A Stop on the S Train – Copenhagen Suburbia

Field Studies

The following is a piece of writing from a field study for my travel writing class. We were each given a random stop on the S Train to go explore. The location I was given was Albertslund which was about a 20 minute ride. My roommate joined me on the adventure and we decided to explore via a run through the area. It was a great decision as we were able to see a lot more than if we had just walked around. We ended up outside of Albertslund and in the surrounding farmland which was super cool, the path that we found took us by farmhouses and horses. I believe we also ended up in the neighboring town where we found a small old church and admired all the quaint houses.

Albertslund station

The train doors slide shut and the platform is overwhelmed by a high-pitched whine as the train gathers up speed leaving the few disembarked passengers behind. The tall historical tightly packed buildings I have come to associate with Copenhagen no longer line the streets. Trees cast dark shadowy figures in the fog that has only grown thicker in the time since I boarded the train from Norreport Station in downtown Copenhagen. Exiting the station, I am struck by the realization I have absolutely no clue where I am, as this thought floats up to the surface I chuckle. Smiling I look around at the strange sprawling semi underground mall I am walking through, I am a little nervous, but feelings of excitement and anticipation overwhelm their lesser companion.

The suburban neighborhoods gave way to farm houses and horse pasture

Exiting the mall space and crossing a canal, small low standing white house’s emerge from the mist, one after the other they transform into a neighborhood. It’s silent, no busy roads with rushing cars or bikes, all of their drivers with urgent places to be. The birds sing, slightly ominously in the grey silence adding a melody to the rhythmic beat of my foot falls. The neighborhood styles change seamlessly, house styles staying similar, yet roofs, windows and car ports expose their difference. The somewhat lonely silence is broken suddenly by a group of children on their walk back from school, backpacks in tow. A blonde-haired girl stares me down as I pass, while a younger sibling pulls at the back of her jacket. I am reminded of the many times I walked home from school with my younger sister, trying to speed walk ahead of her after she delivered a perfectly designed insult, or maybe she just breathed wrong that particular day. Whatever it was, I would not speak to her the rest of the walk back home. Today, however, I am simply a forgettable random stranger on the walk home.  

Cemetery at Vallensbæk Kirke

            As suddenly as the train had left, the suburban neighborhoods fell way to wide open land spotted with the occasional farmhouse and horse pasture. The fog took center stage, framing and concealing the snow spotted landscape. Although in a new place I kept stumbling on moments of familiarity, the smile of the woman who passed me on the path, the children on their way home, even the farm landscape had semblances of comfort and home. 

The houses!

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