Saturday, November 3, 2012

The morning after

I don't know what I did to my body yesterday. I know this title would suggest I was up to some serious mischief - being a typical teenager in a country where I've already reached the legal drinking age, and taking part in a jovial and irresponsible manner. Well that's not what I mean, even if I've tried to mislead you early on.

The morning after for me consisted of aches and pains and anxiety about whether I'd actually be able to take another day filled with activity. But the morning after led into the day after, and it worked out pretty swimmingly.

That was a pun. "Swimmingly," I mean. Because one of the first stops of the day was the statue of Den lille havfrue (The Little Mermaid in Danish). She sits out at Langelinji Pier, looking over the water, pensively and quietly...while tons of tourists gather around snapping photos and making awkwardly stoic faces to remember the moment forever.

We spent a few minutes there doing what is called for by the "foto moment" sign posted near the statue. As if we could ignore the proposition with dozens of other people not so much admiring the mermaid, but vaguely looking at her through a camera lens and moving on.

But that's beside the point. After stopping by this, the most touristy of tourist sites, we moved through the rest of the day as efficiently as the train system in Denmark (is this reference lost on anyone? Everyone? Sorry).

Every stop along the way was done with the necessary concentration, but not an excessive amount of time spent. We walked through and past monuments, saw beautiful sites from a palace to a cathedral to an opera house to an art exhibit. We walked past a bunch of hippies selling and smoking marijuana, and ate at a vegetarian café.

And all in a day's work.

It's weird that I'm so lethargic and sore right now. This is how I felt last night, even this morning as I woke up with a crick in my neck and a mysterious ache in my left wrist (still there, but hopefully going away sooner rather than later). But throughout the day, even when I knew in the back of my mind the pains were still there, I was somehow able to simply ignore it.

This must just be the case when I go on vacation. Whereas at other times in my life, I may walk a mile or two here or there every one or two days, when I'm visiting a new place I spend practically every moment of my time exploring. And when that means making few stops, and maybe just short ones for a quick bite of a pastry or a cup of hot chocolate, it's unfathomable to think I can keep myself standing on both legs for all the remaining time.

But I have. For two days now. And I will. For many more days to come. And in three more countries.

I don't know if I should be more excited or frightened. Maybe there is a limit to how much my body can stand. Perhaps one of those days I have planned consisting of tons of great walking tours of various cities will have to be sacrificed in exchange for a warm bed and a heating pad for my calves.

On the other hand, I don't think I could ever let that happen.

When I started making the plans for this trip, I didn't factor in the sheer amount of activity I will be partaking in with such a short amount of time spared to each location. I just made the plans with a sort of wistful hopefulness that everything would turn out wonderfully.

There have obviously been hiccups. But at the moment I can't think of anything more rewarding than all of the experiences - the good, the bad and the super super weird.

Even if the morning after a long day of tourist-ing I feel like my body is broken and worn out, I am so glad that I even allowed myself to put this much strain on my delicate nerves. Maybe it'll teach me to handle these days without holding my emotions in the balance. And it'll allow me to look at Den lille havfrue without any hint of concern for my pained feet, my arthritic wrist, my aching shoulders and back, etc.

I'm glad that at least today, I totally forgot about it.

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