A Weekend in Roskilde: DIS Slow Travel Initiative

DIS Copenhagen students Laura, Ennosen, Spencer, and Sean share a passion for sustainable solutions, and have set out to explore slow travel in Denmark together. Follow along as they describe their weekend in Roskilde.

The Prologue

Hi! We’re Ennosen, Spencer, Laura, and Sean, and this semester we are the DIS Slow Travelers who will show possible ways to travel slowly and sustainably and with purpose in Denmark. Although Denmark is a smaller country, that doesn’t mean there isn’t much to see, and there are many places that work for weekend trips.

Sean (He/Him)

Hello! I study biology and history at Brandeis University in Massachusetts, USA. When I travel, I love to experience the life of a place more than anything. Usually, this means trying to find some of the unique features of local nature, like a rare species or mineral, eating traditional food, and trying to learn what I can about the story of a place and its people. There are so many great, innovative resources on foraging wild foods in Denmark, which I love.

Laura (She/They)

Hi! I study architecture at Cal Poly SLO. I like taking photos, drinking my body weight in tea, and long walks on the beach. This semester at DIS, I’m taking two sustainability-focused classes- “Sustainable by Design” and “Environmental Impact of Humans”- and have loved getting to learn more about sustainability at an individual and institutional scale. I am working on putting more of my beliefs into practice and hope to one day help create more sustainable and equitable cities!

Spencer (He/Him)

Hi! I am an Architecture major studying at Cal Poly Pomona. I am passionate about sustainability in architecture and creating spaces that cater to the slice of life. In Copenhagen I enjoy biking around exploring the city, and swimming in the Copenhagen canals.

Ennosen (She/Her)

Hello, I am from NH but am originally from South Sudan. I go to school in DC at George Washington University and am studying interior architecture. Slow travel is special to me as it allows you to fully immerse yourself, absorbing your surroundings. This allows for a deep conscious connection with the environment, culture, and people. Being rooted in the present releases stress about your next destination and allows for true enjoyment of the moment at hand.

To us, Slow Travel means traveling in a way that reduces your carbon footprint. Very often when studying abroad, we as excited students do not always think about the environmental cost of going from country to country.  This break is an opportunity to thoughtfully explore our temporary home of Denmark, and see some of the sights Denmark has to offer. A big part of doing this is traveling not with planes but instead buses, bikes, and trains.

Travel doesn’t need to be across arbitrary borders to be engaging and perspective-changing. No matter where you are, every place has a story to tell.

– Sean (he/him)

Traveling thoughtfully is the other main point of Slow Travel. Instead of feeling the need to see every single bucket list location a place has to offer, Slow Travel involves taking your time at the places to get a good sense of the location. Getting this “slice of life” of where you are staying allows you to get a better understanding of Danish culture. We hope to inspire other DIS students to try and take a slower approach to the DIS Study Breaks.

Our bed and breakfast spot, recently remodeled by a couple who raises cows on the surrounding farm property.

The Planning

The four of us began by discussing what we wanted to experience in our travels. We decided that we wanted to see some nature and some city, plus not have a super long transit. Roskilde seemed to be a great option, as we saw from Google Maps that it had some forests and farms nearby, plus interesting museums. Next, since we were planning ahead, we investigated places to stay.

We wanted the opportunity to talk to people and get to know the area, so we focused on lodgings that had local flair, like farms or campgrounds. We still had about six days until our trip when we started trying to book places. The first few we tried to book on one website did not work out, but we eventually found a nice, cost-effective bed and breakfast on a different website.

Luckily, the first Airbnb we looked at had a list of local business suggestions, so we noted all of them on a map. Some of the cooler places were outside Roskilde, in Herslev or Lejre. Having a list of places that might be interesting to check out releases some of the pressure of vacationing. It gave us the chance to follow our moment-to-moment feelings while we traveled. If we finished at a museum and wanted to keep exploring the city, we had plenty of possibilities, whereas if we wanted to go out of town and see the countryside, we could do that too. We didn’t arrive just trying to hit the major sights. With our place to stay booked and local options laid out, we just had to figure out transport.

