Monday, July 12, 2010
This years vacation was a week in Northern Jutland, near a town called Hirtshals and as such was pretty much a replay of last years vacation, except this year we had a bigger house, better weather and the World Cup to keep us occupied when we weren't floundering in the sea or tramping about looking for interesting stuff.
The children were also older and better able to enjoy themselves of course and Freja in particular was capable of entertaining herself. Magne still requires constant attention, which he demonstrated amply by taking a dump on the veranda and playing with it before any one noticed what he was doing. Thankfully he didn't start eating it as I seem to recall other children doing in the distant past of my childhood (not me).
The thing about Northern Jutland's beaches, those along the North Sea at any rate, is the uniformity. The sea is big, the sky is bigger, the sand dunes go on forever and if your curious you can search out hundreds of German bunkers from the war. I haven't really seen any bunkers up close as yet, and this is my third time on the west coast, but I'm just lucky I guess, or unlucky if bunkers are your kind of thing.
On the west coast, what you do get a lot of, is flags. Danes love to fly the flag and they rise and fall with the sun. Day in. Day out. I always like to see our flag flying, as its a very photogenic flag especially against a deep blue sky or verdant green landscape. Northern Jutland isn't quite as verdant as Århus (which is on the east coast) but the effect is equally as heart warming.
We were five adults and two kids, Mette and I, Mette's parents, her brother, and Freja and Magne. Every day was spent in lazy disregard for the time and dinner was a matter of long consultation and preparation. I've never seen any one take so long to debate dinner as Mette's family does! I think its a means of bonding which I've never really learned. I prefer to isolate myself with headphones when I'm making food. I usually listen to something with a bit of 'fut' in it; Goldfrapp maybe, or BT.
It was fun watching the World Cup* with Mette's Dad and brother. Each day offered two games and some were real corkers. I was rooting for Germany when they played, as I usually do once Denmark has been knocked out, and they didn't let me down. I also cheered on the USA when they played. I didn't cheer on England, even though I'm half English, because the hysterical English attitude annoyed me. I felt sorry for the English team when their own fans were booing them after having set them on so high and impossible a pedestal.
* I refuse to refer to it as FIFA World Cup because I don't know who the hell gave FIFA the right to own an international sports tournament. As far as I can see FIFA, like most other international sports organisations is both corrupt and inept.
I didn't go in the water much. It wasn't warm and I am a wimp when it comes to cold water. Especially when there are red jelly fish about! I prefered to spend most of my time on the beach playing with Magne or looking for buried treasure in the sand. The only thing I found of interest this year however was a curiously pitted shell.
This was Magne's first time on a beach, as a human being capable of walking about and playing games and he enjoyed himself big time. There was a large shallow area between the beach and the sea where a sand bank had formed and the kids were able to play in the warmer water there. It was open to the sea at one end so the water wasn't stagnent.
Mette's father and I both built sand castles for Magne to destroy, but since he was half naked at the time, I won't post those images as they probably constitute a breach of Bloggers roles and regs.
In Hirtshals itself, we visited the North Sea Centre which boasts the largest indoor aquarium in Denmark, or Jutland, or Nothern Europe... or summat. They had sharks, and sun fish and rays and outdoors they had seals which we saw being fed. The seagulls had long since learned that a congregation of humans around the seal pool meant feeding and they stole about a third of the fishes thrown to the seals, sometimes plucking them from the water directly in front of the seals noses.
Freja is always impatient in such places, always rushing to see the next thing and it gets wearisome always telling her to slow down, or come back, or stop fiddling with that fossil! I have to keep reminding myself that she's only five (or at least she will be on Aug13) and kids that age have ants in their pants.
After the holiday we returned to Ålborg to attend a birthday party for Mette's cousin and Magne went exploring in his grandmothers garden which is like a small jungle filled with exotic plants and colourful flowers.
It was a good little vacation though strenuous at times. Its hard to relax when your always aware that you have two small children running around and your not sure where they are. I was looking forward to this second week of my vacation when they'd both be in kindergarten again, and I could undwind a bit, but instead I spent the last seven days in the hospital waiting for my Dad to wake up.
It was yet another brutal reminder of the transcience of life.