The arrival of Covid in Denmark (and the world) has definitely put the kibosh on my cross-border goose-following. But if you ever have to choose a place to ride out a pandemic, I can recommend Denmark—8 out of 10 stars. It loses 2 stars for not turning it away at the border ;)
Almost two years ago, I sat in a café talking about going to Istanbul for my birthday. I actually said the words, “I’m not too concerned about this coronavirus.”
Then all hell broke loose.
Oblivious to the fact that the first lockdown would be announced in the evening, March 11, 2020 was business as usual for me. I delivered some client work, worked out, did some light grocery shopping, and had a session with the magician who keeps me looking (much) fitter than my age. Around bedtime, I realized that I forgot to buy toilet paper. TP pretty much robbed me of that night’s sleep because I had no paper towels, no paper napkins, and no tissues. I had a roll-and-a-half of toilet paper left to my name, I use cloth napkins, and I’d seen what had gone down in the States!
I was up well before the sun, waiting for the grocery stores to open, fully expecting to come home empty-handed and in literal deep shit. But my usual grocery store was a ghost town with mountains of TP—all different types, brands, and price points. I was never so happy to see toilet paper in my life!
The silent, empty streets would’ve usually been filled with cars, cyclists, and pedestrians. The city felt eerie that morning, kind of like how Chernobyl depicted the day after the meltdown.
The lockdown didn’t officially take effect for some days, and the actual rules were somewhat confusing in the beginning. People were mostly laying low. I had a (first) sushi date that Friday, which we decided to keep unless restaurant cancelled our reservation. By Friday, the restaurant was takeaway-only—but they’d forgotten to cancel our reservation, so they offered us a private seating. Though it felt like a VIP experience, the date wasn’t a success. That was my last in-person social interaction for some months.
Being locked down in a foreign country with closed borders is a special kind of isolation. Until further notice, I was stuck riding out Covid in Denmark — alone in a 62-square-meter apartment. With the borders closed, I couldn’t visit my sister in Connecticut or my best friend in Holland. I didn’t even have Opie to keep me company. It was one hell of a mind trip.
Winter turned to spring, but little improved for me. In April, scaffolding for our building’s new roof was installed on my balcony and in front of all of my windows. Now I was on lockdown, I couldn’t open or look out of my windows, and my balcony was off-limits—for over a year. I watched the ivy in my flower boxes die along with my lemon and olive trees—and my optimism for the future.
Fortunately, I still had plenty of work, and I’d been spared the stress of dealing with kids and/or a spouse. Through the lens of social media, that luxury hadn’t been lost on me. I embraced my solitude.
After a short respite, Denmark locked down again last Christmas Day—and stayed that way until spring was turning to summer again.
I did some projects around my apartment, rediscovered my simple-living roots, came up with new recipes, worked a lot, and walked 15-20K steps a day in a deserted shopping mall. I paid off my mortgage.
The heyday of Covid in Denmark sucked, but people followed the rules and things didn’t get political. We had free on-demand Covid testing, and the promise of healthcare without a bill if the worst came knocking. As of November 15th, 2021, our vax rate is close to 90% and Denmark has only had 2,767 Covid-related deaths. The only supply chain issue I’ve encountered was a 3-day tomato paste outage.
Things opened up at reduced capacity in early summer with a Covid-passport scheme in place until September. I’m itching to travel, but I haven’t ventured into that yet.
The government removed all Covid-related restrictions as of September 1st, and life in Denmark was mostly back to a maskless normal. Unfortunately, they acted too soon because cases are surging again and the Covid-passport scheme was reintroduced last week. Here we go again…
How are things in your neck of the woods?