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Thanks for visiting Joy42. Follow along on my adventures as an American Expat. I hope to encourage you to seek out the little joys in your life.

48 Hours in Copenhagen + Our Engagement

48 Hours in Copenhagen + Our Engagement

The morning after I landed in London, Luke and I headed to Luton Airport and flew to Copenhagen, Denmark. I don't even remember exactly how Copenhagen became a plan, but we've been talking about it for quite some time. While he was here visiting over Christmas, we booked flights and a hotel. It was hard to pass up considering flights were about £30 each roundtrip and the hotel was reasonable (and included a great breakfast buffet) as well.

We got an early start to our journey, waking up around 5:00 (which was midnight for me). We drove to the airport, waited for the shuttle from the long term parking lot (which we got a great deal on because we booked it in advance), and searched the small(ish) airport for somewhere to eat. We had breakfast at Frankie & Benny's and finished in just enough time to make our way to the gate, wait less than 10 minutes, and board the plane. One thing I was a little thrown off by in Europe was walking out to the tarmac and boarding the plane via stairs.  Anyway, since we were one of the last passengers to board, Ryanair checked our bags at the gate. The flight was short and easy. I think I slept for about an hour of the hour and a half flight.

When we landed in Copenhagen, we had a long journey through the airport. I was surprised to encounter Passport Control as soon as we entered the airport from the plane. There were two lines, one for the EU and the other for the rest of us. I was eventually the last person to go through after Luke had breezed by, probably just flashing his British passport. This is just the first of many times Luke will have to wait for me on the other side. Once we picked up our bags from literally the furthest baggage carousel, we were on our way. Luke bought tickets for the train in the main atrium of the airport while I purchased what was probably an overpriced Coke and water to quench my thirst. (If you saw my Mistakes I Made While Traveling Internationally post, you know I learned the hard way to have water with me at all times.)

The train comes right to the airport, so we hopped on and headed to a station near Amalienborg Castle. My mom had been to Copenhagen last year with my grandparents and recommended a great burger place--if you can believe it--near the Castle. That was our first tourist stop, with our bags in tow. We stumbled upon the colorful canal on the way and stopped to take it all in. Eventually, we made our way to the Castle, eavesdropped on a tour, watched the guards, and snapped some pictures before dragging our suitcases on toward Oscar's for lunch. I know this sounds crazy, but it probably was one of the best burgers I've ever had.

After lunch, we walked a bit to another train station and took the train to the main station in the city, which was nearby our hotel. (Let me just take a second here to give Luke a shout out for being such a great navigator!) We found our hotel, checked in, and headed up to the room. From my experience in Europe, all rooms are pretty small. There's not as much space as in the US and we just do it bigger here. Then again, maybe it's just a big city thing. Anyway, despite being about the size of a cruise ship cabin, it was a great room. Energy efficient (I love the hotels that make you insert your card to use the lights and outlets, plenty of outlets, and very clean. I almost immediately fell asleep and Luke waited patiently for me to wake up. God bless his soul.

By the time I woke up, it was already time to start thinking about dinner. We started searching for stuff online and decided that even though we had just had sushi the night before, we'd do it again. After all, it's Scandinavia! The fish is right there! We found a great place, Sticks'n'Sushi, that's a chain in Europe. They have big community tables, but an intimate enough atmosphere that it felt like just the two of us. Well, the two of us trying to figure out if the couple on the other corner of the table were on a first date or out for a business dinner. The service was great, the sushi was phenomenal, and the menu--literally the paper menu they gave us--was incredibly unique. Check it out if you're in England, Denmark, or Germany. On our way back to the hotel, we noticed all the sex shops and strip clubs we hadn't noticed when it was still light out, but the city still felt small, quiet, and safe.

