CUWAM-Demark : A Modern day fairytale both home and abroad

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Time flies when you are having fun ….or if you have a family!!

I caught up with my long lost friend Liz Mackay Pedersen…A women who left Victoria in January 2001, married a Dane the same year and has never looked back.  Meeting up with Liz again, was and is certain to be, one of the highlights of this adventure. It was great to see her and her husband Johnny again, and finally meet their children Patrick ( aged 4 ½) and Amanda ( 8 months)

I was overfed, my coffee cup was always full, I was allowed to watch Bold and the Beautiful in English and granted the honour of sleeping in Patrick’s room. A tour of town, complete with a buffet lunch at the Ugly Ducking restaurant ( pickled herring, a Danish delicacy, frequented most diners plates….but not mine!!) followed by an afternoon at the Hans Christian Andersen Museum.

Good old Hans, a true Odense icon, a man born and bred on herring….A man who grew to be 185cm tall, never married, travelled the world and brought his first bed in his early 70’s…..A man who wrote over 100 fairytales that have been translated in language as varied as Hawaiian, Portuguese and Russian…

H.C Andersen…a true legend and not someone Odense is going to let you forget…Streets are named after him, statues adorn the town square and shopping malls….Good old H.C also appears as a feature on traffic lights, ushering the towns folk to walk to a green Hans and come to a stand still when a red H.C appears…..

And it appears I cannot escape even here is Copenhagen were I write my Odense reflections, for I have just walked down H.C Anderson Boulevard on my walk back from dinner….

Yes, Mr Andersen is the Danes equivalent to Walt Disney and I am a fan of any man who dedicates his life to tall tales and the art of paper cut art…..

Though my time with Liz and Johnny was brief it was eventful and I take my hat off to both of them…Parenting is hard work, Patrick does not have an off button and he just goes and goes and goes. Both Liz and Johnny go with him…..with Amanda no far behind!!

Liz and Johnny, thank you for making me feel so welcome in your home and in Odense…You two are writing your own H.C Andersen fairytale and I was happy to feature in a small portion of the 2011 chapter.

Johnny, thank you for the tour of the market garden, the home made jam, and for letting me eat what appeared to be the last of the summer raspberries

Patrick, thank you for the tour of your pre-school, it was super cool to have you as a personal guide, I dig your art work!!

Amanda thank you for being you…too cute for words

Liz, it was like old times….I think you are wonderful and a real inspiration…

And now I am in Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark. I arrived late afternoon and had an early dinner at a Chinese restaurant ( how very Danish of me!!) A brief evening walk has led me to believe that the Danes are quite partial to a buffet…I have seen all you can eat restaurants on nearly every street corner…That excites me…Tomorrow I will have to get amongst it….But for now I am tired, the family vacation of the past two days has exhausted me…..I will have an early night, and hope to awake refreshed and ready to take on the highlights of the city tomorrow….the little mermaid and fingers crossed, a lunch date with Mary, Fred and the kids…..

So day two in Copenhagen city, a quick rummage through the Aldi equiviliant Lidl and a breakfast of choc coated rice cakes, a banana, mixed fruits and nuts and a bottle of water was purchased for a few Danish kroner….From there I went back to central station, Copenhagen….

Like a homing pigeon I felt the need to start the day from there, it is were I arrived yesterday and is a wonderful train station …I used the internet, the toilets, shopped at the post office for post cards…One could say that I could have spent the entire day there…but there were sites to be seen.

First things first, I caught a local bus to the Bella Centre, a complex on the outskirts of the city holding the annual EAIE International Education Conference. It was there that I caught up with friends from the International Exchange world, Mr Kirk Doyle from Sydney and Ms Ina Englen from the Netherland….Kirk paid for lunch, did not eat but left Ina and I to chat over enormous Danish sandwiches…It was a lovely a lovely lunch date…

Armed with a free travel pass to the city ( thank you Ina!) I then hoped on a bus back to Copenhagen central…Ever the tourist, I got on the bus heading in the wrong direction, never mind, I was soon in the city and getting lost on foot this time!!

I walked and walked and walked, finally making it to picture perfect Nystron, a Danish canal I guess you would call it, with restaurants and bars lining the streets, all painted bright colours….The perfect spot to stop, take some time to write postcards home whilst sipping a class of organic red wine.

And there was other news to digest…through the medium of face book earlier that morning, my brother’s girlfriend had confirmed what I had started to suspect the day earlier….they had become engaged!! There will be a wedding in the family in the coming year…..

It is times like these when you would like to be at home celebrating with the happy couple, so due to the fact that I was in Denmark and they were in Australia, I did what I could….I drank a wine to toast their good fortune and decorated Mary and Fred post cards with love heart stickers, a modern day fairytale of the Prince and the Commoner….Michael and Tennelle, this love note is on its way to you!! I am so happy for you both….Wollongong’s version of Mary and Fred, except cooler!!….I finally get a sister, and like you said Tennelle, Flora gets a cousin ( lucky Indy!!)….Love is in the air!!

A permanent smile has been on my face all day, it is hard not to be overcome with happiness when back at home, such events have unfolded…..Dinner at an all you can eat Pizza restaurant insured the smile remained throughout dinner time….And I smile as I get myself ready for bed, as tomorrow I set off for NYC…..

Copenhagen, you are a picture perfect city….and whilst I have not seen all that there is to see ( alas I did no make it to the Little Mermaid) what I did see I like and it would be nice to think that one day I will be back, with more time to meander through the streets and take in the beauty of your city….Next time…

I write mid air, on my way to New York City, a concrete jungle were dreams are made of…there is nothing you can’t do…

As with Paris, I feel the need to close this chapter on my Danish adventure, so I turn to words

1. Be sure to create your own Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale whilst in Denmark. Mine was magical,  complete with catch ups with dear friends and colleagues, with an additional chapter that contained news from Australia, a real life love story was unfolding in Wollongong with my brothers engagement to his princess, Princess Tennelle.

2. As with Paris, walking the city was the best way to get amongst Danish culture…This time as I peered through windows, a dog sat with his owner whilst she got her hair cut!

3. Listening in to conversations when you are holidays is OK

Man to friend in internet café’ You have to find yourself a girl’

Friend ‘ My parents have said that they will find someone for me…I just have to go home’

Man ’ Do you really want your parents to find you a girl…You are 28, you should find you own girl’

Friend ‘ I can find myself a girl’

Man 1: ‘ What if you parents find you a fat girl’

Friend : silence   Or rather, I tuned out then…the conversation was taking a turn for the worst

4. And finally, if like me you only have 24 hours in Copenhagen and can’t fit in all the sites, there is a Little Mermaid statue at the airport that I am led to believe is rather similar to the original ( see photos!!)

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