High School Reunion

This year it has been 10 years since I graduated from high school in Tønder – wow, time indeed flies.

Christmas Dinner 1999

The image above is from Christmas ’99, six month after we graduated where we gathered 22 of the 24 or so from our class. During the past 10 years we have usually tried to meet up for a dinner every year between Christmas and New Year but as people got partners and children, we have seen fewer people turn up for these events. The past couple of years we have usually been less than 10 for the dinners. So as this was the 10th year since we graduated some of us talked and some worked (Helene) to organize a dinner for all of us during the annual Tønder Festival.

To those of you who are not from Tønder, this is one of the bigger folk music festivals. The festival itself takes place in big tents on a meadow outside the town but as the population of the town triples or quadruples over this weekend the whole town is bustling with happy people, musicians and vendors trying to make a buck and many come here for the party more than the music.

Last weekend I went back to Denmark to stayed with my parents for a couple of days and catch up with my old class mates in Tønder. We met up at one of the many beer stands and started out catching up.

Hygge ved ølboden

15 people showed up and everybody there looked liked themselves. Maybe a bit rounder and with a few more wrinkles around the eyes but when everybody was there it was like yesterday we would go to class and hang out afterwards. The old jokes and friendly teasing was on from the beginning – just like in the old days. Some things just never change. Others do. My two partners in crime during those years were now recent-father and father-to-be and their past enthusiastic conversations of Mercedes S-class, Audis and other high-octane topics were replaced by discussions of titanium baby strollers and which brands strollers was the easiest to dismantle. The vehicle had changed while the rest of the conversation was still the same, it was still the two “drengerøve”* having a passionated debate 🙂

Den billige side

It is not the easiest job to find a table for 15 people on Saturday of the festival but with the right connections we had managed to get a table in the festival’s restaurant Fiddlers’ Green. We spent a couple of hours there hearing what people were up to now and just having a good time. Most of us are done with our education and we have spread out to all walks of life all over Denmark (and beyond).

Hele bordet

After dinner we went to our regular Friday afternoon retreat Cafe Victoria for a nightcap. 10 years ago I would have probably stayed out, gotten too drunk, lost my glasses and slept in a green house because I couldn’t find my friend’s house. This year I went to bed before 2 am on my designated bed well knowing where I put my glasses. I think I’m getting old – and that’s not too bad 🙂

Summer in Denmark

While Czech Repulic was getting washed away I went to Denmark for a bit more than a week. I had not been back since Christmas so it was really great to get back.

View from Tørskind

I started out in Odder where I spend a day with Magnus, my nephew. First I went with him to preschool (it’s called 0th grade and the kids are 6-7 years old) and had a good time with Magnus and his classmates. During his school day we had morning singing (or whatever it is called) followed by roll call, and me telling his class a bit about what i do and about some of my travels. I didn’t really know how to approach kids at this age but they had a map of the world and Europe that we used to talk about different places and how they were different than Denmark. They seemed interested and had their own stories of trips they had made so the time went quick. Then it was time for a library visit with a fairytale reading by the librarian, followed by the class showing off what letters in the alphabet they had learned.
After school Magnus and I went home to play for the rest of the day untill Majbrit and Mogens got home. Here is a video of a slide with a “bomb” we tried to make from his bed to the living room – can you ever get too old to play with Lego? 🙂

It was really great to spend some time in Odder with family and catch up with the little guy – who is not that little any more.

The family in Odder

Friday Ann arrived and stayed for the weekend. For once she wasn’t visiting in the winter time so I was happy to see that the weather was fairly good to us.

Tiny, cosy house

Saturday we packed a lunch and took off to the southwestern corner of the kingdom. First stop was the sight of where the Golden Horns were found. Apart from two stones marking the locations of the finds there wasn’t anything to see here. Apart from the tiny, cute house pictured above right next to it. The gold horns are two very unique finds in Denmark and their history is quite remarkable.

Main street in Møgeltønder

We continued to the village of Møgeltønder (pictured above) where Schackenborg Castle is situated. Schakenborg is the home of Prince Joachim, the younger of the queen’s two sons. He just had to his first child (Prince NN :)) with his second wife (his third in total – officially) so there were crowned storks in the garden to mark the expansion of the royal family.

The stork has visited the castle

We stopped at Hojer Mill to have our lunch and went to the coast to see dike and the vastness of the marsh landscape out west by the Wadden Sea.

Us in front of Højer mill

At night we went to Ribe to walk around with the watchman as he told about the oldest city of Denmark.

Nightwatch man in Ribe

Sunday we went to the area around Tørning and had a barbecue there with my folks.

[Picture of BBQ from dads camera – coming soon]

Ann was flying home on Monday so we spend the day making our way slowly towards the airport. We stopped in Jelling to see the rune stones and mounts marking the christening of the Danes and the burial place of Harald Bluetooth. Before Ann took off we had dinner at my aunt’s and uncles farm which is just next to the airport.

Jelling Church

My cousin Anders graduated high school on Tuesday so there was a big party in his parents garden and the weather was perfect. Congrats to him!

People in the garden

Now I’m back in rainy Prague. Hopefully it doesnt stay that way because Mikkel, my thesis buddy is visiting me.