The Road Goes Ever Onward or What Would You Do for a Magnum Bar?
Finally I can finish the tale of my literary journey...I hope.
When we last left off.....we were awoken by mad drunk Danes hell bent on Kulture and found ourselves at a viking shipyard in search of a ship.
The final stop was a city named Odense which is where Hans Christian Anderson was born. Not very far from Copenhagen, but on another island. In the movie, it seemed so far away, not the next island over, but as there were no bridges back then, I guess it would seem pretty far.
We found our way to city center and located the area where HC Anderson was born. As in all other things practically, the museum was also closed. We walked around a bit and found a hotel which proved to be too expensive. As our choice for the next day was either the Anderson walk or visiting a really cool castle with tree bridges further south, we opted for the castle instead. I figured my hubby would like it better. We made it to the town in not much time and drove straight to the castle. It was closed, naturally, but we just wanted to get a feel for it. We drove back to town to look for a hotel. You would figure a town sporting a major attraction that has pamphlets and everything would have a hotel or B&B. Turning south at the light, we went a couple blocks and ran out of town. Turning around, we headed north and also ran out of town in due time. This was not a big place. Don't even remember the name of the town, so I can't caution you to avoid it. Anyway, driving back to the one traffic light in town, we finally saw a billboard for a B&B which was actually at the crossroads where the one traffic light hung. The fact that we drove past it several times and didn't see it, didn't bode well. It was above the bar at the corner. We parked and decided to enquire. We walked into the bar and it was like a scene from a movie. All conversation stopped and every head turned. Vaguely reminiscent of Animal House when the boys take a road trip and end up in a bar where Otis is playing. We walked up to the bar and all eyes followed us. When we enquired, we were advised they didn't have any rooms. Now I don't know if that means they were full up, that they are no longer a B&B or they just don't have any rooms for the likes of us, but we decided to beat a hasty retreat before they beat it for us. Never have I felt so unwelcome in a place. The whole town was bordering on the creepy.
Well, we had two choices. We could either go further afield or just get out of Dodge. I suggested we head back to Odense and we were glad to be quit of what felt like East Deliverance. The concierge at the expensive hotel suggested we try a hotel called Cabinn by the train station, which we located easily enough. We ended up with the second largest room available. Let me illustrate for you. The smallest room was a single roughly the size of a match box. The next size up was a slightly larger room with bunk beds. If we had taken that room, we would have gotten so many activities done, but as the bunk beds did not actually save space since there was no space to begin with, we probably wouldn't have gotten those activities done anyway. The next size up was our room. The bed was in the corner. That's right. This was once instance when someone put baby in the corner. I sleep on the left. When I had the window open, I actually had to crawl across the bed to get under the covers since the window pane stretched out across half the bed. It was one of those pull open things not lift up things. The room was basically about the size of a closet or, more appropriately, a ship's cabin. Hence the name I believe. The door's to the rooms were not flat. There were on about a 45 degree angle from the wall in order to save room, cram more rooms on the floor, who knows? Same type of shower, drain in the middle of the bathroom floor with a hanging curtain. At least it wasn't right on top of the toilet.
The hotel was budget all right. There was no restaurant. The reception desk sold snacks like chips or crisps as some call them, candy, gum and beverages like wine, beer, water soda. If you wanted to make a purchase of the snacks or beverages you had to use a credit card. They would not take cash. The concierge did direct us to the center of town where we had a really nice steak dinner. When we got back to the hotel, I decided to get some water for the room. Unfortunately, a gentleman in his cups flanked by two girls got there first. He was purchasing some kind of snack but could not make up his mind. Settling on a bag of chips, I thought he would go away, but he decided that he also wanted a beer. As one of the girls was paying, she told the girl at reception to give him a soda. His response was to get shirty and cause a stink. Just my luck. After arguing for a few and his girlfriend telling him no beer, they finally headed to their room. I got my water and we headed for the elevators. I was so tired at that point that I didn't notice the two guys that got off the elevator heading to the reception desk to purchase snacks and such. My husband drew my attention to them. They were clad in naught but their tighty whities. No shirts, no pants other than under, no socks, no shoes. Just their underwear. Now that is something I don't see every day.
