Roskilde | 2001.08.04

We ate our final breakfast at the Fangel Kro, paid our bill and bused to Odense to catch the train to Roskilde. Even though all the seats on the train were reserved (and none by us), there were many that no one claimed, so we were able to sit down. When we arrived in Roskilde, our first destination was the InfoCenter. We walked past a bunch of smelly teenaged boyscouts, who we would encounter again later in the day.

The woman at the InfoCenter told us that the hostel didn't open until 4 p.m. It was Saturday, around noon. We were hungry. Chris wanted to walk back to the train station to leave our bags there until the hostel opened, but because the only thing we wanted to see in Roskilde was the Viking Ship Museum, and because the hostel was located on the very same site as the Viking Ship Museum, I convinced him to try to let the museum let us keep our bags there.

On the walk toward the museum, I passed the loveliest image, one that I regret not photographing, but one that will stay in my mind forever. A yellow archway, and through the archway, a wedding photographer taking portraits of the bride and groom, dressed in their wedding attire. The scene took place to my right, and the arched structure was open and raised slightly. "It seems like they're in Venice," I thought, and kept walking, my bags bumping loudly on the pebble street. Of course, my description does nothing for what was truly a surreal, commercially romantic, yet very touching sight.

When we arrived at the museum, a bad thing happened. I was standing in line waiting to buy tickets, my wheely little luggage bag standing up behind me. My backpack was balanced on the pull-bar thing of the luggage, in effect keeping the unit of luggage/backpack from toppling. But it toppled anyway, right into a kid who was about 4 years old. It didn't knock him down, but it jabbed him right in the chest. He had a delayed but forceful reaction. And I, helpless, could only lift my stuff off of him and apologize in a language he didn't understand. "Oh my god, I'm so sorry, are you okay?" His slightly older brother was there to comfort him and give me the evil eye. A few minutes later, I saw the boy hugging his mom, still crying. I debated approaching her and apologizing, but I didn't. Maybe I should have. I hope the kid wasn't actually hurt. I hope I didn't ruin their day. Chris made fun of my reaction, which made me feel even better about the whole thing.

Viking Ship Museum, Roskilde. Standard tourist photo.

Viking Ship Museum. With sunscreen smeared all around the collar of my shirt and a kickass hairdo, I'm the hippest girl at the museum.

We ate at a restaurant that reminded both of us of the restaurant in the Museum of Flying from the 2 Weeks of Family Vacation Hell in California, 1998. It was high-class, and it seemed like the waiter didn't really want to be serving us. There was a group of well-fed Europeans (Brits? I can't remember) sitting at the table next to us. He seemed to like them more. I drank Evian water from a pretty bottle.

We walked around the museum after that. It would have been nice to have been able to see more of it, actually. But we couldn't. We had signed up for the boat ride, in which we would get to ride on a boat similar to ones the Vikings used. Ooooh.

The boat ride consisted of us doing some actual rowing. I was probably the most inept person on the boat. I could barely lift the oars and almost took out the eye of the woman behind me. Fortunately, everyone else also was moderately inept, so we all just laughed off our boating mishaps.

Viking Ship Museum. Chris has yet to sail at this point, but he looks like he's been at sea for a little too long.

Viking Ship Museum. I'm ready to rock and row.
At sea, Roskilde. The leader guy was Australian and had a Patrick Swayze quality. Once we got away from the dock, he lit up a smoke and chatted with a couple of kids up front. Right: Chris really likes this picture of himself. It looks like his sideburn might wrap under his chin and connect with the one on the other side.

After the boat ride, we checked into the hostel. It was another nice one. I shared it with two girls from Iceland. Chris was very interested in whether they were cute. The girls had been excited to meet me because Chris had left his bag in my room, which has an Iceland patch on it. But the Iceland girls and Chris were not meant to be.

It started to rain (the thick clouds are noticeable in those boating pics). It rained hard, and we walked up a street in Roskilde, trying to find a reasonably cheap place with food we didn't mind eating. We ended up at The Vagabond Cafe, soaking wet. It was a cool little restaurant, a good date restaurant, a place I would go back to if it existed here. We sat upstairs. I ordered pizza and watched the rain and wondered about the lives of the people driving by below. It was like the pause in a Japanese film, where everything stops momentarily -- the camera holds on an empty room, or a lamp, or a quiet rainfall -- so the viewer can reflect on what has happened so far. There's a term for it, but I can't remember it now. The only thing wrong with The Vagabond Cafe was that it only played songs by Celine Dion and people who sounded just like her.

After dinner it was laundry time. There was one washer and one dryer. Chris and I took turns babysitting the laundry while the other one watched bad American movies in the TV room. The first movie was Skyjacked! (1972), about a deranged Vietnam veteran who hijacks a plane to Russia, where he expects to be highly decorated but instead gets killed. There was a French girl watching the movie with us who was very friendly but had trouble keeping her negative opinions about Americans to herself. It was not a good way to win our favor. But she did make a funny comment about Skyjacked!: "You should really try not to let this stuff get out of your country." Chris told her the reason it was being broadcast abroad was because it was cheap.

Meanwhile, in the laundry room, we were learning that the dryer did not dry. We had 2 suitcases worth of wet clothes that had to be dry by 8 a.m. the next morning. We complained to the front desk and the girl retrieved the money we'd fed the dryer, but we only fed it back in with the same results. Still, we were hopeful as we sat through American Cuisine (1998), among the cheesiest productions for an adult audience I've ever seen. During this movie, we were experimenting with the crazy refrigerator thing in the laundry room. The crazy refrigerator thing looked like a fridge, but had lots of white racks on it, begging us to hang our clothes there. When we turned it on, it was loud, and I was afraid the room would explode because we weren't supposed to use it. But apparently it was okay to use it, because it did start to dry our clothes. We set it to its top capability and went to bed.