A Sunday Finding Giants

Sundays are for sleeping in, studying, relaxing, and, when feeling adventurous, hunting down giants. No, I didn’t have to climb up a beanstalk to enter a fantasy land where giants reign supreme, all I had to do was hop on the s-train, map in hand and friends by my side.

Before you get too confused and assume I was hallucinating or playing some wacky video game, let me explain. Danish artist, Thomas Dambo, built six giants (the Forgotten Giants) out of scrap wood and hid them on the outskirts of Copenhagen. In short, he is one cool cat and gave me one of the best days of 2017 thus far.

IMG_1790Our map (like an old fashioned treasure map!)

Lucky for me, living with 13 other up-for-anything people makes planning fun excursions easy. Anuska, Hannah, Sawyer, Olivia, Rodlyn, Laura, and Emma all agreed to head to Norreport at 10 in the morning to take a 23 minute s-train to Albertslund, home to two out of six of Dambo’s giants. As train ride entertainment we played Four Fourths of a Ghost (Sawyer’s idea) and what I like to call Apple, Eel, Lollipop, Popcorn. Explaining those would take too long, so if you’re bored you can try to figure them out, if not, keep reading.

We were so absorbed in our word games that we almost missed our stop. Thankfully Rodlyn kept us on schedule, noticing it was time to hop off before it was too late. The station connected to an extensive outdoor shopping area with a Fotex (grocery store), Normal (like CVS), restaurants, and more. More happens to include these three stone animals: a hippo, a bear, and some hybrid pig/dog/bunny critter.

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We made a brief pit-stop in Fotex to buy picnic provisions and then used Emma’s stellar directional senses to lead us to Kongsholmparken in which we’d find the giants. En route, I spotted this gorgeous sunset graffiti. A harbinger of a good day to come (and it wasn’t just good, it was great).

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To get to the park, we had to walk through a maze-like municipality of grey, boxy houses, only disparate in their varying door colors and small decorations such as lights and flowers. A few people noted that it felt almost dystopian. I personally pictured robots with unnervingly human features popping out of the buildings to greet us, and to keep us prisoner. (No offense to the people actually living there, that’s just my overactive imagination talking.) The door colors I noted were red, blue, green, and orange, which made me wonder about what each color meant. If you were in the blue section, did you have a different status of those in green? Among the houses were small playsets that I felt compelled to try out: a course of wooden stumps and a moving platform to test one’s balance, a flying saucer shaped swing of rope, tire swings, and more. This kid-friendly trend of playsets continued into the park, which opened up past a hulking entryway of metal, framing the lush oasis beyond it.

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Being someone who loves the great outdoors, I was rejuvenated by a few hours outside of the hustle and bustle of the city (or as Michael would say upon hearing a certain song at Night Fever, I was reborn). I’ve grown to love Copenhagen, but I will never be a city girl. I guess that’s what growing up in a small town will do to you.

If you look at the photo above, you can see a hill in the background, and atop that hill we found our very first giant. I spotted it from afar and had the instinct to start sprinting—to say I was overzealous would be an understatement. Sawyer and I ran across the field and up the hill, backpacks bouncing on our backs. (Shout out to Hannah and Laura for taking videos of our mad dash.) By reaching the top of the hill, we reached the foot of the giant—a massive wooden foot with long toes.

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Thomas on the Mountain looked forlorn with his sagging posture and weary blue eyes, but he was breathtaking nonetheless with carefully crafted limbs. One could imagine him cracking his joints before sitting up to wander the woods in search of food or a friend. We asked a woman to take a group photo of us, and she generously took the time to get multiple angles and managed to get one of impeccable quality.

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Memorable Moment: sitting on the giant’s stomach was the most adorable child ever, donning a shirt of a penguin eating a popsicle. His smile was precious. I think we all fell in love with him as he posed by his mom.

Afterwards, we found a picnic table in an idyllic spot on the other end of the hill. (I only slipped once down a steep dirt path to get there, so I’d call it a win.) There were purple wildflowers with bees buzzing around them and the sun was shining on us like a beacon. We picnicked and then wrote for approximately 45 minutes, our immersion into nature inspiring. I started a short scene about Thomas and Tilde (the other giant that I will get to soon), in which they were speaking through the leaves and water, and Thomas befriended a cat, reigniting his love of life.

Once we had our fill of writing, we decided it was time to find Tilde. I could see her from the dock across Lake Tueholmsøen, meaning we somehow had to get from one end to the other. I envisioned the sudden appearance of a canoe or set of kayaks to paddle us across, but no such luck. Instead of being hardcore and braving the cold water in our clothing, we trekked all the way around on a dirt path, passing a goat and sheep enclosure on our way. I was pleasantly surprised to see a sign on the fence permitting people to join the animals in the pasture. I was feeling those nature vibes, if that makes sense, and bonded with one of the black-furred goats, so I wasn’t passing up the chance to roam with the animals. Sawyer and I were blocked by the goat gatekeeper who stubbornly remained in front of the entrance for a while, grazing on grass. Once he or she got bored of lingering by the fence, we slipped inside. Eventually some other members of our LLC family joined us. Olivia was dying to pet the sheep, but had to settle for watching them amble about, thick woolen tails almost sweeping the ground.

What I learned: watching goats lie down is fascinating, their legs folding in a way that looks painfully unpleasant, but doesn’t seem to bother them.

What I also learned: a man was killed by a goat in that enclosure last year. How do I know this? Well, as I knelt beside a goat (the charming one on the bottom middle in the photos) to take a close-up of its strange, cat-like eye, I was being urged to leave by my friends. I was confused, but listened, and was then made aware of the killer goat situation that they had been told by a passerby. Glad the goats weren’t terribly irritable when we visited.

Around the bend was yet another stunning naturescape, featuring a heron on a large rock by the grass, its less regal bird subjects on smaller rocks lined up in the lake behind it.

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Then came the moment I’d been waiting for, the discovery of Tilde. She was just as cute as I imagined, with an unexpected armadillo-esque tail slightly curling up off of the ground. Laura was kind enough to get a photo of me posing with my new, large friend.

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It was an ethereal sort of day. The magic never let up. It was one of those days where I knew I was living. Living living, each second of the day saturated in excitement and joy. Not that I’m not living every day, but there are days that feel like they are wasted, like I am not doing enough, or like I’m trying to do too much but it isn’t fulfilling. This day was whole and brilliant. I could not stop smiling.

 

 

 

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