Thursday, July 13, 2006

Lies, All Lies

Always tell the truth. Otherwise you'll have a day like mine. Now, Denmark is a better place than most to have a rotten day, but your lies will always come back to haunt you in new and original ways.

For example, the building we're staying in? It was erected in 1903, not the eighteenth century. Our location, Islands Brygge? It means "Iceland's Quay," not "Iceland's Harbor". And Strongbow? It's a cider from the UK, not a Nordic beer. I hope you can forgive me in a way the travel gods have not.

Our trip to the island of Møn, in a region of Denmark called South Zealand (Copenhagen is in Zealand proper), was pretty much a non-event. Oh, we got to Møn, alright, but only as far as Stege. And Stege is a fine place for lunch, I suppose, but it doesn't contain the natural attraction of Møns Klint, the white cliffs of Møn. Those are on the other side of the island. You see, the Tourist Information (TI) folks gave us some travel instructions, and then we supplemented those with some timetable recommendations from the central station's information office. We thought we were in pretty good shape. Take a train to Høje Taastrup, change to another train and go to Vordingborg, and from there take a bus to Stege. In Stege, get another bus, and that would take us within three kilometers of the cliffs.

Well, we arrived in Stege and learned from the local TI folks that there was no other bus. The information we'd collected in Copenhagen was pretty much fictitious. In fact, the friendly guy behind the counter actually laughed when I informed him of my intentions. It was a friendly laugh in the vein of "they told you what?" combined with a little "that's a good one" and a touch of "God go with you." But Mr. TI dug in, consulted the Woman in the Back Office, and produced a detailed itinerary that would allow us to enjoy the cliffs for a full 80 minutes before getting back on the bus and then having the driver radio the next bus since there was only a one minute difference between the arrival of our bus and the departure of the next one and you just never know whether these things will run on time, do you?

All the while, my mind went back to a decision sciences course I had during freshman year. The professor had made a joke about a guy who swam halfway across a lake, decided that the other side was much too far to reach, and so turned around and swam back. I'd like to say that Jenifer and I thought long and hard about whether to go the distance, but with bellies aching and heads splitting, we decided to "eat it," as the Danes seem to call a sunk cost, and return home empty-handed. I'm sure more valorous travelers would have persisted, but sometimes, as Jouko says, "too much is too much."

The reality is that 80 minutes just wasn't enough time to do what we wanted. I've been journeying in each country, and I wanted to do a 30-minute journey at Møns Klint, where it is said that Odin himself waits in hiding until the age of the White Christ has passed. There's also a recommended 90-minute hike through the wind-twisted woods at the top of the cliffs.

As it was, we were gone for a good seven hours with nothing to show for it. Unless you count a good lunch, brilliant blue skies, oceans of yellow-green wheat and rye, dreams of story and structure, and each other. Maybe the travel gods, or even Odin, had one eye looking out for us after all.

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2 Comments:

Blogger Thomas Crymes said...

Well, when the White Christ has passed I thank my stars that we still have a Black Jesus to do battle with Odin upon his return.

Sorry you didn't have the chance to see the cliffs. The amount of walking you two have done is staggering. Couldn't you have rented a couple of bikes?

OJ says hi, and continues to thank you for hiding that glove. He looks forward to your return. As do I.

10:11 AM  
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12:39 PM  

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