We’d planned to see a fair bit of the French countryside, particularly Bordeaux and Champagne, as will as some delightful riviera scenery. Not to mention the rest of Europe, but sadly these snaps were the end of it as we headed to Paris to go banging on the door of the NZ embassy… Luckily there were alternative plans to be made, and locations we never could have driven to! Like the top of a volcano, and islands that were closer to Africa than Europe. Silver linings!
A few photos from my backyard – the lovely village of Elling, where I am working as an Au Pair during term time. It is just the most picturesque place on a sunny day, and a bit of a special village as it was one of the few areas that refused to relocate when the local government decided farms should be all spread out along the roads rather than radiating out around a central village.
About 3km from my house is Ejer Bavnehoj, or the tallest point in Denmark. When I was first told about it, I was a victim of my Host Mother’s wicked sense of humour – she mentioned she lived near the tallest mountain in Denmark, and I could climb it one day if I wanted but I might need to find some climbing gear first. In actual fact, Ejer Bavnehoj is 175m, a light jog with a restuarant, monument and tourist centre on top. The cheek of her.
The monument was built in 1929 as a memorial for the war. It was particularly symbolic as the celebration was held around the time that the border between Denmark was settled, post WWI. In a very lovely, considerate and Danish manner, a referendum was held on whether citizens in the proposed area identified more with Denmark or Germany. Where the population was 50:50 the line was drawn. Anything more than that it was Denmark, anything less it was Germany.
The monument also has a great little information centre with all kinds of historical information, and on Sunday mornings between 8am and 11am they sell the most amazing bread there.
There has also been some argument over where the highest point actually is. Technically the monument isn’t actually at the highest point, it is a hill about 50m over. There was also another region that was arguing they had the highest point, but measurement showed they fell a few metres short. Nonetheless, with the monument it most definitely is as high as you can get now, and provides an amazing panoramic view of the countryside:
After a few financial scares kicking me in to action (a certain NZ government department that seems to have cut their monkey-training budget and just employs monkeys with NO idea messing with my student loan and even McDonald’s not considering me for employment) I decided to get a little creative with my job hunt. On the search for a babysitting job, I came across an Au Pair matching website and got talking to a lovely family that lives just outside of Aarhus. Next thing I’m living out in the country!
Some have critiqued such a choice, particularly moving in with a relatively unknown family. Certainly you have to approach these sorts of things with reason and caution, for example the single Dad with a baby advertising for an au pair and ‘personal assistant.’ Who knows, could have been a lovely guy but there were alarm bells there. Or the families who specify they only want someone from the Philippines so they can take advantage of the difficulties getting jobs and visas by overworking some poor girl. Anyway, I think I’ve struck gold with this particular family. So far it has proved to be an amazing way to truly immerse myself in the culture, learn a bunch of things I never would in a dorm, increase my Danish vocabulary, and most importantly they treat me like I am part of the family.
It has also provided a great opportunity to learn about Danish food and customs, try out recipes of things I have discovered on my travels and just generally enjoy having a proper kitchen! So expect a whole lot more cooking posts.
The downside is i am now about an hour out of town, but commuting has been pretty good for getting my readings done before class. And I only seem to have classes a couple of days a week most of the time so it isn’t too much of a tax!
Living out in the country provides for some beautiful views too, some of which are featured below. I feel awfully European when I cycle through the beautiful green fields to get to the bus stop. Any romantic illusions are, however, shattered by the fact that as we approach spring/summer, it is that time of year where farmers cover their fields with animal excrement…