Book of Lists, Denmark for Beginners

This might also be called: Denmark for dummies. Now I’ve been able to collect my vast experience about the Danish society in one short compilation.

  • Everything you never wanted to know about the Danish Alps, but were afraid to ask.
  • Guess the current rate of taxation in Denmark
  • Dial-A-Dane: Language learning made easy
  • How to love being a welfare client, by bragging about it to your friends and family
  • The joys of the Recycling Center – unlimited Fun on the Cheap!
  • How to enjoy the stinkiest of Danish Cheeses, Gamle Ole!
  • Denmark Denials – closing your eyes, and imagining you are anywhere else in the world
  • How to use Danish money, and language perils of counting over 20 Danish Kroner.
  • How to recognize a real Dane – Don’t look at me, I’m not a Dane!
  • How to get a Danish Green Card for immigration to other friendlier Countries
  • The Danish-Canadian Friendship Club – Helping to stamp out all other foreigners
  • Driving from West to East. From the friendly Jutlanders to the haughty Zeelanders
  • How to speak the language in 100 easy lessons. A course of study steeped in failure
  • How to recognize a Dane from a German from a Swede from a Norwegian.
  • Enjoying the Danish Palm Beach at Frederikshavn. Only in the summer months
  • Learning common Danish words and phrases: Tuborg, Pølse, Lego, HC Andersen, Skat, Underskud, Frustration, Depression, En by i Rusland, En ko på isen.
  • Celebrating the 4th of July in Denmark. How to make a banner: Down with the USA

I could just go on and on and on, and perhaps on, but that might just be for another blog.

You probably never thought that there was so much to do in such a small Country like Denmark…well, you’re right, there isn’t!

But then anything is possible……

I am in a Jeep traveling to the Danish Alps

My Jutland Jeep is made of sturdy stuff. I wouldn’t attempt to drive in the Danish Alps without it.

I am in a Jeep traveling up a mountain road. Many people have warned me not to attempt to visit the Alps, as they only exist in one person’s imagination. I am not dissuaded by this, and continue up the increasingly precarious embankment.

I am in a Jeep surrounded by a deep mountain forest. The light has troubles penetrating the Danish Pines, making it necessary to use the front spotlight on the Jeep in order to stay safely on the road.

I must be wary for rockslides and falling boulders, due to the strong tectonic movements in the Alps. If I were a religious person, I would be praying to the local deities, or placing offers of dried fruits and nuts along the side of the road, honoring the Grubby Gerbil and his followers.

I am in a Jeep at road’s end. At this point in time, I must abandon all hope and hike to the Spires and Pinnacles of the Lofty Peaks, if the true Alps are to be enjoyed.

I am at the end of one person’s imagination, as the tales of the Alps are closed until new ideas come along.

I am at the end of this blog, but am not at the end of the stories to come.

I am a true believer in the Danish Alps…….



Christmas in the Danish Alps

A lot of people dream of celebrating Christmas in Denmark. Seeing the Danes dressed up in traditional costumes with pointy wooden shoes, speaking to each other in a language that might sound like Dutch, windmills decorated with tinsel, and elves with their fingers in dikes, just like in the old country.
Christmas in the Alps, however, it celebrated on entirely different terms. The local residents shun the use of traditional costumes, preferring their usual winter garb: hairy shirts made of Buffalo Fur, accented by trousers made from moss. Some might liken these items to Bigfoot Replicas, but the locals would only grunt, and spit at this type of comparison.
In other parts of Denmark, the streets would be decorated with lights, or perhaps heart-shaped decorations oozing with “Hygge”.  Any Dane, or Danette would tell you that “Hygge” is a true Danish Concept which enables the Hy (who)-gee to be showered upon with compliments, and treasured gifts by the Hy (who)-ggor. “Come and Hygg with me” is perhaps the most famous of the National Sayings, which means: Cast off your troubles (and your wedding ring), and let us please each other in pure Scandinavian Fashion!
Hygge is not a concept known outside of Scandinavia, but which can loosely be translated as: “cozy yourself up to me, or cozy me, like I cozy you”. The true meaning will never be understood, unless you’ve lived in Denmark for 25 years, which means that at November 2016, I’ll finally know exactly what it means!

