Day 12 – Odense (day 1)

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God morgen!

Good morning, that is, coming from the other side of the bedsheet hanging between Anne’s bedroom and the living room, for the night.

And day 12 was on its way! I didn’t know much about Odense, aside from the fact that it was Hans Christian Andersen’s home town, Denmark’s 3rd largest city and one that had to be on my itinirary (Lucas’ advice)… Anne told me a little more over a hot bowl of oatmeal and I quickly got prepared for another exciting day.

My host had to go to work, but she insisted on walking me to the the river. From there, I couldn’t miss downtown Odense, and she assured me it was a great walk to take. What she didn’t mention, as we left her apartment, was that she also wanted to show me huuuuuuuuge lilac trees on our way to the river. And anyone who knows me a little knows I love lilac! I honestly don’t know how I managed to pull myself away from the trees, but I eventually did, and walked all the way to HC Andersen Haven (park) with all of its strickingly colorful, newly bloomed flowers, and people sitting here and there, enjoying the lovely morning.

Just over the bridge, I arrived to Odense’s Domkirke (Cathedral) where the day’s service took place outdoor. What surprised me, was that the celebrant was a woman. She stood, in her long black robe, and her white collar, and adressed the many people sitting in the grass behind the church.

I took a long walk downtown before looking for a café, where I was supposed to meet with Søren. As you might remember, he had been a great help, finding a last minute stay in Odense, even if he couldn’t host me himself. I really wanted to see him!

 

Søren showed up, and invited me home to have tea and have a chat. He lived in the cutest house (ok, I’d say that about a lot of houses in Denmark, and I still will when I go back, no doubt about that) and we sat in his little backyard, to sip on mint tea and discuss my trip and his many travels. Søren is an accountant that travels many times a year and hosts couch surfers from around the globe when he is back to Denmark… And I understand his good ratings online are so impressive! He is one charming, interesting and entertaining person to spend some time with!

But all good things having to end, I soon had to leave him to his evening plans, but not before he walked me back to the river where I had decided to take a stroll all the way to the zoo.

 

In Odense, the zoo has been built along the river, so you can have a look at some of the animals without paying to get in. It is a good walk  from downtown, but it is totally worth the time, especially when you are on a budget!

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Then it was time to quickly go back “home” so I just hoped not to get lost along the way…

 

 

That house… It is a house. It was not part of the zoo, and I just thought it was awesome having two “pet” lamas!!

Anne welcomed me back to her apartment as if we were old friends now, and I helped cooking dinner, a homemade potato-turnip potage with rye bread croutons and grilled kale (I think)… Exactly what I needed after my long walk…

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Anne couldn’t believe how far I had walked… and quite frankly, looking at the map, I surprised myself too! I very well deserved the treat that my host had prepared as a surprise…

Rødgrød med fløde! (red berries purée with cream)

The simple Danish desert is a classic, and its name is often used to “test” foreigners’ level of Danish, because it is a bit complicated to pronounce…

 

Before we knew it, it was already passed bedtime… And my duvet was calling! Anne put up the wall bed-sheet, and we were off to dream land after a quick good night through the fabric…

Godnat, that is…

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Day 11 – Odense (arrival)

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I don’t have pictures of day 11’s evening, but I hope you won’t be too disappointed… I usually would have jumped straight to day 12, but my first encounter with Anne is worth mentionning, at least to me 🙂

 

So, where were we?

After walking the streets of the oldest Danish city, came time to ride the train between Ribe and Odense. I still remember the excitment I felt, knowing I was about to get to Fyn Island, where Pippa lives! Even if time was going by way too fast (I was already halfway through my journey), I couldn’t wait to meet with my dear friend! But before that, I had a two day stop to spend in Hans Christian Andersen‘s home town.

Just off the train, and eager to meet with the nice lady offering me shelter for the two nights to come, I had a small argument with the citybus driver. I guess my backpack was not big enough to give the impression I was a tourist… He treated me like a local who should have known all about directions. Then again, I couldn’t complain… He did treat me like a local, which is how I had intended to live my trip in Vikingland!

Right from the doorstep, I felt like coming home to a cousin’s house, or something very close to it, when I met Anne. Her smile was bright and she totally surprised me with a warm hug, as if we were old friends who hadn’t seen each other in years! (Danes are not big with hugging… Maybe with close friends and family, but I didn’t experience much hugging on my way, hihihi)

We entered her small appartment, and I truly understood the meaning of hygge. Hygge is big in Denmark, and I’ll have to write a post about it, because otherwise, I’ll get lost in this one, and lose you along the way! Let’s just say that the closest English synonym to hygge would be cosy.

Anne had an open spaced appartment, with a living room, a small bedroom you had to walk through to get to the kitchen and finally the bathroom in the back. I don’t know many North Americans who would choose to live in a small flat like hers, but I would have moved in anytime.

Anne’s home was so alive, with the grand children’s drawings hanging on the walls,  her shelves loaded with books and the plants resting on the window sides… She slept on a mattress on the floor, and didn’t own a couch, so I had a foldable mattress on the living room’s floor. And the usual duvet…

Did I talk about Danish duvets yet? I’d have to re-read myself, but everywhere I had slept from day 1 to 11, my days always ended under a cloud-like duvet, pairing with my fatigue du jour to guarantee a perfect night of sleep. You know the expression “sleeping like a baby”? Well, I am pretty sure that when babies have a great night, they think “I slept like a Dane!” (yeah, they think that, they can’t say it… they’re babies!!)

