our fair share of the wet stuff around these parts… So a couple of weeks back, at the sprightly age of 46, I found myself investing in my first ever set of adult waterproofs. This morning the heavens opened (again, again, again) so I took them out for an intensive test drive!
And where was I headed to in the pouring rain? Why, the beach selvfølgelig! To go skinny dipping in the cold Danish sea! Though, truth be told, the sea water felt warmer than the rain this morning: water temp 11c/51f and air temp 12c/53f. Now, you’ll remember from my Winterbathing Guidethat you also need to be suitably attired for skinny dipping. Here’s my sweetie friend H with her three essential items: bathrobe, brolly and wellies. Yep, there’s no such thing as bad weather…
Have a marvelous Monday! Whatever the weather!