Finding peace and contentment in the present

The Singapore Minister of National Development, Lawrence Wong, came out this past weekend to advise us not to expect to travel this side of 2020. 😦 I guess it’s no big surprise, but still a somewhat depressing to hear.

That said, we had a blast this weekend. If every weekend went down like that, we really have nothing to complain about being stuck in Singapore.

  • Kicked it off bright and early Saturday morning with a 15km paddle to Pulau Ubin and back from Pasir Ris. We went with some friends, and with the high tide, decided to venture into the mangroves for a bit of exploration. We all had wide grins on our faces as we sliced our paddles through the still waters, a reflection of the blue skies above. Around us, the sounds of crickets filled the air, and hawks and hornbills flitted from tree to tree as our kayaks glided by. Overhead, we caught glimpses of the fighter jets and choppers bearing the Singapore flag as they flew past, practicing for the upcoming National Day celebrations. Otherwise, in the middle of the verdant oasis, we felt transported into another world, a Singapore of a century past.
  • In the evening, while Jeff caught up with some coworkers for tennis and dinner, I met up with a couple of college buddies for much missed catch ups, drinks and food. So glad to be able to start socialising in small groups again outside.
  • Sunday morning, I watched the streaming of the Santa Fe Opera Gala (bit boring to be honest), and Jonas Kaufmann’s recital in Bavaria, hosted by the Metropolitan Opera (so good, I’m watching it again).
  • In the afternoon, Julia came over again for our usual Sunday routine since Phase 2: tennis, refreshing dips in the pools, dinner (bunless lamb burgers with rosti and sautéed zucchini, and freshly baked almond cake), and board games. Washed down with a deliciously smooth and potent bottle of peppercorn negroni from No Sleep Club.

Life is good.

(Featured image photo from Huey, who took of Shan’s group when they visited the mangroves a day later – I used it because I didn’t bring a camera or my phone out when we went out, but it perfectly shows the serene and beautiful conditions when we went out ourselves the day before)

Exploring Copenhagen on foot, on bike, and by kayak

The requisite and immediately recognizable view of Copenhagen

We flew to and from Greenland via Copenhagen, and so took advantage of the journey by spending a few days there to explore the city, and let’s be honest, check another new country off our list. Haha.

Crazy high standards of living aside, we love this city, and how green and ecological the Danes are. They rely extensively on wind and solar energy, and burn their trash to generate heat. The city has a goal to become carbon neutral by 2025.

It’s also compact, and easy enough for us to explore over our 4.5 days there. We kept our schedules light, and luxuriated in long sleeps in cosy beds after camping for a week. Still, we managed to cover most of the city, on foot, on a bike tour with Mike, a gregarious old man with his personal bike tour and who came highly recommended by our Greenland mate Ally. We also wandered around it from the water, with Kirstin, with whom we spent many happy and boisterous hours playing kayak netball with back in Sydney a couple of years ago when she guided for Laura’s Sydney by Kayak.

We biked past the super tiny Little Mermaid sculpture, one of the must-see sights on many tourists’ itinerary in Copenhagen. It’s not that remarkable, really, but the walk to the fortress along the waterfront is a lovely one
Mike giving us a history lesson. We had signed up for his group tours, but because of the forecasted rains, we ended up getting a private tour. Score! Lol, a little thunderstorm can’t stop us from having fun.
Kirstin took us on a happy two hour paddle down the super clean canals of Copenhagen, so clean, we could see all the way to the bottom, and the locals pretty much jump in wherever for a dip in the summer.

Physical activities aside, our focus was to hit up the the famed food scene of Copenhagen. We didn’t manage to get reservations to Noma – not that we tried really hard, seeing that the cost for the degustation menu started at $700 a person! But we did eat at Palægade, Iluka, 108 (the sister restaurant to Noma) and Høst, the latter being our favorite and highlight. The food at these restaurants all featured fresh vegetables, and seafood, quite a change from our usual meat heavy fare. Really delicious, though hard on the wallet.

I bumped into Bel, an excoworker from Sydney who had moved to Copenhagen with her Danish partner three years ago. It’s a small world!!!

Our last day in the city, we wondered around the Christianhavn neighborhood before making our way to the Copenhagen Royal Opera House, where we were absolutely delighted to see the chorus master leading the public in a masterclass singalong of the Opera Carmen. We went in to take a look, and were thrust the scores so we could follow along and join in if we wanted. Well I can’t read scores, but we spent the next hour and a half listening in. So much fun, and it was a most lovely way to end our trip (that, and a delicious lunch of pork snitchzel washed down with homemade snaps at Restaurant Barr!

Happy coincidence – joining a Carmen singalong led by the Copenhagen Royal Opera chorus master Steven Moore. It was so fun!