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Denmark

20 Sept 2000

Off early this morning. Our truckie mates started to leave at 1.30am and when we surfaced at around 7.00am, most had gone. We had decided to drive most of the day today to get into Denmark so we could start to do 'touristy' things.

 Weather again good but a little cooler and windy.

 Late in the afternoon after several hours of 'motorway challenge!' we pulled up in Ribe, supposedly the oldest village in Scandanavia - great place and although probably a bit of a tourist trap it has some nice old buildings. Denmark so far is an eye-opener - very clean without being sterile - a good feel and very easy to get about and deal with people. It seems that to our advantage the 'homogenisation' of the world on the English - Big Mac - pop music standard has well and truly reached Denmark having already swamped Holland and to a lesser extent Germany.

Wind generators are very big in Denmark. Scores of them can be seen relentlessly pumping away, their huge tri-blade propellers in perfect synchronization in the seemingly constant wind. Standing as high as a five storey building, they have an eerie fascination about them, especially when they are clustered on hill tops in threes and fours like the Martian machines of War of the Worlds fame.

 

As we write the radio is playing ‘Credence' and several times today we were regaled with Savage Garden! Half the language of Europe seems to have been intruded upon by English! Perhaps we will regret this in Poland, Bulgaria etc, but it seems that most of the difference that we value is being eroded by the wonders of modern communication! By the way what a great thing TOYS like SMS are - we can send annoying messages to our 'kids' at anytime of the day or night direct to their mobiles for next to nothing! - COOL!

 21 Sept 2000 

Another beautiful day! The way Europeans measure such things, today is the last day of summer. Without the wind it would have been much like a Brisbane September day. Ribe drew us back again after a pleasant night in the Kommune's carpark complete with free water, chemical toilet and waste water disposal - absolute necessities for 'vanners. How civilised!

 

The town probably epitomises all that is Danish. The sight of a broken beer bottle on the footpath would be cause for a major hue and cry! Litter and graffiti are unknown - we suspect that those who perpetrate such atrocities meet the same fate as Maren Splid who was burnt at the stake outside the town on 9 November 1641. 

Despite its often violent past the town has preserved a great sense of history and respect for those who made it. The cemetery is like a botanic garden. Graves from the early 19th century are still perfectly maintained. The Stonehuggier ( stonemason) had a display yard beside the grave yard set out like a 'serve your self' market!

 The Vikingcenter was very interesting - especially the sections which showed Ribe in 800 and 1500 AD. The view from the Cathedral tower ( up 248 steps - hard on the quads and knees) is amazing - you can see behind the building facades to the pocket-handkerchief gardens - all with KMart plastic tables and chairs.

 Denmark is not cheap - but to be fair the view that it is outrageously costly seems unfounded. Using the coffee standard, rather than the Big Mac standard, two cups of coffee and a large danish pastry, eat in, in a pleasant cafe, in a building that was probably built in the 16th century, cost 30kc $5 AUS... On the other hand it cost nearly $45 AUS to drive across the motorway causeway (20km) from Funen to Zealand, but the experience was well worth the cost! This has to be one of the great construction accomplishments of the 20th century - spectacular!

Egeskov castle was next on our list.

 

 Open farmland, reminiscent of New Zealand (wonder why?) was only slightly spoilt by the ever present company flags that mark out the territory of every enterprise from car yards to chemical plants. Egeskov has been occupied since the 15th century. The castle itself is well maintained and spectacular. The gardens, on this the last day of summer, look just a little short of what we are sure they would have been a month ago. The other attractions, vintage cars, Dracula's crypt, tree-walk ..... smacked of National Lampoon's Wally World! Still, well worth while.

 Copenhagen tonight. A very flash youth hostel with camping attached. The big boon is we have internet access and have been able to check our e-mail and update the home page. A quick look at the Olympic results was exciting - Australia still second to the US. Eight gold medals! Having tried to glean information from Dutch, German and Danish radio for the past few days, with little success, we felt free to be fairly jingoistic in our brief discussions with a German guy in the internet room. 

 21 Sept 2000

Jumped the S-bahn (train) to Copenhagen this morning. Buying tickets in stations where not a single word is comprehensible is always a worry! By chance the first person who happened by this morning was an 'expat' Pom who was extremely helpful in getting us moving. The city is best described as 'grand'. Even the usual big city grime is minimal in Copenhagen. Aided by another glorious day we worked ourselves hard to see the sights on foot in one day. From the Tivoli to the Rosenborg and many others between we marched on relentlessly. The Little Mermaid, one of the supposed 'attractions' was a major disappointment. Imagine a rather uninspiring cast metal statue stuck to a rock in the midst of a major industrial area and you just about have it!

Our "stowaway" has appeared for his first "photo opportunity."  P.P rulz!

 

The city was almost deserted until midday, then people seemed to appear from everywhere. Friday afternoon may have been the reason, but streets that were almost deserted at 9.30am were crowded by 3.00pm. The square in front of the Rathaus (city hall) was packed with Danes of all ages.

 

Sunset even at this time of the year is around 7.30pm. After a big day on the town and the usual domestic tasks, it is after 10.00pm as we finish dinner. - How civilised! -

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