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Posts tagged ‘Copenhagen’

Memories in a bottle

Denmark was smørrebrød, bikes, bacon-wrapped dates, Carlsberg, chocolate-covered liquorice, green fields, grand architecture. And great people.

Our camino memories came flooding back; the laughter, pain, churches, pilgrims, bedbugs and blisters  – enhanced, perhaps, by the Spanish vino tinto on the table and a dram of Benromach, the malt from my “home” distillery in Moray.

No matter where in the world you are, everyone is prepared to try whisky at least once and this one evokes memories.

I grew up near Speyside and when I was little I’d sit on my father’s knee as he drove a tractor and trailer the five miles from our farm to Benromach distillery to collect draff, the distillery by-product that’s used for cattle feed. And as we waited for the trailer to be loaded a half glass of clear liquid would be poured out by the distillery manager for Dad.

Back in those days a bottle would last a year in our house  but Dad drank this full-strength  alcohol neat every time. And then back on the tractor and on his knee, driving at 20 mph up the road to home, he would  be so happy!  It took another ten years before I equated that merriment with the liquid that looked like water.

Benromach closed down for a few decades but has re-entered the market with whisky that’s distinctive amongst the other  Speyside malts. That’s why I always take it as a present on international adventures.

Well no,  if I’m honest, it’s all about the memories; it’s link to the best of times in a blissful childhood.

Danish fairytale on wheels

We cycled down Hans Christian Andersen Boulevard. And every other street in Copenhagen. We biked to the Little Mermaid, through Christiansborg Palace (Borgen), past the elephants at the zoo and the ones holding up the Carlsberg Brewery.

We took the bikes on ferries from the opera house, pushed them through the cannabis vapors of Christiania, lay them on the grass as we listened to live music and drank beer in the park and finally, late at night, we peddled fast and a little unsteadily back home from the pub.

I saw a road sign which said 25,237 cyclists had passed the check point in the previous 24 hours and wondered if it had just been us going round and round. And around.

P1000101But what a fantastic city for pedal power. Everyone has at least one bike, the lanes are wide and cyclists take priority over vehicles and pedestrians.

Forget the camper van. I’m now lusting after a set of wheels.

Camino reprise in Copenhagen

I’ve been lured east by the Vikings for a catch up with the camino contingent in Scandinavia.

We’ll be meeting up again many miles from Santiago and minus our boots, blisters and bed bugs although I, for one, am travelling with the same backpack and (fumigated) sleeping bag.

I’ve passed through the city before, en route to a press jolly in the Faroes and I’ve watched every single episode of Borgen and The Bridge on television but I still can’t wait to experience it in the company of locals – who are friends.

And (unlike Scotland) it’s not snowing!