Travel Writing and Research, sample #2
This is an example of long-form travel writing. The original piece was 5,000 words in length. That's a lot of Denmark information!
Denmark Travel Guide
Considered the happiest country in the world, Denmark is a beautiful land where the people enjoy simple comforts and living simply. Referred to as hygge (“hoog-uh”), is the Danish idea that happiness comes from the little things. It loosely translates into “coziness,” which is what the Danes value most – a comfortable, happy life.
With their strong welfare state, economic equality, and excellent standards of living, it’s no surprise Danes are known for being the happiest people in the world.
Denmark, which dates back to the Viking age, is a kingdom located in northern Europe. It’s part of Scandinavia along with Sweden and Norway. Denmark form of state is a monarchy, with Queen Margrethe II presiding. The country consists of 406 islands and the peninsula of Jutland. It borders Germany. Denmark’s largest island is Zealand. The total population of the country is more than 5,700,000 (2016). The capital of Denmark is Copenhagen, which has a population of more than 1,280,000 (2016).
Citizenship in Denmark is not a birthright, it’s based on descent. One or both parents must be citizens of the country. For naturalization, the resident requirement is seven years. Dual citizenship is recognized.
Life goes by at a slower pace in Denmark. People focus on enjoying themselves. They work less than in other countries, live and think modestly, and have an excellent welfare system that takes care of everyone. Danes value their social lives over luxury.
The Danish Monarchy
Denmark’s monarchy goes back to as early as the 900s with Gorm the Old, who died in 958. Queen of Denmark, Margrethe II, is the current monarch and has been since January 1972. She is the oldest daughter of King Frederik IX and Queen Ingrid. According to the Official Website of Denmark (Denmark.dk), “The Queen’s nearest family consists of the Royal Consort Prince Henrik, their sons, Crown Prince Frederik and Prince Joachim, Crown Princess Mary to Crown Prince Frederik and their son Prince Christian, their daughter Princess Isabella and their twins. Prince Joachim’s former wife now Countess Alexandra and their two sons Prince Nikolai and Prince Felix and Prince Joachim’s wife Princess Marie and their son Prince Henrik and their daughter Princess Athena.”
The Danes have great pride in their queen and the royal monarchy, which is one of the world’s oldest.
Weather and Climate
The temperatures in Denmark range from cold in the winter (zero degrees Celsius or 32 degrees Fahrenheit) and mild in the summer (July and August) with highs around 22 °C or 72 °F. But temperatures and precipitation can change quickly. It can be rainy, windy, … and dark. Between November and February, there’s not very much sun to be seen. But from May to August, the days and sunlight last a lot longer.
Apps and the Internet make traveling anywhere much easier. If you have a smartphone or tablet, there are a number of apps you can purchase or download for free. Types of apps include maps, currency converters, language translation, airports, city walks, and a variety of attractions.
If you want to find locations with free WiFi, visit sites like wifispc.com. But if you want to make sure you have it whenever you need it, you can rent pocket WiFi gadgets from sites like my-webspot.com/rent-wifi-denmark.
Important Travel Information to Keep in Mind
When traveling to any country you need to be sure to have the correct currency and necessary knowledge so your trip goes smoothly. Below are some essential tips to keep in mind.
The languages spoken in Denmark are Danish (spoken by 98%), English, Faoese, and Greenlandic (which is an Inuit dialect). A minority of people also speak German.
Phrases to Know
No matter where you travel, it’s a good idea to learn some key phrases in the local language. Even if most people speak English as well as their native language, it’s polite to put forth an effort.
Hej – Hi
Hej, hej – Goodbye/see you later (informal)
Farvel – Goodbye (formal)
Tak – Thanks (a very important word to know)
Vær venlig - Please
Hvor er toilettet? – Where’s the toilet/bathroom?
Undskyld - Sorry
Jeg ved ikke – I don’t know
Taler du Engelsk? – Do you speak English?
Vil du tale lidt langsommere – Please speak more slowly
God morgen – Good morning
God eftermiddag – Good afternoon
God aften – Good evening
Hvad hedder du? – What’s your name?
Jeg hedde …r – My name is …
Jeg kommer fra … - I’m from …
Skål! – Cheers!
How to Get Around
You can travel to many places throughout Denmark via train. Rail passes may be purchased for the number of days you’ll be visiting or can be purchased along the way.
Driving is an excellent way to travel around the country of Denmark. Odense is a mere two-hour drive from Copenhagen.
From Copenhagen, you can drive to Odense in a mere two hours. Aalborg is four hours away, including a ferry ride across the Kattegat Sea.
The roadways throughout Denmark are well-maintained. Motor vehicle laws are quite strict, so make sure you drive with your headlights on during the day and signal whenever you are going to turn. And don’t drive while using a hand-held mobile phone because it’s illegal, and you will be pulled over. In the case of getting a citation, note that officers expect payment at the time of the infraction. Also keep in mind that there may not be guardrails or barriers where one might expect them.
If you plan to rent a car for your trip, reserve your car ahead of time so that it’s ready when you arrive.
The train is a great option for traveling throughout Denmark, as there are railways that connect to Copenhagen practically everywhere. Express Trains (also known as Lyntog) are the fastest train in the country.
Age discounts: Children ages 3 and under (up to two per adult) ride the train free; those between the ages of 4 and 15 receive a discount of half-price when accompanied by an adult. Seniors (ages 65 and older) receive a 45% discount Mondays through Thursday plus Saturdays; they receive 20% off on Fridays, Sundays, and holidays. Other general discounts may be available at any given time, so ask around.
Visit the Danish National Railways site (dsb.dk) for details. At the bottom of the screen, you’ll find an English option for the site.
