Subject: Nordic Dreams...

July 1997, Interesting News from above the 54th parallel (Uhhh, I think...)

Well, news from Danmark, anyway, and it's still light at 10pm.

Hello again All, it's been a somewhat busy few weeks or so since I last wrote, but much of it has been a blur for me, really.

I never made it to Poland, as I may have mentioned. The worst flooding in 100 years here in Central Europe has been upgraded to the worst flooding in 200 years, or whenever they started keeping records of this stuff. This meant there was no way to convince the Czech Republic travel agent to sell me a ticket to Krakow from Prague since these trains just weren't running. I could have taken a 40 hour detour route, with no guarantees of returning...

Thus, I've decided Auschwitz is important, but viewing Dachau in Germany later is sufficient, and maybe throwing in a screening or two of Schindler's List when I get back home to increase my moral fortitude.

I did continue to enjoy Prague, the city of Angels, and quite a nice time to be had in this compact, fully-Westernized city. Some have made comments about my recent spate of drinking. To them I have some fully developed arguments to consider. First, as travelers we have been warned against drinking the local water. Simultaneously, we've been told the beer quality is second to none. I can confirm this with the fine Pilsner Urquell as well as the Czech Budweiser (Budvar) from Budejovice, the original Budweiser, both incredibly fine beers. Having recently taken History 101 to complete my degree in Political Science, I can tell you that in ancient days our forefathers drank beer instead of water to stay healthy — in fact, the Danish army drank an average of 8 liters a day, making one wonder as to why they lost so many wars...

I am simply listening to the words of my ancestors echoing down through time and space. Besides, a Czech liter of beer costs less than a dollar. The water is more expensive. It is need and economics, not wanton drunkenness, I assure you all.

I am also happy to report that I shared a Cuban cigar, a Romeo y Julieta #2, with some Australians the other evening, an affectionate nod towards my afficianado homeboys Dan and Chris back home.

Away from these various vices, I am also happy to report being back in Western Europe and it's significantly kinder railways. Whereas in the Eastern Bloc conductors would happily sell me invalid passes, in Germany and now Denmark I can wave my unlimited Eurail European train pass like a shield in front of me. I will never say an ungrateful word about the stupid ticket again, I promise!

Earlier in Lubeck, Germany, I learned that my Journal #1 never made it home through the mail. It has since arrived taped, battered and bruised, but nonetheless at my friend's for safe keeping. However, this may still be a boon for all those who I planned to pin down with some reading from this finest of unreviewed manuscripts. During the period the journal remained lost, I re-wrote the 150+ page document into a 35 page brief. So, now you don't have to miss my shocking exposeé on European toilets (w/ full color pictures!), the sobering treatise on Italian Engineering, my witty portrayal of the Swiss and German sense of humor, my ... well, you get the idea of the important and critical nature of the writing I had feared lost. Instead of War and Peace, you can now select the Reader's Digest.

Okay, that out of the way, I can tell you a bit about where I have been:

Hamburg, Germany
Been here before, it was interesting to see what I remember of my first trip. Well, a lot. Kind of a repeat for me.

Lubeck, Germany
Saw a children's marionettentheatre – in German. The kids thought it was funnier, and the dog definitely stole the show.

Legoland – Billund, Danmark
My first stop here in the Nordic countries.
Denmark is flat, I've realized. This one was for Tom and Dan. (We'd tried to visit Legoland outside London earlier this year, but it hadn't opened yet). Of note is the amount of liquor for parents sold at every concession stand. Speaks volumes.

Ribe, Danmark
Danmark's oldest city. Didn't look a day over 400 to me, but they put it well past 1000 years or so. Denmark is very flat.

Svenbørg and Æerø (with the little a with an e and the o with a slash through it)
Don't bother trying to pronounce the second name unless you are Scandinavian and drunk. I obviously don't have a lick of Viking blood in me. Nice island, Aero, in central Danmark, where I took a 5 or 6 hour bike ride and left with a great appreciation for nature and a sore butt. Maybe Denmark isn't so flat.

Kobenhavn, Danmark's capitol city
Copenhagen is a big, clean, nice, pleasant, all you'd expect from a Northern European city, filled with clean, nice, pleasant people. Weird, kind of like a reverse Twilight zone episode.

Hillerod and Helsingor, north Sjaelland (the island where Copenhagen is located)
Lots of drunk Swedes drinking "cheap" Danish beer and returning to Sweden. By cheap, they don't mean $1 per liter Czech cheap. They mean $7 per liter cheap. I can't wait to get to Sweden so I can take a vacation from drinking. No, I've decided that Denmark really is flat, about 150 meters at the highest point. Oh, and a big castle used to collect taxes from passing ships here in Helsingor.

Okay, that's it, excepting a few other cities I hit but sort of can't remember right now.

Cheers from Scandinavia,

The EuroBilFish