The past six months have gone by so fast, which is the opposite of what I expected. I have started an exercise/dance class, called Sh’Bam, at a fitness centre here in Denmark. It is a fantastic class and I am happy to meet other members. The other day, after making my protection officer some Canadian pancakes with maple syrup, we went for a little drive to the Queen’s Palace. I thought it was a crazy idea, since it was late in the night, and I didn’t think I would be able to see anything. I was wrong. We drove into the courtyard of Her Majesty’s great big palace and there were lights all around us. There were torches guarding the doors, Royal Guards standing at attention, and there was light from the beautiful centrepiece in the courtyard. I was taken aback by the beauty and stillness of the palace at night. The guards were still and silent with their perfect posture and blank faces.
Then, out of nowhere, a parade of long black cars came in through the palace gates and they parked in front of the door to the palace. I was shocked – it all happened so fast. We moved out of the way and watched as what seemed to be a scene from a movie happened right in front of us. Many soldiers stepped out of the cars, uniformed in navy blue with badges on their chests and arms.
The doors of the palace opened for them as they marched in. My protection officer informed me that they may have been part of the Danish Navy. Just as we were walking back to the car, we heard commands from the Royal Guards. Turning around, I saw that two of the guards carrying the Danish flag up to the tower to be raised (this signals that the Queen is home). I think the Queen was among those soldiers.
Though January went by quickly, I did have time to plan my upcoming trip to London and go on a weekend trip to the other side of Denmark. I took a train to Ribe, an ancient city on the western coast of southern Jutland in Denmark. It is the oldest surviving city in Denmark. I travelled with an exchange student friend from India, and we visited an exchange student friend from Ecuador. That Saturday, we rode our bikes on the flat landscape of the countryside and into the old city. Riding our bikes slowly through the small, colourful streets was the highlight of my exchange so far. It was a beautiful day, sunny, and the bike I borrowed had a little basket on it. We did a little sightseeing at the Lady Maria Cathedral, where we climbed the Commoner’s Tower and could see out over the whole city. It was a beautiful sight. I took many pictures and the church had so much detail that we spent two hours in it. Later, we had a famous European hot dog and walked along the river that leads to the sea. It was a very nice walk. We could see many old statues, buildings, and landscapes along the way. After that, we ran across the oldest restaurant/inn belonging to Ribe. The roof swayed, and the doorway slanted. Although pricey, we could not help but have some tea in the tiny historic inn. I felt as though I was back in time when the land was swarming with Vikings and villagers. I fly to London in one week and I am so excited to see Big Ben. We have plans to take the original sightseeing red bus. I am so happy to have my good friend by my side while I make my mark in London.
Vi ses Snart!
Emily Maloney is a Merritt Rotary exchange student.