The Machinations of Danish History & Government
I dreamt last night about trying to arrange dinner with all of the living former Presidents. George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush were on board. But Jimmy Carter sang a song about there being no way he’d do it (the song had a mocking tone to it, which surprised me coming from him). This was either (1) indigestion or (2) a premonition that I should get to the Danish Parliament. I follow my dreams.
Before visiting the Folketing (Danish Parliament), I’d decided it was finally time to head to the Nationalmuseet. Oh, excuse me, I’m acclimating. That’s the National Museum to you silly Americans. Unfortunately, it didn’t open until 10:00 and I’m a morning person, so I went for a stroll. Nothing was open, of course, but — unlike Paris — the city was already at work. Here in Copenhagen, they’re expanding the subway into the heart of town. There are still about 8 years to go on the project, but you can tell they’re making a lot of progress. My first near-death experience occurred this morning when a truck driver nearly took me out. In retrospect it was a bit more like this…
Danish History in 350 Words
Finally, 10:00 rolled around and I headed to the Nationalmuseet. There must have been 250 children waiting outside of the place. That included at least one little red wagon with 8 small children sticking out of it. Thinking that a man taking photographs of children would be as unseemly in Denmark as it is in the US, you will have to imagine the scene for yourselves.
In the museum, I learned that the first people settled in Denmark about 14,500 years ago in order to hunt reindeer. No worries, Santa Claus didn’t get his start for a few years. As you can imagine, I was far more interested in the Viking Age. One of the highlights of the museum were its Runestones.
The museum presented the history of human sacrifice in a very eerie way. It was dark and the exhibits were low to the ground. I’m afraid I frightened an older Saudi lady so much that she nearly joined the mummies. I didn’t mean to, but it was impossible not to lurk in there. She must have understood because we all laughed after she dried her pants. Humans — and valuable objects — were sacrificed to the peat bogs to gain favor from the gods. This occurred from about 800 B.C. to about 200 A.D.
Fast forwarding to the 1930’s, residents of a house in the town square of Middelfart, Denmark (stop laughing, this is serious), found a medieval crown under their house. That can only happen in Europe.
WWII history could be found inside one cabinet. A placard directed interested museum-goers to the Resistance Museum that Michael told me wasn’t worth seeing yesterday. I can understand wanting to brush some of the past away, but you’ve got to face it or you might repeat it.
Let’s Go Folketing!
After my visit to the National Museum, I headed to the Folketing. I wasn’t sure how to get in, where to go, or what there was to see. So I just looked for a metal detector. Good call! I walked in and checked my jacket because of the signs (the only ones in English) that said:
YOU MUST LEAVE ALL OUTERCLOTHES HERE!
As best I could tell, I was supposed to go toward something called a Tilhørerplasdser. Unfortunately, those signs led me up 103 steps. That’s nothing to a bike-riding Dane, but they nearly killed me. Nearly dying two times in one day and I’m not even to Asia yet. Trouble.
I was lucky — and so were you — because about 5 minutes after I got there, the leader rang a dinner bell and the session began. Shortly after the bell rang, two young-looking female MPs stood up. They were particularly incensed about something. There was no one to ask what was happening (apparently the Danish Parliament is not a popular destination) and my hunger was overwhelming me, so I got up to leave.
But wait! There’s a security guard at the door. “What are they debating?” I asked.
He looked dissappointed that I’d ask something like that.
“Where are you from?”
“Oh. What are they discussing? I wish you didn’t ask this.” He was clearly upset with my question. “The airline SAS needs to cut salaries and the Danish employees don’t like this. The Finance Minister sent a text message to the negotiators and the MPs who are speaking are upset about it.”
Oh! Heavens! Get out the smelling salts! A text message? Was there a naked picture attached? You got nothing on our Congress, amigo.
He seemed relieved that I didn’t think too negatively about him, his Parliament, or his country as a result of this debate.
Can’t you just imagine the text message, though?
“Yo! Budz. Get ur act 2gether. Letz make this hppn. LOL!”
On my way out, the security guard had some parting wisdom, “Spend some money. Enjoy your stay.”
“I’m starved. I’m headed to do just that.”
A Thirty Dollar Ham & Cheese
Following my visit to Parliament, I went to the Cafe Norden for lunch. I ordered a “traditional sandwich.” It turned out to be an interpretation of a sandwich. It was more like a salad between two shoe-sized crackers. There was some ham in there. And I think some cheese, too. I’m being a bit to harsh. It was delicious. Which was good since it turned out to cost US$30.
Anyway, I’m taking it easy this afternoon because I leave first thing tomorrow for Cape Town. Warmer weather awaits!
By the way, thanks so much for reading. I really appreciate you reading and giving me feedback. Please do let me know what you think by sending me a note (click “About” at the top of the page) or making comments.
In the meantime, happy Thanksgiving. I’ll be thinking of you as I fly over Africa (with no Turkey).