The next day, we got an early start, left the car parked where it was and headed off for the museum. The museum is actually in the home where HC Anderson was born, but it had been expanded. It was a really nicely done museum and every display was themed. The first room is full of news of the world during the time that he lived. It is interesting to see the timeline and get a perspective on what else was happening in the world. There was a display for his young life, his education, his travels, his later life, etc. There were lots of pictures, copies of letters and books and such to illustrate his life in such detail. It would take a good number of hours were we to read everything, so after we got about half way through, we had to start speeding things up.
He was a fascinating character. He was born to poverty in the slums of Odense. His mother was a washerwoman and his father was a cobbler. His father died at the age of 33 and his mother took solace in alcohol which was eventually the cause of her death. His grandfather was in the sanitarium. His maternal grandmother was married to a convict in the prison. At one point she was confined under the Town Hall on rations of bread and water for having three children out of wedlock. Family gatherings were at the prison which Anderson would avoid as he was not comfortable with the inmates waiting on him and his family at the gatherings. He was afraid of them. His young life seemed very tragic. He went to school part time at the workhouse and aspired to be an actor. At the age of 14, he left Odense for Copenhagen where he did get a job with the theater company, but was also dismissed. I get the impression he was not very good at it.
He was a bit paranoid in his later life. He always carried a rope with him everywhere he went because if he was at a hotel and it caught on fire, he could throw the rope out the window and climb to safety. The rope was on display in the museum as well as his top hat and his inkwell and quill. He was great with children, however, and was always telling stories and making them books. One of his hobbies was to make paper cut-outs, not of snowflakes, but of people, characters, designs, animals, etc. He was also an artist and would often sketch out scenes that he might employ in some capacity at a later date, like perhaps a story.
He travelled the world from 1833 to 1834, but he never had his own home. He just stayed at hotels, rented apartments or stayed with friends. Never seemed to settle down anywhere for long and he never married. He died in Copenhagen in Nyhaven. Not long before he passed away he was made an official citizen of Odense and given the key to the city. It was an uplifting tale that even though he came from such poverty, he raised himself above it and was widely recognized within his own lifetime.
There are paving stones throughout the city with his sun design that mark locations that were important in his life. We walked the path of his life and ended with the castle where he played as a boy with the crown prince when his mother was also a maid in the castle.
Around the museum, the streetlights have red and green Hans Christian Anderson shaped lights with top hat and all. There are paving stones throughout the city with his sun design that mark locations that were important in his life.
Our final stop was a reconstructed village that was contemporary during the life of HC Anderson.
The attraction was called Funen Village and was an interesting stop but really had nothing to do with Hans Christian Anderson.
Each of the buildings were taken from actual villages around the country and were put on display to illustrate what life might have been like. During the warmer months, it is a living museum, but as it was colder when we were there, there were no re-enacters walking around.
It was a really interesting place and we were able to walk into all the buildings. There were farms, a priests home, a school, a prison, a windmill and other trade type buildings significant to a rural community back then.
All in all, I really liked Odense a lot. For those travelling with family, my suggestion would be to make the trip during the warmer months as there is a lot more going on at that time
Traveling back to Germany, I did have the opportunity to go to a German equivalent of a superstore. I was ecstatic when I found one whole bay dedicated to books in English!! It also appears that as Germans are ever in the forefront of any advances to further society, they have discovered a new genre...Romantasy. Awesome.
We went to a couple of gaming stores (yes, I mean like D & D, other role playing and table top miniatures gaming), which were awesome as they also had toys, books, manga, comics, puzzles and any other variety of geeky things one could think of. Not only did I buy a German Lord of the Rings calendar, I also bought a Jack Skellington bracelet, wallet and change purse. I also managed to score some swag. Each of the stores had manga samplers. They are in German, but I can translate. It may take me a while, but I'm up for the challenge. I just love getting freebies!