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Our 5000 km road trip from Denmark to Armenia – how it all started!

Hello :)

After one month of driving on the roads of Eastern Europe Andreas and I are back from our big adventure. On my blog here I am sharing the beginning of our road trip, as it all started in Denmark. If you are interested to read more about our travels you can visit my personal blog We have also shared many pictures from our trip on Instagram. Check it out at

Enjoy the ride!

Our 5000 km road trip from Denmark to Armenia – how it all started!

The summer has come and gone like a beautiful flap of butterfly wings. Now I am sitting in my favourite café in the hood, sipping on my favourite chai latte, looking out the window illuminated by candlelight reflections and staring at the grey October sky. It is a beautiful day indeed, a perfect type of a setting to start sharing our memories from our incredible road trip.

We have long been dreaming about embarking on a road trip. For a year now we promised ourselves. A graduation gift from us to us. Driving from Denmark to Armenia… Exploring the roads of Eastern Europe… In a Land Rover… This one particular element was the only one thing that Andreas has been persistent and insistent about.

In August, after months of slaving on our theses, we did graduate and we did rock it! First it was Andreas who aced his thesis and graduated the Technical University of Denmark with the shiniest of all diplomas.


My love all in smiles, surrounded by his proud parents and his work manager


So proud of you!

Then five days later, I was up in the same room defending my thesis. A day I was so anxious about actually felt quite relaxed, like I was telling a story of my journey during the past seven months. As my supervisor and the censor told me I did ace the thesis, and this is the only self-bragging I have allowed myself to do here. What followed was a hyggelig celebration and a huge sense of accomplishment.


Now with this exciting academic chapter of our lives behind us we finally became the master of our evenings and weekends again and had all the time in the world to focus on making our next dream come true. Road trip… The adventures of being your own boss of the travels.

The start and end destinations were set long ago when the first seeds of this crazy adventure were born in our traveller minds. Now it was time to plan the route. And that is what we did one Sunday afternoon. We spread out the map over Europe, took a pen and started dotting the countries we would cross, the stops we would make, and the roads we would drive. Little by little our itinerary started to come alive.

Andreas in charge of computerising our travel plan

Andreas in charge of computerising our travel plan

By the time our plan has been laid out, our family and friends got divided into two distinct groups. First was the cheering group, who thought our travel plan was so daring and cool. This mostly excluded the family. Then came the second group – the worry-ers, who thought we were crazy and this was a totally risky adventure. This included many family members.

In the end of August just a few days before we were set to hit the road, we finalised our initial route. 10 countries in 3 weeks! Around 5000 km.  Let the adventure begin!


Our planned route highlighted in yellow with iconic stops carefully penned in. Of course the route changed along the way, but we did cross the 10 countries and the 5000 kms to reach our beautiful destination – Armenia!

This is our itinerary:

When: August 27 – September 26
Where: Denmark, Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey, Georgia, and Armenia

Having jotted the route down, the most important element of our road trip was missing – the mode of transportation. After much talk, worry (mostly on my part), and Andreas’ spending countless hours on the Internet searching for the perfect vehicle, we finally set our eyes on three used cars within our humble budget that were on sale in Berlin. And that is what became our first destination. More on this in our next post.

Follow our adventures and come along for the ride!

Photos © Andreas Eriksen & Ani Movsisyan

Leif Erikson from a Danish (sic) perspective in the ‘New World’

Lei Eriksson Reykjavik

Statue of Icelandic explorer Leif Erikson in the Icelandic capitol of Reykjavik. Even this city’s name has a bit of viking in it as ‘vik’ as we can see by the name.

Ode to Leif Erikson

( A Response to ‘In 1492’ )

 By Scott Larsen Copyright © 2015

Columbus sailed the ocean blue, that very well may be true.

But 500 years earlier, Leif Erikson came first, to satisfy an explorer’s thirst.

 Columbus’ men dreamed of trees and sand. Leif’s men discovered them in Newfoundland.

 They discovered this and Labrador and Baffin ‘land. All Columbus discovered was Bahamas sand.

 Erikson returned with lumber, fruit, and tales. Columbus returned with gold for Spain under his sails.

 Leif discovered with one ship, while the other had three. Discovered plenty more, but history denied it to thee.

 To the victor belong the spoils and history as the historians write. That is why Columbus is favored, although we know it isn’t right.

 So hail Leif Eriksson! Hail to thee, as the first European émigré.

 To a land called Canada, a New World to the Old. Discovered by an Icelander! A Viking! We say so bold.

 In Canada, we don’t celebrate Columbus Day, but rather Thanksgiving. For us it’s more important because we are the living.


The above poem was written for this weekend’s ‘Leif Erikson Day Festival: Denmark’ on Oct. 3 – 4 at the Scandinavian Community Centre, Burnaby, BC, Canada.

