It was 8.30 in the evening on Thursday 6th June 2013 that 11 Rotarians and partners arrived at Aalborg airport to begin the latest twinning visit. Our friends from the Aalborg Club, together with the advance party of Clive and Sheila Fowler who had driven up from the South of France (how is retirement Clive??) greeted us and we were taken away to our respective hosts' homes for the remainder of the evening. So began a weekend of quiet introspection and abstemious behaviour.
A light supper comprised home cured venison from a deer shot on the estate by Jens himself. After dinner port was consumed in one of the many reception rooms, by candlelight under the stuffed head of an elk, also shot by Jens.
Next morning, after a few hours sleep, our bedroom door opened and the padding of feet across the floor was heard. Suddenly, a 50kg GSD was on our bed! After being shooed off, it decided to lie down beside me on the bed, as though it were the most natural thing to do. Perhaps this is one of the lesser-known Danish customs - although maybe preferable to certain Italian practices!
Following breakfast, we drove back into Aalborg to take a trip on the Ljimfjord. This is a fjord, which effectively divides this part of Denmark, running east to west. It is a crucial waterway for the important port at Aalborg, from where all goods to and from Greenland are shipped. We travelled on a sailing ship chartered for our group and enjoyed beer and wine as we travelled west under motor power. A local historian from the Aalborg museum gave some interesting talks along the way. Whilst we had a sumptuous lunch below deck, the ship turned around and we began the return journey under sail. lt was very peaceful and the sunshine made it an idyllic trip.
The remainder of the afternoon was unprogrammed and Roger, Jens and we visited Aalborg to get some cash and have a drink in the square, before returning to the farm.
At this point, we discovered that the house in which Lesley and David were staying had developed a "plumbing issue" and they would have to move to their hosts' summerhouse. Fortunately this was not a little garden shed as we might have expected but a second home on the coast not too far way!
Returning once again to the farm, we managed to resist Jens's entreaties for further alcohol and retired at a reasonable hour.
Next morning, I entered the kitchen at 7.45 to encounter a chap butchering a pig! The aforementioned GSD was sitting watching. This was for the pig roast that evening which Jens had agreed to do. So the pig was put on the barbecue at 8am where it would remain until it (and the barbecue) was transported to the venue at a golf club on the coast north west of Aalborg, one hour's drive away.
Before embarking on a tour of the site, we were decked out in Hi Viz jackets, helmets and safety boots. It has to be said that this outfit suited and fitted some better than others and pictures told a story.
Lunch at the Scandic Hotel, run by another Rotarian, was next with traditional Danish open sandwiches. As Jens was concerned about his pig, we returned to the farm where Elisabeth's mother and the wife of the man helping Jens with his pig were watching a royal wedding on TV. We spent a surreal hour watching a Swedish princess marry an American in a Swedish palace, in a service conducted in English with Danish subtitles. It was also remarkable how Elisabeth's mother could identify all the European royals who were attending, but all the women watching were full of comments on the clothing, hair, facelifts... . We were also served cake followed by boiled new potatoes, the first of Jens' new crop!
There is a belief that, on our return to the farm, whiskey and gin were consumed with lessons being given on the different scotch whiskies available but that must surely be a scurrilous rumour.
On the final morning, I was up early (hence the previous paragraph can be reviewed in that light) and went for a stroll in the woods near the house. I spotted a deer but no gun was available. After breakfast, Jens insisted that I go out on a quad bike with his 14 year old son as guide on his own bike. Having never driven such a machine before, this was quite an experience and was a fine ending to a fine visit.
Farewells are always difficult, even after such a short time, but the welcome and hospitality of our Danish friends was so generous that we shall be sure to return. It is always said by those who participate in twinning weekends that those who do not miss out on a wonderful experience. They are right!
For the record, the attendees were:
Clive and Sheila Fowler hosted by Finn and Elsebeth Tyge
Lesley and David Allitt hosted by Vagn and Bitten Andersen
Evan and lsabel Gregg hosted by Kirsten and Erik Moesby
Jorgen and Vibeke Romose hosted by Oluf and Vibeke Gamst
Rosemary and Ivan Good hosted by Jorgen and Hannah la Cour Harbo
Roger Morris hosted by Jens and Elisabeth Hjorth
Brian and Elspeth May hosted by Jens and Elisabeth Hjorth
more A visit to Pirmasens in Germany to meet old friends for Rotary Fellowship
more President John invites Club members, their partners and our friends from the Rotary Club of Pirmasens to join Cindy and him for a short break in Norfolk
more Members of the Rotary Club of Aalborg Oestre will be joining us to celebrate 50 years of Rotary fellowship.
more This was another chance for Rotarians and Partners to enjoy Fellowship with our twin Club members on a home stay in Pirmasens
more Once again we had the opportunity to host our old friends from our twin Club from Pirmasens, together with other friends from the Rotary Club of Kiev Centre, with whom we have carried out two projects in the recent past.
more The story of the very enjoyable, biennial get-together with our friends from the Rotary Club of Aalborg. This time in Northampton.
more A very enjoyable trip to Berlin, to meet and spend time with our friends from the Rotary Club of Pirmasens.
more Another great visit to meet our friends from our Twin Club in Aalborg, Denmark - May 2009
more This time we entertained our friends from Pirmasens in Sussex, based at Battle, and enjoyed visits to Castles, Gardens and Canterbury.
back We have been twinned with two other International Clubs for many years and enjoy regular visits to each others countries.