Roskilde and Farewell to Denmark


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Thanks to Sol and Lars, we caught our plane from Karup to Copenhagen with time to spare. We had 8 hours before our flight to London so we caught the train to Roskilde, the old Viking capital. It is another cobblestoned town with much to see. We went to the Viking museum and the girls had a very Viking time with the extensive fancy dress available for 5 and 7 year olds.

Wandering the coastal town, with sun on our faces, was a a joyful way to spend our last day in Denmark. The weather was representative of what a Danish September can be like and it is a pity that we had such a rainy month.


cc licensed ( BY NC SD ) flickr photo shared by Darcy Moore


cc licensed ( BY NC SD ) flickr photo shared by Darcy Moore


cc licensed ( BY NC SD ) flickr photo shared by Darcy Moore

We all felt that we had a nice sendoff from friends and colleagues in Viborg. Dinner at Lone’s place, lunches and drinks, gifts and kind words over our last few days. I would like to thanks everyone for your kindness. Thomas, a student, made me a new blog header as a farewell gift.

Denmark has been a great experience and both girls want to return, perhaps on exchange. Our two months was too short but we were not sad to leave, just happy to have been.

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Our Final Søndag in Viborg

A sunny weekend was appreciated by everyone and it seemed like all citizens were out and about in Viborg today. We wandered towards town, exploring some places not yet visited. The warmer weather had helped some pretty spectacular, fairy tale, fungi to sprout overnight. ‘Fly Poison Amanita’ (amanitamuscaria) was absolutely everywhere.


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We see Asmild Kirke every day as we ride the bus to school. The church was established around 1090 and is truly authentic, in appearance and feel, especially when one sees the priests, dressed in their full regalia. Hans Christian Anderson visited (he seems to have spent a night or three in most places in Denmark) and stayed. It was great to see some students from school preparing to sing in the choir.

cc licensed ( BY NC SD ) flickr photo shared by Darcy Moore


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Scroll down here to see some nice pics of the church in winter.

We walked around the lake and had lunch in the park. Kate is addicted to ristet hotdogs and the girls and I were happy to oblige her habit. We stopped and read. Lucy has started ‘The Hobbit’ and I finished ‘A Dance with Dragons’.


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Who would have guessed that a ‘Lions Club’ would be in Denmark. Not I.


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We bumped into several people we know today, which was nice. Here’s Marianne’s gorgeous dog.


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We came home and I mowed the lawn. It has not rained at all for two days which must be the first time since we arrived in Denmark, or so it feels. Like all Danes, I think I’ve become slightly obsessed with the weather.

Silkeborg

The views, from the bus on the road to Silkeborg, made me want to ask the driver if he would stop, for just a few minutes, allowing me to compose landscape shots. This was even more tempting on returning to Viborg, with the dapple of late afternoon light.

We enjoyed our lørdag exploring the town and lakes in relatively sunny weather…meaning, it didn’t rain!

Kate has taught many a class about Tollund Man and this made the Silkeborg Museum our first destination. Sarah refused to look at the exhibit as it was too scary. Fair enough. I guess looking at dead bodies is an acquired taste, even for history enthusiasts. She sat with her back to the room, on a stool, while we ogled the amazingly peaceful looking body. Lucy is not so delicate. She happily read that the head is preserved but the rest of the body is a ‘just’ a reconstruction.

Did you play ‘knuckles’ at school? I did, in infants. The exhibit above made me remember this game, long lost to my memory. It appears to have been called ‘astragals‘ and dates back to the Iron Age. I used plastic but bones make for good toys, I’m sure. Basically, you had to throw the pieces in the air and pick other ones up off the ground while banking them on the back of your hand. A simple game of skill but strangely addictive.

The museum is small but had some interesting artefacts and displays tracing life in the region over the least 10 000 years. The information about life in an Iron Age village was interesting. The lesser known ‘bog body’ of Elling Woman, who dates back to the third century BCE, was found 50 metres and 12 years before Tollund Man and is believed to have been sacrificed around the same time. Her body is wrapped in a sheepskin cape and was not well-preserved compared to her more famous peer. Her hair is intricately braided. Sarah said I should write that it is true that ‘a nit’ was found in her hair. This braiding tutorial can have you sporting a fashionable, Iron Age, hairdo in no-time. Lucy wants Kate to refine her hairdressing skills.


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The wool in the picture above is coloured with a dye made from mushrooms. I am uncertain if this process dates back into the same period as the bog bodies but certainly has been rediscovered by local artisans. We were all impressed with the bright colours attained using different kinds of mushrooms.

We suspected it may be best not to chew on some of the clothes though.

