Autostopping: Aalborg & Copenhagen

[In the midst of the Holiday Season, I recall the joys and travails of going in Europe on a summer vacation as a 20-year old hitchhiker: My autostopping days I recorded
in various missives from foreign lands to close friends and family members.
Here are Parts I & II written to my good French friend
Gérard Cordier in Lyons and  devoted to my winding journey through various cities and towns from Hamburg, Germany,
en route to Aalborg in the North and Copenhagen in the East.]

Hamburg, Rendsburg, barrels, Husum, Frierderichstadt, Niebüll, Süderlügum,
Ribe, Esbjærg, Varde, Herning, Silkeborg, Bjerrengbro, Viborg,  AALBORG

denmark-map
31 July 1953
(Part I : Dateline – AALBORG)

Mon Cher Ami ,

gerard-1

I’ve come to the conclusion that I’ve been travelling too fast(!)  Since I last wrote to you from Jo-Jo’s home near Hamburg (in Scheneburg) I’ve continued to be lucky.  After an all-day city bus tour of Hamburg on Tuesday, taking in mainly the huge port – Germany’s gateway to the world and the center of the city’s economy, the Kunsthalle and the new Renaissance-style Rathaus, I left Wednesday morning, when I had to walk 5 km to reach the main road.

schene6

I then took half-an-hour to hitch to Rendsburg, where I met two other hitch-hikers – one Italian, the other Danish.  I had originally planned to enter Denmark via Tønder so, to stick to this, I left the others who were going via Flensburg.
                       Scheneburg City Hall
I had qualms about the small road to Husum, but almost immediately got a car to Friederichstadt, where 10 minutes later – wonder of wonders! – a car driven by a young German girl stopped for me.  She spoke English, and I couldn’t help thinking, that except for the color difference, she reminded me of my sister.   Amazingly enough, she turned out to be a twin like myself and was older than her brother by 20 minutes – a coincidence, what?  She took me as far as Niebüll, whence I had to walk 14 km to the Youth Hostel Association at Süderlügum, just near the border.

Next morning (30th) I hadn’t been on the road two minutes, when a Danish-driven car stopped for me – without my thumbing a lift!  Soon after, it came down pouring and lasted for 8 hours, during which time my benefactors drove me via Ribe (where they gave me a mammoth Danish meal – steak, potatoes, salat, rodkaal and various tasty mixtures of which I don’t know the name).  I felt as when I’ve been to a Chinese restaurant(?)  Then on to Esbjærg, Varde, Herning, Silkeborg and Bjerrengbro, where the two men (brothers) put me up in their house for the night.

The elder bother works in the East Asian Co. and has covered the world pretty thoroughly, including India, and the younger is just completing an Electrical Engineering Course. [Back in London U., I’m just in the middle of my E.E. Course!] Their father died 2½ months ago – he was the manager of an engineering firm.  After a very light but delicious supper in the early evening, I listened to their huge modern radiogram, then Kirt’s (the younger’s) sweetheart turned up and we all had coffee and toast (10 pm).  The funny thing to see, then, was that both women smoked while not a single male present did so – and one of the women, the mother, a cheroot at that!!

viborg_cathedralThis morning, Paul (the elder brother) drove me to Viborg, where it came down pouring again. However, I saw the famous cathedral – seen alongside,  gave three young boys my autograph (I’m quite a novelty here), hitched 20 km and then had to wait from 12 noon till 3 pm, before I was driven all the way to Aalborg, by a Dane who had just returned from a 2-year stay in India.

aalborg_stenhus01We stopped midtown in front of the impressive 5-story Jens Bang Stonehouse, which was built in the 17th century by a prosperous Renaissance merchant.    The fourth largest city in Denmark, Aalborg is situated on a deep inlet of the Limfjord in northern Jutland, making it a central inland port with access to the North Sea and to the Kattegatt Sea between Denmark and Sweden.

By the way it only stopped raining half-an-hour ago.  The Youth Hostel is a beautifully fitted building – in fact, most of Aalborg is very modern.  That’s all for now – best of health!

Yours, Azim

——————————— ——————
10 August 1953
(Part II: Dateline – Copenhagen )

 Aarhus, Skanderborg, Vejle, Jelling, Fredericia, Middelfart,  Odense, Nyborg, Sjaelland, Korsor, Slagelsa – Copenhagen!
Mon cher ami,

I trust you received my letter from Aalborg (North Jutland, Denmark).  Since then, I’ve been down through the Danish Lake District, stopping at the YH’s in Aarhus and Skanderborg.  Weather rather fickle.  Then south to Vejle; also Jelling, where the famous rune-stones are to be found:
jelling-runestones

The stones represent the transitional period between the indigenous
Norse paganism and the process of Christianization in Denmark.

Thereafter, southeast to Fredericia, across to Middelfart (Island of Fyn) and after rather a long wait, to Odense. I stayed the night here, and next morning visited Hans Christian Andersen’s house and very comprehensive museum, together with other places of interest. 

andersen_museum1

Tuesday was my worst day to date.  The main roads in Denmark are hopeless for lifts (they were my No. 1 headache.)   I just managed to get to Nyborg by sundown having walked nearly the whole day.   I caught the ferry across to the Island of Sjælland and stopped at Korsør only to discover I’d left my YH card at Odense.  However, after considerable explanation, the “Father” of the Korsor YH immediately wrote off to Odense telling them to post the card to Copenhagen YH.

Next morning was as bad as the previous for lifts, mainly because there were too many hitch-hikers on the main road.  Also,the cars coming off the ferries were either full or just weren’t interested.  After waiting from 8:30 to 11:30 am, I got a bright idea and took the train to the next big town further inland (Slagelsa).  After 10 minutes on the road, I hitched a lift all the way to Copenhagen, that City of Red Roofs, arriving during the late afternoon (Wednesday).  I had supper with Niels and his brother’s family, and later on we repaired to the famous Tivoli gardens (fireworks night, fortunately).

amalienborgThe next 4 days were spent in a hectic rush trying to take in all the sights including the Amalienborg Palace, shown above, Denmark’s royal residence since 1749, regarded as one of Europe’s finest rococo buildings, and of course The Little Mermaid – seen below.

mermaid

During the weekend, went bathing in the sea and, believe it or not, have become considerably “tanned”(!) [Sweden is now in sight]
I’ve really had a wonderful time in “Wonderful Copenhagen” and am eagerly looking forward to seeing Stockholm.
This is your Indian friend signing off,
Azim

References: Wikipedia and my Diary.

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