But I digress.

In the Alps, you won’t find Holiday lighting like in the larger cities, but that doesn’t mean, though, that Hygge doesn’t exist. On the contrary, Hygge is alive and well in the Alps, but to experience it in the pure form, the following steps must be taken:

  • Do not approach the locals with a smile on your face. This can be misinterpreted as, you have been hit in the head by a large pine cone, and are willing to do anything to stay warm.
  • Do not try to speak the local language, as grunting and spitting at exactly the right moment, is a time honored tradition, which is passed down from Mother to Son, and Father to Daughter.
  • Do not assume that by saying, “Come let us Hygg together” assumes the same meaning as in the rest of the Country. Many an unwary,  visitor, has found him/herself dangling from a Danish Larch Tree, dressed only in their birthday suit, waiting to be dipped in a vat of liquid Camelo Poop.

It might be heavenly for the locals, but I for one, would rather be hit in the head with a Silly Stick!
The high point of the Christmas Celebration occurs on Christmas Eve. The wide roads are lit with fiery torches, illuminating the faces and non-traditional attire of this proud folk. The Mayor’s Brother then holds a speech highlighting the true meaning of Christmas: a Midnight Hunt for the Grubby Gerbil, in the hope that “This year” will be the year, when that hated animal is exterminated from the face of the earth, once and for all!
The Mayor is naturally not present, as the “Gerbil” being the National Animal of Denmark would not weigh well for his re-election chances, outside of the Holiday Season. He will, though, be taking part using the traditional Christmas Eve Authorized Silly Stick, in the hope of bludgeoning the blighters back to Kingdom come, along with the rest of his fellow citizens.
On Christmas Day all traces of the previous evening have been removed, in case Ranger Rolf comes around, and meddles in the ways of the locals and their traditions.
The streets are quiet on the 25th, with all Hygge being carried out, in and around the towns of the Alps, with only the occasional cry of, “Oh yes, Oh yes, OMG, yes!” being heard.
OMG is a local abbreviation without any translatable virtues. We can only assume that it is a positive thing, in the way the participants seem to look, after the Hygge ritual has been completed!

I too, will be hoping to cozy up to someone during this Holiday Season, but I wouldn’t want to say that I could do it exactly like the Danes.
It is, however, worth a try, all the same….

Merry Hygge to all of you from The Danish Alps!

Strange Winter Sayings of The Danish Alps

Each to his own, as the saying might go. Well, it isn’t any different in the Danish Alps in the Winter.

The proud people of the Alps have their own vocabulary, which other cultures have assimilated over time. These terms are only used in the Winter months, when life is hard and tempers are high. Here is a short list of them:

Toque – This  classic woven hat is traditionally made from the fur of the Danish Buffalo. It is said to have been handed down from the Vikings, who used it in the Summer months to transport warm water, and in the Winter months to “cool the head in times of hot-headedness” – excerpt from “History of The Danish Alps” by C.Y. Ranny.

Kerfuffle – A fiery discussion with your Mother in-law.  In the Danish Alps, the discussion starts off in a pleasant way, called Kerf. The Kerf phase is characterized by smiles, laughter and the acceptance of each other for what they are. The problem usually comes when Danish Snaps is involved. Then the discussion turns ugly, the Uffle phase, when you find out that you are no good, and never have been, you are definitely not suited to raise your Children, and you speak Danish like an addle-headed American. That last part being true, even if you are not an American!

Skookum – This is synonymous with the sense of well-being. It might have occurred just after your first ascent of one of the Twin Mystery Spires, or perhaps having scored your first cup of hot chocolate, without having to marry the innkeeper’s daughter! It might also mean that you have inadvertently parked your Jutland Jeep too close to the edge of the road, and it became the sound made, as it disappeared from view. This is only considered good, if your Jeep was on its last legs, and you knew it was time that it journeyed off to Valhalla, or the happy hunting grounds, or whatever they call it, when a vehicle is past its prime, and needs to be put out to pasture.