The next morning, our big plan was to take the train to Malmö, Sweden. The Larson side of my family comes from Sweden and I'm about 25% Swedish, so I was really excited to return to the Motherland. We had a great breakfast at the hotel before setting out for the train station. The train ride was less than an hour, but we had to get off at the Copenhagen Airport. The train left, we got in line to show photo ID (didn't even have to be a passport), and then we got back on a different train. We went under water and then across the famous bridge between Denmark and Sweden. We arrived at a regular train station in Malmö and walked out into the city. Honestly, I was a little bummed we didn't have to go through any sort of Passport control because I've gotta get those stamps! (I still scratched it off on our map, though.)

First on our list was the museum in the old castle. This was the first castle I had ever been to, and I have to say it was a bit of a disappointment. The museum itself was a little odd. Luke perfectly describes its probable conception as the city getting together to decide they needed a museum and seeing what people at the meeting had to contribute. It was bizarre, but we spent the morning get lost in it and looking through all the exhibits.

We decided to head to Lilla Torg to find lunch, so we took the scenic route through Kungsparken. While we were walking through the park, Luke starting looking around like we were being followed. "What are you doing?" I asked him. “Just taking in the sites,” he replied. He finally settled on a spot he liked and asked if we could take a picture together. Of course I obliged and he set up the GoPro we had in a tree.

Now, keep in mind we had only been filming up to this point, not using it for photos, so I was pretty sure what was about to happen. He snapped a picture or two from the app on my phone and then exclaimed, “You’re wearing your gloves for the picture?!” “Do you want me to take them off?” I asked. He said yes, so I peeled them off and slipped them into my pocket. I saw him switch the GoPro from photo to video before dropping my phone into his coat pocket. He turned to me, grabbed my hands, and launched into a beautiful speech about how much he loves me and our future together. He got down on one knee and pulled out a ring box (that he had been carrying in his pocket since the day before I landed). “Will you marry me?” he asked. “Of course I will!”

(Check out our submission to How He Asked here.)

We had lunch at a place called Victors. We each got the salmon--which of course was amazing--and the waiter creepily stood over our table half of the time we were there. The weather had made a turn for the worse just after he slid the ring on my finger, so at lunch we decided to go to the nearby cinema to see La La Land (with Swedish subtitles). While we waited for the film to start, we split a slice of cheesecake at a nearby café in the square.

He had booked a delicious 3-course dinner at a Michelin Star restaurant, Bloom in the Park, where the waitress noticed my ring, to which I responded, “Thanks! I got it today!” She replied, “I got mine four weeks ago,” so we congratulated her and she walked away. Ha! I tell Luke if I could sum up our engagement in one word, it would be "subtle". ;) But really, it would be "perfect".

After dinner, we caught the train back to Copenhagen. When we got back to our hotel, we FaceTimed my mom (her first FaceTime!) to tell her the news. We also called my younger sister, tried some other family members, and eventually got ahold of my dad and stepmom. By the time we got to sleep, it was nearly 2:00AM.

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Needless to say, we had a bit of a late start the next morning. Our original plan was to set out to see some more sites after breakfast without our bags, but by the time we were ready to head out, we didn't have much more time before checking out, so we took our bags with us in order to not have to return to the hotel. We walked all throughout the city, seeing Rosenborg Castle, going back to the canal, and eventually taking a boat tour of the canals, which I would highly recommend. It was a great way to see more of the city, we got to rest our feet, and there was plenty of room for our luggage.

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By the time the boat got back, we had to take the train back to the airport to catch our plane. I checked in at the ticket counter to get my non-EU stamp and we had lunch in a Boston-sports-themed restaurant. (My mom pretty accurately describes Copenhagen as obsessed with American food, despite having great food themselves.) On the flight back to Luton, I broke out my wedding book (The Knot Complete Guide to Weddings) and we started the wedding planning talk. Also, I want to take a moment to brag on my fiancé again because the woman who sat next to us on the plane was trying to get her bag into the overhead storage before we left and Luke offered to help her. I think that's a really genuine testament to how selfless and servant-hearted he is, but he says she was in his way and wanted to sit down. Ha!

Project 3.65M: 365 Days of 10,000 Steps

Project 3.65M: 365 Days of 10,000 Steps

Scars and All

Scars and All