Tuesday, June 14, 2011

There's nothing like a Dane - June 14 2011

Fun waiter in Herning - he's from Norway
Woke up in Herning, checked out of the hotel, popped into the cafeteria for smorgasbord, and saw a table full of Pink Floyd fans seated exactly as we had left them last night. I wonder how long they dragged out the unlimited hot dogs. It's actually a good deal for the hotel because they charge relatively high prices for beer (relatively high for Denmark): 50 kroner = $10 USD ... and how much could a vat of hot dogs cost? We've been told to be en garde as the prices are even higher in Norway and Sweden!

Boys 'football' team
playing guitar on the train
We had such a flamboyant waiter at breakfast. First he insulted me for taking the tiny saucer with my coffee rather than the small saucer (the tiny one is for collecting empty teabags and such). He asked where we're from, I said California USA, he replied "oh no no no" and ran away! He seemed very disapproving, but then came back to explain the situation: he is so in awe of places like that, and so underwhelmed by places like Herning that he couldn't believe we'd willingly come here for vacation. In the ten minutes we had for eating before running to catch the bus, we discussed all manners of travel around Scandinavia, language differences, authors and writing, and he even managed to get in a jab about my using the wrong spoon with a hard boiled egg. The guy is such a character, meeting him was the highlight of the day! He gave us a pile of Danish chocolate candies for the train, which really came in handy!

The Copenhagen Post has a spouse employment page in their newspaper. Immigrants with visas and unemployed spouses are encouraged to post their CV. It seems the goal is to cut down on further immigration by focusing on talent already in the country. Forward thinking!

Adorable cafe "Duckling & Sonne" or
so we thought. We were turned away with
a smile because it's a video production
company - I bet that happens a lot
Tried to take a guided bike tour of the city, but the tour operator was having technical difficulties with his bike. Instead we squeezed in mini quick tours of the Jewish museum and Thorvaldsens sculpture museum. To me, the most interesting thing about the Jewish museum is the building itself. The building itself is a portion of the old Royal Library, on former castle grounds, which is now a sprawling complex of interestingly unrelated museums. The museum is laid out in the shape of the Jewish word מצוה, meaning good deed. There are two great videos with the history of Jews in Denmark, the various waves of immigration and the class system that created within the Jewish communities -- and another interview with the architect of the museum: Daniel Libeskind. Otherwise the rest of the museum is lackluster.

Tasty!! -- or is it? Look closer!
Thorvaldsens museum has many pieces he plundered from ancient Italy, Greece, and Egypt all in the name of restoration - it seems he would take an ancient piece that is crumbling, create a restored facsimile, and sell it to the country that hired him. I'm taking some liberties here, but that's what I inferred from the artifacts, signs, and videos in the museum.

Strolled through parts of the very walkable Stroget and Nyhavn riverside area. They were a bit disappointing in that they are soooo touristy. Quickly decided to walk a block off of that route, which is quite lovely, has much more local flavor in the buildings/people/shops, and is not overcrowded or overpriced.

hmmmm (or hwwww)

Went to Streckers Bryghus (brewhouse) for a drink and light dinner. Olga ordered the Amber Lager - she describes it as "rugged slash watery" - I would says it's more "sour slash rotten". I had the Hvede (pronounced "Vel") unfiltered and unpasteurized wheat beer - I taste definite hints of cloves and heaven - Olga says honey and apricot. We are both quite pleased with our selections :)

Ambient music in the bryghus is an eclectic mix of N*Sync, Culture Club, obscure Bowie, and pop hits from The Cure. The place is cavernous - the bryghus is upstairs and downstairs in one shop - next door they have downstairs too (upstairs is a burger king) - and next to that is there cocktail bar upstairs and disco downstairs - all connected by tunnels - very cool! The waiter highly recommended the Nørrebro brewpub - hopefully we'll have time to check it out!

Olga became a little girl in H.C. Andersen's
flying trunk ride at Tivoli Park
Tivoli Gardens - the world-renowned 168 year-old amusement park - was an epic disappointment. Our guide book, the professional tour guide we met earlier, and the confusing signs at the park (or so we thought) encouraged late arrival, so we dawdled and arrived at 9:20pm. It turns out the place closes at 10pm, so with 1-day admission ticket expended, unused ride tickets in hand, and heavy hearts, we headed to the service center to beg for mercy. The guy was exceptionally rude, which really stands out in a country of happy helpful service-oriented folks. We got free entrance tomorrow so we can use up our ride tickets, but not without being made to feel like lying incompetent fools. Not fun. Please have some mercy on innocent tourists.

Today we learned to avoid anything touristy in the rest of Scandinavia - we're delighted with sipping a cup of coffee (or, I guess, munching on a reindeer sandwich), chatting with locals, and people-watching - than we are following the crowds and their guidebooks.


mizzkg said...

Were they really McDonald's flags?

mizzkg said...

Love the title of this blog!

Dave said...

Yeah there is a McDonald's very close to that spot... but i'm not sure if this is some kind of subtle anti-McDonald's movement, or an honest mistake, or what...

Anonymous said...

What about Jerome???

Dave said...

Jerome can never be replaced, but he has some Nordic competition!

Isaac said...

This makes me miss cph. i lived there for a year going to school. design, bikes, øl, and stor pølser. skal!

Dave said...

I'm thankful that "skal" works everywhere in Scandinavia. Most useful word ever! :)