Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Magic Happens

After years of badgering, my wife finally decided to run. (Truth be told, her sisters talked her into it. The only result from my badgering was an annoyed wife.)  She has set a goal to complete a half-marathon in mid-November.

Since she’s new to running she asked me to put a training plan together to slowly build up her base. We knew one of the most difficult parts was going to be making it through our two week trip to Europe in July. For the most part we followed through with our grand plans to run on our cruise in the Baltic, a necessity considering the never-ending food, and then even more during our week in Copenhagen.

Running on a cruise ship is blah. It’s either on a treadmill or about 50 laps around a little jogging track. Still, it takes a terrible run to be better than no run at all.

It was easier when we got to Copenhagen. My mother-in-law pointed out a little jogging trail close to their apartment and we took off for a nice five miler. The next day was a rest day for my wife but I went out alone on the same path.

The following day I was ready for a change so I pulled out the map and looked around for some green indicating a park. A little over a mile away there was some green so we decided to give it a shot. Exploring a new place on foot is the best, even if it was raining.

We found the park as expected and entered through a canopy of trees. The rain helped to keep the crowds away and somehow made the landscape look even greener than it already was. The park’s paths wound and crossed. We just enjoyed meandering, excited to see what was around the next bend.

We passed several ponds with swans and ducks, and a little foot bridge. We took a turn and found another beautiful pond with a waterfall and a crane standing in the shallows.

Up a little hill and around another bend were, as expected, elephants. Okay, we hadn’t expected elephants, but there they were nonetheless. Apparently, the park is directly behind a zoo.

Around the next bend we found ourselves on the grounds of a palace. It was one of those, “We must be in Europe” moments. It sat at the top of a gentle slope with a beautifully manicured lawn that descended down to a lake and a pagoda.

That was probably the best run I’ve ever been on and, even with all the grandiose and expensive things we did, it was the highlight of my trip. Just me and my wife, an unexpected palace, and some elephants.

As we left the park, my wife mentioned to me how much fun that was and how she didn’t feel nearly as tired as she normally did after running that long. It’s that “Enjoy the journey” thing. Of course, it doesn’t hurt when the journey is someplace really cool.


On our trip we had some great food, especially when my mother-in-law was cooking authentic Danish cuisine, but, to be honest, the European desserts generally weren't quite sweet enough for me. There was one dish I really enjoyed though. It is a dish that is very popular in Denmark in the summer. The recipe I'm including here was one of the simpler ones that I found, but my unpracticed taste buds couldn't tell a difference.


1 cup plain yogurt
2 cups buttermilk
1/3 to 1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla 

Mix all ingredients thoroughly until sugar is dissolved and no lumps remain. Chill. Serve in a bowl over kammerjunker cookies. In case you don't have any kammerjunker cookies laying around you can substitute Nilla wafers. 

Adapted from