Even though Erikson was an Icelandic, this relatively new event’s sponsorship is rotated among the five Nordic houses – (Icelandic, Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden) – that make up the centre. The Danes at the centre are sponsoring this weekend which is why ‘Denmark’ is in this year’s event title.

Ed Khulman, President of the Danish House Society, asked me last August at the annual Danish BBQ if I would represent the Danish house and give a talk for this Erikson October weekend. I was there to cover this summertime gathering of Danes as a reporter for Den Danske / The Danish Pioneer.

To say I was flattered and honoured in being asked would be an understatement.

Various Danish-related presentations will be held this weekend. From a Danish travel slide show and Nordic Spirit exhibit, preserving one’s family heritage, to a talk about the creation of a virtual museum by the Danish Canadian National Museum and Gardens in Dickson, Alberta, Canada.

I wracked my brain to think about what I should talk about for an hour. Held on or before Leaf Erikson Day on Oct. 9th, this date chosen because that is when the Norwegian ship, the Restoration, from Stranger, Norway, arrived in NYC on Oct. 9, 1825. Significant for being the first organized immigration from Scandinavia but in particular Norway.

Denmark is home of the Viking Ship Museum, the national museum “for ships, seafaring and boatbuilding in the prehistoric and medieval period.” Five Viking ships were found in 1962 and raised and currently are on display at the museum. While I have never been to the museum I look forward to visiting it on my next trip to Denmark. Especially after learning more about these Danish ships.

So I decided to talk about ‘Then and Now: A Look at Denmark From the Vikings to Today.’ My plan is to talk about the Viking period (793 – 1066) including when Leaf Erikson discovered the New World by way of Baffin Island, Labrador, and Newfoundland around 1001 (year of discovery varies I found in my research…). Canada is the site of the oldest Danish/Scandinavian/European settlement, L’Anse aux Meadows, Newfoundland, only discovered n 1960.

Then, I will touch on Denmark’s long-held connection to the sea. Concluding Maersk, the world’s largest container ship operation that is Danish, continues Leif Erikson and the Viking spirit in sailing the seven seas.

Wish me luck!

Just a Touch of H.C. Andersen

Hans Christian Andersen or H.C. Andersen as Danes call him, eventually became Denmark’s most well-known author, with a legacy of wonderful fairy tales. But life in Denmark, for him, was harsh, cold and unstable. In my time in Denmark these 9+ years, I find myself realizing that my life has just a touch of H.C. Andersen…specially as my first children’s book is about to be published.


For those who are not familiar with Hans Christian Andersen’s real life, he was born into poverty in Odense on the Danish island of Fyn. He was tortured and bullied by his classmates (they even ripped his bottoms down one day, forcing him to be naked from the waist down in public one day). He was child abused by a headmaster at school. He had no success with any of the women with whom he fell in love. He only found success upon leaving Denmark — people in other countries recognized his great talents and his gift for storytelling.  He had no home of his own. Like modern day people in Copenhagen, he went from place to place in the city and eventually just rented a room — yes a room, not an apartment — along the harbor in Copenhagen.

I have lived in a spectacular 15 different places in Copenhagen in just over 9 years. It is a gross instability but one I have come to associate with this merchant city on the harbor. It is a city where I perch, take in the view, people-watch and absorb experiences. It is a city where I dream.

You know Walt Disney used Tivoli as the inspiration for Disneyland (Disney Resort) and Walk Disney World, right?

I have lived and live my life with passionate desires and dreams to do things with my skills, gifts and talents that will serve people through empowering them, comforting them, educating them and giving them hope. Copenhagen is a city where I have been able to fulfill a dream to write a children’s book. It, my first children’s book in a series, is called “Lori Leak Travels to Paris”.

It stems from aborted trips I, as a little girl, had planned to take with my father. We never took any of those global trips because, tragically, my father died of cancer before I became a teenager.

But today, my birthday, August 26, 2015, my illustrator has completed the images for this gorgeous and adventurous tale of an African-American girl who travels the world. Kristen Palana, another American expatriate like me, is a Cannes award-winning artist and animator. Together we have taken our desire to serve people through out gifts and created this richly illustrated adventure. I am blessed to be given this gift on my birthday by Kristen. Now, posthumously, my father and I can travel the world and go to all the places we dreamed of together.

Unlike Hans Christian Andersen was able to do, Kristen and I have been gathering family and friends in a Facebook group around Lori Leak and her adventure to Paris. If you would like to be a part of this exciting literary adventure, you can join us Lori Leak on Facebook.

