Wednesday, 18 August 2010

VARDE

Just a short report today. We drove about 600kms from Munster in Westfalia, to Varde which is north of Esbjerg.We are staying with Ingse, the sister of my aunt by marrige. These two women look and sound very alike. I have known my aunt pretty well for 45 years and only met Ingse a few times, but feel I have known her a long time. Her house is filled with furniture and pictures and photos from their old family farm, some of those things I have known all my life too, so it is like being at home. Danish antiques have a wonderful elegant style and spacious presence, and this whole family are very knowledgeable about all these things. We learned over supper how the best Royal Copenhagen porcelain should have tiny holes pierced round the edge, and we were shown how this slowly changed over time to small painted marks and then just a plain blue line.

Breakfast in the Ibis in Munster was ok. The d├ęcor was execrable. The best thing was a huge mangled cactus by the window. I also liked going in the car lift again, which brought us up from the basement to the pavement as smoothly as if we were in a dentist's chair. Great. Very amusing watching a blonde woman in a huge Volvo trying to manoeuvre her way into the lift ahead of us. She would have qualified for those wonderful 'Woman parking' clips on Youtube, taking about 30 goes to end up the wrong way round.

Our journey from western Germany up past Hamburg and through the flat lands of Schleswig-Holstein was marked by savage rainstorms which came and went from time to time, making the motorway into a waterski track for a while, or a blinding slushing onslaught of spray from lorries. Then it would fade away to nothing, dryness even. Prolonged roadworks kept things frustratingly slow when the weather conditions encouraged a faster pace. We didn't go into Hamelin after all, maybe we can do that on the way home.

Picnic lunch with smoked eel and black bread in some tiny plush llttle village, and then up and on and on and on, and eventually into Denmark. We called in to the fabulous antique town of Toemden with its elaborate doors and marvellous facades. Feasted on hot chocolate and cream cakes. Everyone speaks good English....

Then finally through the empty farmlands to Varde. We noticed a lot of car showrooms, a big change from 10 years ago, when the whole politik was steadfastly against cars and in favour of bus, train and bike. It looks like that old idea is being challenged now. We can't, by the way, think of a single Danish make of car.

Tomorrow, we go to Jelling to see the archaeology and the runestones, and to Fyn to see some castles and if the weather holds, find a campsite. All good so far. Very tired.

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