Philip Newton (pne) wrote,
Philip Newton
pne

Denmark

I was in Denmark from the 4th till the 18th of June. We had rented a car in Germany, and they were so nice as to give us an upgrade: from VW Golf size to an Opel Insignia with a diesel engine and a built-in satnav. Very convenient; I especially prized the air conditioning, the cruise control, and the ability to switch the zoom factor of the satnav screen by a wheel between the front seats, without having to look at the screen or touch a tiny "(+)" or "(-)" area on it. The electric parking brake took some getting used to, though.

We were in a holiday home park just outside of Lemvig in north-west Jutland, on the Limfjord. (Well, on Lem Bay which opens into the Limfjord.) The Internet connectivity there was a bit disappointing; they had WiFi in the holiday home park but the connectivity was slow and unreliable, with the signal often dropping (and it was annoying having to log in to the WiFi provider at least once a day); a UMTS stick I bought could only get an EDGE signal so it was even slower, but at least more reliable.

We had a lovely view from our flat on the first floor of one of the terraced houses; we could see the marina, Lem Bay, and the opposite shore, which was mostly green except for a couple of houses and looked particularly spectacular when the evening sun shone on it.

We had a little beach close to us, and drove to other beaches a few times (North Sea at Ferring twice and Vrist once as well as Thyborøn Channel at Thyborøn once, just around the corner from the North Sea).

On one of those trips to the beach, Amy lost her kite - poor girl, the wind was so strong that at one point, she lost hold of it and it flew away towards the water, since the wind was blowing from the east that day. And instead of falling to the ground as kites often do without any tension on the string, it kept going and going: the handle skipped over (or probably just under) the surface of the water and that seemed to provide enough tension for the thing to stay up. We followed its path as it grew smaller and smaller in the distance, just a dot, until in the end it sank lower in the sky - probably not falling down but about to disappear around the earth's curvature behind the horizon! That was spectacular, even though Amy couldn't appreciate it fully.

Some things we did together, some things I did alone. The latter included several trips with the local public transport, a trip to the Japanese garden in Nees (on a small plot of land where a house once stood), a trip to the LDS branch in Skive (though not a visit inside, since their hours weren't the "standard" 9-12 I was expecting), looking at several churches (the ones that were open also from the inside, including one Sunday service), and a visit to all the planets on the Planetary Path (though I only walked the route from the Sun to Saturn in one go; the rest I visited by car).

Things we did together included a trip to the Jutland Aquarium, Coast Centre, and Snail/Shell House in Thyborøn as well as the afore-mentioned several trips to the beach. The Jutland Aquarium and Coast Centre had a combined ticket which lets you save a bit of money; moreover, the ticket is valid for seven days, which we took advantage of by going there twice (once with all of us and once with just Amy and myself). One fun thing to do at the aquarium was prospect for amber on a "beach" they had there (which they presumably seeded with small pieces regularly for people to discover by sifting the sand or digging around with shovels or their hands).

The weather was co-operative: it was dry nearly all of the time, and sunny quite a bit of the time. The main rain came around the time we were leaving, so we picked a good time. Also, since it was pre-season (yay for not being constrained by school holidays! The last time this will be true for a long time), prices for accommodation were reasonable, and many things that close down over the school holidays were still open.

The currency took a bit of getting used to: distinguishing which coin was which as well as how much, say, DKK 10 is worth. (I usually converted with a factor of 0.15, by multiplying by 1.5 and then shifting the decimal point, e.g. DKK 10 = €1.50. That overestimates things a bit - the conversion rate has been hovering fairly closely around DKK 7.43 = EUR 1.00 for quite a bit, giving an inverse rate of 0.13 - but made for easier mental arithmetic.)

Denmark is fairly expensive, but since we were on holidays, we coped with that. And we even nearly stayed inside our budget, except for the UMTS stick I bought and the diesel fuel I paid for - serendipitously enough, at the lowest price; I bought diesel at DKK 9.88 per litre, around the middle of our trip, and never again afterwards on my trip did I see the price dip below DKK 10.00, and even in the first week, prices were only occasionally under that value.

As for the language, I was glad that I had prepared a bit: the written word through a couple of travel guides and the spoken word by watching a couple of Danish DVDs with Danish subtitles. (Since the letter-to-sound correspondence is quite a bit different from what I was used to from, say, German or Swedish.) I was able to communicate a bit in Danish during our trip, and occasionally even understand what the other person said :). My favourite phrase remained, "Taler du engelsk?", however. And, fortunately, most Danes I met did speak enough English for communication, many of them in fact very well. Danish comprehension nevertheless often came in handy for reading signs. (And reading comprehension was a lot easier than listening comprehension, so I did better in that respect.)

So, that was an interesting trip, and I'm glad we went. Stella and Amy liked it so much they considered moving there :) Amy particularly appreciated the quiet there. I don't know what the IT job situation is like up in that corner (it's almost certainly better in Copenhagen or even - if I did pick Jutland - in Aarhus), but :). I imagine Amy wouldn't have much difficulty picking up Danish if she went to school there, making her trilingual. But it's not a prospect I'm entertaining seriously just now.

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