Saturday 12 March 2011

Swimming in Denmark

We have just returned from a two-night last minute break to a Danish holiday park, to celebrate S's birthday. We have been to Center Parcs in the UK before, which the children love (and is perhaps slightly more "polished" in comparison!!), but they enjoyed this place just as much. We arrived in the middle of a storm which initially gave the place an air of a seaside caravan park in the dead of winter. Once inside our "chalet" however (which was thankfully warm, dry and quite cosy), we soon regained enough stamina to venture outside and make it over to the "sub-tropical swimming dome"! For those of you that haven't yet done so, there is something that you should probably be aware of before you enter a leisure complex in Scandinavia. I know that this something is small and laughably insubstantial to Scandinavian folk, this is the norm for them after all (they have very relaxed views about their bodies), but it is the stuff of nightmares to modest English folk like me (but not it appears to my husband or children)... Yes dear readers, this is the fact that you are expected to shower naked in full view of everyone else (although it is segretated) beforehand. Really! To those (usually English people, myself included) who have tried to avoid revealing an inch of flesh while getting changed on a beach (hopping about on one leg whilst desperately trying to keep a towel wrapped tightly around you), it comes as something of a shock the first time you visit a swimming pool here! The large signs give explicit instructions on the areas you must pay special attention to. You must not only wash your hair(on your head!), but give your under-arms and private areas a pretty good scrub before you are allowed into the pool (can you imagine the Daily Mail headlines?). Some pools even have attendants that watch to make sure you abide by the rules, can you imagine that job? You might therefore understand that Thursday is the first time ever in the past 18 months that we have lived here, that I have been swimming in this country. My children are used to swimming here (more on that in a moment!) and my daughter skipped happily into the shower area, stripped off and start washing whereas I reverted to my teenage stubborn self and stood glaring at the naked scrubbers (glaring at me for not being naked - I just couldn't bring myself to take my swimsuit off completely...!)! It's my friend's fault - she put me off, I was just beginning to get my head around the idea when she told me that she had seen the lady from the post office completely naked and had never been again! Anyway, once I had been through that test of endurance, it was a pleasant surprise to see how far my 4 year old has progressed with his Danish swimming lessons. As family members will testify, he used to be completely petrified of water, so it was worth any amount of public nakedness to see him happily splashing about and confidently doggy-paddling away. We spent the next couple of days relaxing as much as we could with this as the main point of entry to the children's bedroom , but in all seriousness it was really nice to spend some quality time together, and there is plenty on offer here to keep you occupied for a day or two.

On our way back we stopped off in Køge for lunch. I can't understand why we haven't been here before, with its beautiful coloured buildings and red bricked church and quirky little street statues, it's really lovely.
. We had a quick and very pleasant bite to eat at Det Franske Bistro with plates packed to the rafters with excellent rillete, sauscisson and stinky cheese, accompanied by a glass of wine ! My husband asked someone if they had filmed much of Matador here (think televised Danish Archer's), "yes, and it's really like that here you know" came the reply, "what small and picturesque?" asked my husband, "No - everyone really does know each other's business"...which made me laugh! On our way back to the car, we made the most of an opportune moment to get S's hair cut (half the price of CPH!). You can tell how much he enjoyed it, look: -


  1. I remember a similar experience in the geothermal spas in Iceland. The women guards in the changing room were so scary and I was so hopelessly British and coy.

    I'm definitely not going swimming when we come to Copenhagen then!

  2. As Trish says - I had similar experiences in Iceland, but I kind of think what the hell and go for it! I don't remember signs or rules in Germany just a lot of wandering around.

  3. You are braver than me! I am still traumatised! :)


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