Anne did everything to make me feel at home. Conversation was easy and natural with her from the start. She prepared some tea, and we sat together to learn a little about each other. She told me about her couchsurfing hosting experience, and a little about Odense. I explained the how and whys of my journey around Denmark, and we exchanged traveling memories while sipping on our tea. We had a few good laughs, and soon had to call it a night. We hadn’t shared as much time chatting as we both would have wished for, because it was already pretty late, but I knew we’d catch up the next day.

As I was drifting into another night of sound sleep, I thought that I was for sure experiencing the essence of Denmark. Being happy with what I had, and keeping things simple! Rolled in my duvet, I couldn’t have cared less about Morpheus’ arms, unless he had been a Scandinavian God, which is not the case…

Sweet dreaming my way to day 12….

 


 

Previously…

Copenhagen, day 1  / Copenhagen, day 2  / Møn’s Island / Aalborg / Viborg, day 1 /

Viborg, day 2 / Aarhus, day 1  / Aarhus, day 2 / Esbjerg, day 1 / Esbjerg, day 2 / Ribe

Day 4 – Aalborg

Aalborg

 

Yesterday night I landed in Aalborg. My first reason for being here early in my trip being to meet Ib, and pick up the phone he had prepared for me…

I was going to use Couchsurfing for the first time, and both me and my host were a tiny bit nervous, since we were both newbies at playing the CS game.

I had a great couch awaiting me, with a super duvet to keep me warm, and although I craved to log in and tell everyone about my fabulous day, I just managed to arrange for my meeting with Ib in the morning, and fell asleep like a baby.

I was up at sunrise, discussing the new day’s plans with César, my CS host’s cat. We got prepared (me and my host, not César) and headed for the bus which would take me to the mall where I was supposed to meet Ib.

I was anxious. Being virtual friends is one thing, meeting in person is a whole other deal. But things went as smooth I could have imagined… Like old friends meeting after some time away from each other. He treated me with brunch, and we chatted for a long while, catching up on this and that. He then drove me downtown Aalborg where I was to meet my CS host. He dropped me there with a promise to meet again before my trip back home…

My host then took charge of my visit and gave me a loooong tour amoung the several interesting points of the town… We visited the house of music, Aalborg’s main church, strolled along the popular streets, saw the work of potery and glass blowing craftsman artists… We also went to Paradis, an ice cream parlour (I am not into sweets,but WOW!), and spent a long time along the harbour, talking and just chilling among the hundreds of locals enjoying the numerous parks and resting areas…

Next was time for supper, which we spent in a small casual traditional-style Danish food restaurant. My first Danish meal, and what a platting! Pork with a crispy skin, with (a loooot of potatoes, brown gravy, pickled cucumbers and red cabbage… Yum!!

We finished the day in an ancient Vikings’ grave,just before sunset (solnedgang) with a great view over Aalborg….

Unfortunately my camera’s batteries were dead, so I couldn’t take a lot of pictures, but I will make up for it when I come back at the end of the month 🙂

 


 

Previously…

Copenhagen, day 1  / Copenhagen, day 2  / Møn’s Island

 

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This one will be short…

Yesterday night, after my evening shift, I got back home at midnight as usual. I had a few stomach cramps, but nothing too worrying.

Until arround 2am, when it hit me… From nowhere, I started being sick. And it was particularly intense and constant. Every 20 minutes or so, all night long, I had to visit the bathroom.

In the morning, I hadn’t slept much, and I obviously had a fever flash, because the little sleep that I got was filled with delirious dreams in which I was trying to solve intricate puzzles…

I had to take a day off work, still being sick and dizzy during the day (and not wanting to share this with co-workers if it was contagious) and I spent my afternoon wrapped in a blanket, trying to wrap up as much online preparation as possible.

I feel like I’ve kind of lost a day, but at least, I didn’t get sick just before getting on the plane!

I hope things are better tomorrow. I have some shopping to do (for my future hosts’ little thank you gifts and some other knick knacks) and I have to work on my packing!

6 days to go… Can’t wait to come meet you Denmark 🙂

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One week to go…

I can’t believe that in a week, I will finally be on my way to Denmark… For real!

 

These days, it is all about lists, and lists of lists… What to do, what to get, what to prepare, information I have to gather… It is a bit hectic, working, dealing with everyday chores, and planning all this, but it is getting more and more exciting as the days roll by.

 

Accomplishments of the week…

Hosts searching:

Out of the 9 cities I will visit, people from 4 of them have agreed to let the crazy Canadian Turtle in their lovely homes!! I will not drop names without permission, but

Tusind tak til dig, søde venner og venninder i Aalborg, Viborg, Odense og Sønderborg!!

(A thousand thanks to my friends in Aalborg, Viborg, Odense and Sønderborg! – Well, soon to be friends anyway!! )

I have requests pending for Copenhagen and the Island of Møn… So things are going very well!

 

Other very good news! I now officially have a phone waiting for me… I have my phone number and all!! Wow! This is getting real!

 

Tomorrow I have to concentrate a little bit on paperwork that need to be done even if it is dull… Letting know my bank I’ll be abroad, gathering information like Canadian Embassy’s number, making myself a list of important and useful phone numbers and addresses… And such stuff!

When things get a little stressful, I sit back and tell myself that all I REALLY need fits in one hand:

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And I have it. So what could go wrong now? J