Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Denmark diary - day 9

We ate last night in the hotel restaurant (“Koks”), reportedly the best on the island, and that seems likely – it was excellent food, a little unusual (neither of us can remember the last time we were served so  many onions) without seeming at all strained. It was one of our best meals of the trip – overall though, I think we had more interesting meals in Sweden, although that’s probably mainly due to chance. After that we sat in the bar for a while – it was as quiet as ever. We hadn’t noticed before that the hotel has a “Bill Clinton Presidential Suite,” so presumably this is where he stayed. Re the other recent famous guest, it’s right next to the “Elton John Queen’s Suite” – or so I would say if I was basing my persona on Ricky Gervais, which of course I’m not.

The following day we had breakfast, also served in the restaurant. It’s only the second time we had breakfast on the trip, but it’s pretty obvious the Danes do a good job of it. We checked out and stored our bags, then spent a couple of hours walking a hillside trail near the hotel. At last we had an extended scenic view of the city, and the water, and even of other islands in the middle-distance – most if not all of this had usually been lost to the fog. At times in our walk the sky was actually stunningly blue, and we even started feeling mildly hot (!) We were finally able to see how the start of our big walk two days ago, which we had so much trouble figuring out, related to the rest of the city – unsurprisingly, from up above, it all seemed much simpler than it did at the time. It looks like several farms exist within the town, surrounded by housing developments on all sides – maybe because of stubborn farmers who wouldn’t sell out. It’s funny though how sparse these farms all seem – as I mentioned previously, it’s as if every sheep was guaranteed its own amount of space (this being more than that of many downtown condo dwellers). The town also contains many horses and many geese. And on this particular trail at least, quite a few dogs – it seems to be a popular walking spot. However, all the dogs were on the leash – a notable contrast with Toronto where almost all dogs get offleash in such open spaces, whether or not that’s actually allowed. Maybe it’s because of the grievous consequences of having your dog chase sheep (which I believe in Britain at least would give the farmer the right to shoot the dog). In similar vein, Danish people always seem to wait patiently for the crossing light to turn green, however far the empty road might stretch into the distance, and the motorists are also very well behaved. However, they must have some strange dark recesses, or how else would this ever be prominently displayed in a hotel lobby?

We got a shuttle from the hotel to the airport, with the hotel slightly blemishing its performance here by not adequately explaining to us how this would work, so that we were still standing there after all the Danish people were safely on their way, and by not informing us that once we had been picked up, the driver would divert to the ferry terminal to pick up someone else. But I’m sure this is only the tip of the iceberg of things we missed, or where we did the equivalent of getting from A to B only via ridiculous detours to C, D and E  – this one just made more of an impact because no one likes being messed around when you have a plane to catch. Anyway, there was no problem – we made it (by that time it was foggy again) and on this occasion we were able to sit together too. Ally finished the Jennifer Egan book in record time. I’m on the second-last of my magazine inventory, so I guess I’ll finish what’s left on the way home.

The trip has had a rather quirky musical soundtrack – on the ferry to the Mykines, they played the title song from Xanadu at one point, and similar echoes of the lesser past have been coming up throughout. In the cab on the way in, we heard Carly Rae Jepsen’s Call me Maybe, which I believe is currently playing in cabs all over the world. As for local TV – who knows, we only had the TV on once, and then only briefly. We weren’t always that uninterested in hotel TV, but then we didn’t always have Internet (I usually just mention me being on it, but Ally spends a fair bit of time on the ipad too).

We spent our last night in the Hilton attached to the airport, just a couple of minutes' walk from the terminal, to make things easy for our flight home. It’s smart and spacious like all Hilton hotels, but after having free wireless in both our previous locations, it can’t help but seem a bit unclassy to charge for it here. As in any country of course, you can never figure out the local ways. A very tiny example:  for our initial stay in Copenhagen I never saw any hand soap anywhere – it was always liquid soap from a dispenser – and I assumed this was the Danish way. Then in the Faroes I started to see hand soap again, so I assumed maybe the liquid soap was the Copenhagen way. But now the Hilton also has hand soap, which may or may not mean that it’s chain-think and they haven’t adequately researched the Danish way. Or maybe the premise is that anyone staying in the airport Hilton doesn’t care about the Danish way. Anyway, I’m sure there are better illustrations of this train of thought than soap, but that’s the one that comes to mind right now. Maybe more would come to mind if our room at the Hilton had a better view, but the view says only that it’s time to go home.

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