Tuesday 3 May 2011

Island Peace

This is the day without pier, so let's dispense with the comfort of walking on and walking off a gangway. At least for once, please!
The tiny little port of Gudhjem expects us - do I have to mention it? - with sunshine and blue skies that serve as canvas for the yellow houses and green fields and trees. Colours only the very daring would wear together, mother nature can do.
The tendering is a new experience for many, but all manage the biiiig step very well. The most active ones are the bikers who disappear first in all directions. Four big busses follow for a grand tour across the island, which is not as small as some think: from cap to cap it spans 50 kilometers.
If you decide to make your own pace and take a walk, you will not help noticing the almost striking cosiness that Denmark is famous for. The beauty seems to origin in some nearness to life that we see in the houses, gardens, decorations. Honest care for the detail, never kitsch, never looking just arranged. Uncomplicated, but not simple. The natural decor equivalent of a smile.
Smiles also on the kid's faces who got themselves a biiiig "softis" from the candy shop. Looking at our boat drivers you can't help the question: Is it kids who like ice cream, or is it the ice cream that makes us kids…?

In no time you notice: This island is a peaceful one. Walking seems just appropriate, bike is fine, too. Cars will not race, not honk, not push you. People sit and talk, they have time. Everything fast and noisy does not belong here.

This is also the reason why there are so many handicraft shops here; glass art is everywhere, even showing the process of making.
And then maybe you start walking, you round the port, cross the outskirts of the village and then join the narrow footpath that takes you along the coast of the island, which soon starts to rise and build steep cliffs (of very aged rocks, if the geologist might add: It is here that the extremely old Baltic Shield dives under the younger stuff towards the South. Bornholm is a open-air museum of geology). 
And now the peace is even more profound. Songbirds are chirping to your left, from your right the cries of gulls and the sloshing of the surf merges with the soundscape. Everything is green, except the countless flowers that tell us: Spring has reached the island, with a two months delay to the mainland, but in exchange the fine weather normally stays until beginning of October.
That's how roaming should be: Breath freely and give the world a smile. It smiles back at you. 

After some hours of intense recreation, Gudhjem comes back into sight. After a holiday within a holiday, you hop on the tenderboat and ride back. What an appropriate last landing day for a splendid trip. 
Tomorrow the sea has us back, and then it is Oslo, where it started.