Exploring Denmark: Copenhagen, Hamlet's Kronborg Castle, Louisiana Museum


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Europe » Denmark » Region Hovedstaden » Copenhagen
July 1st 2012
Published: September 23rd 2012EDIT THIS ENTRY

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THE KINGDOM OF DENMARK

July 1 Arriving in Copenhagen

Crossing another border and once again I am reminded that we don't get our passports stamped. Sweden and Denmark are part of the EU agreement that doesn't require passport checks. Such a different experience from my earlier travels abroad!

I had made reservations to stay in a room at Lone Hardt's apartment near Tivoli in Copenhagen and she had sent me maps and directions on how to get there months before. When we got off the train I followed Lone's advice and headed out the exit away from the main station. I found an elevator big enough for our bags to get us up to street level and I was astonished to hear Beethoven's 9th playing rather loudly in the elevator! I thought I had come to a really classy country but Lone later told us that there are a lot of drug addicts who have been concocting their drugs in elevators like these so the town installed loud speakers that play classical music that apparently bother the sensitive ears of the druggies.

After a few missteps (I couldn't find the map to her place) we finally found Lone's Arts and Design apartment and she welcomed us with fresh local strawberries and cherries, a map with information about what to see and do for our short stay in Denmark and notes in our room. Lone (who goes by Lo) suggested we spend our first night strolling the gardens and dining in Tivoli. It was a balmy evening as we strolled through the district of Vesterbro and its eclectic mix of shops and clubs. On our walk from the Arts and Design to Tivoli we passed an diverse blend of contrasting historical and Danish contemporary architecture. As we neared the train station we found ourselves negotiating barriers and temporary sidewalks because there was so much renovation and construction it seemed that Copenhagen was doing its version of Boston's Big Dig.

Tivoli Gardens was sparkling like a brightly lit circus in the early evening light. When Dave found out that he had to pay the $20pp admission he grumbled but when he saw the prices at the restaurants inside (they generally charge up to 30% more than regular restaurants in the already expensive city of Copenhagen) he was really upset. If Lone had told us this beforehand we would have saved this adventure for after we bought the Copenhagen Card (which at least gets you into Tivoli for free.) Inside Tivoli there are some nice gardens in a park like atmosphere but it is predominantly filled with restaurants and amusement rides creating a very Disney-like feel in downtown Copenhagen. In fact, Tivoli Gardens was the inspiration behind Disneyland. Tivoli was established in 1843 by George Carstensen, friend of Hans Christian Andersen. Our US dollar does not go far in Denmark so these dinners suddenly became quite expensive. We chose to eat dinner at Promenaden, near the concert hall where we had a beer with a huge helping of organic ribs, coleslaw and baked potato but I wouldn't recommend it for the service was terrible despite the fact that there were few people in the restaurant. In addition, the food was just average and it was not Danish to boot. Because it was so late, we ate too much and were very uncomfortable on the chilly walk home.

July 2 exploring Copenhagen

Today as they say is another day and we were delighted that the sun was shining as we set out to explore Copenhagen. This is a very walkable and bike-able city and the information center was conveniently a short ten minute walk from our rooms.

Copenhagen is completely flat and has an impressive network of cycle paths either completely separated from the road or divided from it by a curb. There are even dedicated bicycle traffic lights. Copenhagen boasts nearly 400km of cycle paths and most hotels have bikes for hire. Free bicycles are available through a scheme called Bycyklen Kobenhavn, which provides 110 bike racks throughout town. Ninety per cent of Danish adults own a bike and 40 per cent of all trips in Copenhagen are made by bicycle. Almost one-third of its 1.2 million residents cycle to work each day.

The city's eco-credentials is also to be admired. Ranked at the top in a European Green City Index, Copenhagen aims to be carbon-neutral by 2025. Wind power is gradually replacing coal. Electric cars motor around between recharging points. Air quality encourages walking, and the water is so clean that perfectly sober people dive into canals on hot days. As if this was not impressive enough, a large part of the energy requirement for all that pedal power is met by organically grown food. (If it weren't so dark and cold I would move here in a heartbeat!) Although we didn’t cycle here (we cycled in Stockholm) we did walk and used the train when traveling out of the city.

