Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Jul from Denmark

It's December 25th; Jesper and have been in Denmark for Christmas since December 17th. Time has gone so fast! We cannot believe we leave in 2 days!!! Where did 10 days go?!?!?!?

Our trip started out great, took a downhill turn and then bounced back. We left Boulder midday on December 17th and arrived in Copenhagen on December 18th midday. We arranged to stay in Copenhagen that night and met up with Jens, a friend of Jesper's from his IBM Denmark days, at a very nice restaurant in Tivoli. Before dinner, we made a stop at Hviid's Vinstue, a warm cozy place that's been around for some 300 years. We had Glögg, which is reason enough alone to come to Denmark over Christmas.

Hviid's Vinstue and their yummy Glögg (not bad for an iPhone pic - courtesy Jesper)

After a good night's sleep, we boarded a train to Frederikshavn, Jesper's hometown. We arrived Friday afternoon feeling pretty fresh (not much jet-lag), and went to bed after spending some time with the family. Things went downhill from there...

During the night, I was sick as a dog. Nausea, stomach cramps and severe heartburn. I mean severe. I was pretty much out of commission the next day, although I did manage to make it out for the cutting of the tree with Jesper's father (Ole) and his niece and nephew, Maia and Marcus. Despite not feeling too hot, I still had a great day, mostly because Jesper was so happy to see his family again.

Maia and Marcus cutting down the tree

Saturday, we shopped for Christmas gifts in town, an easy day for me to recover and had dinner over at Jesper's brother's house. The next day, I felt much better, but it was Jesper's turn to feel sick. We would continue to pass the baton all the way through the house to Vibeke (Jesper's Mom) and then finally to Ole. Not exactly the Christmas gift we had in mind!

Due to the funk, Monday was a laid back day with family, although I broke away for an hour to go running. I forgot my camera, which is a shame, because the lighting was very pretty. I ran from the house down to the harbor, where there were a mix of old fishing boats and large, modern commercial craft. It was very picturesque. The lighting in Denmark in the winter is very special (when it's sunny). You are so far north, the sun never gets up very high and the angle of the lighting is low and golden. This golden period of light lasts for hours, as opposed to the ten minutes of perfect lighting you get in Colorado.

Despite a lingering funk, on Tuesday all but Vibeke loaded up in the cars and drove all the way from the East coast of Denmark, where Frederikshavn is located, to the West coast. About a one hour drive - it's a small country. We visited a little fishing town of Lønstrup and the nearby sand dunes, which are advancing rapidly toward the ocean. Both a lighthouse and a very old church are falling into the sea.

Jesper, Lars and Marcus near the lighthouse by the sea

Me at the edge of the sand dune cliffs (courtesy Jesper)

Lars and Marcus by what remains of the old church about to fall into the ocean

A very old gravestone

Wednesday was the 24th, the day the Danes celebrate Christmas. Don't ask me why..... Anyway, they celebrate Christmas at night, so we had all day to relax. Jesper, Ole and I went for a hike up on the hills overlooking the sea. This spot had been used by the Danish army for military defense before being taken taken over by the Germans in WWII. There were over 70 bunkers on the hillside, some for soldiers to seek shelter and others to house guns. Big guns.

Big gun overlooking the sea

WWII Bunker with a large gun

Jesper viewed from the gunners seat through the "view finder" of the cannon

Later that day I went for another run. I'm convinced a midday run staves off jet-lag. It seemesto be working for me, so I figured I'd keep running every day. The last time I was in Denmark for Christmas, I suffered from the sleepies every day, so I have been bound and determined to beat that nasty jet-lag this time around! Later that night, Lars, Lise and the children came over to share a Christmas feast and open the massive pile of presents that had magically appeared under our little tree. I was a very good girl and received many very nice gifts. I count myself lucky.

Lars, Marcus, Ole and Maia dancing around the tree before the presents were placed

Today is Thursday, December 25th and it has been another relaxing day, since no stores are open. Jepser and I saved one present each to give each other on this American Christmas morning. Jesper's gift to me was very creative. He gave me a DVD to play right away. When I popped it in the player, it showed a video of Jesper at home in Boulder with Strelka, along with a very large present. Jesper and Strelka proceeded to open said present, which was for me. It was a scanner/printer/fax machine/copier! The gift is great and the presentation was very sweet and well done. I've got a keeper in that Jesper....

Jesper and I both went for a long run in the afternoon through the countryside, the woods and then through some farmer's fileds and up a wooded hill to Jesper's Uncle's house. They were surprised to see us show up that way, and we certainly solidified our outdoorsy image thay had gleaned from our websites! We hadn't seen them yet, since they were avoiding Ole and Vibeke's house of plague.

Running past the fields

... and the farms

... and through the woods

Everyone is well now. We have two more days in Denmark; no doubt at least one more jet-lag fighting run and hopefully some more Glögg. I'll post more pics and links to Jesper's fine photos later.

Merry Jul!


PAPA said...

--------I just love your "story-telling"---a gift found in very few.Not only the descriptive writing,but the enthusiasm is obvious. PAPA

Anonymous said...

Sounds like you guys had an AWESOME trip :) can't wait to hear more about it...and i'm looking forward to seeing more pics!!!

bbrooke said...

I enjoyed reading your write-up. Sounds like a fun trip! (Except for the GI distress part...ugh.)

The running photos make me think about orienteering over there. :-)