I wanted to like denmark.
Before we left, I read a book about living in denmark, and at a time when I felt so disenfranchised with the state of affairs in the UK, Denmark seemed like my happy place.
We entered Denmark on the 1st of june, and Liz and I both said how even though nothing had changed, it felt so different from germany. Within 10 miles of crossing the boarder it was apparent, though hard to pinpoint exactly what it was.
The fields seemed a bit softer, a bit greener, there was nobody on the roads (the next day I went for a cycle, 8 cars overtook me in 6 miles, and sadly, thats not because I was unleashing my inner Chris Froome). There was nobody impatiently pushing us on in the van, in fact most of the speed limits we have encountered so far suit us at 80kph, I’m not sure what it is, it’s just a feeling. This maybe a placebo kicking in from before we left, or it could be that this is indeed a very pleasant place to be.
After our trip to the island, we stopped off in Ribe for a couple of nights. Apparently Denmark’s oldest town, with remains dating back to 1145AD (though to my untrained eye, it just looked like an old brick built wall). The building tasked with housing them was more impressive to me.
Wibbly wobbly squat old houses sat along cobbled streets,
doors and windows all over the place, with not a right angle in sight.
We really relaxed here, Mabel could stroll the streets safely as there was almost no traffic, except a motorised sofa (I kid you not).
The usual protocol ensued, and back at the van I was on the iPad checking for house prices. I didn’t find anything for sale in Ribe, I imagine there a bit like hens teeth.
The next day we went on to Esbjerg, I hoped to find a decent town to get a feel of, but a bit like those famous Hamburg markets, it looked shit. I was in a mood anyway, so we stopped and looked at the giant men staring out to see, and left, ending up in a town called Varde.
The stopover was again a car park (anyone spot a theme developing) on the outskirts of a seemingly bland small town. We wandered in to do the laundry (the biggest bore about living in a van) and pootled around a few streets, before getting back, and Liz cooking a fantastic risotto. Whilst she was busy at the hob, I took Mabel for a perimeter walk of the car park. There we found we were at the edge of the grounds of a music school. There were outdoor instruments arranged around a striking bandstand type structure which when approached began to play a very atmospheric 5 minute piece accompanied by a light show of LEDs set into the concrete walls around. It was amazing, and so unexpected. Delving a little further was a whole host of sensory stuff for kids
all free to just interact with, and none of it vandalised.
Liz and I commented on it and how good it must be to have people backing projects like that in your town. Today is the 5th June, Danish Constituion day. Nothing goes on, but everything is shut. We needed some food, so headed for the nearest Lidl hoping it would be open. There were two cars in the car park, but all of their ‘special’ stock outside the front door.
“It must be open then” I say “they’ve got all their plants and tat outside”
As I near the door, I know its closed.
“So seemingly, nobody here steals stuff either!” I say to Liz on returning to the van, two climbing roses and bag of compost stuffed up my jumper. (its a joke! Calm down!)
It’s a strange thing to pick up on to define a nation, but it’s how it feels here; safe, trustworthy, and honest. I shouldn’t be surprised, as I understand it’s not abnormal to leave your baby outside a cafe whilst popping in for a coffe over here. So nobody is going to bat an eyelid at a couple of missing floribunda and bag of john innes No3 🙂