So I've been a bit lazy with writing so gonna do this in two parts starting with the rest of my time in Denmark! Mainly involves visiting family and friends so may not be so interesting to those who don't know them but feel free to read anyway :). To pick up where I left off my last day in Aalborg was another relaxing one. I helped the boys a bit with their pocket money job of dismantling the garden shed and enjoyed lunch with the family again. Afterwards it was time to say goodbye as I caught a lift with Sidsel (Per's wife) down to Aarhus where I stayed in their lovely house for 1 night, enjoying a BBQ despite the rain. The next morning they gave me a lift out to Skanderborg where I was reunited with my Danish host family who I lived with for 6 months in 2006. It was so great to see them again and almost felt like I'd never left. My host brother Marcus, who was 10 last time I was there is now obviously 14 and speaking a lot more English. He recently purchased a small boat with money from his confirmation gifts (it's a big thing in Denmark) which he was very keen to show off. We took it out on the ocean near Aarhus complete with blow up turtle that could be ridden behind the boat. After cruising up the coast for a while we also did a bit of snorkelling before heading back.
The day I arrived in Skanderborg I also visited Lotte and Verner (some of my cousins) so I could say hi to their girls, Lene and Freja before they left to visit Ole (their grandfather) in Norway. The next day we actually headed back north again to Lokken to do some maintenance on the family summer house and also to see Vibe (my host sister) who was up there working in a restaurant for a few weeks. We had a nice dinner with her as our waiter together with Eva's father and his partner before driving back to Skanderborg that night. The next couple of days were spent mainly relaxing, getting killed by Marcus in COD on his PS3 and catching up with the family etc. I caught up with a lot of the guys from my class one of the nights as they met to plan a trip on these old school motorbikes they had all bought. I also got to check out Tom, Skov and Chrell's apartment in Aarhus and get my ass handed to me in FIFA. On the 4th I was back in Aarhus again with the family to celebrate Vibe's birthday in her apartment. Almost the whole extended family was there so it was great to see them all again. Vibe is studying Medicine there so it was very interesting to find out about the program in Denmark and also sowed a few seeds about doing an exchange semester in the next few years J.
Meanwhile, preparations for the Skanderborg festival or Smukfest (The beautiful festival) were in full swing. I had been extremely lucky with my timing to be in town for the festival, I only realised a couple of weeks beforehand that it would be on and was even more lucky someone had a spare ticket! The rush for camping spaces in the closest sites went down on Monday (3 days before the official start) and luckily the boys were on the job to get a place. I couldn't get my own tent in but reserved a space in the specified 'beer tent' if I needed it. However very conveniently, Lotte and Verner live only about 500m from the camping place so I ended up sleeping there most nights anyway J. The festival itself was amazing, set in the forest on the lake with lights shows in the trees at night. Was headlined by a lot of Danish/Swedish bands and some you might know… Placebo, Faithless and Roxette. One of the best things about the festival is you don't need a ticket to get into the campgrounds and there are several bars and even a free stage outside the gates. So all the locals can come and have a good time in the camp and I got to catch up with so many people. Eva, Henrik and Marcus were also working at the football club serving food in the camp so I saw them every day as well. I loved every minute of it and it was really sad to have to say goodbye to everyone on Sunday.
From there it was a whirlwind of visits - 7 nights, 6 different places. The first stop was Lovel where I visited Leif and Kate in their beautiful home. They put on a Danish feast as we caught up on family news and broke out the family tree again to check exactly how we are all related :P. I then headed down to Esbjerg to catch up with Tanja (for those who don't know her, Danish girl I met in Australia) for a couple of nights. We caught up on all the goss over a few vodka red bulls and explored the sights with the help of her friend Tenna and her car. We checked out the '4 men', some giant statues that sit looking out to the sea and climbed the water tower for a view over the city. We also played a bit of pool and even tried our hands at bingo. On the second night another friend of Tanja's, Ken, came to the apartment and cooked us all an amazing dinner.
After another goodbye it was off to Viborg, where I was met by Cecilia and we headed out to her place at Barritt. Peter and Linda put on another awesome dinner (definitely not losing weight on this trip) as we caught up. Peter has actually done quite a lot of work in Russia so was interesting to hear about his experiences there before I visit. Again I wish I could have stayed longer but the next day it was off to Copenhagen. I rendezvoused with my host family in Viborg as they were heading to Henrik's sister's wedding the same day and gave me a lift! We visited the Danish National Museum and walked around the city a little before it was really time to say goodbye to them again for now. I then headed out to Ditte's (a friend from my class) for dinner and drinks together with one of her friends before heading out to "The Greasy Pig". Randomly the first people I saw as we walked in were some people I'd met at the festival from a completely different town who also just happened to be in Copenhagen for the weekend. Small world. Was a good start to a good night.
The next day, after some slight navigation problems I found my way to Jorgen (another cousin) and Birgit's in Birkerod. I met their daughter Sara and her two kids for the first time and we caught up over dinner at a Chinese restaurant. We looked through my Africa photos over a coffee and Amarula before saying goodnight and goodbye as they kindly let me sleep in while they went to work early the next day J. I had some more issues with the Copenhagen public transport system en route to Henning's - firstly the train line was closed for maintanence, then the replacement bus broke down and finally an irate bus driver refused to stop at my station because a road was blocked for a bike race. Anyway, eventually Henning picked me up and we returned to his place briefly before heading to Tina and Soeren's for dinner. It was another feast fit for a king and a great night. I met their eldest daughter Lena and her beautiful baby Isabelle for the first time and also got to briefly catch up with the twins Camille and Charlotte. We made plans to see a lot more of Copenhagen next time I'm there!
The next day it was sadly time to say goodbye to DK again for now. I want to say thank you so much to all my friends and relatives who I stayed with and met, you are all amazing and I hope to see you again soon! Og selfolgelig er I altid velkommen i Australien ;)