Posted: 6/19/2011
Title: LAID BACK IN DENMARK

Blog:                                                                                                                         

       Denmark may be expensive and many say boring, but one of the reasons for visiting is that you can relax and chill out on the many beaches, and camp, caravan or rent a cottage.

       During my visit to EURO Under 21 tournament in mid and North Jutland I was determined to spend a few hours with my friends Martin and Sila in Blokhus on the West Coast 38km West of Aalborg.  www.jammerbugten.dk windsurfing, parasailing, waterskiing and picnicing, and barbecues on the beach and in the sandhills.

       It wasn't easy trying to get there after a late night match in Herning, but two young writers, Nicklas and Kresten gave me a ride in their car. It was after midnight when we approached Aalborg and phoned Martin who was still on the road on a 1,100km drive from near Regensburg, Bavaria where he and a pal had been wakeboarding.

       So, Plan B, and the guys took me to a new apartment where their friend, a professional handball player. had a spare room in Da Vinci village. The players have free apartments paid for by the club.  The next morning we visited the nearby GIGANTIUM, a huge indoor arena complex with a basketball arena, practice courts, an ice hockey stadium, weight rooms and more, all under the same roof. www.gigantium.dk. Both the men's and women's teams were practicing. I know little about the sport but also learned that the Great Britain Olympic team, consisting of Danes with British passports, headquartered and trained there.

       Giant posters of the top stars for AaB Handbold hung from the rafters.(they are soon to split from the football club of the same name). Many are on the national team and Denmark's women's team have won Olympic gold on many occasions. The men's national league is called Guldbageren Liga while the women's league is the Jack & Jones Liga. Seven players on a side. Aalborg is a great student and cafe city, with a motto 'Seize the World' and home of the spirit aquavit.

       In the tranquility of Blokhus, I went with Martin and Sila, plus 18 month old Sander, and brown dog Milo, shopping for meat and bread and other groceries for our picnic supper.  Martin played many times for Denmark's Under 15, 16, 17 national football team despite being from the relatively small club FFI, home of DANA CUP No 1, at the top end of Denmark while Sila, born in Greenland, was the national water skiing champion.  We had open sandwiches with various meats, cheese, pickles and elberberry wine.

      However, a most memorable time was to visit a field with a herd of small Icelandic horses. They are so friendly and trotted up to snuggle with me and were happy for a photo opportunity. You might call them ponies, but there is no Icelandic word for pony. Once they leave Iceland they may not return, and no animals of any kind may be imported to that country. They are a hardy breed and live realatively long to mid 20's. 

      To me, they are up there with Swaledale black faced sheep in my affections!!

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