Tuesday, June 28, 2011

pretty denmark

you put on a sweater and grab a beer. you stretch out and look up and notice that the sails, listless a minute ago, are filling with wind, are beginning to dance and play in the air. the journey to juelsminde started with fog and ghostly vessels appearing suddenly in the murk as if out of nowhere, and will end with bright clarity and sun, breezes and a sparkling sea.

you arrive at your destination. the marina is alive with activity as the captain, assisted by his attractive and athletic wife, maneuvers the sailboat neatly into her slip. you help clean up the lunch dishes, pull off your sweater and get ready to haul yourself and your bags off the boat and into the car.

on the drive you are given a tour of the small, picturesque harbor town of juelsminde. it is very clean, very orderly, filled with cafes and shops. the neighborhoods are quaint, comfortable, the gardens well-tended and filled with color. you could live here in pretty denmark.

at grethe's house you walk around the garden with her and then relax on the terrace with a cup of tea and a piece of marzipan. her husband tells you the story of the "eel field" behind the house as you sit and watch the birds in the bird feeders. there are an awful lot of danish birds indulging in a raucous chorus of birdsong out in the backyard. the birds are much noisier than at home. is that possible?

you laugh about the wine box dispenser attached to the house next to the terrace and it reminds you of the story knud told about how he and some friends used a sailboat to smuggle booze out of germany via the sea. they poured hard liquor into empty wine boxes to avoid the extremely high taxes that existed in denmark before the formation of the european union.

soon it is time to go. you say thanks for the great time you had on the s/s mary, and you and grethe give each other a big hug. hellos are so much better than good-byes......

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