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I have fallen in love with Scandinavian countries when I was living in Sweden, in a little city called Örebro duing my student’s echange semester. That was 6 years ago to be exact. Long time, but I still remember what I liked about this country. Bicycles, smiling people and beautiful winter full of snow and sun (not rainy season like in Poland). For me everyone seemed to be nice, happy, cheerful, just like they would love their life. And what I respected the most was that people knew exactly how to celebrate little moments. I must actually admit, I’ve never heard them complaining, even though they were riding a bicycle when the temperature outside was -20 Celsius degrees. When it was freezing they used to say “there’s no such a thing as cold, you probably don’t wear proper clothes”. So when you live there, you actually develop the new attitude toward life. You also learn new words, like “fika” or “hygge”.

Fika actually means having a break for a coffee, but it is not an ordinary meeting but a kind of a celebration. I am not a big fan of coffee, I do not drink it, but in Örebro “fika” was something you had to do at least once and actually it was very uncommon to say no for an invitation. There is nothing better than to socialize with a cup of a warm beverage and sweet & tasty cinnamon rolls, usually called as fikabread, as fika can be also a noun, not only a verb.

The second word – hygge, was not known to me until I started to read about Copenhagen. During my longer stay in Sweden I have traveled a lot with friends, but there was one missing country on my list – Denmark. I did not have a chance to visit it, but at the same time I did not pay much attention to change it.  The thing is, when you visit few countries in Europe, the rest of them seem to be too similar, so at the end it is easy to get bored with sightseeing. Not to mention that a history has linked many places so much that architecture is actually the same. I sometimes get an impression like I am just adding another pin to my map, which I really hate. That’s why I always try to find something outstanding that would inspire me to visit a particular place. This time it was a desire to look for hygge.

So hygge is actually a philosophy of life that makes Danes the most happiest nation in the world. The more I have read about this, the smaller chance I had, to actually find equivalent of this word. It actually describes moments of happiness, warm and intimacy which may be found every day in ordinary situations. Hygge may also relate to a mood or can be found during Christmas, when the whole family is gathered together. But I reckon everyone could describe it different. I also decided to look for hygge during last weekend in Copenhagen, but instead of a description I photographed things that make me feel warm and cozy. And as I am an adventure seeker, you will not find a blanket and a TV tough, sorry, this is not my way of feeling good.

I must say I really envy Copenhagen its capabilities to make so many bike paths. So in my case, hygge would be in bicycles paths, at the Christmas market, in calm and peaceful Kastellet and in Nyhavn where you cannot take your camera off the evening scenery.

Did I find hygge? I keep the answer as a secret. But deep in my heart I believe that everyone has its own hygge and there is no need to make it a seperate word.

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M.Góral