Buses are an option for traveling between four of the major cities – Copenhagen, Odense, Aarhus, and Aalborg. Trains are usually the preferred option for long-distance, but sometimes a bus may be preferred. Sometimes they may be a less expensive option. See rejseplanen.dk for details on routes and costs.
They are plenty of buses in the cities, too. In Copenhagen, A-buses (available all hours) run every three to seven minutes during rush hours and every 10 minutes during other hours. S-buses (available between 06:00 a.m. and 01:00 p.m.) run every five to 10 minutes, but they make fewer stops. There are night buses (01:00 to 05:00 a.m.) are known as N-buses and pick up at grey-colored signs.
In Copenhagen, the metro runs day and night with stops between every two to six minutes. Tickets must be purchased before boarding the metro, and each of your party will need his or her own ticket or pass. The CopenhagenCard can save you money on both transport and attractions. Visit copenhagencard.com to learn more.
Bicycling is a popular way to get around the cities in Denmark, particularly Copenhagen. Denmark is a very bicycle-friendly country (it’s known for it across the EU), and you’ll see many Danes riding them to and fro. Bicycles are available for rental in many places. Helmets are not required here, but they are recommended for your own safety.
You can travel by boat to nearly all of the inhabited islands of Denmark. High-speed ferries can take you and your vehicle between the larger of the islands. Other ferries may take you to the smaller islands. It’s recommended that you book car passage ahead of time to make sure you can get across when you want.
The official currency of Denmark* is the krone (kr.). Their banknotes include 50, 100, 200, 500, and 1,000 kroners. Coins include 1, 2, 5, 10, and 20 kroner, as well at the 50 øre.
*It’s important to note that Denmark does not accept Euros like most countries in Europe.
Danes are proper, respectful, and modest, and they expect the same from visitors. Punctuality is of the utmost importance, as tardiness is viewed as a lack of respect for others. Manners are very important in Denmark. Be polite. Avoid excessive flattery or asking personal questions (even “How are you?” is considered too personal). Speak in moderate tones. It’s considered rude to draw attention to yourself.
When greeting someone, use a firm handshake, smile, and make eye contact. You also cannot give thanks enough; Danes tend to say “thank you” as often as Canadians tend to say “sorry.”
While Danes may come off as reserved, they are actually welcoming, open-minded, and tolerant (i.e. race, religion, cultural differences). Danes value their personal space and generally abstain from personal contact. Take cues from the people you meet and follow their lead. Loud and flamboyant behavior is not well-received. Also note that Danes have an ironic, dry sense of humor.
Dinners are social affairs, which are drawn out and can last for hours. When dining with Danes, plan accordingly. Try everything offered. Avoid leaving food on your plate, as it is considered wasteful.
As the weather can change quickly, it’s wise to dress in layers. To fit in with the locals, classic looks and casual dress and jeans are usually a good bet. Leave the heels at home and pack practical, comfortable shoes. Keep in mind that bricks and cobblestones are not high-heel friendly.
Places to Visit and Things to Do
There are so many places to visit in Denmark that it’s a great idea to plan ahead. You can explore castles and royal gardens, historical landmarks, museums, and amusement parks to enjoy the beauty of the country and learn about the culture.
If you’re fascinating by everything royal or love architecture and the beauty of botanicals, you’ll want to visit the Danish Royal Palaces and Gardens (kongeligeslotte.dk). You’ll learn the history of and explore these stunning landmarks.
Christiansborg Palace – Located on the islet of Slotsholmen in Copenhagen; seat of the Danish Parliament Folketinget, the Supreme Court, and the Ministry of State; also the Danish monarch uses a number of areas in the palace. Guided tours offered.
Kronborg Castle – Located in Helsingør; William Shakespeare set his play “Hamlet” here, renaming it Elsinore. Guided tours offered.
The Hermitage – Located in The Deer Park in Dyrehaven north of Copenhagen; was once the centre for royal hunts; it’s currently where the Queen hosts official lunches. Guided tours offered.
Fredensborg Palace and Gardens – Located in Fredensborg in Zealand; the residence of the Queen for extended periods; where special events for the Royal Family are held, such as weddings and the welcoming of the world’s Heads of State. Guided tours offered.
Amalienborg Palace – Located in Copenhagen; home of the Danish Royal Family; includes the Amalienborg Museum, four palaces, and changing of the guard. Guided tours offered.
Amalie Garden –Locatedin Copenhagen; the park opened in 1983; open every day all year around.
The Lapidarium of Kings – Located in Christian IV’s Brewhoouse on Slotsholmen Island, Copenhagen; contains a collection of 300 statues, sculptures, and ornamentation from royal gardens, palaces, and buildings; a lapidarium is repository for the royal sculptures that aren’t fit for public display any longer. Open to the public, but check for hours.
Frederiksborg Castle and Gardens – Located in Hillerød, north of Copenhagen; built in the early 17th century by Danish King Christian IV; home of The Museum of National History since 1878; the gardens are Baroque in style and contain King Frederik II’s small Bath House Castle (Badstueslot). Check for museum and grounds hours.
Gråsten Palace – Located in Gråsten on Jutland; the summer residence of the royal family (when they are there, the castle and grounds are closed to the public). Check ahead for availability.
Frederiksberg Palace and Gardens – Located in the Copenhagen district of Frederiksberg; palace dates back to the early 1700s and reflects the Italian style; King Frederik IV used it as a summer home, while King Christian VI lived there full-time while Christiansborg Palace was constructed. Guided tours are held the last Saturday of each month.
Rosenborg Castle – Located centrally in Copenhagen; built by King Christian IV in the early 1600s; contains the Crown Jewels, Royal Regalia, coronation thrones, life-size silver lions, tapestries, Venetian glass collections, and more. Tickets are available for the museum.
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