We began our day with organic coffee and scrumptious fresh Danishes (my personal favorite was the rhubarb Danish.) The Lagkagehuset coffee shop was wisely placed adjacent to the information center and across from the Central Train Station as well as across from the main entrance to Tivoli although I am sure that the restaurants in Tivoli would rather you buy from them. Still licking our fingers from breakfast we headed to the information booth to buy a three day Copenhagen Card that entitled us to free admission in most museums, a free canal tour (but you have to check which canal tour because not all accept this card) and free train travel to locations outside of Copenhagen (and belatedly free admission to Tivoli!)

With cards in hand we set off to walk the old city of Copenhagen. We stopped first at Radhuspladsen or the public Town Hall Square to visit the stunning City Hall, headquarters of the municipal council and the Lord Mayor. This large square is often used as a central datum for measuring distances from Copenhagen. Jens Olsen's World Clock, an advanced astronomical clock, is displayed at the City Hall Tower. We explored the inside of City Hall and on our way out I grabbed a shot of the statue of Hans Christian Andersen (how could you be in Denmark without paying homage to him?) We then passed through the archway (and more construction renovation) on Lavendelstrade poking around the shops and quaint streets until we arrived on Stroget, the longest and oldest pedestrian thoroughfare in Europe and the most popular shopping area of Copenhagen. From there we passed through Hojbro Plads with its many outdoor cafes surrounding the famous Stork Fountain, a wedding gift to the Crown Prince Frederik (later Frederik VIII) and his wife Princess Louise. It has become a tradition that newly graduated midwives dance around the fountain.

From there we walked through the colorful and touristy Nyhavn, (the famous D'Angleterre hotel was yet another landmark closed for restoration.) We stopped to admire the colorful 18th century houses, hotels and restaurants reflected in the canal below. Nyhavn or New Harbor is over 300 years old and until the 1970s was a rough and tumble sailors' haunt. Now of course it is a chic tourist destination (Nyhavn has been called the longest bar in Europe) where canal boats begin tours and people sip coffees or beer and enjoy Danish food. Funny though, the cafes are on the side of the colorful buildings so when you sip your java you are in the scenic view rather than looking at it. Many people get takeaway food and sit on the edge of the canal looking back to enjoy the view.

We walked along Nyhavn Canal (Dave had to keep diverting me from my photo ops and pulling me out of shops) to arrive at Amalienborg Palace in time for the changing of the guards at noon. The palace was built in 1750 for Count Moltke and is now used by Margrethe II, the Queen of Denmark to accommodate guests and for royal ceremonies and banquets. We were not on her guest list, but wait, she was out of town so perhaps that is why. Amalienborg is comprised of four identical rococo mansions facing a vast square.

There was little pomp and no circumstance in this guard changing affair because the Queen was not in residence but the guards did put on a regimental show with their white striped blue pants, large black fuzzy fur hats, sabers guns and cute little leather satchels on their behinds. We left the square and went on a short tour of the palace where we learned (but did not see) that the palace Great Hall is considered one of the most distinguished Rococo rooms in Europe (much of the palace was closed off from public viewing.) I was sad to see in one of the libraries a polar bear rug on the floor. History aside I would have thought it might be more PC to remove the rug from public view.

The massive Frederikskirke (Marble Church), also under reconstruction, was a short walk from the palace. This church constructed as part of a commemorative jubilee celebrating 300 years of royal rule in Denmark. The dome of the Marble Church is the largest in Scandinavia, likely inspired by St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. Begun in 1749 it went through budget cuts, plan changes which resulted in the incomplete church sitting in ruin for nearly 150 years. The ruins of the church were later purchased by Carl Frederik Tietgen and more controversy ensued until finally this beautiful limestone church was opened on August 19, 1894.

From there we walked through the peaceful treed Churchill Park, named in honor of Sir Winston Churchill in appreciation of the British assistance in the liberation of Denmark during WWII. We walked past St Albans Church, the only Anglican church in Denmark, and the Museum of Danish Resistance. The enormous and most impressive Gefion Fountain is placed near a bridge in front of St Albans Church and depicts the story from Norse mythology of the goddess Gefion. According to legend Swedish King Gylfe offered Gefion as much land in Sweden as she was able to plough during one day and one night. To fulfill this task she turned her four sons into strong oxen, completed her task so well that they were able to create Zealand, the island where Copenhagen is located. The statue shows the oxen pulling the plough of the legendary Gefion while Gefion swings her whip over her oxen-sons. The oxen statues spray water up from behind the plough's wheels and through the oxen's noses emphasizing the power and strength of the oxen. The fountain was donated to the city as a gift from the Carlsberg Foundation on the occasion of the Carlsberg brewery's 50 year anniversary and was revealed to the public in 1908.

