Annelise and Pip beat Jutte and I pretty soundly in the first set. It’s an overcast, chilly day on the red clay courts in Nykobing. I get to witness Annelise’s mean serve and well-timed slices from the other side of the net, while Pip showcases a pretty powerful forehand. The ladies call the score and share other pleasantries in Danish, but it is easy to translate because we all understand and love the game of tennis. Jutte and I make a comeback in the second set. She drops a few well-placed lobs in the back court and I hit a few strong backhands. Aaron has come along to watch a little friendly competition and turns into an excellent ball boy. I was thrilled to get in some tennis. Later, Annelise and I admit to one another that we are pretty addicted to the sport, but we already knew that about one another.
After tennis, Annelise takes us to see an old wind mill that we spotted from afar on one of our excursions. It’s the Stouby Mill built in 1750, once used to grind grain for poorer farmers who couldn’t afford to grind their own grain. Turns out the mill owner was as powerful as wealthier farmers. Today, you can climb into the mill to see its wooden inner workings and visit other shops nearby. We stop into a store featuring glass-blown bowls and art and watch one of the craftspeople make a colorful glass-blown fish.
There is an open-air market in Marielyst today also, so Aaron and I decide to check it out. There are vendors selling knitted gifts and jewelery and quite a few are selling dog treats and toys. Someone from the local crocodile zoo has brought an albino snake for vacationers to oggle and pet. We sample fresh honey, sweet and light, and chat with a local bee farmer who explains that the honey was collected that day. We circled the small market with fresh fish and vegetable as well within minutes and decided to sit and have a beer. Annelise’s brother, Niller, stops by to chat and offers to buy us a beer. Niller lives in Marielyst year-round and tells us of his plans to visit the states in September. Aaron and I are struck by his resemblance to his older sister. Niller leaves us to head home and we start to hear salsa music play. I recognize one tune from a Zumba class that I’d taken recently, so we get up to investigate. Sure enough, about 30 Danes are gyrating in the middle of Marielyst’s main street to a latin beat. There is a Zumba instructor on a stage leading the crowd in hip thrusts and pumps and quite a few are keeping up as if they’ve done this many times before. We notice that there are a few guys keeping up too, particularly one blond whose hips know how to find the beat. It was quite entertaining to watch, but not for long because we’ve got dinner plans.
When we enter the Saxkjobing Hotel on Lolland, we can see why it is always booked. We count about 14 tables in the small, simple dining area with tree limbs haning from its ceiling. The size isn’t the only reason that the restaurant is so popular. It is affiliated with the best restaurant in the world as rated by Michelin, Noma, in Copenhagen. Noma is known for its organic, Nordic-sourced cuisine and Saxkjobing Hotel and Restaurant is following in its footsteps. Annelise tells us that we have to do the five-course menu and the wine menu with each course. We start with a simple shrimp salad and a Riesling and move on to a fresh filet of fish in a brown butter sauce with the same berries I had in my Koldskaal dessert at the Orangeriet in Copenhagen along with a Sauvignon Blanc. From there, we build to beautifully prepared lamb chops with a Malbec, followed by a cheese plate and dessert. It was fabulous. The three of talk about how much we love food and share memories of our favorite restaurants. Soon, we head home and I go to bed slightly tipsy and totally contented.