I took this picture the other day-- this one can be found on the way to Billund, but this sign represents other signs like it that you see OFTEN along the country roads in Denmark. You see, folks in Denmark who have an extra guest room in their homes are willing to RENT that room out for the night to a weary traveler. These are not bed & breakfast establishments, and they are certainly not hotels. They truly are just regular people who have an extra room that they are willing to offer to a traveler. Yes, I am serious. And yes, this picture was really taken in 2011.
Mads explained this concept to me my first year here and so each time I would see the signs along the roads, I would remember that "værelser" meant "rooms". However one day I asked Mads a question about these signs because even though some look fancier than others, they all SAY the same thing. So I asked him (AND YES I WAS DEAD SERIOUS!)
Kelli: I have a question for you. "Zimmer" does not sound very Danish, but does one family run all these private room rentals throughout Denmark?
Mads: HUH? What do you mean?
Kelli: Like is it a chain or something? Even though these are private homes, are they all regulated by the same company... the Zimmer company?
Mads: (unable to speak because he is cracking up;
in fact, tears are rolling down his cheeks.)
Kelli: (with a bewildered look on her face) Honey???? I am serious. What are you laughing at? I always see these same signs everywhere and finally remembered to ask.
Mads: (attempting to compose himself) Honey, Zimmer is not the family's name or the company's name. Zimmer is "rooms" in German...so the sign is in Danish, English, and German. (more laughter follows and continues throughout the roadtrip)
On that day I admit I was a bit miffed. How was I, a Texas girl, supposed to know how to say "rooms" in German?! Seriously! I think I must have crossed my arms across my chest, refusing to speak for a bit. Yes, I was pouting.
However now, 3 years wiser and 3 years mellower, I GRIN every time we pass one of these signs. And I can even joke now about my "wondering if the Zimmers are home tonight and if they have a room for us"! :-)
Just another proof that we are NEVER too old to learn.