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Posts tagged ‘Denmark’

Copenhagen

Driving through Denmark you will notice the many wind farms dotted across the landscape, including offshore turbines hugging the coast.

Denmark is a leader in renewable energy; well set to achieve its targeted 50% renewable sources before the 2020 date it set for itself.

Makes you wonder why Australia is so far behind. We have enormous potential in wind and solar, yet we are falling way behind. Enough! I won’t continue ranting here.

The generosity of the Jensen family also includes organising us to stay with Heidi’s cousin Nanna and her partner Mikkel in Copenhagen.

wpid-rps20151011_141207.jpgThey have a lovely apartment close to the city and lend us two bikes. We join the throngs of bicycles and meander through the city.

København (in Danish), started its life as a fishing village, growing into a major trading centre along the Baltic route in the 12th Century.

It became the royal residence and capital of Norway and Sweden in the proceeding centuries, during which many of the castles and towers still standing today were built.

Copenhagen is a charming city with 5.6 million people, though with 20.6 million visitors passing through a year, it can feel crowded. It’s a city devoid of skyscrapers, even the modern architecture blends well with medieval bell towers and shingled rooftops.

We ticked off the tourist sites; the mermaid, the port, palace, changing of the guard, viking museum, Tiffany gardens etc etc.  We also enjoyed just chilling out in the park with a picnic, enjoying the balmy weather.

Nanna and Mikkel were wonderful hosts and are avid fans of Australia so, we hope to repay the hospitality sometime soon.

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Cycling Denmark

I convince Don that we leave the car in Rødby and take off on bikes for a week. Denmark is pretty flat, which makes for easy riding and has an impressive network of bike paths and dedicated bike lanes.

wpid-rps20151010_194853_878.jpgWith our panniers packed with bare essentials, including four bottles of wine, our adventure begins.

wpid-fb_img_1439883050074.jpgTo reduce the boredom, I’m going to make this entry more pictorial than a narrative.

Day 1: Maribo to Vordingborg – 46km
Distance: 46km
Accommodation: BedBikeBreakfast

Day 2: Vordingbord to Ringsted
Distance: 60km
Accommodation: Soren and Marie (BJ’s younger brother)

Don manages to have two flat tyres, the second only a few kilometers from the bike shop that fixed the first.  We decide that I would continue whilst he went back and got the tyre fixed.  Don then took the train to Ringsted to meet me.

Bjarne organises for us to stay at Soren and Marie’s, who will be on holidays in Italy. They generously lend us their house and leave us provisions for our arrival.

Day 3: Ringsted to Vemmetofte
Distance: 70km
Accommodation: John & Vibeke Jensen (BJ’s older brother)

John & Vibeke have spend summers at the beachside camping ground in Vemmetofte.  They generously set us up in our own camper for the night and provide a lovely dinner as well as great company for the night.

Day 4: Vemmetofte to Stege
Distance: 55km
Accommodation: Kaffehuset Mon B&B

Day 5: Stege to Maribo
Distance: 70km
Accommodation: The Jensen’s

We had originally planned to break the return trip, but there is rain on the way. We are fair weather cyclists, so we decide to push through. With a strong tail wind helping us, the kilometers pass by quickly.

Not far from Maribo we have a final stop at Krenkerup Bryggeri (brewery) and Don can add another to his list of beers.

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The Jenson’s

Think Jetsons cartoon 🎶Meet B J Jensen, his wife Heidi, their son Mads and Nikki too… 🎶

One morning many many years ago I sat down to breakfast.

As the sleepy fog cleared I realised that it wasn’t one of my four brothers sitting at the end of the table – we had a visitor.

The conversation probably went along the lines of:
L: with slight interest “Who are you?”
B: “Bjarne, from Denmark”
L: satisfied with the answer “Can you pass the milk please”
end of conversation

My brother Mark had met Bjarne (BJ) skiing in Austria and had invited him to stay. Not unusual in our household; it could be like living in a hotel at times, people coming and going, siblings moving in and out and back in again.

So here Bjarne was, sitting at the table enjoying breakfast. Mark wasn’t even living at home, but Bjarne now was.

Bjarne holds the record for the longest stay; about 18 months* and he quickly become part of the family; working for my brother Luke who had a lawn mowing business and for Paul who was in construction.

wpid-rps20151010_114114_383.jpgApparently I treated him just like a brother too, often telling him to ‘shush’ and fobbing off household chores to him!

*It should be noted that Bjarne did move out for a part of this time – just across the road, close enough to pop home for family dinners.

And, like all good tourists, he spent a few months driving his Kombi van around Australia. But he always returned to 84 Kingston street eventually.

With a desire to live in Australia, Bjarne went home and lured his girlfriend out on a return trip a few years later.

Unfortunately, he was unsuccessful in convincing Heidi to leave family and friends behind in Denmark.

So, here we are on Bjarne’s doorstep – he can hardly say no, can he?

Of course Bjarne and Heidi greet us warmly. They haven’t changed a bit, except they also have two strikingly tall sons, Mads 25 with his fashionable beard – very viking looking and Nikki 21, who is waiting with envy to get enough facial hair to compete with his brother!

We catch-up on family news and life in general. Bjarne shows off his bowling skills at Lalandia, the nearby holiday resort which is a popular destination for Scandinavians.

wpid-rps20151010_114230_219.jpgDon and Bjarne quickly bond over beer; Carlsberg and Tuborg are the local brands.  Heidi introduces us to an array of Danish tastes, such as frikadeller (meat or fish balls), flaeskesteg (roast pork with crackling) and herring, along with many other local delights.

wpid-rps20151005_090634_673.jpgIn my teens my one and only pen-pal was Bjarne’s cousin, Bitten, and after so many years it was lovely to finally meet her.

Rødby is a small town of 6,500 people.  The region has struggled in the economic decline, waiting on the promised commencement of a tunnel to connect the port of Rødby with Germany.

The project will generate jobs and ongoing economic benefits. For now, many people seek work outside the area. BJ has been commuting to Copenhagen – 1.5hrs each way.

Bjarne, Heidi and Nikki are heading off to the Greek Islands for two weeks. Before leaving us the house keys, they take the time to help us organise cycling plans for the next week.