Uphill and Downhill

“The perfect job is the one you create.” ~ Eddie from Midfyns Bryghus
 – Images from Odense –
What we did:
  • Visited lots of hospitals, a radiology unit, and a General Practitioner’s Office.
  • Walked a billion miles all over Odense and Kolding.
  • Had a walking tour in Odense led by a sassy older lady.*
    *She told us a bunch of random stories about Vikings and Hans Christian Andersen, and embellished all of them with a “moral.” For instance, she told us a fairy-tale about a little girl who kept her new red shoes despite her grandmother’s warning, and because of her selfish actions in keeping the shoes, she was forced to dance 24-7, until finally, they had to cut her feet off to make them stop dancing. We were all pretty horrified and also a bit confused as to how that story was relevant to our walking tour, and our guide spun on her heel after concluding the story and said over her shoulder, “That’s what you get for the price of vanity.” “Your feet cut off?” my friend whispered to me. “I feel like my feet are about to come off anyway from all the standing and walking,” I said.
   The tour also included mostly random Hans Christian Andersen facts, such as “we think this is where he lived,” and “this is probably the school that he attended,” and at the Hans Christian Andersen park, “this is where his mother did their laundry.” The city even has even put fake H.C. Andersen footprints all over to signify that “he walked these very streets.”  Thank goodness that lunch came soon after that – we were all a little tired of H.C. Andersen “facts” at that point. Especially because he moved to Copenhagen in his 20’s, and he just never went back to Odense. So…
 – More Odense images, top left = Odense Hospital, middle and end images = Trapholt Museum, bottom right corner = Cafe Cuckoo’s Nest –
  • Went off the high-dive at a water-park in Kolding. And also slid down what was probably the slowest water-slide in the history of water-slides. It was like being in a lazy river all the way down. I think it took around 5 minutes to get down.
  • Had a brewery tasting at Midfyns Bryghus in Kolding.*
  – From the Brewhouse –
*The owner of the place was a charismatic, boisterous American guy who had been living in Denmark for 22 years. He had met and married his wife (who was a Danish au pair) in the States, and then after three years, they moved to Denmark to take care of his father-in-law. He decided to open the brewery after working in a warehouse for bottling jars of jam. He had started off working in the bottling line in the company, and after roughly six years, he was managing most of the bottling production business. He’d learned the ins and outs of the business side of the company, and he figured, “Why not start a brewery?” He assured us all that he didn’t know anything about beer at the time, no idea how to make it, where to start, where he was going to put his brewery.
    But he was dedicated to the idea, and he worked really hard (up to 12-14 hours/day/ 7 days a week sometimes), and now, Midfyns Bryghus has one of the award-winning beers in the region. “How do you like Denmark?” he asked us all. “I like it here. I don’t think I want to leave. All my friends back in the States say, ‘Why do you want to stay there? Why don’t you come back to the States? Don’t you hate paying all those taxes?’”
    He went on, “I’m going to be honest. I tell them, ‘America is always putting a big emphasis on freedom. But can I tell you something? I feel more free here. And you know why? Healthcare. Paid for. Education for my daughter. Paid. I want 6 weeks paid vacation time? Done. When my wife had our daughter? She got one year of paid maternity leave. I got six months of paternity leave. If my brewery goes under? I don’t need to worry. There will still be food on the table and healthcare is still covered. I’ll just go out and find another job. I don’t have to worry too much. If I’m going to be honest, I feel like I have more freedom here. And that’s why I’m staying.’”
 – From the Trapholt Museum –
What we ate:
  • Sandwiches at Café Cuckoo’s Nest – a cute restaurant nestled on one of the main streets in Odense
  • Pizza and pasta at an Italian Restaurant tucked in a corner by a café
  • Pastries from Lackagehuset – a bakery chain around Denmark
  • Indian food in Kolding from a dubious fast food place nearby the water park
  • The best little beignets in the Trapholt Museum cafeteria. They were like light cake donut-holes, topped with jam and powder-sugar, and they just melted in your mouth.
What we saw:
  • Modern art in the Trapholt Museum.
  • H.C. Andersen footprints.
  • H.C. Andersen’s presumed house and school.
  • The place where H.C. Andersen’s mother did laundry.
  • A beautiful church in Odense that one of the large churches nearby DIS is modeled after.
  • A random large white windmill smack-dab in the middle of a neighborhood in Kolding. It didn’t look like it was being used at all anymore, so it was just hanging out in the midst of all the houses.
  • The office of a General Practitioner in Odense.
  • A gorgeous castle in Kolding – saw only from a distance on my run early one morning.
  • The emergency department of a hospital in Odense.
  • The radiology department of a hospital in Kolding.*
*A microscopic procedure being done on an older woman who had a clogged artery in her ankle. The surgeon had carefully threaded a guide-wire, no bigger than a needle size, into an artery in the woman’s ankle; then, a balloon was slid onto the guide-wire, and precisely blown up  to allow for blood flow in the previously clogged artery. Afterwards, the balloon was removed and replaced by a stint, holding the walls of the artery apart to facilitate blood flow in the future. It was amazing to see such a microscopic procedure that could so greatly improve a person’s quality of life.

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