Thursday, 11 July 2013

20th June: Skagen

Mind (and stomach) completely refreshed, I’m really hungry. Salvation is a Danish hot dog, resplendent with ristede løg (dried onions...), gherkins and... what’s this? A lack of remoulade. Oh well. It’s delicious anyway, and sets me up perfectly for the long walk back into Skagen. 

The sun’s out in force by now, and my iPod is obviously just as inspired by Grenen as I am, as it’s throwing up some brilliantly appropriate songs on shuffle (Für Keine Kohle Dieser Welt by Philipp Poisel in particular). The blue sky over the yellow houses is just gorgeous, and makes me long for a summer house here where I can sit in a garden full of roses, drinking lemonade and listening to the sound of nothing all day. Actually, I’m reminded of this sign that I saw in Capri a few years ago.

 "Cleanliness and silence are civil responsibilities- let's respect them." They’re certainly respected in northern Denmark...

I go to the Skagen Museum which is housed in what was Brøndums Hotel- a favourite place for the Skagen painters, some of whom lived in the neighbouring buildings. I don’t think there’s a painting here that I don’t like (there’s even one called Stormy Weather!) , but my favourite is probably Summer Evening at Skagen by P.S Krøyer- a painting of his wife Marie on South Beach where I was this morning. I like the Krøyer’s story, being the fan of doomed love stories that I am. P.S Krøyer was susceptible to bouts of mental illness (though I’m still not sure exactly what this means...) and he was often hospitalised due to it. This took its toll on Marie, who went travelling alone to Italy in the early 1900s (scandalous!) where she had an affair with Hugo Alfvén, a Swedish composer. Krøyer refused to divorce her, believing the affair was just a phase she was going through, and even painted her and Alfvén together in one of his most famous works, St John's Eve Bonfire on Skagen's Beach. He eventually gave in when Marie became pregnant with Alfvén’s baby, but died 4 years later. Marie also divorced Alfvén in 1936, which leads me to the conclusion that these arty types never really know what they want.

I buy a postcard of the little girl in Krøyer’s Summer’s Day on Skagen Beach. I find her particularly touching- the way she’s standing there all lonely and clearly sulking while watching the other kids have a good time. I think we’ve all been that girl at some point.

I start to walk back to the station. There are more people about now, and the shops (also yellow buildings with terracotta rooves) look inviting, as does a walk down to the harbour. But it’s so hot and if I miss the next train, I probably won’t be back in Aalborg til late. 

At the station, two old women are having a moan about the Rejsekort, as (it seems) is the whole of Denmark at the minute. It’s basically a glorified Oyster card which you should be able to use on any Danish public transport. Seems like a good idea to me, but it’s been massively expensive to implement, it’s currently full of technical glitches, and people are generally confused about it. Some reckon it won’t last. I sort of hope it does. I’m so getting one next time I’m here.

Back in Aalborg after a *very* leisurely journey in which I basically have an entire carriage to myself the whole way, I kind of regret not looking around Skagen a bit more this afternoon. But, it’s not like I won’t come back. Like Teitur says in You Never Leave L.A- “part of me remains, I’m forever changed.”

I go for my nightly walk along the fjord. There are quite a few people out tonight and a cool atmosphere as everyone's getting ready for the regatta tomorrow. I hope it'll be good...

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