Because collective and foot-powered transport is very carbon-efficient, we investigated our bike, bus, and train options. The train to Roskilde was a very easy choice given the relatively low cost and convenience. For getting around once there, we decided that bikes were the most interesting choice to us; buses ran everywhere we wanted to go, but we wanted a chance to go travel through the forests, see the farms, and experience the challenge. We noted our options to rent bikes in Roskilde, and then we were pretty much ready to go!

In total, we took one round trip train ride between Copenhagen and Roskilde, and spent the rest of the trip on foot or bike.

The Journey

Day 1:
Our slow travel journey started on a train from Copenhagen to Roskilde. Once we arrived we checked out Kaffekilden, a café recommended by a Danish person who saw our Instagram takeover, and had some tasty croissants and chai. We then went next door to rent some bikes for our trip. It was a really exciting moment, as it was the first time riding bikes in Denmark for a few of us.

With a couple of tweaks, we were ready for our adventure. After a short bike trip, we continued the rest of our journey on foot to our first destination, the Viking Museum. The walk was serene with ponds and birds of different species. We even saw flowers hinting that spring was near.

Enjoying the first signs of spring in Denmark. Sean likes to forage, so he taught us about how to spot things like wild garlic in the park.

When we arrived at the Viking museum, the view immediately caught our attention. There were boats everywhere! new boats, old boats, and boats in front of the building even being built on the spot. All this was by the shore that was stunning to look at with the beautiful water. The Viking museum was also an experience in itself. On a guided tour we learned about historical Viking boats and the current restoration of them. In the end, we were able to experience being on a Viking ship through the museum’s exhibition.

We then headed off to lunch and were recommended to a restaurant by a local in an ice cream truck. The restaurant we went to was called Bryggergården, where we had our first Danish cuisine.

We shared stegt flæsk ad libitum (fried pork dish) and mørbradgryde (tomato base stew) for lunch.

After lunch, we biked to our Airbnb. The transition from the city into rural Roskilde was breathtaking. As the buildings faded away and the fields arose, the sun began setting, shining a warm orange glow across the fields. Birds ascended, descended making our bike trip feel like paradise.

When we arrived at the Airbnb we got a warm welcome from our host. The Airbnb looked out into the fields away from prying eyes and was truly a relaxing break to get some nature. After settling in, with the fireplace warming up our stay for the night, we made dinner and had a hearty conversation. After hours of talking before calling it a night, we grabbed our coats and went out to see the stars that were glistening away. Being away from the city offers many benefits. One of those is being able to see the beauty of the night sky. After a while of star gazing, we were blessed with seeing a shooting star, making our night memorable.

Day 2:

Waking up to the sunrise, we prepared for our second day with some nice breakfast and were greeted by some curious cows. They belonged to the host of Airbnb and were extremely adorable.

After saying our goodbyes to the cows, we biked over to the Boserup Skov forest and did some winter bathing.

Peaceful morning spent biking through trails and walking along the shoreline of Boserup Skov. It was pretty cold and windy to go winter bathing- some of us were braver than others.

After warming up, we continued our bike trip to Herslev where we got to visit a farm that was also a brewery that made homemade beer from Herslev’s fields and gardens. We also got to have lunch at their café, which used local ingredients and produced everything with sustainable and ecological care. We then cycled throughout the small town of Herslev and continued our journey back to Roskilde.

As the sun began to set, our journey came to an end. We returned our bikes and said our goodbyes to the town of Roskilde and headed on a train back to Copenhagen, knowing that someday some of us will return to re-cherish the journey of Roskilde.

Stay tuned for our next, longer trip!

Become a DIS Slow Traveler

>> DIS Slow Traveler

Learn more about sustainability at DIS

>> Notes on Slow Travel through Italy & Austria: Jake, Northwestern University

>> How to Go Green in Stockholm

>> How to Go Green in Copenhagen

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