Monday, November 10, 2008

Ӧhe, 13.7.1998

Waiting now to go to the ferry for a day trip to Denmark. Yesterday a nice relaxed day with continuous sun, in contrast to the preceding day, when it rained intermittently. I find the vista very relaxing when the sun’s shining: the light blue northern sky, the gold of sand and wheat, all the greens starred with white and pink shrub roses.

Not much to say, except that it’s nice to be here, under sunny skies, enjoying life in a summer cottage. Even if we did perhaps indulge too liberally in the meal I cooked last night—stuffed eggplant, fettucine with walnuts, cauliflower, and red bell peppers, salad, and fruit with ice cream . . . . Lots of red wine, or course, followed by a medicinal grappa that didn’t save W., K., or me from a bad night . . . .

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Spent the day in Denmark. Took the ferry from Gelting to Fåborg, then on by car to Rudkøbing on the island of Langeland. It turned out to be a very touristy little place, much to W.’s and K.’s surprise, since they’d been there some years ago, and it wasn’t that way then. The 18th- and 19th-century merchants’ houses were interesting, several with neo-classical façades, all painted in pleasing pastels, of which a yellow gold predominated.

The countryside also pleasant—rolling hills planted to wheat, barley, and what seemed to be turnips, with roadside stands selling potatoes and new potatoes (nyekartofler) and strawberries (jordbaer). The countryside and its cottages, and above all the shoreline of Fåborg, reminded me of Waterford—same culture predominating, since Waterford was founded by the Vikings?

From Rudkøbing on to Odense, where we had falafels (!) and then walked around the city in the late afternoon. Signs of H.C. Andersen everywhere—the museum, his boyhood home, a house in which he lived, a statue of the tin soldier. We had coffee, speaking a combination of English and German to the waitress. The Danes seem to be between the two languages, with perhaps more facility in the former—or less willingness to speak the latter, even when they know it.

As the shops closed at 5:30 and we had to be at the ferry soon after 6, we drove back to Fåborg and walked briefly around the town—more of those pastel houses, many with doors painted in blues and grays, their geometric shapes brought into relief by darker blue lines.

Then the ferry back, where we treated W., K., and T. to a buffet. They like to avail themselves of it every so often, and find it very good, but it didn’t excite me. Several strange adaptations of American and Tex-Mex dishes—barbecue ribs, guacamole (thin, runny, tasteless, and full of mayonnaise), and salsa (big chunks of mystery vegetables in a sweet red sauce). There were fried shrimp in a thick batter that managed to be both gummy and insipid, and about four potato dishes, all equally without savor. Ah well. The baguettes and butter were good, and the Carlsberg beer a good accompaniment.

And now to bed, and Rimbaud’s African years . . . .

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