A Surprise in Copenhagen

My birthday was approaching and Waffle was teasing me with hints about something he had been organizing vigorously.  I was carefully guessing, that we might maybe travel somewhere, or then it might be just a bit fancier dinner. This was the payback from his birthday present, that I had teased him about for months, half a year earlier.

The Wednesday last week, we were driving to work as usual. Waffle was muttering something about weekend being almost there already. I thought he was living in Thursday, and reminded him about the very actual presence of Wednesday. To which he added some silence and then revealed, that I would not be going to work on Thursday nor Friday.

I thought he was lying his eyes off.

Eventually he told me the full story of contacting my boss, demanding some days off for me and so forth. I was astonished and still completely clueless about the future happenings; why did I have holidays? Waffle revealed, that we would need to be really early on the road on Thursday, and that we were driving somewhere. And M2. Needless to say, I was completely unable to focus on anything at work. The day was over fast though and at home we just quickly packed. I blindly, since I had no idea of the destination. When Waffle grabbed the shampoo bottle out of my pack I started to have a hunch. Although he might still be just deceiving me.

We went to bed and tried to sleep for the short night. I was rolling over the possible destinations in my mind, completely confused. Waking up brought no answers. Waffle just stuffed me into the car and we drove off. The address he entered to our GPS revealed that we indeed were flying somewhere. He refused to tell me where, I do not handle not knowing too well. I was staring at the airport departure screens with a puzzled mind.

I only saw Manchester.

I apologize to all you people living in Manchester, but I did not find it the dream destination in the middle of the winter. After staring with disbelief for a moment, another city popped up, Copenhagen! Ok, that’s better already, but… Why? Well, my brain worked over time, trying to figure out the reason for this choice, as we boarded the plane. Waffle started about something like, since Denmark has a special meaning to us, it seemed like a perfect destination for spending a birthday. Hum. Right.

After landing we headed to buy tickets to get to the city center. Line M2 would take us there, the latest hint found a purpose then. We arrived at a big, grey and wet market place and strolled towards the other end of it. I was already rather impressed by the architecture surrounding us. I was suspecting, that Waffle had organized us a place to stay somewhere close by. he was talking about someone mysterious being there waiting for us.

We stopped at a door, and pressed the buzzer… no answer. After a couple of tries Waffle picked the phone and started calling someone. That someone was apparently a mess and in panic, telling us to come back ten minutes later. That did not promise good, Waffle was already starting to think whether we should look for another place to stay. We walked around the block to spend the time and started harassing the mysterious person at the other end of the phone again.

Finally, after two phone calls and private secret meeting between Waffle and the mystery man, we got the keys and tried to enter the building. The key did not seem to be working. I was genuinely feeling nervous. And my ears were freezing over in the chilly sea breeze. Then, magically, the key turned and we entered a hall way, and faced yet another door. Waffle was muttering, that he was hoping, they would not do anything too bad with me. I was feeling growingly uncomfortable.

We entered the apartment, very white, large and Danish. It looked empty, but somehow I had the feeling that we were not alone. I think I heard a cling of a bottle behind the corner. There was quite a surprise waiting for me.

Waffle had been organizing the best birthday I can remember.

I walked in to a room filled with my dearest friends from Finland! They were armed with glasses of champagne and delighted laughter. I could not believe my eyes! My face must have been a sight. The people I shared my student life with, shared so many memories with, all there, for my birthday! I could not have gotten a better gift. All the hassle at the door was just a hoax, to make me even a little bit more nervous.

After the initial shock, hugging, giggling, screaming and toasting later, we decided to hit the streets of Copenhagen, all of us had woken up early and were hungry, so also lunch/brunch was on the agenda. The weather was definitely on our side. We enjoyed a brisk sea wind and sunshine, while staring at the multicolored buildings lining the both sides of a canal. We stopped for a brunch in a very touristic restaurant, offering very fishy dishes and a herring buffet. Side note: it is rather expensive to eat out in Copenhagen.

The weekend was filled with sightseeing, good food – thanks to the Italian addition to the group, and loads of drinking, as most of us were Finns. As there were girls and Copenhagen, we also had to do some traditional shopping in the Illum, and in the shopping streets close by. For our great disappointment the Tivoli Gardens were closed. That destination we handily replaced by visiting the castle of Rosenborg, involving a hefty amount of staring at the crown jewels. Our men of course wanted to raid the free town Cristiania in Cristianshavn. Which apparently is very free, in regards of drug sales.

