Watch out Diva…..
….. You’ve Got Competition! Their names are ‘Gita’ & ‘Daisy’ and they only have two wheels. They’ve been a total dream on our pocketbooks and their aerodynamics allow for ample room to stretch out our legs and just enjoy the ride….
Oh but Girls, ‘why oh why’ couldn’t you have been in our lives back up in Denmark just over a month ago—in the days of the $10.00 per gallon gas? (yes, that tis’ correct). When we could have experienced the extraordinary bike paths that the Danes are known for that twist in and around the ‘pleasantville’-esque of the country? Its hard to think how we ever did without these rustic-vintage bikes since they came into our lives just a week ago today. We managed to pick them up at a second hand store one town over, Chalon-Sur-Saone, and somehow managed in our broken ‘Frang-lish’ to negotiate a basket for the back of ‘Daisy’ and air for all 4 of our tires (score)…. and off we pedaled, furiously….. I was never more curious to discover what may lay up and over the next hill or around the next corner. It had opened up a whole new world to us.
And it wasn’t just becoming members of ‘Sore Bums R Us’….
So I suppose the European’s got it right when the pumped up their continent with bike paths and made it almost more convenient to bike then drive. Both Eco-Friendly AND Visionary…. And what I mean by this is what a way to LIVE…..BREATHE…..and SLOW DOWN a little. Take it all in….. And who knows better but how to do all 3 but the Danes. Which is not surprising that Denmark has some of the most bicycle friendly cities in the world. In fact, Copenhagen is even knows as the CITY OF BIKES. The bike paths are often even separated from the main traffic lanes and sometimes even have their own signal system (or car free). I know that many of our areas in Minnesota have been improving on the bike infrastructure, but could you imagine with every new road built (or rebuilt road) a bike path beside it?
Welcome to Denmark…. Where the Wyatt’s just more or less took advantage of their teeter- totters (see picture), food and fabulous friends. (bikes were not included, however; rapidly growing belly’s were).
But before Ray and I headed South towards our destination of Burgundy, France to take on our first workaway assignment we had one final mission left ourselves. To take on Gedved, Denmark. This is Rays very best mate Phil’s (best man at our wedding) home. We had had the opportunity to meet in Canterbury, England for a half of a day this past July with his wife Stine….. But to us, that was just the measly starter, and we still needed 4 more courses. And we were not about to skimp on the dessert!
SIDENOTE: Do you know how you walk into a store like… say… IKEA and ‘dawdle’ around that massive 3rd floor oohing and aaahhing about the stunning room layouts and all the sudden just get this URGE to redecorate your entire house?!? Well…. I did, anyway. There should be ‘emotional warning labels’ on stores for people like me. “Proceed with caution- the home décor you are about to see may make you feel “inferior.” Imagine walking into a house that looked liked it was plucked right out of that 3rd floor level of Ikea and you get be its guest. (With 3 chefs in the kitchen, mind you. Did I mention that both Stine and Phil are also Chefs? Oh good-golly-MISS-molly….. Could life be any more grand for crazy pants ME?)
We now had the entire weekend to enjoy each others company and we even had the ‘bonus pleasure’ of having Phil’s 8 year old daughter Isabelle with us, too. I can honestly say that this little girl (although I could communicate very little with the language barrier) had one EXPLOSIVE personality and rivaled even me in the spotlight. We may or MAY not have had a ‘Justin Bieber Dance-Off.” But that will forever stay between Isabelle and me. Ray was over the moon to have a permanent ‘Frisbee + trampoline’ partner for the weekend…. and Isabelle loved the ‘special Ray-Ray’ attention.
The weekend was full of adventures…. and so many wonderful moments. Perhaps some of my favorites were our day trip to Himmelbjerget (said to be the highest point in Denmark and where our teeter- totter fun came in) to our barbeque with a cornucopia of goodness (I won’t even go into the battle I had going on with trying to fit everything onto my plate) to our fire afterwards in the backyard with skumfidusser! (my most favorite Danish word for Marshmallows!) and pancakes ‘a la PHIL’ in the morning. Simply Heaven.
I also had some special moments alone with Isabelle as we ‘tarted up Diva’ and made her pretty inside (Ray’s even allowed me to keep some of the sparkly gummy’s up… shocking!) as well as when I introduced her to the ‘side ponytail’ and my special conversations with Stine when the boys were away…..Its so nice when you can slow down and enjoy those around you, and experience first hand how they live their lives.
There is simply nothing that can bring you closer.
And then, just like that…. Denmark was in our rear-view-mirror and in front of us LAY Germany…..as far as the eye could see.
Well, not before we stopped at Scandinavian Park, first…. You see, this is the magical place where one must screech to a halt just across the boarder of Denmark to score some cheap merchandise. OK… who are we kidding. Some cheap BOOZE. The prices here in Europe are extortionate! Especially with our exchange rate…… But we walked away with: 2 cases of beer, 2 boxes of wine and a variety of other essentials (food and toiletries) all for just around 45 Euros! (just about 60 or so dollars) And it lasted us THROUGH 3 countries! (granted, we passed through 2 of those countries in one day… BUT…. it STILL counts)
SIDENOTE: We even got to cross the border…TWICE! We missed Scandinavian Park when we crossed into Germany the first time and had to loop around and realized there was no where to get off of the motor way before it took us BACK into Denmark again. Imagine our surprise. Navigator error, we call that. (It doesn’t seem so ‘my fault’ then….) But although there may not be ‘border control’ here now that it is the ‘EU’ and not ‘independent countries’, it sure does feel like you are crossing into a whole new world. In the U.S. you may cross into one state from the next, and many time—its just the same old cornfields…. or stretch of land. You hit the sign for South Dakota, but alas—it’s the ONLY thing that signifies you’ve MADE it into that state. (That and the GREAT FACES…GREAT PLACES motto- just brilliant, really!) More times then not in Europe, you truly do feel like you are being transported to a different culture like ‘snap your fingers instantly!’
So where was I? Yes… Germany. Finally, some where where BOTH Ray and I had negotiate the language TOGETHER. Because let me tell you, the little towns we were staying and camping, in…. They didn’t know a lick of English. This was about as bad as the days of travelling around in China back in 2007 when we would even point to what we wanted in a book IN their LANGUAGE and they still didn’t know what we were trying to say. It’s extremely frustrating. Or extremely humorous… However you look at it, we were finally both in the same boat.
I have to say, it truly finally felt like we were travelling….. somewhere with the striking resemblance to that of the dazzling Germanic section of Epcot….. It felt surreal, really. The first campground we pulled up to in Germany was called GroBensee Campground (GroBensee meaning large lake) near Hamburg and right around the bend was this sign for the “Biergarten.” SO DISNEY-TASTICAL, right?! However, I have a funny feeling ‘Walt’ wouldn’t have allowed all the ‘naked swimmers’ in his animated fairytales. Yes, unfortunately our ‘camp spot view’ was of the gate that passed through to the lake– and we found out the hard way that in the early mornings and evenings people liked to take their dips. “Skinny Dip Style.” That was a fun introduction to Germany!
“Guten Morgen to you TOO!”
…..Strap on your Lederhosen as there is much more Germany to come! Tschüs! (See ya!)