Red doors welcome guests into warmly decorated homes, basket bicycles sit in front of flower gardens, cozy houses are perched along rocky streets, a colorful market full of fresh goods and happy people and a harbor full of boats waiting to leave for new adventures – all await visitors in the charming town of Rudkobing, Denmark.
Rudkobing, located on Langeland Island also hosts many sports and nature related activities similar to other Nordic (Scandinavian) towns. In addition there is a certain enchantment to this town because it feels so remote based on it’s location. It is perfect for a family vacation, a friends getaway or even in our case… getting married.
Fishing, hiking, kayaking and camping are some options available among a wide palate one can choose from on a Scandinavian vacation… or so I have heard. However, this was November and all the descriptive charms I have read about were hidden behind the cold and grey that is so common this time of year. Still, this was a trip I will never forget – definitely a life changing experience regardless of the miserable chill.
Arriving without booking a hotel was not the greatest idea; certainly we didn’t think it would be so much trouble to secure lodging this time of year. We (my now husband and I) did not book any hotel reservations. But why? A website for booking hotels showed around 80 different possibilities between hotels, B&B’s and vacation homes – yet after we arrived we could not find any free rooms.
Considering the time of the year and remote location, I guess we did not realize that every hotel would be at full capacity leaving us in a state of “fool” capacity, evidently! Yes, this was very naive of us.
Apparently November 11th 2011 (11-11-11) was a busy and certainly auspicious date to get married. Oh yes! One important detail: my German husband and all the Mexican in me, travel all the way to Rudkobing for one reason only, to get married!
When you are traveling to many locations and still discovering your “place” in the world as a bi-racial couple, where to travel or live next is always an enigma determined by visas. As a result of much research, getting married in Denmark was logistically our best option – as apparently this was also the same for many other International couples.
Nowadays multi cultural couples are common. Cultural exchange gives birth to an exciting mix from various parts of the globe and spawns exciting new generations.
Still visa policies are never easy for inter-racial couples; perhaps these policies are in place to maintain world order – but then what happens with International lovers? Well, here is what happened with us.
Here is our story:
After driving from Germany on a windy road through impressive scenery and over immense bridge structures, we arrived at our destination – a little intimidated and anxious. Before we started worrying about accommodation (which we didn’t have obviously) we went straight to the office where all the wedding magic was going to take place – just to verify everything was in order with our paperwork.
We confirmed our agreement to be witnesses for another marriage ceremony, for a bride and groom who were there by themselves, just as we were. Therefore they were also going to be our witnesses – an equally exciting “trade” if you will.
We were both complete strangers that shared a mutual eagerness to break borders and match hearts. I even borrowed a flower bouquet from the other bride.
We soon discovered that we were one of nineteen couples getting married the next day, nineteen helpless romantic couples from all over the world in the same place with a common purpose, nineteen pairs of different sizes, beliefs, backgrounds, dreams and expectations – all enrolled for the next life adventures.
With paperwork and appointments in order we proceeded with the next item on our agenda, looking for a bridal hotel room for our wedding eve (yeah, good luck)!
A little disappointed at not finding the right place (any place), we fortunately stopped at a gift shop and asked a very kind lady there for ideas. I learned that not only was she the owner of the shop but she also rented rooms!
How convenient: when you look at this store from the outside you would never guess there are rooms for rent – there was not even a sign indicating this.
The first question she asked was ¿Are you getting married? Followed by, you are the third couple staying here for a wedding this week. She was smiling as she spoke (you can say she became our accomplice).
This very kind lady directed us through a garage door on the side of the shop. We followed her up the stairs to a small apartment (kitchen, big bathroom and a bedroom/ living room, the whole enchiladas).
Next thing… satisfy our empty stomachs!
Looking for food was the perfect opportunity to explore the town.
This particular adventure went something like this: streets were ghost like empty and cold – the famous market looked like it was out of a zombie movie. The city was dark, deserted and everything was closed – did I mention this was November? Closed, closed, and closed! No food and no happy people in the streets to ask for guidance!
