Every trip has it’s unusual and amusing experiences and linguistic mistranslations. This blog is dedicated to my sister, Hayley, who laughed so much when we went to get our ‘smack’ from the local supermarket in Riga (don’t worry, it was just cereals!) Here are a few of my favourite amusing occurrences and sayings from Denmark…
1. Unisex Toilets
I went into the loo in the Copenhagen McDonalds and when I came out to wash my hands I was shocked to see a man washing his hands next to me. Oh shit, I thought, I’ve gone into the mens! But no, he just looked at me, smiled and said ‘hej!’ The women who came out after me must have seen my face, laughed and said ‘ah, these ones are unisex!
2. Posh Toilets
Some of the toilets in Copenhagen are so posh and clean that you are afraid to use them! Check out this bathroom on Nyhavn…
These ones were ladies only, but a few seconds after I walked out, a man walked in!
Need a chocolate fix? Go for some Plopp!
4. The Tourist Fart
During the walk around Copenhagen I was laughing to myself at the buses with ‘Turist Fart’ on the side! Apparently, ‘fart’ means speed in Danish. If you drive on the roads, you will see signs saying ‘fart control’ and ‘mind your fart’!
In Danish, ‘slut’ means ‘the end’. If you go to the cinema in Denmark, you might get a bit of a surprise during the end credits!
6. Feel the ‘Hygge’
Finally my favourite word in Danish – hygge (pronounced hugar)! There is no real direct translation for the meaning of this word in English. It is basically the feeling that you get when you are all cosy by candle light or feeling snug and chilled with your mates over a beer. I had a really ‘hyggely’ time in Denmark!
Apparently, ‘bra’ means ‘good’ in Danish – thanks to AnneMarie for commenting! So when you hear this in both Denmark or Swedish, it’s not a discussion of your over-shoulder boulder holder!
What funny signs and sayings have you noticed when travelling? Are there any words that you have learnt travelling that you have absolutely loved? Or words that sound horrendous when translated? I would love to hear your stories!
Things to do in Denmark
You might also like to read about how to spend 48 hours in Copenhagen – it’s such a fantastic city. Don’t miss the Little Mermaid, the Marble Church and Parliament buildings and Nyhavn for the boats and colourful houses.
What to Pack for Denmark
If you are travelling short haul with a cheap airline from elsewhere in Europe, you can travel hand luggage only. In this case, go for a backpack like the Nomatic Travel Pack. This Water Resistant 40L Travel Duffel/Backpack, Built in Laptop and Tablet Sleeve with lots of small details and organisation.
When packing clothing for the Baltics, prepare for all weathers. The climate is slightly continental with cold winters and mild, moderately rainy summers. Essential items include a rain jacket and decent waterproof walking boots.
Pack a range of jeans, jumpers and tops and also one decent dress or something nice for the evening in case you go to the theatre or orchestra. An umbrella might come in handy if you like to have one for going out in the rain. You could also consider packing a winter hat and gloves especially if you are visiting Estonia in the winter months.