Day 13: Malmo

We got up early (4:45 AM, I think) to fly back to Copenhagen from Bergen. After dropping our stuff off at the home where we were staying in Copenhagen, we biked over to the train station to head to Malmo, Sweden. When we arrived forty minutes later, it would be our third country in five hours.

It turns out that we picked a pretty good time to visit Malmo. We walked out of the train station, where we planned to consult a map. But we saw a bunch of tents set up, and signs for the Malmo Festival, so we walked in that direction. We found hundreds and hundreds of people, making their way between tents with people selling food and other goods. There was a surprising variety of food: Dim Sum, Greek, Turkish, Texas BBQ (actually quite a bit of that), ice cream, candy, and lots of Thai. And the tents seemed to go on forever; there were several times where we thought we'd seen everything, only to come across an even bigger group of tents.

There was entertainment, too. There were quite a few musicians playing (I was tempted to watch a blues show that night at 9, but Elaine was tired and wanted to go home to Copenhagen), and numerous amusement park-type rides for kids. It seemed, moreover, that the entire city was out enjoying it. I'm not sure if I've ever seen a festival dominate a town like that.

So we spent the day taking that in, walking around other parts of the city, and of course, eating. For dinner, I figured we should go to the restaurant whose tent had the longest line. There was a Thai place that had lots of people waiting, so we found their restaurant's address, and began to walk towards it. An hour later, after several wrong turns (we didn't have a map), we finally tracked it down. We walked in, and sat down without a wait. But the menus informed us that we could only order one of six things; the menu was abbreviated because most people (and the cooks) were at the festival. Sigh.

A boating club building in Malmo.

No matter where we went, I seemed to have a pretty good ability to track down the berries. Here, Elaine got evidence of my neat habits.

Just for you, Mom, I took a shot of this Synagogue in Malmo. I guess we saw enough old, touristy churches; time for something different. I think I'd think this building was a mosque, if not for all the stars of David on it.

When we got back to Copenhagen, it was completely dark, and we had to get home. I insisted that we walk our bikes, since we had no lights, no helmets, and our bikes weighed probably 80 pounds. That involved dragging them up the stairs, which I didn't quite get a good picture of. Eventually, we got tired of walking (and a little lost), and so I sucked it up and agreed to ride the rest of the way.

Day 14: Putzing Around In Copenhagen

I didn't really do anything our last day in Copenhagen. I went for a run along the beach, read my book, and that's about it. Elaine went back to the library and took some pictures; I'll refrain from naively commenting on the shots, the architectural styles, etc.

Day 15: South From Arhus

Having only seen four of Scandinavia's seven biggest cities, Elaine and I felt the need to check out another. So Saturday morning, we took a three-hour train ride to Arhus, Denmark's second city, on the peninsula of Jutland (FYI, the southern part of Jutland borders Germany, while Copenhagen is on the island of Zealand). After arriving, we found a bike shop, and were relatively successful in renting bicycles. That is, although the bikes weren't great, they were less than 80 pounds, weren't set up Granny-style, and we didn't have to wait in line for an hour for them (unlike in Copenhagen).

So we headed south, for a ride along the coast. The ride was really nice: some parts rural road, some spots light mountain biking. We could see the water much of the time.

We stopped along the way at a museum area, where we saw redone versions of old Viking buildings, baskets from all over the world, a Thai house (don't ask), some more sheep, and several types of fruit.

As the sun started to set, we pulled into a restaurant (burger stand would probably be a more accurate description, actually) and got some food. There was a campground across the street, where we figured we would spend the night.

After eating, we crossed the street and checked out the campground. It had closed a few minutes earlier, so we couldn't legally stay there. But we looked around anyway, and found it wasn't exactly what we were hoping. We were probably the only ones who'd arrived on bike; the campground looked like something straight out of the U.S. Lots of RV's, and massive tents with televisions inside and satellite dishes on the roof of the RV. Not my idea of camping, but hey, to each his own.