The park features another female figure in Norse mythology in the haunting bronze statue of Valkyrie. According to legend a valkyrie, (from the old Norse language meaning “chooser of the slain”) is one of a host of female figures who decides who will die and who will live in battle. The valkyries bring their chosen to Valhalla, the afterlife hall of the slain, ruled by the God Odin. Valkyries also appear as lovers of heroes and other mortals and they are sometimes described as the daughters of royalty, sometimes accompanied by ravens and sometimes connected to swans or horses. This statue of valkyrie is depicted riding a horse and both rider and horse have ghoulish and haunting expressions on their faces. Enough to give you nightmares.

We proceeded along lovely paths through the park passing a picturesque river and up a hill through the King's Gate to the old Citadel or Kastellet. The red buildings of the Citadel and the yellow brick Citadel Church were a bright element in the sometimes sunny, sometimes overcast day. The Citadel was established by King Christain IV in 1626 to protect Copenhagen from the sea. The fortress is Europe's oldes military bastion and is still in operation. Even so we were able to wander about freely as it seemed relatively uninhabited. An original windmill stands tall on the rampart reminding us of the bakery and mill that once supplied flour and dough for the fortress. The Danish Royal Ballet performs in open-air at the Citadel during August providing a perfect backdrop for their stage.

Our walk ended at the harbor where the diminutive figure of the Little Mermaid Statue made famous by the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale of the same name sits perched on her rock. Carl Jacobsen, founder of Carlsberg, commissioned the statue in 1909 and asked Ellen Price, the prima ballerina of the day, to model for the statue. The ballerina did not want to be modeled in the nude so the ballerina's head was modeled for the mermaid's head and the mermaid's body was modeled after the sculptor's wife Eline Eriksen. The statue was unveiled in 1913. This sweet little statue has been defaced or damaged several times over the years and as a result Copenhagen officials are considering moving the statue further out into the harbor to prevent tourists or vandals from damaging the statue. I am glad we were able to see this sweet thing up close because it is so small that if it is moved further out it will be difficult to see.

We had worked off our Danishes from our morning breakfast and so headed next to the famous Ida Davidsen Restaurant, the Queen's favorite place for take out. This upscale restaurant is known for its traditional smorebord (Danish open faced sandwiches) and although expensive it did not disappoint. Dave had a smoked salmon with caviar and aoli sandwich and I had their new special with small shrimps, shredded zucchini, poached egg and a very special mustard sauce with an elderflower drink. It was perfect. We spent our time chatting with a nice couple from Oslo who gave us tips on where to eat next.

After that special lunch we walked through the large and spacious Rosenborg Palace Garden with many people enjoying ball games and picnics around the heavily treed park. We passed a beautiful rose garden on our way to the Rosenborg Slot, complete with moat and drawbridge. The Rosenborg Castle, of the Renaissance period, completed in 1633, is exactly what comes to my mind when I think of a castle. This classic castle dates back to 1606 when King Christian envisioned it as a “summerhouse” in the Dutch Renaissance style. One of the unique presentations inside the castle is that the rooms are arranged thematically and chronologically by portraits and furniture so you can really feel like you are “walking through history.” The castle is a bit dark and gloomy but of course that is what all castles looked like at this time. When I walked into the Long Hall or throne room, in my mind I immediately compared this cold and austere period hall with the elaborate “long halls” of Versailles and the Catherine Palace. Very different, yet for each period, elaborate in their own way. Rosenborg serves as the Danish National Treasury housing some of Denmark's greatest cultural treasures. In the basement treasury (a separate ticket and entrance) we found numerous glass cases loaded with family heirlooms, jewels, crowns and gold.

We just had time to squeeze one more tour on our agenda so we hustled over to the harbor docks for the canal boats tour, an hour long journey through the harbors and inlets of Copenhagen. This tour gave us another perspective of the sites and locations we had been exploring on foot and included some places we just didn't have time to explore. One of those places was the exclusive Christianshavn where, we were told, you can find the most exclusive residences in Copenhagen. The Church of Our Savior or Vor Frelser Kirke towers over the homes here and if you dare climb the steep winding tower it provides one of the best views of Copenhagen. The last steps are on the outside of the spire and rotate the wrong way so that sword fights would have to be fought with the left hand, although by other accounts the spiraling stairs may have been meant to be a symbol of the ascent into heaven. Regardless of the meaning for the external tower stairs, we did not have time in our short three day stay to get to Christianshavn on foot (or bicycle) but we really did get the flavor of this area from the boat tour.

