Odense, August 13, 2007 - Monday
Trip Start Aug 09, 2007
12Trip End Aug 17, 2007
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For the first time again after twenty five years, I was in a possession of an Inter-Rail train ticket. Railway network in Denmark is obviously well developed and efficiently organised, trains between any two major towns run on the hourly basis, so I didn't wait long to board one to Odense, my next stop.
Denmark was obviously a country that by all accounts fit my bill of a place I'd like to live in. Small both in terms of area and population, inhabited by an educated, informed, civilised and friendly lot, under no dress-up code pressure, very well organised and functioning just fine
I liked this small-scale, or moderate-scale society. No or very few high-rise buildings, comparatively very few luxurious cars, no showing off either in terms of wealth or appearance, but no one is hungry or worried about what happens if they get sick.
I know, if I lived here I would find grumbling people anyway. Like Peder who would like to live in the US because of the money he thinks he could make there. I think it all depends on one's mind and attitude. For example, I don't feel I have any single reason to complain about my life in Croatia as it really is a good life. And yet many people grumble there, as well.
But I liked it in Denmark. I suppose my mentality is such that I could feel at home there really soon.
By the time I left Jutland and arrived in Odense, the third biggest Danish town, on the island of Funen, the sky had already cleared up. I had a private accommodation in Odense, and in the H.C.Andersen Gade. Which was only fitting. Odense is the town where in 1805 this most celebrated Danish writer and probably one of the most famous Danes in general was born
Either way, H.C.Andersen Gade was a small side street, in a very peaceful residential quarter, some way out of the city centre and you couldn't drive faster than 30 km/h there. Mrs.Nielsen and her husband, just as everyone else in the neighbourhood, lived in a two-storey private house with its own backyard. They put me in a groundfloor room, showed me basic things like where the bathroom was, where the breakfast would wait for me in the morning, where to call in case I needed something and after that I was ready for Odense.
Wasting no time, I got out. It grew cloudy again, but what could one do there? Weather is weather and there was no use worrying about it.
As always, whenever I didn't have to, I didn't use and transport. As far as I am concerned, there is no bigger pleasure than exploring on foot
And then it started raining, so I took shelter in the main town tourist information office, conveniently housed in the Town Hall building. More as an alibi, I gathered some printed material and waited for the rain to stop
It was precisely like that and after a while I was out in the street again. My feet took me up the Nørregade street, in the direction of the railway station, an unavoidable stop for every Inter Rail ticket holder. And by the time I left the railway station with the newest train schedule information for tomorrow, it was already so sunny outside as if it had never rained at all. Even the Danes swarmed out into the streets in large numbers. By their own standards, of course. So that there is misunderstanding.
Right opposite of the railway station, as soon as you cross Østre Stationvej, there is Kongens Have, a beautiful park and another green oasis in the already pretty green Odense. Somewhat stupefied by the sudden sun, not entirely well-slept after the festival in Silkeborg, and finally in a position to completely unwind all my mental springs, I couldn't resist simply sitting down on a bench not far from the Palace, or Odense Slot, as the Danes call it. As the palaces go, this one was nothing spectacular and surely, at least by European standards, didn't belong in the category of those which are a cultural heritage or something that merits awe simply by its sheer age. Even for a town like Odense, almost one thousand years older than Silkeborg, it was almost a newcomer
So, that's where I was on the Monday afternoon, writing a new entry into my diary, reading, and then just sitting and watching people. OK, more women than men, but I suppose there is nothing wrong with it. It was good to be in no hurry, to have no fixed timetable and to not be encroached upon by anyone whose interests mostly not only didn't belong in the same sentence as mine, but not even in the same book. To be able to live like that and to just walk on when I get on my feet was the best way to release every conceivable stress and regain mental and emotional balance.
And then, by an undefined impulse, I stood up and went on through Kongens Have. I closed the circle, found myself on Vestergade by Rådhus again, and continued towards the Sankt Albani Kirke and Nedergade, a pretty, colourful, cobbled street which with its leaning, half-timbered houses, the way I saw it, best resembled Odense the way it once must have been. From there, it was not a long haul to Overstræde, and then right behind the corner one of the most significant, but on the face of it also most inconspicuous houses in Odense was situated - the house where Mr.H.C
It was still day and sun was still up in the sky. But the clock showed that in fact it was evening already. And even if my mobile phone clock had been running late, my body didn't. It was time for me to go back to my room in H.C.Andersen Gade.