The town is famous for its lakes and it was pleasant to feel sun on face as we strolled.


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It was just the night before we asked Helge and Karin, who treated us to a sumptuous feast at their very tranquil home near Skive, about Halloween in Denmark. They seemed to think kids were celebrating this nowadays and we saw evidence of preparations in the shops.


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It has been the first day for ages, I have been able to randomly wander taking photos, without the challenge of changing lenses in the rain. Managed quite a few pics. Lucy and I happily messed around in the streets.


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I jumped in front of this ‘wedding-mobile’.


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My favourite photo was this one, snapped as the very law-abiding skaters waited for the signal to cross the road.


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Viborg Private Realskole

Lucy og Sarah are happily being educated by the staff in the International Department at the Viborg Private Realskole.

The girls study English, science, PE. art, music, maths, personal and social development and ICT. They are instructed in English but have been learning Danish too. Sarah, or ‘Sara’, as Danes pronounce her name (Lucy is ‘Loosie’) really likes to use her new language skills at home, whenever possible. I am ‘far’ and Kate is ‘mor’ but she has picked up quite a few phrases and certainly counts to 10.

My Danish is not coming along too well at all. Kate is better, she watches shows on tv and can see the Danish translation written on the screen. This means she knows words for food as her TV diet is pretty much dodgy cooking shows. Kate moaned in protest when I read this aloud before posting but failed to nominate the shows she really watched, so I posted it anyway.

The day starts at 8am and finishes at 1.30pm which is quite a deal earlier than the 9.15am start at home. Everyone is up at 6.15am or so for us to catch the bus at 7.30am. Kate really enjoys the early mornings.

The girls are both together in a very small class of 9 students. The school programs using the Cambridge international system. Some afternoons the girls go to SFO, which is like after school care. ‘Sara’ likes the disco room and ‘Loosie’ fancies playing ‘Mario’ and ‘Lets Dance 2′ on the Wii.

Kate teaches conversational English a couple of afternoons a week to students at the girls’ school. She has not been there long enough for her students to start speaking in an Australian accent yet but knows they do not like vegemite as the sandwiches she provided for afternoon tea traumatised a couple of the kids.

The teachers – Gemma, Kristian and Katarina – have been lovely and very welcoming to our family. Lucy and Sarah would happily stay at the school and have no homesickness at all. We all agree that school in Denmark is a much more liberal experience than in Australia. Lucy has the two and half years of infants classes already and feels that school in Denmark is much ‘less strict’.

Sarah, with no experience of primary school at home, may get a little bit of a shock in kindergarten next year back in Kiama.

This weekend…

we decided to wander around Viborg to make sure we didn’t miss some of the cultural places of interest before we depart for London. The weather was overcast and drizzling rain but we didn’t get too wet.

Viborg Domkirke eller Vor Frue Domkirke or, the Viborg Cathedral to us, is an impressive space. We really enjoyed wandering around the interior and exterior.


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I was sitting behind an elderly couple and felt a little bad that I was snapping photos when they were worshipping in their church.


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However, I shouldn’t have worried. As I walked further down the front of the cathedral I noticed the man, with his apparently pious and bowed head, was actually using his iPhone (to send a tweet perhaps).


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The girls really liked the crypt and I was happy with this photo. I am finally getting better with manipulating the ISO setting on my D700.


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Our favourite street is Sct. Mogens Gade and the cobblestone passages around this old part of Viborg. There are all kinds of interesting designs under gables and on walls or doors. It is particularly lovely after rain.


cc licensed ( BY NC SD ) flickr photo shared by Darcy Moore


cc licensed ( BY NC SD ) flickr photo shared by Darcy Moore 


cc licensed ( BY NC SD ) flickr photo shared by Darcy Moore

 cc licensed ( BY NC SD ) flickr photo shared by Darcy Moore


cc licensed ( BY NC SD ) flickr photo shared by Darcy Moore


cc licensed ( BY NC SD ) flickr photo shared by Darcy Moore


cc licensed ( BY NC SD ) flickr photo shared by Darcy Moore


cc licensed ( BY NC SD ) flickr photo shared by Darcy Moore


cc licensed ( BY NC SD ) flickr photo shared by Darcy Moore


cc licensed ( BY NC SD ) flickr photo shared by Darcy Moore

The Skovgaard Museet next to Viborg Cathedral, is dedicated, ‘to four generations of the Skovgaard family of artists and their contemporaries’. Joakim Skovgaard and his assistants created the frescoes in the cathedral situated metres away. There were some most unusual installations and art at this gallery (some I worried about posting here, especially the stuffed animals). I note that Danes tend to call an art gallery a ‘museet’.


