Sleepless In Denmark

“Remember having asked me about possible reasons for not doing this anymore?” he says suddenly, unexpectedly. “This would be one. But we can avoid that in the future.”

He is right, of course: while we have started our paddling tour in Denmark before the school holidays begin, we should still have expected larger campsites to attract youngsters of a certain kind at any time. Certain kind means being able to tow unbelievable quantities of beer crates to the campsite and at the same time unable to get very far by paddling on the river, which is where the cars come in, at some later point.

And did I mention the Soccer World Cup was to start soon?

Anyway, we did not get much sleep in our tent that night, but I chose not to grow the huge bags under my eyes without a fight. I shared my personal opinion about the partying youngsters with my restless husband and didn’t spare him any details: I was quite sure the Danes understood enough German to know what my problem was. They did. And were soon making fun of my “Scheiße!”. Which was when the i-word was used. But before things got any worse, the idiots stopped singing, yelling and talking and went to sleep, leaving us to try to do the same.

At that point, we had done quite some paddling and really needed some rest, and I would have preferred to end the day by going through the lovely pictures of the magnificent Gudenå in my head, but river fans cannot be choosers, so.

Our tour had started in Skanderborg, a day later than planned because the wind was trying so hard to blow away the gravity of the water, as it often does. What else to do but to go shopping instead: Aarhus offered its facilities and we said thank you, though we almost ended up buying nothing. That is: I bought 2 outdoor jackets for next to nothing and left them in the car for the rest of the paddling tour, because I wasn’t concentrating properly.

The next day we could finally cross the peaceful lake Mossø – it had apparently lost all the will to try to kill us that was on such a magnificent display the day before. I felt victorious, for no reason at all, and we entered the Gudenå system.

In this system of lakes, connected by the river Gudenå we spent another five days, which were even better than we had expected them to be, though our last long ride was full of rain, cold clouds, damp cows on moisty pastures and – singing, yelling and talking Danish youngsters at our destination. They had moved to our last campsite by cars and joined another group or two. That evening, Denmark won the soccer match against Peru. And we slept like two logs.

“We shall return,” he says a few days after the tour. “We will pack some ear plugs and avoid the high season and campsites in bigger places, but we will return. The river is magnificent.”

It is.

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