Picture of the Week

23 November 2022

Week 44: Denmark

Filed under: — Administrator @ 11:28

As I do every year, I visited Denmark during the first week of November. I have already created a dedicated Copenhagen gallery, but what follows below is a record of my trip to Copenhagen and to my hometown Aarhus, with a heavy focus on the friends who are one of the two main reasons for going there (the other main reason is to visit my parents’ graves). I present the images chronologically.

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I flew to Copenhagen Wednesday morning and took the train from the airport to the Central Station, from where I was taking a train to Aarhus a couple of hours later:
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I crossed the street to the Tivoli Food Hall to have some lunch. It was dry, so I sat on the terrace and enjoyed the view of the Tivoli garden while I ate. As is obvious from this scene, Tivoli took Halloween seriously:
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In the food hall there are numerous eateries with food from around the world, but I chose the most traditional Danish food imaginable, smørrebrød, usually translated as “open-face sandwich”, but it is really so much more than that (see here for some more information):
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In late afternoon I arrived at the apartment of my friend Lars. His home is my home, we have been best friends since high school in the 1970s, and have shared many joyous and sad moments over the years. This year he is battling the challenge of non-Hodgkins lymphoma; he has been through a course of chemotherapy and is responding well to treatment, but he is still weak and needs to do unusual (for us) things like taking a nap mid-day. Still, we were going to have a good time, including a celebration of his birthday a couple of days later. We spent the rest of the day talking, drinking beer and eating takeout food. The following morning I took a little walk. Lars’s neighbours across the street had gotten into Halloween too:
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Lars’s cycling is also affected, of course, but we did go on a short 20 km ride around a nearby lake called Brabrand Sø:
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Autumn colours, something I do not have much of in Alicante. Aarhus is not a small town, it has 350,000 inhabitants, and Lars lives right in the very centre. But we only had to cycle 3-4 km to see views like this:
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After the bike ride, I had a lunch appointment with another school friend. I had selected a vegetarian restaurant in a neighbourhood that I do not visit very often, on a side street to this wide avenue called Ingerslevs Boulevard. The church on the right is Skt. Lukas Church:
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There was a parliamentary election in Denmark on November 1st, and the election posters were still all over the city. The party organisations that put them up are responsible for their removal by a certain date:
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The entrance to the restaurant:
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My friend Lone at Café Gaya. We have known each other since 6th grade:
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That evening, Lars and I went to the movies at a nearby art cinema called Øst for Paradis, on a street called Paradisgade (“Paradise Street”). When walking back to his apartment, I photographed this piece of local tradition, allegedly Denmark’s oldest sex shop:
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Friday was Lars’s birthday, and we started it with another bike ride in the morning, following roughly the same route as the day before:
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Lars also brings a camera in his handlebar bag; we share the two passions of cycling and photography:
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The weather had started to turn wet, as is evident from this image:
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After our ride and a light lunch, it was time to prepare for the birthday celebration which was going to be low-key, with Lars’s two daughters and their partners and children. So the main activity to prepare was to drive to a bakery in Brabrand (a suburb of Aarhus where Lars grew up) to pick up the cake he had ordered. I always enjoy visiting proper Danish bakeries. To me, they make the best bread and pastries in the world:
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Lars’s birthday cake, kagemanden (“the cake man”):
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It is very common in Denmark to use small paper flags on birthday (and other celebratory) cakes:
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The festivities were very much geared to children–an afternoon affair with cake, coffee and tea, no booze (Lars and I made up for that later). This is Lars’s daughter Marie with her two sons:
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Marie’s younger sister Klara has recently produced yet another grandchild for Lars:
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My friend the grandfather (makes me feel old too!):
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Then it was time for Lars to open the presents. Lars’s partner Winnie was travelling but she had left behind a very nice present, a bottle of excellent Danish whisky:
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With glasses to match, which we later used to taste this excellent product (which I liked so much that I bought myself a bottle in Copenhagen airport later in the week):
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Lars dismembering the Cake Man:
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Crawling creature:
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Around 6 p.m., time to say goodbye:
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On Saturday morning I said goodbye to Lars and made my way back to Copenhagen, where I was staying until Monday. After checking in at the hotel, my first stop was the Vestre Kirkegård cemetery where my mother is buried. Just before entering the cemetery, I enjoyed the autumn colours on the bike path running alongside:
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My mother’s grave. After 21 years of exposure to the elements, the stone was looking a bit worn, and I had it restored earlier this year. Basically, I paid the stone mason to remove the stone, repaint the letters, and put it back. They had sent me photos after the work was done in the summer, but it was nice to see it with my own eyes:
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Having done my filial duty, I went to see my friend Beata. She and her sister were celebrating the 53rd anniversary of their emigration from Poland to Denmark:
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In the evening, Beata and I went for food and beer in Nyhavn. Even though it is only early November, Christmas is already upon us:
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Not everybody wants to pay the rather elevated bar prices in Nyhavn. Some people bring their own and just sit down on the tall curb:
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We went to McJoy’s, my favourite bar in Nyhavn, which I used to frequent with my father many years ago:
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We conversed with this lovely young lady working at McJoy’s. She was Italian; many of the staff at this bar and at other bars in Nyhavn are foreigners:
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When I went to visit my mother’s grave on Saturday, I could not visit my father’s grave in the adjacent Jewish cemetery, since it is closed on Saturdays. So I went there on Sunday morning instead. Somehow this lone bench fits my emotions when I visit this place:
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Life intrudes on the dead; next to the cemetery there is a football pitch used by young people in the area, and occasionally, a stray ball finds its way across the wall:
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Sunday evening I visited other old friends, Marek and Tamara. As usual, they had prepared way too much food, including the traditional Danish pork roast that Marek is carving:
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The last picture I took in Copenhagen this time was on Monday morning, near my hotel. This is typical morning traffic in Copenhagen:
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