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Tiggy Suggs: Klitmøller, Denmark

What’s up y’all!! My name is Mary-Patterson Suggs, but most people call me Tiggy. I am a junior at Wofford College majoring in biology with a minor in religion. For four months this past fall, I studied in Copenhagen, Denmark, and boy, was it an adventure!


Many people would never dream of surfing in Denmark - let alone swimming in the cold Scandinavian waters... but that is precisely what I thought when I was accepted into DIS Copenhagen. Coming from the coast of South Carolina, the concept of "cold" was very foreign to me, and getting into the frigid waters of Denmark was both unnerving and exhilarating. As I prepared to leave the states, I was enthralled by the possibility of surfing in Europe.


After getting settled for the first week, I pursued my dream! This is how I accomplished it:


First things first: Where on earth was I going to travel ??!! This was the first thing I needed to figure out. With so many famous surf spots littering Europe's coasts, it was more challenging to narrow down than I thought! Despite wanting to see them all, I took a few factors into account: accessibility (how easy it was to get there and rent gear), activities outside of the water, and the skill level of the break (what level of skill was required to ride the wave).


My number one spot was the Lofoten Islands of Norway, but I quickly realized that getting there would be near impossible for a weekend trip. A South of France trip was also considered, but was ruled out due to accessibility concerns. As a result, I realized that I needed to narrow down my search to Denmark. As I searched the web for articles, blogs, YouTube videos, and explored the map on the Surfline app about surfing in Scandinavia; I came across Klitmøller, Denmark, sometimes called "Cold Hawaii". (This blog would have come in handy about this time!) Located in the northwest part of the country, it is a small coastal town. While the spot is primarily meant for windsurfing, it also offers rideable surf and is suitable for all skill levels when the winds die down and a swell is present.


Now that my location had been selected, I needed to plan my transportation and accommodations.


I found renting a car to be the best option and I was able to use the same company one of my friends used the weekend before. Using the site "Wise Car," we were able to find a car pickup place within a 5-minute walk of my apartment. Renting the car was relatively cheap and easy, and a US driver's license made it cheaper! Because I know how to drive a manual car, we chose that option and saved a few dollars.


For lodging, we found this cute Airbnb about a 15-minute walk from the beach. The town was SMALL, so a hostel wasn’t an option. Additionally, since we had a kitchen with an Airbnb, we bought groceries so we only had to eat out once.


While the drive wasn't bad at all, we took the long way as we stopped and picked up a friend in Aarhus along the way. This added 30 minutes - totaling our road time to about five hours and fifteen minutes. In Europe, tolls are extremely expensive!

Tolls alone cost us maybe 60 USD, which we did not expect, so be aware of that if you plan to run the roads. It was strange driving in Denmark because there were areas with no speed limits and if there were, they were in kilometers per hour!


It was a tiny town that had only one main road that connected the ocean front to about a mile of land. Near the end of the main road was a small surf shop with its parking lot touching the sand, where boards and wetsuits could be rented. During our conversation with a local, we learned that it was better to drive 10 minutes up the road to Hanstholm, a different surf spot, for the best experience. We rented boards and wetsuits from a man whose shop was made from shipping containers in Hanstholm. Additionally, he ran a small coffee bar out of half the container, which served me the best hot chocolate I've ever had and was the perfect way to warm up after swimming.


In spite of the fact that my surfing experience wasn't what I had expected, the people and place made up for it in ways I didn't expect. In addition to myself, I went with three of my roommates who all attended different colleges from different states. In spite of the fact that we did not know each other very well, we became closer friends because of the memories we made and the stories we shared over the 5-hour drive and over tea before bed!


While the waves were smaller than I expected them to be, they were suitable for them to learn from since some of them had never surfed before. The first time Emmett caught a wave was such an exciting and joyful moment.


While surfing was a major, and I mean MAJOR highlight of that trip, my favorite part of the whole weekend was when we watched the sunset on the last night on top of an old WWII bunker. While driving to Hanstholm, we passed through this field bordering the coast where I spotted bunkers. It stretched out for miles, with small round hills holding the bunker entrances strewn around it. A beautiful sunset came into view as I sat with three people, who, not even three weeks earlier, were complete strangers to me. That was my first of many “OH. MY. GOD. How is this my life right now!!” moments that I would have over the next four months. There are no words to describe the feeling of pure awe and joy I experienced that night and throughout the entire 72 hours of that trip.


Is it true that a sunset shared with three strangers, who turned into friends, overlooking the ocean is one of my favorite memories from abroad? Even though I’m from the beach and have seen thousands of sunsets? Yes. 1000%. It goes to show that you can have a memorable trip abroad without seeing every historical landmark, all the famous museums, or visiting as many countries as possible. All it takes is some good company… and maybe a pretty sunset :)


If you choose to travel abroad, which I HIGHLY recommend you do, spend some time exploring outside of the major cities too. Who knows what you might discover! During your European trip, I recommend you go surfing, but my more important recommendation is to take that crazy trip you've been thinking about for months, no matter how scary it seems.It's so worth it, I promise.


Skål!

Tiggy



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