I took advantage of the ride from Aarhus to Randers with Mariana, and we reached there in 40 minutes. I didn’t know why I was expecting a long trip (at least three hours), then I realized I was in the city next door. Anyhow, I gave Mariana money for the gas. Still, it was less than the train ticket (they are costly in Denmark).

While in Randers, Mariana met her cousin/friend Ida, and I decided to go to Randers Regsnkov, a tropical zoo in the middle of Northern Denmark.

The Randers Regnskov Tropical Zoo is a climate-controlled zoo designed to be comparable to three tropical environments worldwide. These climate-regulated zones are under three domes, The South American Amazon Rainforest, the Asian Mythical Southeast and the African Savannah.

Half of the animals are in free roaming, which was very curious to witness in a Scandinavian country.

I loved seeing a lot of kids marvelled by turtles, snakes, and monkeys, which made my trip.

After leaving the place, I headed to my cheap hotel to shower and rest a little before dinner with Mariana and her cousin Ida at her house. They wanted me to bring wine.

One more thing that I discovered: alcohol is costly in Danish bars, so drinking at home would be convenient to save money. Denmark is the only Scandinavian country without alcohol monopoly, so you can buy it in any supermarket. I passed for a REMA 1000, a popular discount, and bought two bottles of some Spanish Tempranillo. It wasn’t the cheapest but also not that expensive. I think I’d look fair choosing an intermediate option, in a country where alcohol is anyway expensive.

I met Mariana and Ida at her place in Kristup, a family neighbourhood of Randers SO. Ida was charming. To be honest, I cannot say that Ida was beautiful; she was beyond that. I have to confess that I think I haven’t seen a most beautiful girl like her.

Ida was Danish-Danish with a Colombian-Danish mother (How she is related to Mariana is super complicated to explain here). So, she has all the graceful Danish characteristics: a detailed perfect smile and nose, blue eyes, yellow-to-white hair like the first solar light of the morning. She has a gracious corporal language, similar to a formal noblewoman who trusts you with her deep secrets. Ida was like a The Lord of The Ring Elf but better. She also had something of Latina inside and didn’t feel like a cold person but appeared to have a warm heart. Physically she was more Scandinavian than Latina, but she had some Jennifer Lopez curves that flashed me when I said ‘hello’ for the first time.

The conversation was fluent. However, they weren’t surprised by my trips (I don’t think any European will be). I learnt more from South America from Ida as she had lived in Medellin for 2 years (but she was born and raised in Denmark). Mariana and Ida mentioned the Red-footed Tortoise were very common as pets in Colombia. I was marvelled by it since I took many pictures of them in Randers Regsknov because I found them exotic. They laughed about it. I felt great.

We spent the night chatting about turtles, Randers, and Colombia while they made fun of my awful Spanish. It was an unexpected night full of brightness and unexpected feelings.

Nonetheless, I realized that even though I love this travel and working lifestyle, I think it cannot be forever. I believe there might be a place outside for me. A place where I will fit like a piece of a puzzle that disappeared a long time ago. I believe that there is a place where everyone is waiting for me to come to find some kind of meaning.

I don’t think I am going to buy Tempranillo anymore.

Before saying goodbye, Ida invited me to show me the city the next day, and I was happy because I thought I liked her. But life is strange, and sometimes when you feel your life is going in the right direction, a new challenge appears.

“I know you might be mad at me. But I still think about you. Come to Rome and meet me. I will be present this time”. Jessica texted during my last sip of wine.

I said yes to Ida. It would be a mistake not to go out with that woman. I don’t know what to do with Jessica, and I don’t want my heart broken again.

The second city of Denmark is different in many ways from the cosmopolitan Copenhagen. Aarhus has a smaller population of around 350,000 people, and it is the youngest city in Denmark. As it is a university city, many young people are part of its demographics.

So you can feel the juvenile vibe around, with events in bars, shops, and most importantly, cafés. “City of Café” is Aarhus’ moniker, as there are a bunch of specialty coffee shops all over the town. On my first day, I consumed the whole afternoon working from an Iraqi-led cafeteria with delicious Arabica coffee. The next day I spent the morning in an Italian-Danish coffee and pastry shop. I didn’t know how I was going to be able to be fit here.

When I reached Aarhus, many people criticized me for going during the autumn as most Aarhus fun happens in the summertime. However, coming from friendly Canada, I enjoyed the fall here, as indoor activities connected me with more people than I expected. I spent two days in a row having friendly conversations in local bars. During that time, I met Mariana, Kristina and Julianne.

Mariana was born in Colombia to a Danish father and Colombian mother, but after the Covid crisis in that country she moved to Denmark. She met Julianne from Geneva, Switzerland, Kristina’s husband, and fell in love with him. Kristina from Kolding has been married to Julianne for 6 years, and she is a psychologist focused on couple behaviour. She had heard about polyamory thanks to his clients and helped them go through it. Still, she never experienced it in life until Julianne confessed to her his love for Mariana.

Kristina, whose self-esteem is as high as Mount Everest, asked Julianne: “Do you still love me?”.

He replied, “yes, I don’t still love you. I love you more than anything in life.”

After that, they decided to continue together, and Mariana and Julianne started a loving relationship. Later, Mariana met Kristina and then they became friends. In the beginning, was arduous, but with time they shifted toward being best friends.

So I learnt about polyamory in Aarhus. I am wondering if I have known about this before, I would have forgiven Jessica for what she did. I will never know, to be honest, I just hope she is enjoying her life with that crazy Italian.

Mariana was driving to Randers the next day to visit her Colombian-Danish cousin Ida. As I didn’t have any plans, I decided to go with her, and she only asked me to share the gas money. Giving money to your friends when they offer you a ride is a cultural custom in Denmark. It is a nice one, knowing that this country has the most expensive oil prices globally.

I spent my last day in Aarhus visiting a park. It was freaking cold, but coming from the North Pole was nothing. I enjoyed the colours of the last days of the autumn, the gray of the sky and the hot coffees on the street.

I took a photo of a tree and sent it to Jessica via WhatsApp. I didn’t know why I did it. When I decided to delete it, it was already late. She replied, “So you are not in Iceland anymore; it is wonderful to know about you.”

Where are you, Benjamin Gunst?