The house where Andreas grew up.
All his friends lived in the houses right around him…
They felt like they owned the place! (as all young boys do).

Having completed the last of my academic duties this morning, this afternoon I headed out with Andreas to visit his old stomping grounds in Solrod Strand.  He spent the better part of his childhood and teen years in this small town between Køge and Copenhagen.  We took a relaxed bike tour and visited all the places he use to frequent: primary and secondary school, gymnasium (high school), the athletic center, the soccer fields, and even the old house where he grew up.  It was such a cozy afternoon and it was really interesting to see how young Danes grow up.

The primary/secondary school where Andreas went.
He also always showed up at the very last-minute,
occasionally even climbing through the window
to his classroom to beat his teacher!

The craziest part of the trip was visiting the high school.  We walked right in and found ourselves in the main hall which is normally used as a cafeteria and lounge area where students eat, socialize, and do homework.  Did you catch that?  We walked right in…no security, no locks, no annoying old guy with a sign-in sheet.  The atmosphere inside was like nothing I’ve ever experienced in an American high school.  Students where everywhere, some working, some not.  It looked a lot more like the CUB or library at Gettysburg than my high school.  Shit, the only time you ever saw people in the hallway at Wilson was when they were running between classes!  Or after school when we were rushing to get out…

They use to think these two tunnel entrances
looked like eyes…they were entering the gator!

When I was growing up there was this old tunnel not far from school that was probably about 10 feet in diameter at the opening.  It went deep into the underground drainage systems, and became progressively smaller until it was barely large enough to fit a person.  We use to use skateboards to roll along on our stomachs and traverse these unknown caverns, and we even managed to take them a good half mile until we found ourselves below the alley behind our school! Of course mom always use to yell at me and say it wasn’t safe, but guess what?  I was not the only young boy fascinated with secret tunnels.  Andreas and his friends use to play in these tunnels, often racing each other to the other side!  And you thought it was dangerous…at least ours weren’t full of water!

      The public athletic center is a true wonder of the welfare state.  Funded by the state (or kommune, Andreas was not sure), this place had a number of excellent facilities that were free to use by the local community.  Indoor courts, a full swimming pool complete with water toys and swimming aides, locker rooms with showers…this place had everything.  It’s like having a community Body Zone for free!  Okay, not necessarily for free since it is paid for by taxes, but still.  Imagine you (or your kids) being able to just come here whenever they wished to play sports and hang out in a safe and healthy environment.  There is no sign in or member’s card…you just show up whenever you want.  Heck, I’d pay some extra taxes for that…