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« Top Ten 1960s | Main | This is not what "bent" is supposed to mean in this context... »
Tuesday
Jun182013

Nathaniel with Auroch & Oscar (and other Scandinavian Misadventures)

I won't feel like my Scandinavian voyage is over until I a) unpack b) do laundry c) write about it.  Here are a few random movie-adjacent thoughts from my journey. Obviously movies weren't the focus but you know I can work them in to any conversation!

Hush Puppy & Me W/ Aurochs.

Copenhagen
I'll always think of aurochs as the giant pigs that haunted Hushpuppy in Beasts of the Southern Wild but Copenhagen's National Museum tried to wrestle them away from neo movie mythology. 

In Denmark the aurochs immigrated after the end of the Ice Age circa 9000 BC these bulls with the largest and most inner dangerous animals in the forest but they could do little against the hunters arrows. The aurochs weighed almost 1000 kg. Old scars on the ribs show that the old giants survived earlier encounters. Three arrowheads lying among the bone suggests that the bull was fatally wounded when I sought refuge in a lake around 8600 BC . A few thousand years later around 6000 BC the aurochs was extinct in Zealand . In Jutland small-stocks survived until the iron age and the last aurochs died in Poland in 1627

I also looked at a whole lot of ancient ships and weaponry but in 2013 København the constant fit blond beauties walking or cycling by remind me a bit less of the brutal scarred Nordic warriors from The History Channel's "Vikings"... and more like a sea of Alexander Skarsgårds (I realize he's Swedish) or, perhaps more accurately, a parade of handsome blond preppy villains from 1980s teen movies: perfect blonde hair, chiseled jawlines, moneyed physical ease.

This store window had it about right...

up where they stay all day in the sun ♫The most iconic of Copenhagen's tourist attractions are Tivoli Gardens (amazing amusement park) and The Little Mermaid statue... one and ½ of which we saw. Tivoli was a blast and even turns romantic at night with the change in the light but The Little Mermaid was a lesser experience. We only saw it from a distance on the canal tour (which I highly recommend if you ever go there despite it being a shamelessly tourist thing to do) but my friends refused to indulge me in visiting it to pay true homage the following day. Did they fear my I'm sure highly original urge to sing "Part of Your World" at it in a photo or are they just curmudgeons?

Still, the statue is, as you must know, hardly evocative of the beloved Disney movie. Instead it expertly conveys the lonely longing of Hans Christian Andersen's original this-will-all-end-in-tears-and-sea-foam tragedy. 

Wenche againOslo
I was exhausted by the time we got there (and feeling a little unfaithful since I wanted to go back to Copenhagen, a city I am now hopelessly infatuated with) but there was much to see. Despite the running on fumes final days of the trip, I can happily report that I never once felt as suicidal as a character in a Joachim Trier movie (Reprise and Oslo August 31st - see them immediately!) and again I ran into Wenche Foss idolatory. She wasn't on the tail fin of a plane this time but just a statue in the park. 

Two little girls spoiled my fantasies of a nation devoted to actress-worship. They glanced at the statue disinterested all "hvem er det?" to their mom (Sigh). Indifference to actresses is a curse found all over the globe!

On the first day we walked on the roof of the newish Opera House (a stunning piece of art and architecture). On the second day we took a ferry and visited several museums including one devoted to the Kon-Tiki expedition, which recently got the movie treatment (twice over actually) to the tune of a Best Foreign Language Film nomination. I wasn't crazy about the new movie -- or the museum, actually, which was rather confusingly laid out and cluttered.

And yet, it was a treat to the see the actual boat. And you know I had to take a picture of me with Norway's first Oscar of sorts, which went to the 1950 documentary on the Kon-Tiki expedition.

The Boyfriend laughed about how the picture came out with the Oscar obscuring / reflecting all over my face "the story of your life"

Bergen
My favorite part of the trip was the middle when we took it easy for a few days and just breathed in Norwegian beauty, fjord trips, train rides and the views from a lakehouse we airbnb'ed in Vestland.

