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ReportsTuesday, 14 August 2001
Odense --> Fredericia (DK) Today I made a 1 hour distance by car from the island Funnen to the Danish mainland, where I stayed with Mette Troelsen and Mikael Sørensen. They took me on a pilot boat cruise and I even saw a school of dolphins passing by!
I left Majbrit Lindstrøm’s home around noon and after breakfast and meeting a friend of her.
I walked from the centre of Odense to the main road leading to the motorway. My next destination is Fredericia.
I got a hitch within 30 minutes from a sales manager who lives near Fredericia, named Erick. When he asked me where I was from and what I am doing in Denmark, I told him I am travelling around.
“Oh, you are that guy from the radio?”
He heard me on P3 on Thursday, what a twist of fate! Never knew that interview would have such an impact on this country.
He dropped me off in the middle of Fredericia, at the local train station.
Fredericia contains the biggest harbour of Denmark, providing all the transport to and from the northern Scandinavian countries.
As I looked at my map it occurred to me that Fredericia is Denmark’s central locations. Motorways, main roads and railways meet here and people come from far and near trade on fairs and exhibitions, meetings and conferences, and for sports and leisure activities.
I walked from the train station to the address of my next host and noticed how I walked into the historic centre of the town. I walked through a 200 years old port and on grass hills towers where built.
During the 30 Years’ War the old King Christian IV decided to build this fortification as a threat to the flank of hostile forces. Christian IV died in 1648, so it was his son, King Frederik III, who founded the fortified town of Fredericia in 1650 with completely straight streets at right angles to each other and protected by extensive ramparts. A possible enemy could never hide somewhere.
As early as 1657 the fortifications were attacked and destroyed by the Swedes. The subsequent rebuilding was a long, tortuous process and was supported by an release from paying taxes, religious tolerance and an influx of Jews, Catholics and Huguenots.
Looking all the way to the end of the streets, I saw huge oil tankers lying in the water at the docks of the local oil refinery.
I met my hostess Mette Troelsen at her home around 1.30 pm, and she had never expected me to arrive that early. Me neither.
She had invited me over this week, after her boyfriend Mikael Sørensen heard about my project on the radio. They first talked about inviting me, because in some way I am still a stranger. What would he want, what should we do?
Around 3pm her Mikael came home from is work. He is a mini truck driver at a local factory that produces the pipe works for central heating.
The weather had changed from foggy and rainy, into a straight blue sky and the sun made the temperature raise to 30 degrees Celsius.
Mikael and Mette were going to make lasagne tonight, so we first went to the supermarket in town. From this place, they gave me a tour around the city by car, ending up at the harbour with a great view on the island Funnen, right where I came from today.
Mikael’s father is a captain of one of the pilot boats in this harbour. A pilot boat leads the mammoth tankers into the harbour. And as we were there Mikael called his dad to see if I could get a touristy sail around.
Fifteen minutes later the man turned on the engine and we cruised into the open waters, passing the hanging bridge that connects the island with the mainland, speeding up to 50 km per hour.
At a certain point we got into the Danish sea and saw a big school of dolphins swimming besides us, as the boat slowed down. It was great to see these creatures jumping up and down in the water.
After a 30 minutes cruise we got back to the docks again and headed to the apartment – which also has a view on the water.
While Mette and Mikael prepared dinner, I used one of their two computers with fast Internet connections. They have two computers, because they both use it a lot.
In his spare time, Mikael updates and takes care of the 10th districts’ youth homepage of the Danish SID Union. They both put a lot of time in it and Mette travels around the world to learn how other unions are working out in foreign countries. This union has over 350.000 members in Denmark and quite popular.
During the Italian lasagne dinner, Mikael asked me what I wanted to do tonight. I said that it all depends on my host. As a guest I think I am in no position to be demanding anything anyway.
He thought about renting the DVD of Cast Away with Tom Hanks, and watch it tonight. That sounded very fine with me, I always did want to see that movie and Tom Hanks is a great actor.
So after some more computering we settled down on the couches and watched the three hours long movie where Tom Hanks plays this Federal Express man, whose plane crashes into the Pacific Ocean. He has to survive over 4 years on a deserted island and the love of his girlfriend made him survive it. But when he finally gets rescued and gets back to Tennessee again, too much has changed.
It’s a very inspiring movie. It someway feels the same with me, because with me the complete world is an island and I survive on its people – instead of coconuts like Tom Hanks. But someday I’ll come home and I already know that it won’t be the same as I’d remember it.
After the movie Mikael and Mette prepared my bed in the living room and when they got to bed they allowed me to update my computer into the rock bottom of the night.
Good night Fredericia!
Happy Birthday, Mum!
The Spanish LaRepublica.Net wrote an article about me, full of the usual things that are not true: I don't travel with a laptop, sponsored by some big company (I wish I was!). I never had contact with a reporter of LaRepublica as the article says. And I don't update my website weekly, although I can have some delays...
Is this Journalism?
In the Danish newspaper Ekstra Bladet today:
"Verden rundt på nas", which, I think, means: Travel around with nothing.
And MingPaonews.com wrote about me, but I don't understand these characters, so I have no idea what it might say...
Where am I at this moment?
Click here to see the map.