Day 3 – Svendborg

Saturday 7th August 2021

A phenomenon that I’ve experienced countless times before when traveling is that my body clock sort of resets itself in the absence of a time source. When this happens, I tend to wake up only to find it’s well outside of the normal range of times for waking up. This happened to me this morning. I opened my eyes, thinking I’d had a full night’s sleep, only to then discover it was actually 2:30am. Hmmm. A quick jaunt to the bathroom was in order anyway, so I popped out of the cottage to make my way over.

Denmark Day 3 - Svendborg town center 2

Svendborg town centre

This place kind of has that camping feel to it. The bathroom is in the main house building, and you have to walk through the back garden to get there.

Along the way, I passed a blond woman in her twenties glued to her phone screen. I’ve no idea whether that was another guest or one of the residents of the house. We’ve only met the owner (at least, I assume he’s the owner): a guy called Simon with whom I e-mailed back and forth in the days leading up to our arrival. Simon showed us around the cottage, pointed out our drawer in the fridge in the main house that was allocated to us, etc. For all I knew, this blond woman could have been his daughter. For a brief moment, I was a little apprehensive, as I saw her before she saw me. I half suspected a frightened reaction from her at seeing a middle-aged portly man in his pyjamas suddenly approaching her from the dead of night. I nodded and smiled politely. She did likewise, so I guess that was a bullet dodged. Not wanting for my body clock to get too far out of sync, I needed to get back to sleep. Fortunately, a bit of scrolling through my FB feed did the trick, and I was soon off again. The next time I awoke, it was already gone 8am, which was much more respectable.

Since Jae was sleeping over with Julie last night, I had no real motivation to get into gear with any real purpose this morning. The plan was for Julie to take Jae and me around her hometown of Svendborg to see the sights. Knowing what I know about both kids, neither would likely be conscious before 11am, so there was never going to be a rush on my part, and I wasn’t complaining.

Denmark Day 3 - Svendborg town center 4

Svendborg town centre

It’s my holiday after all, too. As such, I chilled out at a table and chair on the lawn outside the cottage and soaked up some morning rays.

I took the opportunity to video conference with Sandy and Joey to say hi. That was nice.

As the plan of attack for tomorrow was to visit Egeskov castle, I spent a little time on the attraction’s website exploring options and ticket prices, etc. I did similarly for our trip to Copenhagen for Monday and looked up the various options for getting there and getting around the city. Copenhagen is about a two-hour drive from here, but between the cost of getting across the Great Belt suspension bridge that links this island to the next and the cost of parking the car in the city itself, we’re likely going to be going there by train to save money. This will make it a long day, since the train to Copenhagen from here is about ninety minutes. But at least I’ll be able to write up the day’s blog entry in the train on the way home, so that will make life a little easier for me.

Once the kids were eventually awake and mobile, I video conferenced with them, and we talked about the plans for today and tomorrow. Since it’ll be just the three of us going to the castle tomorrow, I decided I’d buy the ticket online now already. Alas, for some unknown reason, the website’s booking engine was not processing my credit card details correctly and I wasn’t able to book. I’m hoping this was a problem on their end and not with my credit card, but worst-case scenario is that I pay on the day with the stash of cash I still have with me. I tried to put that out of my mind for the time being.

Denmark Day 3 - Svendborg Jelly fish

Jelly fish down at the marina

Concentrating on today’s schedule of events, we all agreed I would make my way over to Svendborg to meet the kids in town somewhere so that Julie could take us on a bit of a tour around her town. I knew the kids would take their sweet time getting to town (it’s only a few minutes’ walk from where Julie lives), so I decided I’d stop off at the single Maccas in Svendborg to partake in a spot of lunch and to kill a bit more time. In the time it took me to do this, the kids had run into some of Julie’s friends in town and now they were all ‘hanging out’ together.

