Tuesday, 31 August 2010

The Danish language

Ok, I have to admit it: we used to find the Danish language pretty hilarious. We had of course heard it before going there, when our friends Iben and Flemming lived in Maastricht, but we had never been as exposed as when we were in Denmark for our holidays.
When we first drove into the country and switched the radio to a Danish station, we had huge smiles as we were listening to the constant babbling without understanding a single word of what was said. But after 10 days in the country, we learned a few words and started recognising some of the things that were said. We got pretty good at numbers (not necessarily knowing what number was being mentioned - especially if it was anything above twenty - but nonetheless recognising that there was a number in the sentence). And since a debit-card machine in a shop in Copenhagen told me to 'husk'
(remember) my card, we have been hearing this word again and again!

To keep listening to beautiful Danish, we've been getting back to a TV show we had started years ago: Unit One. Or, in Danish: Rejseholdet (which means something like special traveling unit). It's a police drama set all across Denmark which follows a special detective unit who travels to different places to investigate dreadful cases.
We are watching it with English subtitles and we love to listen to all the funny sounds they make, while recognising bit and bobs here and there.

Now: another thing about Danish is the pronunciation. We quickly found out that, especially for cities and places, the pronunciation doesn't resemble (at all) the way you would pronounce the words in 'English'. For example, Skagen, at the Northern tip of the country is pronounced 'skain'. Esbjerg, on the west coast? Well, that's 'espia'. Of course! ;-)

Well, here is a little sample of Danish for those of you who would like to hear what it sounds like, and how the pronunciation differs from what is actually written. It's one of the songs we heard over and over on the radio - Gosh it brings back good memories!

Monday, 30 August 2010

Day 11: Goodbye Denmark

We really, really didn't feel like leaving Denmark... we had such a perfect time in this wonderful country. On our way back South we decided to stop one last time to get ourselves iconic pieces of Denmark that we could bring home to remind us of all the good times we had. A Skagen watch for Mart, and a beautiful Georg Janssen daisy ring for me. And then it was really time to go.
It really felt like the holidays were over - look at the weather we had for most of the drive back down to Maastricht.

Sunday, 29 August 2010

Day 10: Skagen

On Day 10, we (Iben, Flemming, Celina, Caitlin and the two of us) drove to the most Northern point Mart and I had ever been to: the very tip of Denmark, in Skagen. The place is a well-known getaway for Danish holidays, and the light there can be absolutely breathtaking. Well, we will have to take their word for it as we didn't see much light while we were there. We did see countless rain drops though.

Yet I have no trouble understanding why the group of painters who moved to Skagen in the late 1870s did so: this small city looks to be lovely. Almost all buildings are painted in bright, warm yellow, and I'm sure it would be absolutely charming on a slightly less wet day. And a look at their paintings does indeed show that the light can be truly resplendent.

Once we had arrived at the furthest point we could reach with the cars, we jumped onto a tractor-pulled carriage (with a roof and hence rain shelter: yey!) that took us on the sandy beach all the way to the point where the Baltic and North Seas meet. The waves literally crash against each other from two directions. It was very impressive, especially as the weather was rather challenging, with lots of wind and rain.

As the Northern tip of Denmark, the area is also the departure point for ferries to Sweden and Norway. We really felt like we had driven far away from home!

Saturday, 28 August 2010

Day 9: The after-wedding day

What a lovely wedding reception it was. Full of love, laughter, amazing food, a fair bit of drinks too, lots of sweet traditions, great music and fantastic dancing. It went on until the small hours of the morning, and we all went to bed when the sun was coming up. Just in case you were doubting it: Danes know how to party!

So the next day was very relaxed. Most guests stayed for breakfast (for the ones who were actually up) and for a lovely barbecue in the sun. In the afternoon, we played games (an old Viking one where you throw wooden sticks around), spent time on the little lake in the property, and enjoyed playing with the girls.

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Day 8: The wedding day

While the girls were getting ready for Iben and Flemming's big day, Mart and I left Aalborg to go and see Lindholm Høje, a Viking burial ground. There were hundreds of adorable little frogs, jumping through the wet grass and the impressive stone arrangements.

From there we drove on to Dronninglund and Hammer, to attend the beautiful wedding of our dear friends. It was an absolutely fantastic day, where I almost didn't take photos, as we were way too busy enjoying the sheer beauty of it all and celebrating with them, their families and friends.

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Day 7: Thyboren and Mors

Driving up and up, always more North, along the beautiful coast.

We put the car on a ferry at Thyborøn and then went to the island of Mors to see its impressive cliffs.

And then we kept on driving to Aalborg, where we had a little stroll through the city before finally seeing our dear friends again. It's so good to see how, with some people, time away doesn't matter - being together again feels just as comfortable as it used to years before.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Day 6: Hvide Sande

We spent the sixth day of our Danish holiday in Hvide Sande and along the West coast of Jutland.
The weather was absolutely beautiful, however without being crushingly hot, which was lovely. We tried the water, but didn't go in very far, as it was preeetty cold. We saw fantastic landscapes along the coast, and just loved climbing up the Lyngvig Fyr, a cute lighthouse perched in the sand dunes.

The last photo is from our friend Iben's parents' summer house, which we were so lucky to be able to borrow for a few days. They have made such a great job of making the place feel cozy and airy, and a real nest for the family to spend lovely times together.

Monday, 23 August 2010

Day 5: Århus and the summer house

A bit of rain (quite a bit actually), an interesting visit of Den Gamle By, a lovely drive through the Danish countryside, a fantastic sunset on the West coast, and an absolutely lovely summer house to call home for a few days. So lucky!

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