Copenhagen Jewelry Royal

After all, it was time to go home on a Sunday morning. I had enjoyed shopping with hangover, great company with loads of laughter, beautiful city, with mostly tolerable weather and too much food. Seeing good friends again after a long while, it is always so good. With this bunch of girls it is something special, to see how good our dynamics are, how nothing much ever changes, how easy it is to just get swallowed by the fun having with them and how we can talk and talk about everything.

As a holiday trip this was quite far out of the norm for us. We actually managed to stay in a city and not hike at all. We slept in a bed every night and there was no searching for a camping spot. I still can’t say that we like city trips in general, but it seems that they won’t kill us either.

Also thank you Miia, for helping Waffle in putting this together, and thank you Nelli, Kati and Vittorio for being there. And rum; you shut up!

Advertisements

Life in a Buggy

The first meters. Moving to Belgium brought a lot of changes into my life. Among them a new hobby. I have been studying the fine art of kite buggying for a while now.  It all started after spying on the Flickr account of Waffle. There were plenty of photos of buggies on a beach and people attached to kites. I wanted to be one of those people too!

So, when we were thinking about seeing for the second time, before we actually had met even for the first time (post Karhunkierros), we were thinking Denmark, since it is conveniently in the half way. There was also a famous buggy beach on the island called Rømø. Waffle packed his car with a few kites and a tiny little thing of a buggy. I hopped on to a plane and in Copenhagen we met.

15518536079_28f2e5c797_o

Note the sliding tracks on the sand. The kites, they pull!

That weekend I got to hold a kite, a mere 4.9 meter, for the first time. The wind was gusty, and the kite was pulling me along the beach basically where ever it wanted. I was scared and excited. Pretty soon also exhausted. But I guess that is the name of the game. The next day I could not lift a glass of water to my lips. My arms were completely killed.

Next time with a kite came during our Christmas trip.  I had entered Belgium for the first time in my life, and there was a light winter storm upon us. perfect time to visit the Zeebrugge beach. Waffle gave me a tiny thing, that looked rather much like a shopping bag. After Denmark and having the first experiences with a kite of 4 meters bigger, I was thinking that Waffle was kidding. I quickly found out that he wasn’t. That little piece of plastic over powered me completely. I sat on the sand and got dragged down wind as soon as the kite got up in the air. That was apparently rather a comical sight.

The winter passed, I was living here in Belgium already and it was finally time for the first real buggy session of the year. We collected the trailer, holding all the gear we need at the beach, and headed for the Les Hemmes, Oye Plage at the shores of English Channel. I learned some essentials on the handling of the kite, using brakes and power lines. And of course tasted some speed in our tandem buggy. I think I was sold, loving the speed, and the adrenaline.

11155068_10205309768656443_6328336361241358220_o

The will of the Wind. At the beginning, just like in every beginning, with buggying there are a lot of trials and errors and trials and errors again. When you are trying to move your first meter on wheels, you are always going either too much down wind, and eating the power out of your kite, or pointing too much upwind, when there is no changes to actually get moving, except for upwards and out of your buggy.

And the misery of finding the windshield. You would imagine that that is easy if anything. But no. Especially if the wind decides to turn, I was completely lost. Now I start to notice it a bit better, but while driving it is still sometimes a mystery. The beauty of the sport is that you truly are on the mercy of the nature and the weather. There is always a danger that the wind picks up while you are driving and  suddenly you have too big kite in your hands, trying to kill you the first chance in gets. Or then it just decides to die, go tease someone else and leaves you there, a few kilometers down wind from your gear plantation.  Basically, before you start buggying, you kinda need to know what you are doing. Otherwise it is a complete misery.

_DSC_0060

My Bug!

The direction of the wind. That is important. Everybody who lifts his kite up in Les Hemmes preys for north-western wind. There are two reasons for that. North-western is smooth like a baby’s bum and it allows you to follow the coast. You do not have to drive up and down the beach, you can just set off from one end of the beach and head for the other. Just one straight, fast line. I have yet to experience that, must prey harder I guess.

Thought by the Waffle. Oh Waffle, he is a wonderful teacher. He is patient and thorough, demanding at times. He pushes me forward when I am scared or doubting. Hooks me onto bigger kites that I am mentally prepared for and shows me that actually, they wont kill me. He got me driving in no time, making my turns and emergency brakes and I haven’t yet even injured myself or any of the outsiders!

8757949334_27701699a3_o

When there is almost no wind, this thing comes out.

This was a sneak peek the the buggy world and my life in a buggy continues. I am only a beginner out there on the beach. I will keep you posted every now and then about the happenings in the windshield.

P.S. You never should forget the people. There is a nice group of slightly insane, and amazingly funny people gathering around the buggies. After the heavy day on the beach there is always a nicely tired and relaxed bunch of them having a BBQ at the camp. 

_DSC_0268