Scandinavia with My Girls

img_20190308_235425Hola amigos,

Two weekends ago I reunited with my teammates from the University of Portland in Copenhagen. I left UP during the 2nd week of my sophomore year and eventually transferred to Sonoma State University, but these girls were my 1st college teammates, so you can say that they are a little bit special 🙂 Lucy’s friend, Pauli, also joined us on this trip and the five of us had a lot of fun together. I arrived in Copenhagen on Friday night and met the girls at a hostel called Steel House. This was our first time seeing each other in 3.5 years! I can’t tell you how good it felt to lay eyes on them again, hug them, hear their foreign accents again, and just be with them. Best feeling ever! We went to McDonald’s before heading back to our Airbnb, which was located just outside the city center. I mean…what’s a trip without a visit to McDonald’s, right? But seriously, the McDonalds’ in Europe are so much nicer looking than the ones in the U.S. 

The next morning, we took a day trip to Malmö, Sweden. Taking the bus, it took us only about an hour. The weather was pretty rainy and cold during the bus ride over, but fortunately it was sunny once we arrived in Malmö. We walked around downtown, took lots of pictures, went inside a church, walked through a cemetery, saw the tallest building in Sweden, ate at a super cool food market, admired the ocean, then walked some more, and ended at Espresso House for coffee and dessert. Malmö is a small town, so we covered most of it during our visit. It was pretty barren of people and lacking a sense of liveliness, but maybe it was just because of the weather and time of year. The winds were incredibly strong that day and it was difficult to walk at some points. 

Sunday was our last day together and we all had breakfast at our Airbnb, except for Sarah, who had to leave for the airport before we ate. We walked around downtown Copenhagen, visited a castle, saw the Opera House, sat with Hans Christian Andersen, endured a little hail storm, and walked around Nyhavn. Nyhavn was one of my favorite parts because of the beautiful multi-colored buildings along the canal. It was breathtaking and it felt like you were transported into a real-life storybook or fairytale. 

I forgot how much I love and missed these girls. I haven’t laughed so hard in a long time. You know when you laugh so hard that you start to cry, and your stomach hurts, and you can barely breathe? Yeah, we did a lot of that. Maybe it’s because we are very similar. We are wanderers and rebels at heart. We love to travel, we crave spontaneity, we run towards adventure, and we welcome new life experiences. We want to explore, experiment, and expand ourselves in every area of our lives. Sometimes it hits me how strange life is…how is it that an American, a Serbian, a Slovakian, and a German can be good friends and have a reunion in Copenhagen, Denmark? The answer is tennis. We are bonded through our love-hate relationship with our sport and first love. The blood, the sweat, and the tears. We have experienced the same thrills of victory and conquering and also the same pain of injuries and losses. This sport is what brought us together, but the glue is not tennis. The glue is love. 

I spent Sunday night on my own at a hostel downtown called Urban House. I booked a dorm room with 5 other girls and got really lucky. Hostel’s are so darn cheap, I only spent 19 euros for 1 night and it is a really nice hostel too! I met two beautiful girls, one was from Stockholm and the other was from Taiwan. This is the beauty of staying at hostels…you never know who you will meet and you often meet very like-minded people who also share your love for travel and adventure. 

I spent my last day with Rhys, the girl from Stockholm, before taking the train to the airport. We got breakfast at Lidl, which consisted of three different kinds of yummy pastries. Pauli introduced me to this pizza pastry thing that is so delicious and I’m curious if they have them in Madrid… So of course Rhys and I got the pizza pastry and LOVED it! We walked around downtown, witnessed a marching/music parade in the streets, went on a lovely boat canal tour, and had ice cream even though it was pretty damn cold outside. It was honestly the BEST gelato I have had in my life. And I have had my fair share of gelato. It even beat the gelato I had in Italy.

I feel so grateful to have met Rhys on this trip. It’s like I knew her in another life or something because we just clicked right away. She also loves to travel and is just one of the coolest girls I’ve met. She’s so free-spirited, funny, kind, easygoing, mature, intelligent, curious, open-minded, and badass. She is one of those rare soul sisters we occasionally cross paths with during our journey and I can’t wait to be reunited with her again soon! Hint hint…;)

A HUGE THANK YOU to Jetso, Sarah, Lucy, Pauli, and Rhys for making this trip one of the best experiences of my life. You all have a special place in my heart and I can’t wait to see your gorgeous faces again soon!

Love,

Manders

“What you seek is seeking you.”

-Rumi

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