I kept asking Jae when we were all going to meet up, but the indecisive nature of teenagers effectively meant nobody was able to confirm anything. As a result, I ended up sitting at the Maccas for another hour and a half while waiting for my cue. This did eventually come, and I found a quiet backstreet to park the car (parking is actually very difficult – not to mention expensive – in Svendborg). I met up with the now small group of teenagers in one of Svendborg’s small parks.

As it turned out, I had a good time with this group of kids. One in particular was keen to bring me up to speed on all things Danish and cultural, pointing out the various things that make Svendborg a nice place to live, etc. We all spent the better part of a couple of hours walking around the town, exploring the centre, its sights and the marina. As luck would have it, there was an event taking place down at the lovely little marina which made for a bit of a festive atmosphere. There was, of all things, a belly-flop competition taking place. A reasonable sized crowd had gathered under the balmy summer sun.

Denmark Day 3 - Svendborg graffiti 2

Svendborg graffiti wall

Down by the water’s edge towards one of the marina peninsulas was a scaffold and make-shift diving platform about three stories high. The backdrop to this was a marina half full of sailing ships, small boats and even a passenger ferry. A voice over a loudspeaker was describing the event as it unfolded with someone jumping off into the waters below every couple of minutes or so. There was a summer seaside atmosphere to the place, which was relaxing. One of the kids in our group had pointed out a huge jelly fish that was floating in the water just a meter or two below the vertical embankment we had parked ourselves at. It was orange and about 50cm in diameter with stringy tentacles dangling beneath it for a good meter or two.

I’m told this type of jelly fish has a particularly nasty sting and people were discouraged from jumping into the water. This fact must have been lost on the organisers of the belly flop competition, not to mention a few other revellers near where we were sitting who had decided to take an impromptu dip into the cool waters also.

We eventually left the marina area and meandered around town a bit more. One area in particular we passed was just behind the marina where there was a legalised graffiti wall covered in copious amounts of contemporary artwork – some of which was actually quite obscene.

Denmark Day 3 - Svendborg harbour 1

Svendborg marina

One by one, the kids peeled away and went off home. Eventually, just Jae and I remained. Having seen what I had eaten last night at the steakhouse restaurant, Jae was keen for the same, so I again threw caution to the wind (I’m sure this will come back and bite me when I tally up the budget at the end of the trip) and the two of us indulged in a rather nice meal together. It was another good opportunity for Jae and I to further bond with each other, so I wasn’t that worried about the cost – a small price to pay for something so precious. Fortunately, I was able to pay without incident with the credit card, so that at least put the concern about the credit card not working to bed.

The one remaining chore we had before heading back to the guesthouse was to collect Jae’s overnight bag from Julie’s house. Before we could do that, we had to find the car first. I had decided to forgo parking in a car park (as it’s expensive to do so) and instead had found a quiet backstreet somewhere. Finding that again was going to be interesting to say the least.

Denmark Day 3 - Svendborg dinner with Jae

Me and Jae bonding

Jae’s phone had run out of battery and switched off already. Mine was probably moments away from doing the same but it fortunately held out just long enough for us to follow the satnav’s directions back to where I had parked. The phone switched off just as I was getting into the car. Talk about fortunate timing!

We swung past Julie’s and Jae popped in to collect her bag. We’ll be seeing Julie again tomorrow, all things being equal.

The thirty-five-minute drive back to the guesthouse was otherwise uneventful and we’ve been chilling here for the past couple of hours. I decided to pop into the shower in the main house, at which point the near perfect weather status here took a bit of a left turn. The heavens opened up right at the moment I was ready to make my way back through the garden to the cottage. Withing a minute or so, the back garden had turned into a lake, so I had to walk up to my ankles in rainwater to get back to our room. Despite the weather app consistently telling me about the 70%-80% chance of rain for the past couple of days, the weather has up until now been brilliant. This evening’s rain shower didn’t last long in the end and the skies are now largely clear again. Let’s hope it stays that way for tomorrow also, since much of the Egeskov castle attraction is its outdoors gardens and grounds. Fingers crossed!