When we completed our canal tour we searched in a long quest for the perfect restaurant for dinner (in between shopping for souvenirs and looking for the Lego store) but we couldn't agree on where or what to eat until I wore Dave down and we ended up at the Smorebord by the Copenhagen Train Station for an excellent and inexpensive (which Dave loved) carry out Danish sandwich of fried fish, aoli and dill. We took our smorebords to the fabulous Cafe 52 next door where we also ordered a salad plate of pea, mayonnaise and potato salad, beet and bean salad, and a yummy pesto drenched green bean, feta and sun-dried tomato salad. I washed it all down with an absolutely outstanding apple-strawberry-elderflower smoothie. We waddled home to bed.

July 3, our last day in Denmark, trip to Kronborg Castle and the Louisiana Art Museum, NY Carlsberg Glyptotek

Today was another day of extraordinary meals beginning with organic lattes and rhubarb Danishes at Lagkagehuset coffee shop, a fabulous smorebord at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, a late afternoon pick me up at Cafe 52 (apple, strawberry, elderflower smoothie and a shared apple raisin pie along with a classic Danish cinnamon bun) and finally, for a late dinner we shared an amazing tapas plate at the cozy VinBar Restaurant just a block away from our B&B but I will get to the details of that later.

We got a late start to our day, I think we were finally slowing down a bit, not surprising after nearly six weeks of travel but this slow down caused us to hurry through our coffee to make the 9:28 train to Helsingor. Train travel is so easy in Europe and it is made even easier here with the Copenhagen City Card for we simply got on the train without having to wait in the long ticket lines. The trip from Copenhagen to the seaside town of Helsingor takes about 50 minutes. Kronborg Castle and fortress, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, sits imposing on a spit of land jutting out to the Baltic Sea and most significantly, in the narrowest part of Oresund, the sound separating Denmark and Sweden. This majestic castle is the first thing you see upon exiting the train station. The walk to the castle takes about 15 minutes skirting the colorful homes in the quaint old village on the left and the harbor with all it's new construction on the right. I would guess that once the construction is completed it will cut the walk time in half but for now we do a little detour and walk off the morning pastry.

Swans floated regally in the moat surrounding the fortifications that protected the large stone medieval castle, Krogen that dates back to the 1420s. As you approach the castle you are confronted with cannons perched high on the ramparts reminding us of the strategic importance this castle had protecting its shores from the Swedes just across the channel. In the late 1500s King Frederik II rebuilt the castle which he named Kronborg. No expense was spared in the construction of the elaborate Renaissance period castle.

When Kronborg was completed in 1585, Frederik II moved into this chamber. Sitting in the bay, he could size up the castle's visitors and make sure the ships out on the sound paid their respect by lowering their topsail. A foreign visitor noted in his diary that one day after dinner he and the king sat looking out at the ships sailing past. One of the ships waited until four warning shots had been fired at it before lowering the topsail. A large share of Frederik II's, and later Danish kings' income came from the Sound Dues paid by the ships, so this king (and future kings up until 1857 when this practice was abolished) was especially interested in the respect shown to Kornborg.

Kronborg castle was immortalized as Elsinore in Hamlet, Shakespeare's most famous tragedy about Hamlet, Prince of Denmark. Hamlet is based on Saxo's chronicle of the exploits of the Danes, Gesta Danorum, written around 1200 and printed in 1514. It is unlikely that Shakespeare read Gesta Danorum, but the brutal story of the Danish prince who avenged his father was read and embellished throughout Europe in the 1500s. Shakespeare's play was set during the early 1600s at Kronborg Castle (Elsinore) and although there is no proof, there are many rumors that Shakespeare visited Kronborg before writing Hamlet. There are so many accurate details about life at the castle and in the town which might indicate that he had been there or at least sent an accurate observer in his staid. Whether Shakespeare visited Kronborg or not, by about 1600 Elsinore was known throughout the world. We learned a great deal about Danish history but I would have liked to have had a better feel for Hamlet as I walked in this dark and gloomy castle.

