Once upon a time, I met a guy who developed a growing interest in me. He was funny and charming and had all the good manners his mother taught him still intact. And still, I didn’t take him very seriously. He would take me out to dinner, to have drinks. My friends kept trying to convince me we were dating and I kept brushing them all off. One day he suggested we go away together for a weekend. That cunning fox, he knew how much I loved to travel and he figured that was the only way to get in my pants. I didn’t trust him. Instead of politely declining like my mother taught me, I upped the ante to see if I could call his bluff. I told him I would only go away with him if he came with me to Copenhagen.
Three months later, I was meeting him at Copenhagen Airport… so much for calling his bluff. Over the next couple of days, I became enamored with Copenhagen and inadvertently, with him. Here’s how he and Copenhagen conspired to get me to fall in love.
He let me take the lead.
The second we got to the airport, he just let me work my expert travel magic. He didn’t question why I was standing in line for a Metro ticket machine and whether or not it was the right train. He just trusted that I probably knew what I was doing. As we explored the city, he didn’t second guess me when I pointed us in the right direction, or even when I pointed in the wrong one.
He was down for anything and everything.
Though I don’t like to overplan my vacations, I tend to have a short list of things I absolutely must do wherever I go. In Copenhagen, at the top of my list was the Nyhavn waterfront and its iconic row of colorful buildings. So there we went. And when I wanted to see it again at night, he was happy to return with me. When we stumbled on a church that was actually a museum (Nikolaj Kunstal), and I asked him if he wanted to check it out, his answer was yes. We played with all the interactive exhibits and had intelligent but casual conversations about the art.
After seeing the Vors Frelsers Kirke (Our Saviour’s Church) from afar all day long – a church I lovingly renamed the Chocolate Dream, because it looks like a delicious cake with gold-leaf trim – he agreed to hike across the river to check it out. And once we got there, he suggested we walk all the way up to the top (“We’re already here. Might as well.”) This ended up being one of the most fun and challenging experiences of the trip, going up that narrow stairway which becomes tiny and wooden as it spirals to the top. But we reached the peak and it was oh-so worth it.
He also agreed to take a day trip out to Helsingor to see Kornborg Castle, the setting for Shakespeare’s Hamlet. We walked through the spacious rooms and danced in the great hall to no music at all. When I made a joke about the castle’s crude plumbing, he laughed like I had never seen him laugh before. Even the most cultured, intelligent men love a good poop joke.
When things went wrong, he remained calm and helpful.
On our way back to Copenhagen from Helsingor, we thought we had missed the last train out. I looked at our tickets and couldn’t find our train to Copenhagen on any of the station timetables. When I suggested that we may have to get a hotel and stay the night in Helsingor, he didn’t freak out. He just said that’s what we would do if it came down to it. He went to see a station attendant while I tried to use the automated machines to figure out another way back to Copenhagen. Before long, we realized that the train home did not terminate in Copenhagen and the city listed on the timetables was the final destination after a stop in Copenhagen. We rejoiced and hopped on the train, that had been sitting there overseeing our minor hiccup all along.
He took beautiful photos of everything, including me.
He walked around transfixed by the beauty of Copenhagen. He would stop every so often to perfectly frame and shoot a scene. In his lens, I could see things I hadn’t noticed myself in person. When we were sitting down to breakfast or lunch, he would take a quick snap of me smirking at him. Once when I was looking through my backpack, he photographed me again, and a photo that might have been otherwise extremely unflattering captured everything about me. But the thing that made me fall in love with him almost immediately, was when he photographed my gnome.
Because it showed he was interested in what’s important to me.
While most people would (and do), laugh off my obsessive gnome photography all over the world, when he saw a good opportunity for a gnome photo, he would pose him and sit there taking the perfect shot. When we passed by the #happywall, he climbed the rolling ladder back and forth until he had spelled out HONKY in bright, colorful letters. And on our last day there, after everything was packed and we were ready to fly home, we took a quick detour to see the Little Mermaid statue because that was the last remaining thing on my must-do list.
At the end of it all, I realized that no matter how much someone wines and dines you, you never really know their potential until you’ve taken an international trip with them and the biggest drama was whether the Lagkagehuset bakery down the street would have the chocolate rum balls we had the day before (They did and we rejoiced!).