Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Catching Up

I am sorry I have not updated with some actual information in awhile. My first night in Aarhus was filled with discussion as I got to know my new couchsurfing hosts a little better. Yesterday I was out in the town and when I returned home in the evening I had some other things to take care of and just did not get to post an update! So here it is. :)

My last night in Hillerod was a good one. My host, Alice made a traditional Danish dish called frikadeller. It is a meatball type of dish with potatoes. We also had broccoli with it as well. I have learned that the Danes like to eat what I think is pickled beets with each meal. Both homes I have stayed in have had this as a staple with their meals.

After dinner we went out and saw the new Quentin Tarantino movie, Inglorious Bastards. I think that the movie was good, but it was hard for me to follow. If you have seen it already then you know that a majority of it is spoken in French and German. Well, I did not realize this (nor did my host). Normally this sort of thing would not be a problem as there would be English subtitles to help one understand what is being said. Well, since I was in Denmark, the subtitles were in Danish. I not reading Danish had quite a fun time trying to understand what was being said by reading Danish and listening to German of French. Fortunately I could still follow the general plot line and some of the film was in English. If you want my honest opinion as well, I think Brad Pitt was the worst actor in the movie. His character is supposed to be all brash and cavalier, which he is, but it felt like I was watching him act the whole time instead of the way it should be when you feel that the actor embodies a character. He had better not receive an Oscar nomination or it will anger me greatly. If you haven't seen the movie yet and are thinking about it - be warned it is a Tarantino movie and it is bloody and violent. You will be disturbed.

You already know about my Tuesday morning experience with the train. After I arrived into town I put my bag into a locker at the train station and bought my ticket to Ribe for Friday morning. The lady at the counter said that my ticket was good for any train so there wasn't a specific time I had to be at the station. I neglected to ask her what train I was to get on, but my host here in Aarhus has offered to assist me with that. I ventured out into the city and found my way to a tourist information office. There I picked up an Aarhus Card good for 24 hour access to most of the museums in town and busses 1 and 2 as well as a 50% discount on ARoS (a big art museum) and Old Town (where you can go to "step back in time"). I also received a pamphlet with 5 walking tours in it. I spent the rest of my afternoon going through these five tours and orienting myself with the city.

I did a little grocery shopping, picked up my pack from the train station, and caught a bus around 1800 (6pm) out to Hasle (the suburb where my host lives). I arrived early since I had given myself extra time in case I got lost (but I did not) so I called my family and said a quick hello. It was good to talk to my dad for a little bit and get an update on life.

My host, Mette, arrived and showed me to my room. I have been so lucky with these two couchsurfing locations as I have been able to have my own room and some privacy! Something I was not expecting. We chatted for a while and it was especially fun to talk with her because she spent 3 months traveling in the United States last fall and was actually in Seattle and the surrounding area during the election last year. We realized we were both hungry and so began to explore what was in their fridge. One of her roommates had a mass quantity of sausages (hot dogs) so we put together a "feast" of grilled onions, fried potatoes, and cut up hot dogs. We warmed up some fresh bread and enjoyed a delicious meal together. It was grand. Also, her two housemates brew their own beer, so I was able to try enjoy some rather tasty beer with the meal. Yum!

Yesterday morning I got a bit of a late start as I was rather tired. I left the house around 10:15 and caught a 10:30 bus into town. I explored several museums yesterday. I went to the Women's Museum, The Viking Museum (a small exhibit in the basement of a bank built on actual Viking ruins), a contemporary art museum, and ARoS (a huge 8 story art museum). I also visited a church that has an underground crypt where one of the walls is the oldest stone wall in Aarhus. I walked around town a bit more after visiting the museums and then headed back to my host house around 1700 (5pm). I did some laundry in the evening and was able to talk to a few friends online and on Skype. I also figured out my plan for Hamburg (where I will be Saturday and Sunday nights) and uploaded the pictures that I mentioned in my last blog.

All in all, Aarhus has been a fun place to visit. It's a large city with a lot of things go do, but I feel rather comfortable here. This morning Mette and I are going to make breakfast and go out for a walk in her area of town. This afternoon I think we are going to head back into the city for an event called Aarhus Festus that has been going on and explore a bit around there. I will probably return to the house again this evening to pack up my bag and determine my plan for tomorrow morning. I plan to head out somewhat early to catch the train to Ribe. I only have the one day in town there and want to make the most of it. I am staying in a hostel there and so will be back to the dorm style living for a night before I head to Hamburg to couchsurf for two nights.

I can't believe that I am almost done with my time in Denmark. That means I only have 11 countries left! :) That's still a lot and I know there is a lot of time left on my trip. I have been gone over a week now but it feels like it has been much longer. I have been having a few little bouts of homesickness that I am working through. It is a lot harder to travel on my own than I had anticipated. I never realized how much I rely on other people for information and even just to bounce ideas and options off of. It is a learning experience for sure! It has been good for me to be able to Skype with people almost every day and to talk online via facebook chat, IM, or even the phone as well. I think this trip would be much more challenging for me if those technologies were not available to me.

Well, I think that is it for now. I will either post more tonight or tomorrow night when I am in Ribe. Until then...

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