There is also a website for Lori Leak, which you can find HERE. Hans Christian Andersen surely would have had a Facebook group and a website for his fairy tales had they existed then. He also would have done something else:

2014FOB_LOGO_bubblesSoon, we are launching an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign to raise funds to take Lori Leak to the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books in April 2016 and to donate copies to public libraries in each of the 50 states of the United States of America. We have been talking about out favorite Parisian foods, museums and other cultural aspects, history etc.

Copenhagen and Denmark in general has both nurtured and provoked this character Lori Leak into being and now she is ready for the world. Sometimes in the last 9+ years I have been greatly grieved by negative, harsh, cold, bitter, discriminatory people and situations in Denmark. Now I feel deep gratitude for the reward I am receiving because of it. I learned to cling to wonderful Danish and other expatriate friends and acquaintances who gave me light in dark moments — light that empowered me to see so I could write the words to Lori Leak and some other texts.

Lori Leak is a brave, bold, adventurous, curious, humorous, highly intelligent, determined young girl. Gee, I wonder who was the inspiration for her? *smile*

I was already a creative writer and a non-fiction writer as a journalist and blogger before I came to Denmark. However, Lori Leak was always there, waiting to be formed and birthed. My time in Copenhagen has gestated Lori Leak and the contractions of birth are beginning. Soon, in October 2015, she will be born.

My life is abundantly blessed in that sense, by Danish Janteloven, Danish culture both old and modern, Danish history and Danish friends and acquaintances. Because of all things Danish, I have achieved a great dream. Thank you Copenhagen, thank you Denmark, thanks you H.C. Andersen.

Be sure to connect with the Lori Leak Travels to Paris story through the Facebook group or website. Her Paris adventure launches in October….and then her next one is already written and will be translated into Danish for children in Denmark by one of my Danish friends: “Lori Leak Travels to Copenhagen”.

That is a story for another day……

Danes abroad love to visit Denmark


My Great Great Uncle Jens Rasmussen Larsen returned often to Denmark after moving to the US in 1882.

My Great Great Uncle Jens Rasmussen Larsen returned often to Denmark after moving to the US in 1882.

Once again, the Danes and Danish Canadians gathered for their annual Danish BBQ in Burnaby, BC, Canada. And once again this reporter overheard person after person say they were going to Denmark for a visit or had just returned earlier this year.

Which got me to wondering: Do Danes who live abroad – some for decades – visit their native land more than, say Swedes, Germans, or any other nationality? I can’t even think how I’d go about finding this out.

Sure, each country records who visits their country and where they are coming from. But does the Denmark know or even keep track of just native-born Danes who return for a visit as a statistic?

When I began tracing my Larsen family genealogy, my Great Great Uncle Jens immigrated to the US n 1882 to the live and farm in South Dakota in the farming community called Daneville (it no longer exists except on old maps). He didn’t need a passport back then and even when he returned to Denmark in 1902 to bring my grandfather back with him to America.

In 1921, times had changed. I found out that Uncle Jens had to apply for a US Passport as a naturalized citizen for an upcoming trip back to the ‘Old Country’.  He applied for and received a passport on 4 April 1921 and received his new passport before sailing on the Oscar II on 12 May 1921 (try applying for a passport and receiving a passport this fast today…).

As an American living in Canada I too return home to visit frequently. But then there is just a border between Canada and the US similar to the border between Denmark and Germany.

So I guess this is nothing new. I hear Australian and Filipino nurses I work with return to their native country numerous times. As well as citizens returning to their birth country of India. It seems even for Danes who live in Canada or elsewhere, the pull of the Land of Hamlet is too strong to stay away too long.

—  30  –

Drop It Like It’s HOT at Tivoli


SNOOP DOGG at Fredagsrock!

One of the West Coast hip hop’s greatest icons is playing Tivoli tonight as part of the Fredagsrock or Friday’s Rock experience. For sure, Snoop Dogg will drop it like its hot on the great stage.

I am EXCITED!!!!!! I intend to get my groove, my serve and everything else on and drop it for two hours at Tivoli. I tell you, Tivoli has outdone itself this year with Fredagsrock!

American superstar Snoop Dogg has sold over 30 million records, taken first places on the charts all over the world, received numerous awards and worked with artists of all genres. His debut album Doggystyle in 1993 sold an impressive 800,000 copies in the first week and since then he has delivered monster hits like Gin & Juice , What’s my Name , Beautiful, Drop It Like It’s Hot and Signs .

Also outside the music industry, he has made a name as both actor, TV host and fashion designer, and his huge fan base counts both hip hop and R & B lovers as well as a more mainstream-oriented audience. All they can look forward to a great evening in Tivoli, when the king of laid-back West Coast vibes beats wows us with his verbal and musical skill as he sizzles tha wizzle.

Drop everything like its hot and get to Tivoli — the concert is only the cost of admission and it will certainly be a great addition to your Copenhagen experience.