Toonie – This last term is another classic of the Alps! It come from the Folk Song: “Toonie, En Pæn Pige fra Mit Nabolaug. It has been used to coin many a phrase, at least 2 that I can think of, that is, a 2-phrase coiner.

Remember to use these terms, though only in the Winter months, otherwise you’ll end up laughing all the way to the bank! You see, it is not legal to use these terms in the warm months, without paying a fine, for incorrect usage of the Native Language of the Alps!

Giv’en her!

Climbing in the Danish Alps

—Previously published then removed to its own site. Now it’s back, enjoy!

A lifelong dream is about to come true, a trail is planned to be constructed, traversing the entire length of the Danish Alps, as they wind their way from the German Border, ending just short of the beaches of Skagen in the North.

This rugged backbone has hindered generations of climbers with its lofty spires, treacherous glaciers, and oft occurring avalanches. An initiative has brought together the necessary funding necessary to construct this trail, calling on both Business Denmark, as well as the Common Man to help out.

I have had the wish for many years now to climb this geographic division, which divides the West Coast from the East. Dialects are spoken on each side of this mighty range, with each group not being able to understand the other. Wars were fought over the right to call it one’s own, but even though one side claimed victory, there was still no conquering the pinnacles and the spires of the uppermost crest of the range.

On many occasions the actual summits of this range are shrouded in clouds, showing just how difficult it will be when the trail is finally constructed.

I have attempted, at one time, to ascend the mighty Sky Mountain, by the Ejer Bavnehøj glacial route, but was beaten back by numerous rockfalls, snow avalanches, and loss of vision due to the biting cold. I chided myself for not hiring the necessary Swedish Sherpas, which are regarded as the best support group in the whole of Scandinavia, but I thought I could traverse the knife-edge on my own. The maps of the area were sketchy at best, with the cross-country trails disappearing into the unfinished parts of the map.

The highest point is estimated to be over 5000 meters, but due to recent tectonic activity, this figure is left to speculation. It’s never easy dealing with the Danish Tectonic Plate and subsequent Subduction Zone, which has baffled Scientists for years with its rapid movement. Maps are constantly under review due to the changing altitudes, made worse by the enormous quantities of iron in the core of the Subduction Zone, which renders all GPS devices useless.

Local officials, however, are excited at the find of the newest mineral, “Dantite” and will be discussing the uses of it for years to come. No one in their wildest dreams expected such an item to be found, and it most surely will win the Danish Discoverer of this mineral, Knud Olaf Jensen, to be the next recipient of next year’s Noble Science Prize.

Here is a rare photo taken in the early days of photography of the Danish Alps:

danish alps

It was a photo like this one, which first whet my appetite for this forbidden range.

Remember, when exploring the Danish Alps to use the common greeting, “Aw for katten, det gjorde ondt”, showing how much local knowledge you actually possess, when exploring this exciting natural area in the North of Europe.

Shooting Wildlife with a Camera

I’ve never been a hunter, but let me tell you, I wish, I’d had a rifle after this tale has been told.

The Danes are masters of animal husbandry, which is apparent to those who have experienced the animals found in the Danish Alps. Perhaps the strangest of these is the Camelo, which is a mixture of an Norwegian Camel and a Danish Buffalo. Some might think it odd for Norway to have Camels, but they have existed way back to the time of the Danish Vikings, when they needed to cross the deserts of Old Skagen. These dromedaries have been crossed with the Danish Buffalo, whose reddish fur is accented by its white head and feet. The combination is a sight to behold, say the Dead Alpen Scrolls, but here in the present they are as rare as a liter of gasoline costing under 5 Danish Kroner.

It is said, that the early Settlers decided to cross these two beasts into one massive, hairy, desert-capable beast which could survive the harshest Danish Winters, or the warmest Danish Summers. They were also needed them for use in transporting  them over the snowy mountain passes, not unlike Hannibal and his Elephants.

