Stefan Bachmann

Aarhus / Stockholm / Copenhagen

 

 

The second half of 2017 has been The Half-Year Stefan Travels Everywhere, partly because I’m finally out of college, partly because I have work or internships in those places, and partly because I’m going to military in a mere 25 days, from which I’m assuming I will emerge a̶ ̶b̶r̶a̶i̶n̶w̶a̶s̶h̶e̶d̶ ̶v̶e̶g̶e̶t̶a̶b̶l̶e̶ utterly changed and intent on getting serious about life.

SO NOW’S THE TIME.

Anyway. I’m writing this post in Hong Kong, on the 103rd floor of the Ritz Carlton, which is not a brag so much as an admission of having friends who drag your stingy, plebeian self into those places because they’re nice like that. (Thanks, L. 😊). But this post is about Scandinavia, and I’ll blog about Asia – where I’ve been since November – next week. And probably the week after and the week after, into infinity. It will help  keep my morale up while I’m wriggling around in the mud.

 

 

So. All of this happened back in October. I left Berlin, where I was doing some transcriptions for a teacher of mine, went home to Zürich briefly for some sad events, and from there went to Scandinavia for the Aarhus International Hay Festival for Literature. It was a great festival. I’ve almost never been to a not-great book event because book people are truly the best people, but I’m still always surprised when they’re enjoyable, because I’m shy and public performances where one is expected to show off one’s glittering personality make me anxious. I don’t necessarily *act* shy, and people usually mistake my jabbering for friendliness but NO. It’s terror. People are crazy and if you avoid them you are less likely to be murdered. That’s just, like . . . a reasonable, not-at-all paranoid fact of life.

 

 

Aarhus

We did an event on a boat.

 

This was the boat. It was an excellent boat. It didn’t sink. That is the sign of an excellent boat.

While I and some other writers were loitering in front of said boat, two missionaries from Utah came up to me. No doubt deciding I looked the most heathen of all of us, they started making conversation with me, and the other writers immediately sidled away and abandoned me to my fate. I told them I was from Colorado because that’s what I tell Americans, even though I was only born in Colorado and then left fairly promptly afterwards. We talked about the Dutch language, which they had learned, and they taught me some words. There’s no punchline to this story except to say that I made some awkward excuse and escaped into the library, and I felt kind of bad for them afterwards because they tried.

Speaking of the library: Aarhus has the best library.

 

Very sleek, like it just landed.

 

They also have an excellent art museum.

 

Personal flurry over the rainbow walk on top of the art museum.

 

On the last evening, we had dinner with the English ambassador to Denmark and got to paint our own plates.

 

 

For some reason I thought the plate was edible and asked my table mates how to eat it and they patiently explained to me that they didn’t suspect the plate was edible. Well done, Stefan. That said, if Iiiii were the chef I would have made it edible. If you have rose-hip and celeriac paint shouldn’t the canvas be like . . . a flat bread or edible wafer or something? Not complain, though. It was delicious, and famous book-people like Chris Riddle and Meg Rosoff were close by, also painting their plates.

Speaking of food, there are going to be lots of food pictures in this post, because I ate lots of good food.

 

This is an egg salad and curry bagel I got at the train station in Aarhus, and it was DELICIOUS.

After the festival, where I met many friendly authors like Sarah Crossen, Jana Sramkova, Victor Dixon, and Maria Turtschaninoff, I went to Stockholm which I had never visited before.

Stockholm

 

Yaas, Stockholm, you look so good.

 

Scandinavia is very egalitarian; even their bridges have crowns.

 

The old town is one of the very prettiest old towns I’ve ever been to, even coming close to ZÜRICH’S, which is objectively probably not even the best old town but it’s *my* old town so it gets the top spot.

Obligatory food picture. This is how lemon meringue looks when it’s died and gone to heaven. It’s like, the ultimate Pokemon form. The highest evolutionary phase. The zenith of patisserie. It didn’t taste very good.

 

But it looked good, and that’s what life’s all about.

And then I went back to Denmark! I slept the whole flight, which is a really boring thing to put in a blog post, but I was thrilled about it because no matter how short a flight is, it always ends with me staring feverishly at the little screen-thing and counting down the minutes to landing so that I can escape my seat and my seat-mates and airplanes in general. I suggest that upon entering the planes, flight attendants just start knocking us out with stylish little clubs.

 

I didn’t know there were factories and shipping yards behind the Little Mermaid statue, but there are and it makes the sculpture even more tragic. Should have stayed a mermaid. Princes aren’t worth it.

 

Copenhagen

My apartment in Copenhagen was very nice, sparse, frighteningly sterile, definitely a change from my hippy-dippy apartment in Berlin. The only problem was that its sole book was a coffee-sized edition of The Da Vinci Code. This made me question everyone and everything. (Who would buy such an enormous version of The Da Vinci CodeIs it ironic? Why put it on the coffee table? Do they want the renters to read it? Are they superfans? Also, who even reads The Da Vinci Code? What’s that? 80 million people? Oh.)

But that’s mean. I’m sure the owner is very smart, and I’m sure The Da Vinci Code has redeeming qualities, like entertainment value or speeding up the inevitable demise of the human race through deforestation.

 

Me when I was twelve and an upstart conservatory classmate won first prize over me. Aka green and drooling, but with nice hair.

 

A murder of crows.

 

A fort? I think? I don’t remember, plz forgive.

 

Le Guardia.

 

And that will have to do. I’m a big fan of Scandinavia. Everyone was very tall and friendly, and the food was good, and the architecture was nice

Next post will be Japan / Korea / Taiwan / China adventures.


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