Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Impending Plans: Denmark



The tickets have not been purchased yet, but it looks like I will be heading to the land of my heritage this coming December.

It probably all started because my father lived in Bergen Norway about 30 years ago. He still hasn't told me what prompted the trip originally, but it turned into a year and a half stay in the Nordic lands.

My great-grandfather Holger, from what I have heard, moved to the United States at some point in the 1920's from Denmark. My history of where exactly in Denmark is a little uncertain, but thats really the purpose of this trip - to connect the dots. Anyway, he married an American and had a son, Holger (wow thats two Holgers). My grandfather married Donna and they had three sons (Robert, Kurt and Eric). My father is Robert (we just call him dad or Bob), he is the oldest of the three boys.

Getting back to it, my father moved to Norway and at some point contacted the relatives of my great-grandfather. They live about 35 km outside of Copenhagen in a town called Roskilde. I have been told by a danish friend of mine that the second largest music festival in Europe is held in this city every summer.

After emailing my relative Claus, whom my father has remained in distant contact with over the last 30 years, I was elated to get a cheerful email some hours later from him. Unfortunately he will be out of the country most of December, but I am now in contact with other relatives.

The last three weeks I have been studying Danish a couple of times a week in this continuing education course offered through NYU. Its been both hard (svaert) but rewarding to learn the language of the Danes. Its my hope to become proficient in the tongue. However, I read that 80% of the people in Denmark speak english, so I am not sure how much I will be able to practice. Hopefully I'll get stuck in the middle of nowhere and be forced to rely on my rudimentary skills. If all else fails I'll draw pictures.

No trip would be legendary unless there was some sort of a hitch to it. I have decided to make this a biking trip. I will ride my track bike around the country of Denmark for three weeks in the middle of December.

This might very well be one of the dumbest decisions I have made recently. All dumb decisions have their drawbacks, but this I find is where most of the learning and character building come into play.

CONS:

  • Bike Stolen or messed up (flat tires, possible crashes, lack of tools). You can fill in the rest...broken limbs, cracked ribs, fractures, etc.
  • Weather conditions are horrible (it will be really cold, there could be snow, probably ice and certainly rain).
  • Some roads will not be suitable for cyclists. This is a country of bike riders, but that does not translate to all roads being acceptable for bike travel.
  • Accommodations: I have no idea where the hell I will be staying. I want it to be cheap and mostly a spontaneous trip (save for the family visits).
PROS:
  • Ultimate scenic trip. No distractions or real rush. Go at my own pace.
  • Small country - get to see many places intimately.
  • Family, heritage, the ultimate history trip.
  • Beautiful Danish Women!!!
  • Beer!

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