Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Denmark, Coffee and cruise professionals

The School Wind Band, The modern Organ, The Domkirche and the most expensive coffee in the western world !

It has been an interesting day so far! We docked on time in this small and delightful city of Aarhus in Denmark. It was a sunny mile walk into the centre of the old town, flat all the way but through some old architecture dating mostly from the 16th and 17th Centuries. The beamed and slightly wonky buildings were painted in those warm Hanseatic colours of yellow, gold, amber and cream, which give such a warm feeling to the locality

As we walked down the ramp to the dock there was a sweet surprise. A local children’s windband were playing to welcome us! In their smart blue uniforms they were disciplined, concentrating, and very appropriately playing a medley of national anthems! We were docked alongside the Emerald Princess, who in fact were behind us in coming into port, but had to overtake us as they were bigger, and leaving after us, the band were not playing for them! Fredrick Olson is a Norwegian line, so I expect the Scanda family had some influence here!

The ‘captain quote of the day’ was once again very worth repeating. He explained over the tannoy that we were’ all stopped’ to let the Emerald Princess go first, as indeed would any gentleman do !’

I can now truly beat the price of a coffee in Iceland! Given I was in Iceland in 2009, and even accounting for rampant inflation, today my very good double shot Americano came to the mammoth cost of £6.22....................now that’s expensive. It was a local coffee house, not a hotel and there were many locals, so it was a regular price! Wow! I almost felt like making an announcement that this was the priciest coffee ever encountered in the civilised world, but I thought they would think I was rather Uncivilised, so I kept quiet and drank my coffee with due reverence!

The Aarhus Domkirch was very beautiful, rather plain, painted white with some beautiful rescued frescos, yet it managed to retain a little of the Roman Catholic splendour. Of course it is now a Lutheran cathedral, but overtones of quiet gilding could still be seen! Much of the artwork was of rather strict looking Elizabethans (or the Danish equivalent!), resplendent in ruffs and doublet and hose. I really liked its simplicity.

It is still a working church and it was interesting that it had, slap bang in the middle of all the Renaissance splendour, an incredibly modern, and most definitely Scandinavian organ, housed in an organ loft redolent of an upmarket IKEA. ( Yep I know that is Swedish!!) The old and magnificent Baroque organ was also there fully intact and beautifully preserved.

I came back from the town by around 3pm and decided as it was such a beautiful day I would have a swim in one of the outdoor pools. As most folk were out on day tours or in the town still it was so peaceful, and for about half an hour I had the pool, the sun and the view all to myself!

Folk began to arrive back ready for their own swims around afternoon teatime. I had finished my dip and was enjoying a few minutes of people watching by this time. I watched and marvelled in a horrified kind of way, a true cruise pro, a lone lady of a certain age, determined and relentless in her conversation barging – she was like a bloodhound with a Ph D in hunting down innocent cruisers, whose only wish was to be left alone with their cream cake and Darjeeling.................she stalked, she stood over tables, she gesticulated with gay abandon, she held court on matters of no importance, worse even than that she loudly honked away with tales of family and friends unknown to her zombie like listeners, and the poor trapped (by politeness you understand!) victims were helpless. Resistance was futile.

Boy was I glad not to be a ‘chosen one’ – clearly I looked boring!

Three hearty cheers for BORING !

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