Dave was pushing me onward reminding me that we had a big agenda for our last day in Denmark. The trains ran every twenty minutes and we made a 15 minute dash from the castle to the train station for the next train to Humlebaek and the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art where our hostess, Lo, worked. The museum is rooted in "low-key" modernism and seems to grow out of the landscape at the edge of the Oresund Sound. The Louisiana houses more than 3,000 works in its permanent collection, one of the largest in Scandinavia. Post 1945 artists such as Picasso, Warhol, Hockney, Bourgeois, Klein, Dubuffet, and Moore attract visitors from all over Europe. The collection of works in this museum can astound, evoke a smile, or just surprise you with its thoughtful presentations. We started with Pink Caviar, an important collection of works and genres acquired by the museum over the last 50 years. We enjoyed exploring Five Houses, a sketch-like representation of Nordic architecture. The project asked architects from five Nordic countries to each build a simple replica of a house relating what it means to be Nordic generally and how it relates to the regional identity of the architects. We had fun walking into the architectural displays before realizing lunch was nearby.

Although the museum was quite amazing with its important international contemporary works of art as well as its fascinating exhibition of Nordic culture and architecture, I may have been even more impressed by one of the best Danish Smorebords ever. Their 119 kroner buffet was worth it's weight in gold. I have to list the menu here: herring with lime, large Greek capers and sour cream, small shrimps with asparagus cream, baked lemon and pea shoots, organic tomatoes with spring onions and orange syrup, spelt kernels with summer cabbage and chives, mixed salad greens with toasted nuts, new parsnips baked with chervil oil, small vegetable quiches, cucumber soup with roasted wheat kernels, chicken with watercress and lemon sauce, new potatoes rotated in pimento oil, absolutely heavenly home baked brown nut bread with rosemary. This meal will haunt my dreams.

The Sculpture Park is an outdoor extension of the museum featuring large
Sculpture Park at the Louisiana MuseumSculpture Park at the Louisiana MuseumSculpture Park at the Louisiana Museum

Henry Moore sculptures flanked in red overlooking Oresund Sound
impressive works by artists such as Moore, Miro and Calder dramatically positioned overlooking Oresund Sound. The museum's restaurant overlooks the sound as well and if you are lucky (we were not since it was packed with visitors) you might find a table outside with the beautiful sculptures and the sound beyond. But we did not complain, instead we took some time to walk off our fabulous lunch to tour the Sculpture Park before leaving for the train back to Copenhagen. When it was time to leave the museum Lo recommended we take the longer walk by the sea for an opportunity to see some lovely seaside homes and gardens. We were glad we did because the homes and seaside gardens were lovely and it gave us another opportunity to see a different landscape from the one we saw on our way in to the museum.

We caught the 2:53pm train back into Copenhagen that arrived at 3:30pm shortening my ambitious plans to only one more museum but what a museum it was. The Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek is a short walk from the train station past Tivoli and houses northern Europe’s largest collection of ancient art with a treasure trove of Etruscan pottery, statues and murals. The original building is quite beautiful with its decorated vaulted ceilings, it's tall glass enclosed winter garden with palm trees, water features and graceful sculptures, and it's many wings displaying sculptures by the likes of Rodin and Degas. A contemporary wing seamlessly merges the two architectural styles bringing more light and interest in the halls and stairs but leading to dark, quiet retreats that house three floors of French masters such as Corot, Gaugin, Van Gogh, Renoir, Morrisette, Monet and Manet and so many more. Although many of these works are not the best of these artists works, they bring an awareness of the development of their styles from their early periods to their more famous works and that was very interesting to me.

It is very difficult for me to say what I liked best about this beautiful museum. The evocative marble statues with their translucent like “skin” or Dega's famous child ballerina sculpture or Auguste Rodin's “The Thinker” or his bust of Victor Hugo. Or was it the beautiful French collection with the amazing Guagin and some unusual Monets? Of course the Etruscan collection was superb but there were some wonderful paintings and sculptures in the Danish collection...well I will just have to go back and see it all again. And be sure if you go, not to miss the view of Copenhagen from the roof of the museum. It is quite spectacular, especially on a sunny day.

