Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Discoveries and Confessions..

My first year in Denmark was a year of discoveries. Every road we traveled had one more thing to show me and to teach me, and now, 4 years into my expat life, I see things that I "first discovered" in 2008 and they bring a smile to my face every time. 

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. 


May said...


Thumbs up for Mads for managine to stay on the road when you asked him about the Zimmers.

That was priceless!

Anonymous said...

Hilarious! I think that there are lots of these signs in the countryside all over Europe - and that makes me happy, thinking of countless of Zimmer families offering hospitality to travellers!

Kathy said...

Oh, these are such a lovely part of Germany too -- you see the "zimmer frei" signs as you wind through country roads, pull up to one and spend the night, and have breakfast with the family and meet some new friends. I didn't realize they did that in parts of Denmark too! My dad and I did a trip through Germany many years ago and had excellent lodging experiences via this route -- I highly recommend it!

Archaeogoddess said...

ROFLMAO! When I was 16 I visited Germany for the first time and wondered how big the town of "Ausfahrt" must be, because all the exits on the highway led there.

To be fair, I do know a man with the last name of Zimmerman.

Unknown said...

That is funny! You taught me a couple of new things today: how to say rooms in German, and they there are rooms like this in Denmark. I am just on my way to ask Henry why he never told me about this before.