This is Vanessa. She is very nice and is also my host / travel companion for these two weeks.
Part 1. Denmark
Denmark is a small-ish country sandwiched between Big Bad Germany to the south and Big Bad Sweden to the north. It has a peninsula and many islands, one of which is home to the capital city Copenhagen, where Vanessa's friend Stephanie lives. The country is also source of a mysterious export called hygge. None of the Danes we asked knew what exactly hygge was, but we agreed that it was awesome. It is probably one of those things that one felt, rather than knew.
Our hosts, found over airbnb, were Liv and Kristian, who stay at Strandboulevarden 36. They run a well-stocked guesthouse, armed with loads of hygge (and a kitchen, which is great because we cooked most our meals). Also staying in Amager were Stephanie and her boyfriend Christopher, and they brought us to the theme park Tivoli, a special holy place to which all Copenhageners make a pilgrimage during Christmas (everywhere else is closed, evidently).
This is Tivoli, featuring very traditional Danish architecture.
Tivoli also provided free hygge at designated points around the park.
Stephanie and Christopher were nice and got us mulled wine, non-apple applepancakeballs (æbleskiver), and churros because Stephanie is part Spanish, and missed churros.
Also in our neighbourhood were the star-shaped fortress that the locals simply called "the fortress" (kastellet) and the Little Mermaid, which was little. We figured out where the little mermaid was by looking where there was an abnormally huge crowd of tourists, and joined them.
I don't know whether the crane and sad robot statue were touristy or not, but they seemed more fun
Christmas vigil mass was in St. Ansgar's, downtown, across the street from St. Alexander Nevsky's. It is nestled in a city block and seemed to be of a lower profile than the other cathedrals in the place. Stepping into the church felt like stepping into a treasure chest.
Danish mass was nice but I should try not to arrange for masses in languages other than English, unless extraordinarily pressed (such as in the following Sunday). Also, the pews had doors. We found that an extremely novel feature.
That's all for this short travelogue! I'll keep you posted with the other two countries.