The most common animal found in the “Alps” is also Denmark’s National Animal, the Grubby Gerbil. This small ratlike, mammal is found chiefly among rock outcrops where most other animals find it difficult to find food and shelter. The Grubby Gerbil, on the other hand, feels right at home in its carcass-strewn domicile, littered with God Knows What it might have come by, then subsequently dragged home in its travels. The Grubby Gerbil does not do well in domestication, and has failed the 5 most common questions concerning its adaptability as a house pet:

  1. Kind to other pets – No, not at all. Has been known to “take over” and ejecting the other pets, similar to the Penguin in Wallace and Gromit. Beware!
  2. Omnivorous – No, definitely not. Will only eat food prepared at the 4-star Noma Restaurant in Copenhagen. Terribly expensive and way overrated.
  3. Clean and Tidy. No. The Grubby Gerbil is the vagabond of the lot, strewing things about, not caring what it chooses to lie in.
  4. Child-friendly. No again. Has been known to steal Lego blocks, hiding them various places, frustrating Children beyond belief.
  5. Warm and Cuddly. Nope, more like cold and indifferent. It has the personality of a Danish Politician, reveling over the defeat of the Social Democrats, after the last election. Politics at its best!

I hoped only to shoot a photo of this animal, as the descriptions were worth more than a 1000 ugly words.

I had recently purchased a brand new Danish Digital Camera the DDC-3. Much more advanced than its predecessors, now equipped with Windmill powered rechargeable batteries, and lightweight construction. The DDC-3 has no peer, especially in its red and white coloring allowing it to blend in at any Danish Soccer Game, or perhaps in fooling the Camelo that the holder of the camera, has no threatening movements other than his hands.

I moved cautiously through the woods, on my way to the rocky cliffs above. The forest floor was littered with leaves from the Danish Oak Tree (Quercus dania, ssp.okiedokiedooky) which is always readily identifiable with its blunt-ended, sharp tongued leaves. I took a moment to admire this deciduous Giant of the Danish Alps. It struck me as being rather obtuse, which is rounded on the free end, but not everyone would agree with this description.

At the end of the forest, the rocky walls began to show themselves. Stubby and stunted Norwegian Ferns and Groggy Swedish Øl flowers were the first plants to be seen. The rockfall under the cliffs showed clear signs of recent activity, which is occurring on a daily basis due to the Tectonic Movement of the Danish Subduction Zone. I carefully removed my camera from its bag, allowing it to expand using its automatic inflatable camera body and classic cardboard baffle system.

It was quieter than a Danish Church on Sunday, but I still was hopeful of catching something on my flash memory, something to share with the world.

I caught a glimpse of movement out of the hjørne of my eye. It looked like…, It could be… It was a CAMELO! There it was just standing there, saying to me, “Come closer baby, it’s only you and me…”. Just as I was ready to take the picture of the Century, a Grubby Gerbil fell down upon my head, pecking at it,as if I were birdseed, and it was a bird. “GET OFF OF ME”, I yelled, wishing at that moment in time, I had a rifle, an ax, or a silly stick to bludgeon the bugger. Alas in the commotion, the Camelo trounced away into the distant forest, leaving nothing but a pile of Camelo poop in its wake.

The Grubby Gerbil lay there, looking up at me, almost laughing at my despair. I looked around for something heavy, and disregarding the fact that this was Denmark’s National Animal, Protected and Pampered, I was ready to end its misery, once and for all.

Just then Ranger Rolf came by, smiling and grunting in true Ranger-style. I quickly acted as if nothing had happened, and smiled affectionately at the Grubby Gerbil beneath me.

“Wakka-Dakka”, said Ranger Rolf. “What, I don’t understand?” “Wakka-Dakka is the feeling that one gets when dealing with Grubby Gerbils. It is derived from Ancient Danish, “Wakka” or, “Why Can’t I” and “Dakka” meaning “smash the little guy”. I understand perfectly, but alas the little fellow is protected under the law. I suggest, you take a few pictures, then back away slowly, and return to your car once again.

