After a busy few days in Copenhagen, though much less hectic than Berlin, my mom, boyfriend and I grabbed a train out to Helsingor where more of my family lives. Helsingor, known as Elsinore in Shakespeare’s Hamlet, is a mid-sized, cozy city right across the sound from Sweden. If fact, you can see the city of Helsingborg easily across the water. The city and surrounding boroughs’ beaches were often used as a jumping off point for Danish Jews escaping to Sweden during WWII.
Little alleyways lead to wider shopping streets filled with ice cream shops, electronics stores, clothing retailers, and (of course!) liquor stores. Helsingor is a popular stop for Swedes to buy alcohol. You wouldn’t think it because it is the land of Vikings and long, dreary winters, but Sweden has fairly stringent liquor laws. Denmark on the other hand has wonderfully lax laws regarding purchasing liquor.
My mom wandered off on her own searching for a certain type of embroidering fabric while the boyfriend and I explored. He purchased some craft beers from a very specialized beer store. I think the owner of the shop was the only real grumpy Dane we ran into on our entire trip. After an hour or so, the rain stopped drizzling and we walked further towards the Axeltorv square where a cluster of restaurants and cafes border the statue pictured below.
The statue is of King Eric of Pomerania who built the beginnings of Kronborg castle and instated fees for trading ships coming through the sound. By the way, the “MIT HAAB STAAR TIL HAVET” means “My hope remains at sea” in Danish.
My favorite bit of the Helsingor shopping area was the cheese monger. Yes! An ENTIRE STORE DEDICATED TO CHEESE. I felt so at home among the stinky havarti and luscious brie. However, we were on a mission to get some Danablu cheese (seen below) for the family dinner later that night.
After trying all the cheese samples, we bought a large hunk of Danablu and headed over to the local mall next door. I really didn’t notice a big hulking mall next to all these old-world shops. It just sort of appeared in front of us. It was a nice two-story mall with a H&M, Jack and Jones, The Body Shop and even a Matas (a drugstore) and a Føtex (similar to a Wal-mart). Weirdly, we ran into my mom in Føtex digging through some boxes of shoes on sale.
I’m excited to share more about Helsingor and the surrounding towns. I love the area not only because my family lives there, but because it had such a relaxing pace of life. There’s shopping and city-life but walk five minutes out of town and there’s misty forests next to rocky beaches where you can admire the sunset while watching lights flicker on in buildings across the sea in Sweden. I’m getting almost pangs of heartache writing about it right now. If I ever was rich enough, I’d pack up my things in the US and move myself right over to this area in a heartbeat.