Wednesday, September 23, 2009


Udendørs pissoir - København, Danmark
Just because you take to the sea and cross the world, it doesn’t guarantee that you will come by treasure.
Danes hate the phrase “good night”, so the birthday party went on until all hours and included a late night skinny-dip in the Lillebælt - bottle of snaps and shot glasses in hand. Heaven knows when we finally stumbled into bunks and tents, but plenty of overnight guests made for quick work of KP duty the next morning, and by noon most of us were ambitious enough for a walk.
The Danish leg of my trip was supposed to end that morning with a train to Hamburg and then a flight down to Bergamo, Italy. However, sometime earlier in the week the thought of leaving Strib became less and less appealing. The summerhouse has a magnetic hold on me. I don’t even like going into town all that much. So, with a small group of friends extending their stays, it didn’t take much persuading to get me to change my plans.
I wish I could regale you with tall tales of adventure, but we mainly stayed close to home or struck out on day trips, always back in time for a glass of wine and a good dinner. We spent one fine day in Århus walking along pedestrian streets in the shopping district, eating pølser, drinking strong ales and admiring the Danish masters at ARoS Århus Kunstmuseum.
P.S. Krøyer - Skagens jægere (Skagen hunters), 1898
P.S. Krøyer - Skagens jægere
Another day found us in Svendborg in southern Fyn, looking for yet one more of Denmark’s legendary lunches. We were not disappointed. At Hotel Æro, four of us split an enormous omelette topped with crackling (G.H.W. Bush would say pork rind). It was eaten with rye bread, spicy mustard and pickled beets. There were saner fish entrées, but who wants to be safe & sane on holiday? Emboldened by all that pork fat, one fellow diner ordered the Svendborg stew, or "Pound of Bacon Soup", strips and strips of crispy fried bacon wading in a shallow pool of tomato broth. Ridiculous.
Fynsk Æggekage med flæsk - Hotel Æro, SvendborgSvendborg gryde - Hotel Æro, Svendborg
Skindstegt Rødfisk - Hotel Æro, SvendborgStegt rødspætte - Hotel Æro, Svendborg
Closer to home in Melfar (Middlefart), we returned repeatedly to Holms, the 425-year old inn that anchors that ancient ferry and whaling town. They serve leverpostej, a liver pâté spread, accompanied by sautéed mushrooms and crispy bacon. I ordered it three times in 10 days and cannot believe I’m still alive to tell the tale. There is an extravagant version called dyrlægens natmad (literally, veterinarian’s midnight snack!) served open-faced on dark rye bread, topped with a slice of corned beef, a slice of cooked meat in aspic, and finally raw onions and water cress. Even I never had the guts to order that.
Holms Anno Domini 1584 - Melfar, Danmark
Leverpostej - Holms, Melfar, DanmarkSteak tartar - Holms, Melfar, Danmark
With only a couple of days left on the itinerary, we migrated east toward Copenhagen. Needful of some down time, I snuck off solo early one morning, wandering the capital with nothing but a camera and a coin purse full of kroner. Snob that I am, I cast furtive looks of disdain at the more obvious tourists and kept to myself. I wanted to absorb the city, undistracted, through my pores.
Marmorkirken - København, DanmarkDraught beers - København, Danmark
Late in the morning, I met up with Whogus and a good old Dane, René. They found me drinking a beer in one of the squares off the main walking street. After more walking, lots more walking - and beers, LOTS more beers - and even some sightseeing, it was time to say goodbye. My friends escorted me - besotted - to the train station late in the day for my journey back to Germany and a morning flight to the States. No one was willing to utter the words goodbye. There were awkward handshakes, and then heartfelt hugs before the doors to my carriage closed. I listened to sad songs on my iPod, watching the Danish countryside whiz by, thinking there would be time for happy songs and happier memories later on.
There are so many trite clichés about traveling “broadening one’s horizons.” What a load or tripe! You could walk to the corner market or Timbuktu and it wouldn’t matter one fig but for the companions who share the journey along the way. So if there is a lesson here in my summer story, it is this: enjoy the ride, embrace the company, and dwell on the truth that you only get one shot at this, so don’t screw it up.
Thanks for taking the time - Blog O. Food

1 comment:

NYC Glenn said...

I had no idea that Denmark was so big on bacon in their recipes, otherwise I would have traveled there much sooner.