Odense, Denmark on a Whim

I had been meaning to get to Odense, Denmark for so many years.  My friends Jeanett and Tim are from there and still currently reside in the city.  I met them in New York City in July 2011 and vowed to come see them at some point when living in Norway.  They had come up to Bergen when I was living there and we got to hang out for a day and I promised and promised I’d make it down their way.

Instead, I found myself on a strict budget and the only way for me to get to travel anywhere was to go somewhere east and go somewhere cheap.  Denmark never fit this category.  Years passed, they had a beautiful daughter, Bella, and I still had never made the visit to their city.

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This past December, I was a month into my move to Germany when I needed to head to Norway to pick up the remainder of my belongings, including my pup.  I rented a car, and actually had the offer to meet someone in Copenhagen to exchange it all.  This was a relief since a trip all the way up to Norway was going to be even more expensive and just plain exhausting.  Since I am the world’s worst driver and don’t feel like putting my skills to the test here in Germany, my friend Sabrina offered to come with.  We had road-tripped together in Croatia before and I knew we would make the most of our time.  And, to make things even more exciting, Sabrina had never been to Denmark.  I was stoked to show her Copenhagen, undoubtably one of the coolest cities in Europe.

A few days prior to the trip, which was around twelve hours if the weather stayed friendly, we started booking hotels and getting everything sorted.  We also found out a massive storm was headed for Denmark and northern Germany.  It left us very uncertain about what to do.  In addition, timings with staying in Copenhagen just were off and we could not figure out how to do all in a financially responsible manner over such a short period of time.

After glaring at a map for about a day straight, I realized our best option was to stay in Odense.  And lucky for me, Jeanett and Tim were there.  They graciously offered to take us in and were excited for a reunion after all these years.  And I finally got to meet Bella.

We arrived a bit late after being caught in very ugly winds and water blowing over the bridge onto our car.  They had homemade moussaka waiting for us, along with some delicious and local to Fyn (the island Odense is situated on), Danish brews.  We must have sat around for six hours just catching up.  Sabrina immediately got along well with Jeanett and Tim and it was like we had all known each other since we were ten.

The following morning we woke up and had to take off to Copenhagen to do the exchange in the early afternoon.  They had treated us to a lavish and tasty Danish breakfast (complete with sausage, of course) and took us into the city to see things for a bit before leaving.

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If you ever want to meet someone strikingly proud of their country and heritage, get to know a Dane.  Particularly one from Odense.  For years, Jeanett had raved about her hometown to me and told me how charming and quaint it was, despite being the third most populous city in the country.  It wasn’t until I saw it with my own eyes that I really could believe it.  Odense encompassed everything I missed about living in Scandinavia.  I only had the chance to walk around for an hour or so, but by passing cozy cafe after cozy cafe, little design boutiques, and cobblestone streets, I knew Odense and I would meet again someday.

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Odense is old.  There is proof that people lived there even as far back as the Stone Age.  Clean and well-maintained, Odense is also the birthplace of Hans Christian Andersen, the fairy tale writer who wrote notable stories such as The Little Mermaid, The Emperor’s New Clothes, Thumbelina, and The Ugly Duckling (among hundreds more).  It is home to tennis star, Caroline Wozniacki.  And perhaps, most excitingly to me, it is the home of , one of my favorite musical artists.


My time in Odense was very short-lived, but it gave me a taste of what Odense has to offer.  And while it is a quieter, more peaceful kind of city, it definitely reminds me of everything I love most about Scandinavian cities.

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Thanks for the amazing hospitality Jeanett and Tim!  Can’t wait to make it back there!

Comments (10)

Anna | The Blonde Banana

I stopped at Odense on my way from Copenhagen to Aarhus and agree that it was so charming! I was only there a few hours but there are lots of great photo opps. Definitely glad we made it a priority to stop there on our road trip!

hey if you were there a few hours, you still have more time there than me! well, technically i was there overnight, but as for exploring the city- not long at all!! such a stunning and charming place though!

I was in Odense couple of years ago but I don’t remember it that pretty! Looks really lovely!

oh, and I really like the new design here :)

it was so freaking charming! i loved this city! glad i have a good friend there who gives me the constant excuse to travel back ;)

and gracias bout the design! been working on it for a while and finally launched in jan!

Odense set igennem amerikanske øjne | Miss Jeanett

[…] men det jeg ville dele med jer er hendes blogindlæg om turen til Odense, som hun netop lige har lagt op her. Det er altså vildt sjovt at se og læse hvordan en udefra ser på den by man bor i (og holder ret […]

Such a beautiful town! I’ve never been to Denmark, but I’m thinking of adding it to my travel list for this year. Fingers crossed I’ll make it.

Definitely do it!! Denmark is full of so many gems, including Copenhagen, but people pass up many of them because they don’t know them off the top of their head :)

I’m in no doubt about why H.C. Andersen was so inspired to write his fairy tales anymore. Looking at the photos with the amazing streets and little houses. And… can you give more information about the moussaka? ‘Cause we have the same meal here on the Balkans. And it is made of baked potatoes and minced meat. I didn’t know that they have it in Denmark too.

It certainly was a gorgeous place! The moussaka we ate was Greek inspired ;) They love moussaka in Scandinavia!

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