What not to do when in Denmark

Denmark is one of the safest places on earth. It really is.

Okay, we do have car accidents and every now and then somebody gets bumped off by somebody else before their time, or – mostly foreigners on inflatable toys – have to be rescued from drowning on the open sea, but apart from that …

We have no cliffs, mountains or volcanos, no earthquakes, desserts or twisters, no hippos or crocodiles, no tigers or lions, no bears or ice bears, no polar winters or frying hot summers, no malaria mosquitos or tsetse flies. We really have no natural threats to our lives. Or so I thought.

My oldest daughter Julie is studying to become an agricultural consultant, and part of what she learns is to test soil and register and document important wild plants, so today she went out to the countryside with some of her classmates.

While they walked through a bog far away from civilization, Julie saw a flower she wanted to take a closer look at and took two steps away from the path, before her legs sank into the bog to the middle of her thighs. And that was it. She was stuck, and the more she tried to get up again, the more the bog held on to her. If she had been alone, she could have screamed her lungs out without being heard by anybody.

Luckily her classmates were near, and after a while they found a tree trunk they could place, so Julie was able to pull herself out of the bog.

She had been sitting in that bog for about half an hour, was soaking wet and had lost her rubber boots. It was 3 degrees Celsius warm (cold), and Julie had to walk or run 2 kilometers on bare feet through the bog and a cornfield to get to her car.

One of her friends had some spare clothes and shoes in her car, another had something hot to drink and others found a warm place where she could get warm again and get cleaned up, so when she finally came home, she was okay, but tired.

She learned some important lessons though:

  1. Even in Denmark nature can be dangerous
  2. When going out in nature never go alone and/or always bring a mobile phone
  3. When going through a bog, never, ever, ever leave the path

For me as her mother this is the stuff nightmares are made of.

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