Sunday, July 09, 2006

Home Again

We've returned to Copenhagen. Jenifer and I spent much of our honeymoon here four years ago, and it's great to be back. It's also quite excellent to be out of a train. The Ribe station is closed on Sundays, so we prevailed upon the heavy-metal teen who'd made the mistake of sitting too close to the ticket machine for help with getting us across the country. After multiple attempts with three different credit cards, we secured our tickets and made our way north to the Bramming station, where we needed to transfer and head east all the way to Copenhagen. Fine in theory, but once again our lack of reserved seats meant we had front-row tickets to that cubicle-sized space between cars. Add in a platoon of German nature scouts (some even wearing lederhosen), a couple of bicycles, and a camel (okay, I made that one up), and we were a tad tight on space. But Denmark is a small country, and one can take anything for a few hours.

We called our bed-and-breakfast hosts from the Copenhagen central station upon arrival, and then headed out Hans Christian Andersens Boulevard to a section of the city called Islands Brygge, which means "Iceland's Harbor" -- our host Jens's grandfather used to pilot ships for the two- or three-month trip to Iceland. The strip of land along the water looks in every way like a beach, but with brown grass instead of sand and bicycles everywhere. There, in all their glory, the layabout Danes lay about, soaking in the short-lived summer's precious rays.

We walked past Reyjaviksgade, and then past Njalsgade, finally reaching our street, Egilsgade. Perfect, as Egils Saga was the first Norse saga I read when beginning my research. We were five stories up in a building from the 18th century. We met Jens, who gave us a lay of the land, and then we set out for Strøget, the world's longest pedestrianized street at one kilometer.

We ate at the Cafe Nytorv in the wide, cobblestoned plaza also called Nytorv ("new square"), where a local jazz troupe performed a blend of experimental and traditional jazz. Our trip happened to coincide with the Copenhagen Jazz Festival. Jen was met with a dearth of vegetarian fare, and so resorted to the Greek salad (supplemented later by ice cream). I decided to finally attempt the traditional Danish fare called smørrebrød, literally "spread bread." Smørrebrød, as I understand it, is a catch-all term for open-face sandwiches that can hold any number of toppings. In this case, it was three varieties of pickled herring. Along with a packet of butter, I was also supplied with a container of pure lard. I'm not normally a big fish eater, but the meal was excellent, and I was sure that the ancestors were smiling upon me.

Today was essentially another travel day, but tomorrow we return to Roskilde and its Viking Ship Museum.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

And of course, like the best friend that I am sometimes not (!?) I forgot to periodically check your blog. Ah well, thats why they invented the scroll wheel, right? Glad to see you two are home and happy. I look forward to reading this all, and catching up with you soon.


12:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And again, had I been paying any attention to your post, you are only in your SECOND home. Silly me.

I wait with nervous excitement to read more of your postings, and of your eventual return. We must schedule a "catching up."


1:43 PM  
Blogger Ryan Rasmussen said...

Hey Tony! Just today we ran into a jazz trio from Pittsburgh (flugelhorn, sax, and bass) playing in Nyhavn. Pics coming soon, I hope. We'll catch up soon.

11:41 AM  

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