.... you can go no further
26/07/2010 - 28/07/2010
Rikke and Aaron headed home Sunday evening leaving Chas and me to continue our journey north to Skagen. We were now on our own, but thankfully travelling with our ever supportive and knowledgeable 'Ken', our GPS.
Skagen is another very special part of Denmark at the northern tip of the mainland .. you can go no further. I had been to Skagen on my first visit to DK in 2003, and wanted to share it with Chas. We were very lucky to find an available room in the centre of town, as this is peak tourist season.
Again, beautiful fine day, blue skies, low 20s. We are amazed at how lucky we have been with the weather!! However, as both Aaron and Rikke had texted us separately to advise that a turn for the worse was expected on Wednesday, we decided to get out and about as soon as we arrived.
Our first visit was to Den Tilsandede Kirke - the church buried by sand. The church, which bears the name of Sct. Laurentii (Saint Laurence) the seafarer's guardian saint, was built in the second half of the 14th century and was at that time the largest church in the region. The sand drift started around 1600 finally reaching the church towards the end of the 18th century. The congregation had to dig their way into the church when they wanted to attend services. The struggle continued until 1795 when the church was closed by royal decree. Today only the tower of the ancient church is visible.
It is very interesting to imagine the struggles faced by the locals with the sand and having to walk away acknowledging defeat. This is an ongoing challenge, as our second visit to the Raabjerg Mile quite strikingly shows. This is an impressive area of the migrating dune which was formed on the west coast in the 16th century during the great sand drift which dominated the landscape until this century. The dune moves eastward towards the forest at a rate of 15 metres a year.
It is the largest moving dune in Northern Europe with an area of around 1 km² and a height of 40m (130 ft). The dune contains a total of 4 million m³ of sand. The wind moves it in a north-easterly direction up to 18m a year. The dune leaves a low, moist layer of sand behind it, trailing back westwards towards Skagerrak, where the Mile originally formed more than 300 years ago.
No matter which way you look, sand dunes are all around. Very impressive, and another example of the rugged but beautiful landscape of Denmark.
No visit to Skagen is complete without the obligatory trip to Grenen, Denmark's most northerly point where the two seas, the Skagerrak and the Kattegat, meet. This is one of the biggest tourist attractions of the area. We enjoyed the 20min. walk from the car park to the tip.
Another beautiful day - 23deg in sun but 17deg or so in the wind. We took time out for a coffee in the cafe to reflect on and enjoy the experience.
Skagen is famous for many things, as well as the sites we visited. Skagen was, and still is, a fishing port. However, it became famous in the 1870s when it became a summer destination for a group of painters and writers (known as The Skagen Group) attracted to the quality of the light of the area. This part of Denmark is actually called The Land of Light . They have more sunshine hours than the rest of the country and a longer period of light evenings and nights during summer.
They transformed it into a desirable holiday destination which still draws tourists from all over the world, and artists still come to experience the way the colours in the different landscapes mix together which helps to portray the different moods of the area. Art, music, and the special atmosphere are still the attractions. Chas and I spent our last morning at the Skagen Museum which is dedicated to the famous painters and poets of this time. If you ever make it to Skagen, this is a must see. The exhibition not only portrays their art but also provides an interesting social history of the people of the time which is beautifully presented.
Skagen also has a very active pedestrian shopping precinct with lovely little shops selling Danish goods, busking performers and many busy restaurants. The fishing port also has restaurants with live music which are busy into the evening with the long daylight hours.
Skagen is definitely a special place and there was still much that we did not have time to see, both here and in Thy. We will definitely have to visit this part of Denmark again.
On arriving back in Aarhus on Wednesday, we had to say 'goodbye' to our lovely exchange home and prepare for our next adventure ..... crop-circle hunting in England.