Denmark, Day Five: Which Is Introverted

Wednesday, June 8th 

Wednesday the 8th had the questionable distinction of being the least interesting day of the whole trip.

Although it makes for a rather boring post now, at the time it was no bad thing. The last few days had been a whirlwind of activity and stress, and by Wednesday I was starting to crash hard. The excitement, anxiety, and over-stimulation left me feeling completely tapped out, and being around people nearly constantly for four days had my social batteries, which hold a pitiable charge at the best of times, well past the point of blinking red and putting up warning exclamation marks. Plus, after the previous day’s walk, I was just plain physically exhausted. (Dr. Dupont teased us about being out-walked by ‘a couple of people in their fifties’, but I’ve been left in the dust by a man in his seventies; I have no shame.)

So I took the day off. The only excursions that day were for the B group, and although the history class had another assignment at the National Museum, I opted to go the next day by myself, so, after breakfast and morning classes, I had nothing I really needed to do. Okay, actually, there was some homework I needed to do, and I did put forth an effort on that front, but it didn’t go anywhere. Mostly I just laid in my bed and read my Star Trek novel while letting the muscles in my legs slowly unclench.

Actually, there had been one thing I’d wanted to do that day: I wanted to go back up to the mall, since I had the money Dr. Dupont had given me and was missing a few crucial things, such as tea and chocolate. But as I said before, I was initially mistaken about my permission to do that. During our orientation over salmon pizza we’d been told not to go out by ourselves. I took that to mean we couldn’t go anywhere without at least one companion, which left me in a state of some funk since I didn’t have much hope of recruiting other people to go to the kinds of places I wanted to go. Later, however, when I approached Dr. Dupont about it, she clarified that she was thinking on a broader scale; we could go out and about in Copenhagen on our own, she just didn’t want us, for example, up and leaving the country without using the buddy system. Of course I didn’t make that approach until after I’d already spent Wednesday waiting for someone to go to the mall with me.

After supper that night, we met in the hostel conference room to watch a movie (mandatory only for the history class, but a fair amount of people wound up staying all the way through): En kongelig affære (‘A Royal Affair’), which is about that time a German doctor wound up in charge of Denmark for a year. This had been mentioned in our reading for the class, but being only one passage in a giant block of information about the history of Danish politics, I didn’t initially recognize it as the focus of the movie. Once the plot got in gear, though, it slowly and glumly dawned on me, since this turned a tense and touching romance tale into a countdown to watching someone get drawn and quartered. (Turns out they didn’t actually show that part, but still.)

My one Danish history class doesn’t qualify me to say exactly how accurate the movie was, though I’m guessing the answer is ‘about as accurate as any other historically-based movie’ (and I’m also guessing Johaan Friedrich Strunsee didn’t look nearly as good as Mads Mikkelsen). Still, it was in and of itself a good movie, and quite gorgeous in a ‘it’s the 18th century and everything sucks’ kind of way. Shame about the spoilers, but on the other hand that probably helped me brace myself for the ending.

And so the least interesting day came to a close. It was a much needed to chance to catch my breath and steady myself for all the other days, which were rapidly going to turn into a sort of marathon.

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