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cc licensed ( BY NC SD ) flickr photo shared by Darcy Moore


cc licensed ( BY NC SD ) flickr photo shared by Darcy Moore


cc licensed ( BY NC SD ) flickr photo shared by Darcy Moore

Wandering home we passed the markets and some buskers.


cc licensed ( BY NC SD ) flickr photo shared by Darcy Moore


cc licensed ( BY NC SD ) flickr photo shared by Darcy Moore

We also have had some unusually big Skype sessions, as the time for us to return to Australia draws closer, with lots of family and friends this weekend. Kate particularly enjoyed a marathon chat with Trish and the girls liked talking with nanny. I had a long chat with Carsten and Pia too. Technology sure keeps us all happily connected and organised.

This week…

has been another interesting, varied one in Denmark. The only downsides, Kate has been ill and the constant, drizzling rain. This made Friday’s sunshine especially glorious and mowing the lawn a strange pleasure.

Danes voted this week. The elections resulting in a change of national leadership. Helle Thorning-Schmidt is the first female prime minister in Danish history and it will be interesting to see how she manages to hold her diverse coalition together in the coming 4 years. The students at the school have been impressively and actively engaged in the political process and we have much to learn from the Danish model of civic engagement.

Professionally, it has been interesting to teach and learn with a range of classes about ‘Australia, technology, digital citizenship and the #LondonRiots’. The students have produced some excellent responses to our investigations into why the ‘London Riots’ occurred. The video mashups, songs and poetry were particularly impressive, as was the varied, different kinds of formats for their presentations.

Another professional highlight for me was a trip to Skive to visit Pia’s work. Jens Kolstrup, the director of the Social- og Sundhedsskolen, is an impressive educationalist with great ideas about how people learn and shared his enthusiasms generously. I particularly like his positive visions for the development of future learning spaces. Pia’s colleagues obviously miss her ‘smiling face’ greatly and look forward to her return.

The local newspaper ran an article in their ‘People’ section on yours truly and our Danish exchange. Part of the article is here and you could use Google Translate to read it, if you have a few spare minutes.

We always enjoy Lars, Sol, Julie and Anders’ company so it was a great way to end the working week with dinner at their place and a stroll (without rain) to look at the ponies and horses.


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Sarah has been taking some good photos and was particularly pleased with her vision with this one. It was all her idea, the flame and the framing. I think it is pretty cool too.


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It seems strange and a little sad that in two weeks from today we will be back in London and on our homeward leg of this ‘European Trip’. We are thinking about seeing Tim, Bailey, Sonny and Eden, visiting Oxford and then 10 days in Hong Kong, so there’s plenty too look forward too in the coming month.

Before we go, I really need to blog about Lucy and Sarah’s ‘skole’. Also, I have much to say about Viborg Katedralskole.

Next week perhaps!

Skagen


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We journeyed to Skagen, the place that every Dane said we must visit, on the train this weekend. The weather was pretty ordinary but we managed to visit a few of the most popular sights and enjoy some great cuisine. The seafood and traditional breakfasts were really very superb and we all were surprised to find but happily ate genuine, Napoli style pizza. I enjoyed the Skagen ‘light’ for snapping a few pics and some long walks, in the drizzle.

I now have even greater admiration for the Skagen Painters, especially as I wonder how they were able to actually have any time, when it wasn’t raining, to paint en plain air. Must have been tough keeping their canvas dry. Their persistence is on display at the excellent Skagen Museum. You may wish to check out the official site if interested in exploring Danish art of this late 19th century period.

PS Krøyer is Skagen’s most famous artist. I snapped this at the gallery and pay my own photographic homage to him below.


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Hip Hip Hurra! is an award winning film that explores this late 19th century period and the painters of Skagen. I would like to find it. Anyone seen it? My Danish friends, is it worth tracking down?


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Grenen, the most northern tip of Denmark, is where the Baltic and North Seas meet. We walked along the most excellent cycleway I have ever seem before riding a tractor to this spot where every Dane in the country has dipped their toes. There was much to see and the coastline is glorious.


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The bunkers that dot the coastline are but few of the 300 that were placed by the Germans during WWII. Most are now covered by sand or out of view, below buildings and streets. The juxtaposition of gaily painted beach scenes with machine gun turrets is quite bizarre.


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cc licensed ( BY NC SD ) flickr photo shared by Darcy Moore 

Walking around the harbour and the streets of Skagen is a delight. We really should have asked someone about the ‘stone thing’. It seems that most houses have these ornaments dangling somewhere around the yard.


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