Wednesday, December 30, 2015

A taste of Denmark in California. :)

My mom has been bugging all of us about going to Solvang, California for a year now. So when I went to visit them over the holidays, it automatically made it to our to-visit list. And so on the third day of our road trip, we took some time to explore the city.

And I was wowed. It's this quaint little city whose buildings (along the main streets anyway) have been built with strong Danish architectural influences. Many of the building façades feature timber framing (but most likely with panels that are typical in the USA rather than in Denmark) and many of the roofs are artificially thatched. The place felt like a theme park (like Main Street, USA in Disneyland) to me because although the buildings looked really Danish, the stores were very American. During the tour (we road a horse-drawn carriage pulled by the biggest horses I've seen), the guide mentioned that Solvang is not Disneyland. People do reside in the city (away from the main thoroughfares, of course)... I just wonder if the houses are also of the same architectural vibe. Also, I didn't hear music blaring through speakers installed on lampposts (there are no speakers on lampposts) so it really must be a real-life city and not a theme park.

Here's a video clip of the tour we did around Solvang:

Aside from Danish architecture, I got introduced to Danish-American cuisine during this trip. We had breakfast at Olsen's Danish Village Bakery along Mission Drive. Here, we had pastries, bread, jam, and cheese for breakfast. It's way too heavy for my stomach so early in the day but I just had to try the food... it's so delicious! It did make me feel full the whole day so I can't remember eating lunch.

 Instead, we had Danish ice cream at the Solvang Trolley Ice Cream Parlour... yes, in winter!

And then we just had to visit the spots dedicated to icons of Denmark: the Hans Christian Andersen Museum on the second floor of the Book Loft and a replica of the Little Mermaid statue. I particularly liked the museum because it featured some of my favourite fairy tales and princess stories... particularly "The Princess and the Pea". 

These whetted my curiosity even more so off we went to Copenhagen House to see a bit more Danish culture. I'm glad I went in because I got introduced to Danish modern aesthetics (beyond my go-to watch brand, Skagen) while getting acquainted with bits and pieces of the origins of Denmark.

All in all, it was a good experience. Next time, I want to go to and visit the real Denmark...