I am Mexican from warm weather – oh why did I decide to come to cold Rudkobing, Langeland in Denmark, Scandinavia in November? Oh yes, I love him!
After a brief panic attack because of not finding any food, we saw a light at the end of the tunnel, or the street for that matter. This was the light of the one open restaurant where we ultimately enjoyed a nice warm dinner. Stomachs now full, color back in the cheeks and frown face faded – happy thoughts quickly came back to my mind. We were getting married the next day and probably the couple dining beside us was getting married too.
As I said, they weren’t many dining options around and taking in consideration the fact that there were nineteen marriages next day – the possibility that we had at least met one of these couples in our wanderings around the city was quite high.
You simply had to look at their confused faces; it was like looking at a reflection of ourselves. They were possibly, foreigners getting married as well.
One couple was sitting next to us. They matched the description the clerks in the office provided us about our future witnesses. We were wondering if we had finally met them. We found out next day (the big day) that in fact they were.
Finally the big day came and we were ready with nerves and excitement. Before we left our room, we gave back the keys to the very kind lady. Wearing the same smile as the day before, she handed me a little metallic paper bag with a ribbon, our very first wedding gift! This bag contained four cute heart figures in different colors, all for good luck (as she told me in broken English). I thanked her with tears in my eyes as I smiled as I was touched by this unexpected present. Indeed she was a very kind lady.
As we walked to the office I couldn’t avoid noticing other marriages already in progress.
Some ceremonies were bigger than others – one room contained fifteen people and a bride in a beautiful fluffy dress, a couple who looked like they were in a happy ending Disney Princess movie.
He: wearing a bright white suit and golden accessories.
She: shining in what was a traditional Indian sari, pink and orange with golden sequins.
I almost wanted to ask them their story but I decided to give them their space and enjoy ours (I can be wise like that 🙂
There were plenty of other couples here creating their own stories and own journeys. Among all this excitement and anxious faces we found our respective room. Our witnesses were already there (the couple from the dinner the previous night). We shared a couple of laughs about the night before and then they began their ceremony. My husband soon to be and I, signed in as their witnesses and participated in the “official” ceremony pictures.
Then it was our turn. Finally we all toasted over sparkling wine in little plastic cups and enjoyed a piece of chocolate! Talk about a special feeling!
Officially married with a certificate in three different languages, we took the car and drove to our next destination were we would spend our wedding day, Copenhagen.
We stayed at the Tivoli hotel, and since our reservation included an entrance to Tivoli Park, we immediately headed there. In my mind a park such as this would have beautiful gardens full of fountains and sculptures something very romantic like the Boboli gardens in Florence, Italy. How wrong I was.
To my surprise, this was an amusement park rather than gardens and being a place of romance. We spent our wedding day eating hot dogs and freezing our hands and noses off in the flying chairs, and of course drinking hot wine and chocolate. It was loads of fun! We carried on the evening with a visit to a sauna, pool and finished with a sushi dinner – not bad right?
Our wedding day was perfect; although due to the very short time we had – we needed to catch the ferry back to Germany.
We wanted to stop at a couple of hotspots and document the destination of course, with a selfie at least. We drove like maniacs trying to accomplish this mission. We were able to see the famous Hans Christian Andersen Mermaid but it was too crowded so we were satisfied with a “far away” picture.
And we couldn’t even stop to get a shot from Nyhap Port (this post card style view) not even from the car; a truck was blocking the view. Mission failed!
But on the bright side, we reached the ferry just in time to go back to Germany where we were welcomed by my parents-in-law for some German wedding traditions.
We did not see as much of Denmark as we would have liked but this country has a special place in our hearts and is certainly part of our wedding story.
We will return one day, preferably in summer when it is not as cold and we will have a hotel reservation. Perhaps our visit will be for an anniversary celebration to see some colorful markets, go sailing in one of the harbors and experience more of the outdoors.