Destination: Ærøskøbing, Denmark (a tiny town on the island of Aero)
How to say the essentials in the local language:
Please: Vær venlig
Thank you: mange tak
Where’s the Bathroom: hvor er toilettet
(Thank you to my Danish friend, Anne Mette Voss for translating for me!)
This is hands down one of my favorite trips ever! It’s a perfect destination for true family time where you can really slow down and take in the sights, sounds and beauty of nature. Denmark is a gorgeous country with super friendly people. And the island of Ærøskøbing takes the cake. (And extra special was they fact that I believe we were the only non-Danish in sight, making it a truly authentic experience.) Ærøskøbing was awarded the Europa Nostra prize in 2002 for their efforts in maintaining its original character. The oldest structures date back to 1645!
It was my son (my angel Christian) who forced us to discover 'slow travel’ (obviously a bit grudgingly, initially, I must confess)...
What is slow travel? It’s actually taking the time to really take in and discover a new place; truly immersing oneself in the new experience. For us personally with Christian, it also means doing so on his schedule - and his at-the-time disposition. Believe me, I know. This can be initially perceived as inconvenient. For example going back to lodging for the little guy to nap (for hours)…precious hours where we would otherwise liked to have been exploring the new locale. But you know what? We’ve taken in novels that had been on the wish-lists for years that otherwise would not have been possible (and would do so on cute little patios watching lives unfold that were oh-so different than anything experienced before). And we started noticing we were returning home better rested than we had felt in a really long while.
Slow travel in Denmark was all about bikes, food, (very!) early morning sunrise strolls, napping on hammocks, dips in the bay (just like the locals… well, maybe we were a bit colder than they were!); long meals on patios absorbing the locals - and consuming food and beverage just as they did.
I have many friends who avoid daytime car travel with kids, but we are so glad we travelled via car from the capital city of Copenhagen to Ærøskøbing. We truly relished the widely varying, glorious landscapes. And several ferry boat rides in our car ended up being highlights of the trip. Yes, truth be told, we did need to make lots of pitstops - but this was just more time to play, tickle, laugh, discover new savors, and make memories - together.
A side note on memories - Christian actually consumed his first (and hopefully last) morsel of poop, crawling on some grass at one of those pitstops. (We think it might have been a pet dropping. :-/ ) See what I mean about unforgettable memories? This is where they're made!