Last month I took a trip to Denmark by myself to celebrate my mom’s birthday. It felt like old times when my parents, sister and I all sat around the dinner table, discussing the day’s events. I was there only a short time and the days were filled with party preparations and lots of “hygge”. It was wonderful!
The day before I headed back to the States, I decided to take a walk on the path that goes around the lake near my parent’s house called Brabrandsø (“sø” is lake in Danish). The sky looked ominous but still I went. The path, approximately 10 km or 6.2 miles long, is called Brabrandstien (“sti” is path in Danish). I have done the walk multiple times and biked around the lake more times than I can count, but somehow that day I observed my surroundings in a different light and found them surprisingly intriguing.
I stayed to the right of the path as walkers are supposed to. Accommodations are made for walkers and bikers with separated paths. At one part of the path, the bikers’ lane has even been marked for two lane traffic. There are always many bikers in their gear zipping around the lake, but there are also a lot of people, dressed in regular clothes, who take this route to town, work, or school. Case in point, as I approached the path from my parents’ house, I saw a group of school kids and their teachers on a little field trip, all on bikes.
If you are there to exercise, fitness equipment has been set up on each side of the lake. There is usually someone working out and certainly my son loves to do a few reps on the equipment when he’s with me.
Brabrandsøen to us today is precious because it provides a special place to be active and enjoy nature. But the lake area has been crucial to people for many, many years, dating all the way back to the Middle Ages when it was a vital food source. Artifacts dating back 6000 years have been found in the area and are at times still found by people working in their gardens. That’s pretty amazing!
The lake is only about 7 km (4.3 miles) from Aarhus which is Denmark’s second largest city, but still you will see cows, goats and horses grazing freely close to homes (not farms). Simple electric fences are only there to keep the animals off the path and they seem to know that as they contently eat, nap and lazily watch people pass by. I think it’s quite charming how the rural mixes so nonchalantly with the suburban.
When I returned from my walk, I told my parents that I felt inspired to write about all my “new” observations along this old familiar route. It’s very rewarding when you get a fresh look at things that are so familiar to you. And so here I am, writing and re-experiencing…