That word is hygge. With an eternally confusing pronunciation like hoo-ga, of course.
They say it's as tough to define the Danish concept of hygge as it is to pronounce. Comfort. Fun. Cozy. Enjoy. Relaxing with good friends or loved ones. Usually with candlelight. Definitely with good food and drink. Often associated with Danish Christmas and family celebrations. It's a noun. It's a verb. It's an adjective.
The definition that resonated with me the most was this:
Hygge [hoo-ga']: a deep sense of place; well-being; a feeling of friendship, warmth, contentment and peace with your immediate surroundings. It's a uniquely Danish term that plays an important role in mentality and priority here. No wonder Danes are the happiest nation in the world.
In Denmark for me, hygge includes cafés and cobblestones. Lattes and ambient lighting. Breezy baristas who patiently smile while I'm fumbling through my foreign coins. And whomever is creating the playlists at these places. Geniuses! They all aced the European Cafe College elective How to Create a Cool Vibe. Always the perfect mood music. All. The. Time.
While I practically leave kicking and screaming from Copenhagen, embracing hygge is one of the best tributes I can pay to Denmark. Beautiful country. Beautiful people. Beautiful concept. My time here has been beyond words.
Skål til Danmark!
The dark, candlelit, cozy chair room at The Living Room. Hygge at its best!
Completely tucked away from the main street, Mad Synergi cafe. So happy I stumbled upon it.
Quaint interior at Mad Synergi
I passed this place, Maven, every time I went to the train station but didn't go in until the end of my trip. Such a cool vibe in the shadows of an old church (now an art exhibition).
Inside Maven. Just add rain for ultimate hygge!
Barock; my frequented Nyhavn restaurant where my order always included lobster soup and a Tuborg!
Sweet Camilla at Barock. Her Danish warmth and smile always welcomed me home from a day of exploration.
Skål til Danmark!