Fjord tour. You get to drink from waterfalls!

I lept wildly into the North Sea / Norwegian Sea twice -- like ice water with moss --  but the most paradisical moment was hiking to the most beautiful stretch of unspoiled land I can recall ever spending an afternoon with. The trees were so green and the ground was so soft and spongy I felt like I could curl up and sleep on it like a lost child in some benevolent magical fairytale woods. When the trail opened up on the most pristine lake with the most swimmable water ever I could barely speak.

The only thing I managed to utter to break the silence in that idyllic moment was: 

The loons Norman, the loons!

...in my best Katharine Hepburn. And then I dove in.

 

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Reader Comments (12)

Isn't København just wonderful? I was only there for a few days a month ago, and for the Eurovision Song Contest at that, but I fell in love with how relaxed it all is. It helped that we had beautifully sunny weather when we visited, but kicking back in Nyhavn was just a dream.

Visiting the Mermaid statue was a little odd, though - there was a huge cluster of tourists down on the rocks, and, of course, despite the signs telling them not to step over to the statue, there was a vague queue of people hopping across to have their photo taken with it. We just stayed back and took some photos of it when there was a switchover of people, but it was all a bit strange how such a simple, nonassuming statue was so overwhelmed.

Bergen looks gorgeous (I confess, I thought it said "Borgen" at first and got my actressexual geek on - oh, Sidse!) - I hope I can visit Norway one day. I must have some Scandinavian blood in me somewhere, because it just feels so right.

June 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDavid

The Boyfriend - that Oscar pic is perfect.
Welcome back!

June 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMike in Canada

København is amazing. Just lovely- pretty, pleasant, civilized, cool, calm, romantic, beautiful, modern, respectful.

Been there twice, summer and winter. Fell in love with the city both times.

June 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAmanda

I live in the beauty that is København and I loved your report of it!

In response to the Mermaid statue, while the statue is “hardly evocative of the beloved Disney movie”, the movie is hardly evocative of the beloved (and arguably brutal) literary classic. The reason I bring this is up, is because the trailer for “Frozen” is online. And it is awful. It is based on Andersen’s “The Snow Queen” and everything so far about this Disney production seems to completely mock its source-material. Andersen’s fairy tales are rarely the source for big screen experiences and it is even less common, that we get a proper adaptation of his imagination.

I imagine Queen Margrethe II of Denmark will be disappointed as well – it is her favorite fairytale. She and I will surely leave the theater with a shared disgrace.

Theis – The Bitter Dane.

June 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTheis

Looks and sounds like y'all had a wonderful Scandinavian vacation. That lake is just breathtaking--makes me want to jump in as well... Thanks for sharing it with us!

And the Oscar photo is so perfect you should use it as one of your wallpapers!

June 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDebra de Rodriguez

It looks like you're pinching Oscar's crotch.

June 18, 2013 | Unregistered Commenter3rtful

hee, I still remember when I was in Goteborg 20 years ago and my teenage self was so blown away by the pure amount of ridiculous good looking guys strolling along the streets. As your describe it so fittingly, "perfect blonde hair, chiseled jawlines, moneyed physical ease"

I loved your write-up of your hiking trip. Whenever I go hiking it gives me so much peace. But so far I have only dipped my toes into any mountain lake this year, I'm very impressed that you went swimming.

June 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterIvonne

It looks like you're pinching the Oscar's crotch.

June 19, 2013 | Unregistered Commenter3rtful

Nathan, this reminds me of the line from The Graduate when Benjamin asks Mrs. Robinson where she conceived her daughter. Her reply amused him.

BENJAMIN: So little Elaine Robinson started out in a fjord.

Welcome back!

June 19, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

This a great and informative article, as I too would love to go here one day. And yes, the Oscar pic is so apropos.

June 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJoel V

Ivonne -- but dont you actually live IN BERGEN. you should be swimming all the time ;)

June 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNathanielR

/3rtful -- but there's nothing to pinch!

June 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNathanielR

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