One day in the mail we received a large black envelope from our Danish friend Thomas Sørensen. Thomas sent us two nautical charts of the area we would be paddling in Northern Denmark this summer and at least 4 different types of Danish black licorice candy! In the envelope was our first view of Denmark and a glimpse of the people's generosity and enthusiasm for the sea.
Leon and I have just returned from the 2012 Danish Sea Kayaker and Rowing Club's Summer Rally held in Farsø, Denmark. Thomas picked us up at the Copenhagen airport after a 14 hour trip Seattle-Amsterdam-Copenhagen. While waiting for one piece of lost luggage (our new NRS paddle bag with our two Werner Ikelos paddles!) Thomas drove us to the nearby "Kajakhotellet" - which translates to Kayak Hotel. This is a wonderful kayak shop located on the waterfront in Copenhagen - within an hour we saw a polo game being played, a sea kayak class happening, 2 race kayaks go by, 2 swimmers clad in wetsuits, and numerous people sitting in the sun enjoying an afternoon coffee from the front porch of this great shop! We knew right away that Denmark was going to be a fun place to visit! That evening, Thomas took us on a walking tour of Copenhagen, around the Parliament buildings, the ultra modern library, inside his Greenland Kayak Club's clubhouse, and for a dinner of excellent cheese, Danish beer, and people watching at one of the side walk cafes.
The next day we drove 5 hours across Denmark to the Northern region known as Farsø. The countryside is beautiful smattering of lush fields, roadside wildflowers, forest, and rolling hills. Some old fashioned thatched roof tops mixed in with modern architecture and the ever present Danish wind machines. Denmark is known for having the goal of becoming totally carbon neutral by 2050! The number of bikes in the capital and the high level of physical fitness in the people we saw on the street and the people who were in our kayak classes was truly inspiring!
We arrived at the site of the event - a place called an "after school". Literally a school for children to try living away from home and having a concentrated curriculum of outdoor activities, science, or art. We had dorm rooms, clean bathrooms, a lovely dining center with the windows looking out to the sea, and the option to camp in the soccer field. A short walk across the road and we were at our teaching venue - the inland shallow sound called The Limfjord. Warm water, exposure to wind, sandy beach made for a nice venue for our classes - Body Boat Blade, Performance Paddling and Sea Kayak Rescue and Incident Management. We were on the schedule for 6 days - teaching from 9 am to 6 pm! We gave two evening presentations during the week - one about our school and philosophy and the other about our 2011 circumnavigation around Vancouver island.
We met so many wonderful people! 137 participants in total and we taught at least 88 of them during the week. Aside from not saying Bow and Stern in our classes (as the word "Bow" sounds like the word for "back" in Danish) we did not have any trouble communicating as everyone was fluent in English. Every evening they fed us amazing dishes including meatballs with mushroom sauce served with Danish potatoes, grilled salmon and buckets of small lobsters, colorful salads of cabbage, fruits, cheeses, and strawberries accompanied by cold Danish beer. The morning meals of yogurt, cheeses, rye bread and meats was just right and never did we have to eat oatmeal! Beer and coffee were main stays at every meal.
Besides our classes, people had the opportunity to go Kayak fishing, surfing in the North Sea, learn how to roll, and paddle to some of the interesting nearby islands and coastline of The Limfjord.
The week came to end much too quickly. We feel that we have made many new kayaking friends, we got to experience a wonderful culture and country. The world is a smaller place because of this trip and we returned home with renewed energy and wonder.
Thank you everyone in the Havkajakroerne!
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