When you A) work from home and B) work for yourself, it can become a situation ripe with cabin fever.
And I had it bad. My idea of travel had been limited to moving from my apartment to the local café or to the school library, both within a 5-minute walk for a few months. I had to stay put for a while due to ongoing visa applications.
But I finally had an excuse to leave Odense, Denmark, where I currently live, for a short time and see a new place. Travel always get me hyped up and excited in a way not much else can. 🤩
Freelance Friday was being held at the Kolding branch of the University of Southern Denmark (where my partner attends his Master’s studies in Odense). Kolding is a 30-minute train ride away from Odense or Aarhus, and is perfect for a day trip.
I took my laptop and planned for a great walk through some cozy cobblestone streets and snuggling up for a few hours in a new coffeeshop.
🚲 And the day started out in the worst possible way, for Denmark. Meaning, with a flat tire.
Danes and Danish residents bike pretty much everywhere, with safe and extensive bike lanes available throughout the country and in all major cities. I was less than 5 minutes into my bike ride to the train station when I realized I just wasn’t making it.
So I rallied. Quickly found out the nearest bus stop, dragged my bike, and waited with dread.
⏳ I am very bad with time. I am often late. And time makes me nervous. So if I fear I will miss something like a train, I will simply not look at my watch so that I can convince myself I might make it.
The bus came. I stared out the window the whole time. I also believe in making the best of bad situations and being positive when possible, so I said an internal ‘thank you’ when I noticed the digital words being projected from the front screens of all coming buses.
Above the window where I could see bus drivers waving to each other as they passed, the screens read “God weekend” – one of my favorite Danish phrases because of how easily you can cheerfully misinterpret it.
It literally means “Have a good weekend.” But it sounds so deep I just have to get philosophical about it, and so unintentionally cute I just have to smile.
When I got to the train station, I ran with my flat tire bike to the extensive bike parking lot, locked it, ran into the building and up the stairs to my platform.
🚆 I made the train by 2 minutes.
Finally, the day started to look up. It was a rare sunny day in the Kingdom of Denmark, so I got to wear my sunglasses for the first time in months. As a native New Yorker, they’re like a second skin and I wore them even on rainy days until the stares got to be too much. Seriously, there’s a lot of rain in this country.
I also had the happiest, friendliest conductor ever. I didn’t understand anything he was saying, but by god was he enthusiastic. He was probably looking forward to a God weekend.
After 30 minutes, I stepped out of the train into Kolding, a small university town. I was so happy to get out of my house and headspace.
And Kolding was exactly what I needed. Cozy, sunny, cobblestoned. The smallest green market ever was going on in the square, with gorgeous historical buildings, including the city hall that dates to 1875 and has been through a variety of architectural renaissances.
🏰 Close by the square is Koldinghus, “a Danish royal castle in the town of Kolding on the south central part of the Jutland peninsula. The castle was founded in the 13th century and was expanded since with many functions ranging from fortress, royal residency, ruin, museum, and the location of numerous wartime negotiations.” I couldn’t have said it better myself!
Since Kolding is located in a harbor of Jutland, one of the main three parts of Denmark, it’s quite close to the water with a river wrapping around the city center. This was a small inlet behind Koldinghus. How would you love to live in one of those houses overlooking the bay?
You can walk around the main center of Kolding in about an hour, but there is no end to gorgeous little squares and surprising alleyways to explore. This square is in the shadow of the city’s church, bordered by shops and cafés.
☕ Finally came that pivotal, life-changing decision – where would I settle down for coffee? My research revealed that the top three cafés in Kolding were Tobbers, The Mokka Café, and Two Maidens. I passed them all on my walk and decided on Tobbers Kaffebar from a quick glance through the window.
I just had a good feeling about it. It didn’t disappoint.
The first thing you notice about Tobbers is that it’s bursting with personality. The creative lighting, seating, arches, bookshelves, and cheeky “How to #Tobbers” instructions at the bar, which include ordering, paying, smiling, sitting down, waiting, eating, and more…
I was so excited to be out on the town that I couldn’t decide on one thing to get. So I got all of it.
After working for awhile, I met my friend Juliana, a fellow freelancer and graphic designer, for the night’s event.
I didn’t take any pictures at Freelance Friday because I was, ya know, networking. But it was awesome to explore the DesignSkolen, tailored to super-hip fashion and design, and meet other aspiring and established freelancers.
If you find yourself in Aarhus or Odense, I highly recommend Kolding as a lovely little day trip. I’ll definitely be back when I need a short-cation to explore its many cozy alleyways and buzzing coffeeshops!
What’s your favorite unexpected or out of the way place you’ve visited recently?