I have woefully ignored this blog and left it late to write up this section of our trip so I am going to make some comments on the pics we took and let them tell the story.
On the way there we arrived at Papenburg Germany and passed the biggest tallest longest building we had ever seen - so much so that we simply had to google it that evening. We found it was one of the biggest ship building factories in the world specialising in ferries and cruise ships! They were giving a tour the next day so we decided to go even though it was in german. It did not disappoint and here is a pic of part of a propeller:
This is one of the reasons we love to go with the flow and not research or plan too much. It was such a random spectacular discovery and we only went there because we found a free spot to camp!
Going into Denmark was very exciting; I had read a few books about the culture and was keen to meet these 'happy' people and enjoy the Scandinavian architecture. Our first supermarket was very different from any other we had been in, It was a cross between Ikea and a shopping mall! It literally had everything and was all laid out very charmingly with wicker and basket work everywhere and greenery dangling among the fast foods. We had decided to get some Danish pastries and funnily enough it was the one thing THEY DIDN'T SELL! I then tried to find what they did for puddings and desserts and again found nothing - only flan bases and squirty cream which was another surprise. Could this be why they were all so thin ?
We had hugely stocked up on food in Germany before crossing the border as we were told the prices were through the roof, but our info was wrong. Eating out is indeed extortionate but supermarket costs are pretty much on English standards.
The first town we came to felt very Danish and it was called Ribe. I don't know why but it felt like I was in a film set all the time.
Here is Martin cycling into the main square.
Maybe it was the way the buildings were laid out but I almost convinced myself there was nothing behind the façade just like the Truman Show. The other extraordinary thing was I felt very very sad to leave the place as if I somehow belonged there and wanted my children to see it too even though it was nothing special - very twee and cute but then so were lots of other places. However we had a beer the first day quite forgetting what we had been told about the prices and were staggered to be handed a £15 bill. Never again!!.
Again we had great urge to see the coast so we set off for the most remote looking place we could find that had a free parking spot and fetched up on the north westerly coast on a tiny beach called Lepvig where we could camp for free on the wind swept clifftop. I spent some pleasurable hours playing eerie sounds on the keyboard looking straight at the sea.
Absolutely bloomin gorgeous - until two other vans joined us and camped right next to us. I guess they wanted to snuggle up and be cosy in the face of the wild elements!
It gave me a chance to take a pic I'd been waiting for a long time for - our Lenny in the wild (sort of)
We were very impressed to have free loos and hot and cold water in the bathrooms laid on for tourists on this beach. All around Denmark the facilities were often free and were fantastic. An example of the famous Danish social state system where everyone pays so much tax (most people 40%!) but then gets really good pay back in education, childcare, job security and well - clean free bathrooms at beaches.
After that, as so often happens after a peaceful remote spot we decided to see some city action and headed for Silkeborg
We were delighted to find a jazz festival in full swing in Silkeburg:
and vowed to come back next year for the whole five days with a jazz enthusiast friend of ours. We saw some really top class acts on the street and in pubs and other venues
Everyday we cycled long this lovely lake to the centre.
We visited the museum of the world famous Tolmund bog man who had been preserved in mud since 350 BC! His face was spookily real:
On the road all over Denmark we kept coming across this sign:
and we were constantly trying to guess what it was from the context (rather than look it up on babelfish)
Finally a Finnish friend told me it mean 'Ready for a break?' Haha of course!
After that we headed eastwards to Odense and Nyborg and were lucky enough to be invited to a midsummer evening's bonfire on the beach which is the tradition all over Scandinavia I believe. Here I saw the much renowned 'hygge' demonstrated. It is a hard concept to explain. Its a bit like the dutch 'gezelligheid' and it means cosiness, homeliness, a sense of community and belonging and a love for your fellow creatures and a bit of general Winnie the pooh contentedness after a jar of honey. This also explains the Danish people's huge love of candles - to keep them cosy through the dark winter months. Indeed more candle wax is melted per person in Denmark than anywhere else in the world! On the beach they lit the fire early, handed out the song sheets and everyone solemnly sang songs - I imagine they were about being a Dane and being together. It was extraordinary to see it enacted in front of us after all we had read. It was like they were doing it because they had always done it and even if they weren't in the mood this is what the family is doing this afternoon. I think here more than anywhere else we were privileged to see the real Danish character in action.
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