I followed his advice, but only after taking what anyone else would give his left fetlock for, a picture of Camelo-poop! It was rather colorful, and hopefully, in a future blog, I’ll try to do it justice by including it on my home page.

Here’s your Danish for this blog: Wakka-Dakka!

Swimming in the intoxicating lake, Akvavit

Here’s a trip for the person who likes to combine swimming with mountain fun.

The high Mountain Lake, Akvavit, is a gem of a lake located in the jeweled crown of the Northern Alps. You’ll want to take your swimsuit along on this one, but be prepared for an intoxicating experience.

Akvavit, is an old name, older than the hills. Some sources say that it is derived from the root, “akward viktor” which is a rather clumsy, thick-headed bird found only along the shores of this lake. Others would say that it comes from the ancient Danish number system, with “Ak” meaning 37 and “vavit” meaning ½. No one knows what 37½ means today, but that’s for the historians to fight about, and not us.

The trail to this lake starts on the Western side of the Northern Portion of the Eastern Axis of the Range. Many people find this description confusing and have taken to dropping bread crumbs along the highway, in order to find their way home again.

I would suggest that you start in Aalborg, a quaint city of some 125000 residents, who have gazed upon the Danish Alps in awe, and have worshiped them as their gods. This would explain in part why they have erected statues of Thor, Loke and Odin who are said to protect the city from fire, brimstone and falling space stations. The highway, well marked at the start with these finely honed statues, in pure aluminum, becomes narrower as it climbs up the steep mountain road. Expect to return by the same route, as cross-country roads are hazardous at best, unless of course you possess a Jutland Jeep, which can traverse any and all roads found in the Danish Alps!

The trail begins in a well developed forest of Danish Spruce Trees finely spaced in equal rows, as if they were planted that way. This is where Mother Nature really shows her stuff. As you thread your way through the dense forest, try to think about how the early settlers found this area. Their visions of sand-buried churches and sweeping sand dunes have made their way into the lore of the Country. What an imagination they must have had, while praying to their myriad of Gods, the most famous being: Luthero, Paveo and  Jehoveo.

At the fork in the trail you must follow the signs that point to Lake Akvavit, and not Lake Aknavit. It might seem confusing, and added to that, some pranksters have been known to change the letters to resemble each other, which doesn’t make things easier to understand. The best way to choose the best direction lies in your knowledge of reading the moss on the trees. If the moss is lime green, with frilly edges, usually found on the Northwestern side of the local Spruces, then that is the wrong trail to take. If, on the other hand, you choose the brownish, rather smelly moss, resembling last week’s dinner, which you forgot to throw away, then that is the trail to take.

The trail begins to wind down towards the lake, passing numerous campsites with charred fire rings. Camping used to be permitted here until the local population waving pitchforks, shovels and holding fiery torches, demanded that the monstrous motor homes, and electrically charged campers be run out of town, or out of the forest, as it were. It might take some time before it is returned to its pristine state, but be assured, it will happen as sure as there will come German tourists to Denmark in the Summertime!

Finally arriving at the lake, you’ll see why the trip was worth the trouble. Herblike bushes dot the shoreline, sending scents of Danish Girls in the Summertime, of Golden Blue Flag Beaches and clear, cold Snaps served on the veranda. I can tell you, that my first meeting with this lake was an unforgettable one. Well, it was almost unforgettable, as I found myself drinking the lake water more, than I was swimming in it. Intoxicating, Mind-boggling, Hangover city are some of the colorful terms used to describe the feelings that this lake have produced. I found myself singing a silly song, and dreaming about a girl I used to know, before I fell asleep on the sandy shore, with pleasant dreams on the wait.

A word to the wise. I should warn you to take a designated driver with you on this trip as the intoxicating effects of this lake are hazardous at best, when you need to drive back once again. Many a hapless driver has fallen victim to the lake’s intoxicating, almost alcohol-like effect on the central nervous system and might just end up sleeping off its effects in one of Aalborg’s many fine detention centers.

Take someone with you who means the world, and you might just find yourself falling in love again.

Next Blog on the Danish Alps – Traversing the Glaciers, of the North Col.