Tuesday, May 8, 2012

the journey

if you happened to be in roskilde early this morning, in our neighborhood, say around seven a.m., you might have noticed us... the four americans, with two children, one on a back, one up on shoulders, running in our windbreakers and jeans (not skinny jeans mind you... which is why you might have pegged us for americans.  and also the windbreakers).  backpacks on.  willing ourselves to move just a little bit faster, or the 201 bus to move just a little bit slower, so that we might both find ourselves out in front of the super best at exactly 7:03.  and well, if you were there, you might have noticed that we made that bus and that we didn't have to wait more than 30 seconds for its arrival.  

follow us now to the bus station, adjacent to the train station, where we part ways with our early morning bus and greg runs to the station and we run to the track and again with the mental tricks of slowing down a train and speeding up the person who will call greg's number (because there's always a number) so that he might quickly buy the tickets and meet us at the track so that we can catch the 7:26 train rather than wait around for the 7:52, even though it means hopping on two more buses instead of one, but it will get us to our destination nearly an hour earlier, and that is worth the hustle.  hurry up and enjoy yourselves.  

and it works, again.  

so we are on the train.  a full train.  here is the seating arrangement now, but it is a constant game of musical chairs, mainly played by greg's parents and various newcomers who claim the seats they have reserved in advance.  

until finally an entire high school class, or maybe an entire high school boards the train a half hour before we are to disembark, and so we are all up in the aisle now, and henry is back in the ergo on my back and the high school children are cooing at him and one boy says something to me in danish and i say, "jeg kan ikke taler dansk.  kan du taler engelsk?" and he says, "nej." and so i do not know what he has said to me, until later when he taps me on the shoulder and says, "your baby is really cute." and i say to him, "so you can speak english." "yes" he says bashfully.

and then we are off the train in vejle and the students continue on to aarhus.

here we have our longest layover of any leg of any of the journeys we have thus far taken.  about 25 minutes.  we are waiting for our bus, but the bus station is a drab place to wait, even for 25 minutes, so henry and i walk to see what we can find and kathy soon joins us and we get a quick sense of the town and the church.

saint nicolai church.  i read later that it was built in the mid-13th century...

what i also read later is that it houses the haraldskær bog woman-- who had been preserved in a local peat bog from the iron age.  though we went inside briefly, we didn't see her.  we didn't know about her.  and i think that her presence in this church is just as compelling as all of the kings and queens buried in the domkirkke back in roskilde.

it's amazing that you can think you are just pausing at a train stop.  it's just a name really, nothing more to say about this dot on the map between point a and point b.  but if it happens to be in denmark, you might just kill time by walking into a mid-13th century church and unknowingly share a space with a bog woman for a few minutes.  well... that's okay by me!

vejle's pedestrian shopping street with a 'dutch' windmill in the distance...

i apologize for the quality of this photo, but it is the first time i've had my camera at the ready for the many, many fields of mustard we've passed through these past few days... and then it was gone.  but they are amazing.  denmark does yellow so well.

one little boy missed this particular field...

and then... one wrong bus, which was not really a wrong bus... and a concerned random stranger who has me reaffirming the inherent goodness of danes behind their sometimes skeptical glances... and we are in legoland approximately 30 seconds sooner than we would have been had we stayed on the not really wrong bus...

düsseldorf, legoland style


i don't think of myself as an amusement park person, but this was sort of the perfect place for william.  the rides were almost all his size.  the themes-- pirates, star wars, vikings, and um... legos... were just right.  this is a kid's vacation.  

later we are back at the hotel for a not-at-all shabby dinner buffet in the hotel's restaurant.  and, having stuffed ourselves, greg and i go for a walk while william and henry keep their grandparents entertained in the very kid friendly lobby.  

we find a forest path and walk along it, reminded a little of northern michigan... we do not often find familiar landscapes in denmark, but jutland (the peninsula we are on today) is full of them.  to me, the bus ride was all about driving through kentucky on down.  and now northern michigan.  at the start of the walk, a dead end street we were on instantly felt like a street i'd spent so many summers on in a small town of 5,000 in the middle of ohio.  not to mention patronizing probably one of the more americanized tourist destinations in denmark.  nostalgia abounds.  i guess it says something good about my scattered memories.  

on the way out of the forest we find ourselves walking through a sculpture park.

i liked these two the best...

and now i find myself at twenty past midnight, finishing this up.  awake before six, i am dreaming of sleep.  

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