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An Unusual Journey Home - Part 1: The UK to Denmark

Border Coffee and cake Coronavirus Danish Family Denmark Euro Tunnel Europe European Union Germany Jutland

We had long since booked in to spend the first two weeks of March with my parents in Denmark, sourcing stock and spending family time together. When we left the UK on the Euro Tunnel the Coronavirus was already in the news but didn't yet seem a reason not to travel the relatively short distance to my family in Denmark.

Despite that, and with our thinking focused by the fact that I have asthma, we took hand gel/wipes, resolved to stop as few times as possible and to maintain social distance when we did stop.

The journey to Denmark was relatively normal and as usual as soon as the guards on the Danish border saw our non German/Danish number plate we were waved aside. What was slightly different, a hint perhaps of what was to come, was that the personnel in the side area where the Danish border guards inspect cars and their contents, were all teenage soldiers. Three - coincidentally all red-headed - teenage soldiers. 2 weeks later and that border would be closed and guarded by the army. But things were still relatively normal at that point.

They asked us (Corinna in the passenger seat because we have a right hand drive British car) for our passports and once they saw my Danish passport the tone always becomes more informal. The last two times we've visited there's been a comment about Brexit, this time the young guard asked Corinna when she was getting her new passport. She replied that this was a new passport and pointed out that it no longer had 'European Union' embossed proudly in gold on the front but that wasn't new enough for him - he had wanted to see the (in)famous black passport!

I mentioned, for the sake of small talk with this young man who has the power to deny me entry to my homeland, that it's being made in Poland and he grinned and said that the Danish passport is made there too. He then waved us off over the border and we noted that the driver of the unfortunate Norwegian car that was stopped at the same time as us, had been asked to get out of his vehicle and open his car boot.

Off we drove into Denmark chatting away about our little experience at the border, and letting my parents know what time we expected to be with them because we knew they would have coffee and cake ready for us. It was real sunshine and showers weather on the drive north through Jutland and, as we turned east from Aarhus towards Djursland, a beautiful bright rainbow spanned the road ahead of us - a wonderful welcome to Denmark that didn't give any hint of the bad times that lay ahead of us all.

You can read part 2 here


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