The galleries closed at 5pm and I suggested to Dave that we give Tivoli one more try since the weather was so nice, it was nearby, it required less walking and now with the Copenhagen Card the entrance to Tivoli Gardens was free! We found a nice piece of lawn to sit on and watch the musicians rehearse for an upcoming performance on the outdoor stage. I had a hankering for an apple raisin pie and a traditional Danish cinnamon bun and another apple-strawberry-elderflower smoothie (this was my last day to be bad) so we left Tivoli, walked across the street, made our purchases and walked back into Tivoli to enjoy them on the lawn accompanied by screams from the roller coaster riders and other amusements, the practicing orchestra and singers, and the crowds of children playing on the grassy lawn. We soon got bored. Walking around an amusement park did not amuse us and the bathrooms are few and far between to handle crowds like these so we prepared to leave for dinner staying just long enough to watch the first three songs that had been in rehearsal only an hour earlier. By now it was close to 8pm and the music was not worth standing on the now chilly grass to listen so we began our walk toward's Lo's to a little neighborhood restaurant I'd had my eye on for a light supper before bed. We were not disappointed!

The Vinbar Lundgren Torvet restaurant resides in a corner building (Ved Vesterbros Torv) with its front door dead center on the corner. The bar was well populated by locals with only a few people dining in the cozy back candlelit room. Since it wasn't crowded I had hoped we had made the right decision as we hesitatingly chose a table in the back of the small brick walled room. There was a different man this evening than the one I spoke to the night before but he was equally congenial and he suggested a Portuguese Due Rose wine for me (that turned out to be an excellent recommendation) and a Tuborg beer on tap for Dave. We chose to split a house tapas special and we were absolutely thrilled! Their offerings were as follows: a healthy slab of Roquefort cheese with a demitasse spoon of maple syrup to be eaten with the cheese on brown bread, a chunk of camembert and cheddar, three kinds of salamis, a meat pate with yellow mustard and a small sour pickle, a good sized piece of poached salmon with a dill sauce, a wedge of tuna pie, also with a dill sauce, a roe and cheese salad, a shrimp and cheese salad, a pesto sauce and a relish of sun-dried tomatoes, chopped almonds and olive oil. A basket of brown and French bread accompanied the cheeses, salads and meats. There was so much food on the plate that I couldn't imagine anyone finishing it alone but the two of us did our best.

It was close to 9:30pm when we walked home. By the time we packed our bags it was 10:30pm and, exhausted, we fell asleep to the echoes of birdsong and a very uncomfortably full tummy on this our last night in Copenhagen.

July 4 going home

Our taxi arrived at 5:15am to take us to the Copenhagen Airport. Lo came to say goodbye and we were off on the sunniest day of our vacation to a rainy bus transfer from Heathrow to Gatwick. Besides my souvenirs I am bringing home a lovely cold from Denmark and therefore I am probably not the most popular traveler with my constant sneezing and nose blowing but oh well. London was, yes, rainy and chilly, but thankfully our transfer from Heathrow to Gatwick was smooth and well ahead of time. As I had time to ponder a bit of our journey I was reminded of the importance of carrying a multi-country mobile phone to access hotels, restaurants, historical sites and many other important travel connections on this device. We never stop learning!

On the long leg from London to Tampa I had the pleasure of sitting next to Donald MacDonald from Edinburgh, Scotland who thoroughly entertained me with his rich personal history. Donald informed me that he was on his way to Grandfather Mountain in NC to teach Gaelic to people at the Highland Games (that he founded 57 years ago). Over a nice Merlot and a bottle of "The" Glenlivet, Donald told me that he grew up in South Carolina on a farm that he proudly said had no slaves (except him he said with a twinkle in his eye.) He was a young man when he joined the Navy in WWII and I learned he was on a ship similar to the one my father was on. After the war he became a journalist, was good friends with Charles Kuralt and has shaken the hands of many US presidents and international celebrities during his career. He married a woman from Scotland and ended his career in journalism by teaching the subject at the University of Edinburgh. He was about to turn 86 and asked me to join him for his birthday where he promised to fill a bathtub with gin to celebrate. We said goodbye at the airport and when I got home that night I found his wallet in my travel bag! I spent the next two days trying to track this man down until I finally got a call back from the festival headquarters in NC who laughed when I told them the story and said "typical Donald, he leaves things everywhere and never lets us know where he is". At least I had a place to mail his wallet and a book my father wrote about the naval supply operations he was in charge of in the Pacific during WWII. Meeting Donald was a lovely way to end my own journey and I hope I can keep in contact with this delightful man.

Back home in Sarasota I am coping with the overgrown foliage, the oppressive heat and humidity but happy to be in the sunshine once again.

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