I remembered a "naturist" campground that we'd passed a few miles back, so we rode back to that. Elaine made a half-joking comment about naturist meaning nudist, and I thought there was some chance of that. But we went on, eventually finding the campground.

As we rode in, we passed by several fully dressed people, and a large, mostly undressed woman. Elaine had been at least partially right, although we were glad to see that not everyone was naked, we could fit in.

Other than that, we observed much the same at this campground as at the other: the office was closed, and there were lots of RV's (though maybe not quite as many). We decided to just set up our tent, out of the way of everyone else. We pitched it close to the water, and other than some strong winds and a dog that walked by, were not disturbed.

A little hut on the side of the road to buy food.

Yep, sod houses even in Denmark.

Recreation of a Viking Building.

More sheep.

More evidence of more sheep.

A really old burial site. Unfortunately, I can't remember the details of who was buried, or when the grave was put up.

Within 10 meters of one another, in the museum area, I found some pretty tasty peaches...

some nice blackberries...

and some yummy plums. My snobbish attitude towards fruit in California has had to be re-examined!

Biking out to the water (don't worry, I stopped).

One of Elaine's favorite constructs: a bus stop near Arhus. They are all designed like this.

Day 16: Back to Arhus, and to the North

The last real day of our vacation started earlier than we thought. We woke up at one point, and saw that my watch said 8:00. We were surprised it was that late, and we decided to get up. The sun was just rising, which didn't really square with the 8 AM idea. We figured I'd somehow changed the time in my sleep, though I discovered eventually that I'd changed the time back to California time, where it had been 8:00 - PM!

We gathered our stuff, and had a much quicker, more direct ride back to Arhus. When we arrived there, we were both starving, and, as it was now around 7:30 local time, we found an open bakery and gorged ourselves. We then locked up our bikes and most of the stuff in our backpacks, so we could walk around the city.

Arhus is a nice little town. Much to our surprise, we discovered when we got back that it's actually bigger than Malmo or Bergen. It has a pretty nice area of shops and restaurants near the canal downtown, and an old city area not too far away. We walked around those places, as well as the university (which was unspectacular), and the Botanical Gardens (nice, but we quickly grew uninterested). It also has a really great place to grab a slice of pizza. The man who sold it to me was the only person I met in Scandinavia who spoke no English.

After walking around the town, we rode our bikes up north of the city. Appropriately, perhaps, our last day in Scandinavia was much like our first: beautifully sunny, and unusually warm. Hence we passed by many others riding and walking along the coastal bike trails. It was a Sunday afternoon, perhaps the last really warm day of the Denmark summer, and people were taking advantage of it.

Definitely not 8 AM.

A view of the Danish countryside, as taken from a bicycle.

I think "fjord" must mean something different in Danish. In Norwegian, it means waters meandering between steep cliffs. In Danish, it's just waters strung together in funny shapes. Or maybe the Danes just have a different standard for "steep."

This could just as easily be Woodside.

Mike on bike taking picture + Elaine riding her bike = not a very good picture.

Butterflies. In Denmark? Well, they could have escaped from a zoo or something...

The old city.

Another old building.

The area along the canal. We ate both lunch and dinner here. Nice setting, but our food was pretty mediocre.

Riding north along the coast.

The street where we rented our bikes. It's more or less a bikes only street, which I can only dream of in the U.S...

Day 17: Coming home

Our last day in Denmark got off to an early start. We awoke at 4:45 AM, as the sun was rising, checked out of our hotel, and walked over to the train station, where I took the picture below and we boarded the train to Copenhagen. From the central station in Copenhagen, we would take another train to the airport. From there, Elaine would fly to D.C., then drive home to Charlottesville. I flew to London, and from London, on to San Francisco. I took BART (the subway) to the Caltrain station in Milpitas, and then took Caltrain to Palo Alto, a few blocks from my apartment. Flying west, the day was extended, meaning that as I got home at 8 PM PDT - 4 AM in Denmark - the sun was just setting. 23 hours and six long transportation legs after taking this picture, I had come a long way.