Before I started my July Eurotrip, I had everything planned over a month before I was supposed to head out. Malmö was a different story.
I only decided to go to Malmö about a week before the trip was supposed to start. My host family was going away during the last week in June on a camping trip, which meant I had five extra days to spend as I wished, and my wish was to get a head start on my big trip. Since I was going to Copenhagen to meet up with some friends in a few days, I looked into cities near Copenhagen that would be interesting to travel to, and I stumbled upon the great city of Malmö. Malmö is the third largest city in Sweden and it’s conveniently located just 30 km east of Copenhagen, which means a 35 minute train ride to get from one city to another. Perfect for a last-minute addition to my itinerary. Even better, I had found a travel buddy who was very excited to come along, my adorable redheaded Canadian friend, Maia. I had told her about my upcoming Eurotrip and she wanted to get in on the action. She was already going to join my friends (Carli and Paige who were visiting from the USA) and I in Copenhagen, so when I told her about getting an early start in Malmö she was more than willing to come along.
Since my budget was already pretty tight, I still had to decide whether or not I would have the, let’s say, resources for this last-minute addition. I figured that if I found a CouchSurfing host, then I’d go. I requested a few couches (I’m planning on writing a how-to for CS profiles and requests) and, luckily, I got a very sweet reply from Alexandra, a Swede who had been traveling through South America last year and who I was sure we’d have lots in common with.
So, Maia and I made our way to Copenhagen early Thursday morning, but not before saying goodbye to my dearest San Diego chick, Kimmie. Kimberly was studying here for a semester and was going back to California in a couple of days, so I wouldn’t be seeing her when I got back from my trip. We were catching our bus to Copenhagen near where she was staying, so she came down to the bus station and, since the bus was about to leave, we had a rushed goodbye. It was an incredibly bittersweet moment. I was excited to start my big trip, but heartbroken to have to say goodbye to one of the people who truly made my experience here in Denmark extra special and memorable. Kimberly was someone I could always count on to have an adventure, a relaxing day or to cheer me up. She welcomed me into her circle of friends and I knew that coming back to Aarhus and not having her around would not be easy.
Well, our journey to Copenhagen was around three hours (1 hour on the ferry and 2 hours on the bus.) We then hopped on a train and in 35 minutes we were in Swedish territory. On the train we had ourselves a bit of a food fest and, while eating a very hard carrot, I broke off my permanent braces. Great start, right? But, no worries, it didn’t stop me from eating the rest of the trip, believe me.
As soon as we arrived in Malmö, we noticed an immediate contrast. Unlike Copenhagen and Aarhus, there was no mass of blue eyes and blond hair, instead there was a diversity of people I hadn’t even realized I’d been missing. The style was much more alternative, at times even kind of androgynous.
We met up with our host, Alex, at her apartment and immediately hit it off. It felt very natural talking to her, like we were visiting an old friend. She showed us our room, gave us a set of keys and, since it was a beautiful and sunny day, the three of us headed off to the beach. It was a great walk, we talked about everything from politics, to literature and food. She showed us some of the landmarks of Malmö and after about an hour we were sitting next to the water, taking in the sun. And, after an amazing start to the trip, lo and behold, I see a group of people standing together, all dressed in white. My Brazilian senses began to tingle, and when one of them turned with a berimbau in their hands, my jaw dropped. For those of you that don’t know, a berimbau is a musical instrument used in capoeira, a traditional Brazilian martial art that is combined with dance, music, leg sweeps and other acrobatic type moves. It’s a beautiful form of art believed to have come from the north of Brazil, but that has become popular in many places. I had no idea, however, that I would get to experience it in Sweden. Naturally, Maia, Alex and I sat and watched as the group did their thing. They were incredible and when they finished they came around handing out leaflets about the group. Maia told them I was a Brazilian and they pulled me over to samba and chat. It was incredibly surreal, dancing to Brazilian music, feeling the breeze of the Baltic Sea and enjoying the Scandinavian sun.
The next day, Alex made us a delicious breakfast, complete with homemade scones and bread. We listened to Brazilian, French, and Swedish music, talked about our travels, our studies and our future. Later on, we ventured out in the rain to the vegan coffee shops and restaurants in her neighborhood. We also explored the open air markets and strolled around downtown for a bit. At night, we made a delicious dinner, with wraps, dips and all sorts of vegetables, accompanied by apple, pear and berry flavored ciders, all very yummy. And for dessert, Alex made banana ice-cream. Frozen bananas blended together with cinnamon and cardamom, simply amazing.
After our feast, we took a train and then walked around 40 minutes to a secret rave! It was under an overpass, in the middle of nowhere.
Around 4am we headed back to Alex’s place for a two-hour nap and then went back to Copenhagen to meet Carli at the central train station to start the Danish leg of the trip. But, that’s for the next post…
I have to say, Malmö was an awesome addition to my trip. It really set the tone for the remainder of the journey, traveling to unexpected places, being surrounded by great people, awesome food, incredible conversation and lots of surprises. Maia was an amazing travel buddy. She was full of energy, excited to explore the city and take photos of everything! And Alex was such a great host. She definitely set the standards high for my future CouchSurfing hosts. She trusted us after 5 minutes of being with us. She gave us a key to her place, we cooked together, I cut her bangs and we shared lots of laughs. Not because of her hair of course. Anyway, Malmö was wonderful.