Monday, August 01, 2005

Day 1 | Den Bosch - Copenhagen | Wistful Mermaid

I couldn't believe we were actually going on holiday! Everyone else i met kept reminding me "So you are off on vacation, yes?" My sister sent me a Happy Holidays card! It then sort of got me thinking....... I guess it's hard to go on vacation if you are on vacation!

The plan was - So B & I were going to drive across Scandinavia - from Holland, which meant across Holland, Germany to Denmark.Then cross over onto Sweden, then to Norway, close to the Arctic circle, drive through some fjord- scapes and back. The high point of this trip was going to be the Little Mermaid as far I was concerned! And any trolls that we might meet on the way!

When I say we were going to drive - it's strictly the royal "we". Read B was going to drive, because the car insurance didn't cover me (convenient for all parties concerned!). I was to be the navigator (little did i know at this point that it was a titular role, the real navigator was going to be Hagatha Grand Pain in my **S). This lady was to reduce me to a mere cat's paw, as she took over my husband's mind and soul. Ungrateful i thought, given that i was responsible for her new name. We had called Agatha for a while, perhaps her accent had something to do with it. Then to add viking flavour, we pretended she was the daughter of Hagar the Horrible - and B took to calling her "Honi" which didn't work for me at all! So we rechristened her Hagatha.

We set off early (by our standards) on saturday morning, the sun was up in the sky, and the radio was belting out "i don't like reggae, oh no..". Spirits were high other than B had left tuna salad in the fridge, which i discovered before we left fortunately, or else we'd have a green salad in 2 weeks time when we came back! B didn't see what the problem was, and i did.

We passed several nondescript towns on the way...the landscape didn't change much...same old chubby cows in Holland...and the rapeseed fields in Germany which had changed to brown patches, rather different from the sunny yellow they were in may.

We drove past towns that often didn't mean much to us other than yet another place to stop and refuel. Names like Osnabruck, Bremen, Munster and Hamburg flew by. Flew is a good way to describe it because B. on the autobahn transmogrifies into a pilot, the car into a 747. At one point we crossed the river Weser - which took me down memory lane, to Browning, and the Pied Piper of Hameln. Unfortunately the town of Hameln was south, and we were headed very north, so the piper would have to wait.

Soon after the map seemed to indicate we would have to cross the Ostsee to head towards Denmark. But Hagatha (the Hag) had other ideas, and led us through some very boring countryside in a northerly direction past odder sounding towns such as Kiel,Schleswig and finally we crossed the border into Denmark. Nothing about the Danish countryside in these parts inspired much confidence, if anything one could be in an arid Holland, less the cute cows, and land as flat as flat can be. The only plus seemed to be rare glimpses of some startlingly red wildflowers. Similar to the one in the mermaid's garden?

I was soon to proved wrong - as crossed over into Odense, Nyborg, across the Kategatt into Korsor, and towards Kobenhavn! Just before we crossed into Korsor, there were some lovely sights, of striking blue water, white sails and a lone lighthouse. Reminded me of an old National geographic diary i managed to wrangle out of my father.

When i think about it - most places that i want to go, have really been inspired by the National Geographic. It brought the world to me, sitting in different corners of India, and is often responsible for my mood yo yoing as i visit places - as i constantly compare in my mind's eye "It 's just like National Geographic pictures" , or isn't!

Enough meandering. We arrived in Copenhagen at about 6.30 in the evening. Could have been afternoon, the sun was so high in the sky! We crossed streets such as Dag Hammarskjold's Alle etc. ,and i found the now familiar straat & straƃŸe replaced by Gade. Slagelsgade - our destination was here!

It felt good to meet family in this distant corner of the world. Of course it was family i had never met before, but it didn't alter any of the familiarity and warmth associated with the word! I was completely taken in by 7 year old Mishti, who insisted we had to carry a Danish flag just like the Japanese tourists ! As we made our way over to the most coveted sight (for tourists) in Copenhagen, our hosts warned us not to be disappointed.

I don't if it was the light. Or the mermaid. Or unrequited love that i associated with her. But i felt every bit as wistful as she looked. I even imagined my feet were hurting as if walking on knives.

Perhaps I was tired. Or we were sisters from a different life. But that is another story.

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