The Hygge Life

One of my favourite jobs that I had during university (and I had a lot) was tour guiding. While Bucknell is far from perfect, at the end of the day I love the community, education, and overall experience I had during my four years there. Getting to share that experience and that love of Bucknell with prospective students was amazing.

In a way, I’m now getting to relive those tour guide days, sharing what I love in the process, as I embark on leading a group trip with the Monsoon Diaries through Scandinavia and the Baltic States. It’s a small but mighty group, myself, Carol, and Rupa (who arrives tomorrow), and we’re ready to see as much as we can across seven countries in two weeks.

This morning Carol and I meet up at Woodah Hostel to drop our bags off before beginning our exploration of the city. Initially, we were going to do our own walking tour to see most of the major sites, but as we were walking towards Strøget, the main pedestrian mall in Copenhagen, we ran into a free walking tour about to begin. My experience with these tours is that they are either a hit or a miss, so I often will start them, and then ditch after a few stops if it isn’t good (because trust me, if it isn’t good at the start, it won’t get better). So Carol and I decided to give it a shot, and it ended up being a great tour. The guide was energetic, informative, funny, and fun: the perfect combination for a tour guide.

The tour took us throughout the city over three hours, hitting all of the major sites such as City Hall, Christiansborg Palace, Nyhavn (the New Harbour), the Amalienborg Palace, and many others.

As we walked through some of the small side streets, seeing the birthplace of the Carlsberg Beer founder and learning about the history of Copenhagen, our guide told us about hygge. Hygge is a Danish concept that roughly translate to cosiness and describes something that evokes that warm and fuzzy feeling you get when you curl up by the fire on a cold winter day with a good book and some hot chocolate. At least that’s how I interpreted it. Once she talked about it, it started popping up everywhere from the quaint cobble-stoned side streets to the beautiful open spaces where friends and families gather to the candles lighting practically every table in the city, it truly is a life-style here. Even our hostel, with our private little nooks for beds, comfy lounge area, and welcoming bar, evokes a sense of hygge.

Since Carol just arrived in Europe (and slept in an airport last night) and I had an overnight bus into Copenhagen last night, after the tour we checked into the hostel for a relaxing afternoon of cat napping for Carol and reading for me. Once darkness fell, we set off to wander around the city at night, which still had that unique hygge feel even with the liveliness of a Saturday night. I probably just think that because it was pointed out by the tour guide, but hey it’s nice either way.