Saturday, April 4, 2009

Denmark Day 6

Another late night tonight. We went to the city of Roskilde (pronounce Ross-Kill-da) today to check out another CHR Hansen plant. We took the train from Copenhagen to Roskilde which was surprisingly simple and very quick. The ticket booth attendant was also very helpful and gave us the cheapest ticket for the trip. We punched our ticket and got on the train on platform 6, waited a couple of minutes then off we were going. The trip of >60km (around 36 miles) took only 20 minutes with stops on the way.

We stared at the map once we got off the train to find the location of our factory. I'm pretty sure all the locals knew we were tourists at that point since were pointing in different directions trying to figure out exactly where we were on the map. We finally found where we needed to go and started our trek. Aaron has been on a kick to find special Danish cheese everywhere we have gone. We stopped at a "Fakta" to look and purchase something. Aaron finally found some special Danbo cheese to take home and we were on our way again. The walk only took 15 minutes from the train station to the factory which kind of surprised us since we thought we would be walking for miles from the map.

We arrived at the factory unannounced and ill-prepared. Our colleagues were still eager to help and give us a tour. This plant is a remodeled old dairy facility and from the street looked like a motel. I would never had known it was a culture plant if it were not for the "Hansen" sign out front. We had a wonderful hour long tour and discussion on their operations with our own dissertations on current US operations. What I mean to say is, we talked too much. After the tour some members of the facility were drinking beer in the cafeteria. We were invited to share a glass of the special Easter brew. Never being ones to pass on free beer we gladly accepted. There was some small talk and beer consumed. We then were quickly kicked out so they could go "on holiday" for the next week or so. "On holiday?" We have been in this country for a week now at two Hansen facilities that were mostly empty to begin with and they were going on holiday now!? We started to get the feeling that they never actually worked.

After being booted from the facility we went to see the sights in Roskilde. We went to the walking street here and saw many shops that we had seen in Copenhagen (nothing new here). Then we saw Domkirke ( a really big church) from the outside. Then we made out way to the Viking museum.

The Viking museum was really quite cool. There were many old and restored Viking ships that were found in fjords along the coasts. Bryan (another travel companion and recently retired Naval officer) was very interested in the ships. The ship below was a recreation from a recovered and damaged ship. They had creosoted this one before we had got there. It smelled terrible yet they were willing to get close to it and Aaron even touched the stuff (carcinogen!). This was the technique of the old days to prevent rotting of the ships hulls. We then started to head back to the train station so that I could meet Mads for kick boxing. He called at that very moment to tell me that he was not going to be able to go! Oh well, I was getting hungry anyway. We instead met up with Lars to have dinner at his house.

Lars is the co-worker that arranged for us to come to Denmark for our project. He also had spent a few years working in Milwaukee with me before returning home. He loves having Milwaukee employees over for entertaining. His wife Heidi cooked us wonderful meal and their children entertained us with their antics. After dinner Lars took us to a little town with a large Castle. You know what they say about towns with large castles? They have big moats (hahaha! I know not funny). The castle was supposed to be lit up with a spot light, however they must have forgot to pay the bill because tonight the castle was dark. We could make out the outline against the horizon, but sadly that means no pictures. So instead we went to another Irish pub for beer! Irish beer and Irish couples fighting in broken Irish and Danish. What a great place! We moved on to another bar and drank more beer. Then Lars drove us all the way back to Copenhagen to our hotel. We thanked Lars for his hospitality and went back the hotel.

We walked by a guy that was laying on the ground against the hotel and thought he was just a bum (yes, they have them) trying to stay warm. Turns out he was actually sick, because someone called the ambulance to come help him. I guess we Americans are so used to seeing people on the streets that we tend to ignore them and not bother to see if they need help. This brought a down note to the whole day. Bummer.

Just one more day here. I can't wait to be going home. I want to get back to my creature comforts and my family. Until then

har en god nat (have a good night)

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