Thursday, May 17, 2012

Roadtrip to Sweden: The King of Langeland

Gustav, Munson & Mike cross Denmark

Since we passed through Luxembourg yesterday the weather has been very poor for driving. It’s like northwest Germany  has been divided into a great checkerboard of squares of rain squalls and sunshine. After five minutes of poor visibility, all of a sudden wind and sun have dried off the windscreen and the wipers are dragging rubber. Five minutes later and we’re being lashed by rain again.

Before reaching Bielefeld yesterday I stopped to refill the car while sunshine turned to icy winds and small pellets of hail. We were most fortunate this morning that our diversion through Hamelin and the Schloss Marienburg were exempt from this, but as soon as we resumed our journey north on the autobahn, it was back to carwash and bake dry five times an hour.
Bielefeld - Hameln - Schloss Marienburg - FlensburgAfter you emerge from the long Elb tunnel at Hamburg, the most tedious part of the journey begins. The long northward path through German Jutland and across Denmark is basically several lanes of highway in a wide tree-lined ditch with grey sky above and the occasional strong wind to remind you that you’re alive. There are few glimpses of any countryside or signs of human activity to divert the mind.

We stopped just ahead of the Danish border at Flensburg to buy discounted grog and candy. The weather turned sour again just as we emerged from the Calle store with some slabs of beer and a quantity of unsalted liquorice.
Flensburg - Rudkobing
From there we had a little over two hours to go to reach the island of Langeland. Five years ago when Bondi and I first visited Denmark, we stayed with Julian and his lovely German Shepherd dog Cindy in Copenhagen. Cindy passed away about eighteen months ago and some time later Julian moved to the quieter rural surrounds of Langeland.

I recently received word that Julian had adopted another shepherd – a two year old male, King. There was some apprehension on both Julian and my parts: King was still a bit “raw” from multiple rehomings and we didn’t know how Munson and he would take to each other.
Munson meets King
When the two dogs finally met each other in Julian’s backyard there was a lot of piss and vinegar to begin with. The main problem was that being on leashes forces an unpleasant face to face confrontation. To fix this I asked Julian to keep King more or less stationary while Munson had a chance to approach and sniff from the rear. This was done while simultaneously soothing and praising both dogs.

The noise began to subside pretty quickly at this point. I let Munson off his leash at this point and he ran around the yard to investigate  a bit more while King looked on.  When Munson approached King again he got a bit of a play bow, and so we felt that King could now be released.

King ran off some of his excess excitement in three rapid circles of the yard and then the two began to play like they were old mates. Checking the time-stamps on my photos and some video I can see that the whole introduction took only  5-10 minutes. Julian was ecstatic as the exercise proved that King was quite socialisable. Both dogs were of course very happy; while Munson hadn’t had a play like this in the weeks since Legend died, and had been car-bound for three days, this was probably the first decent play that King had had in months.

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