A Travellerspoint blog

Denmark

Aarhus - and there's more ...

but it is nearly time to come home.

semi-overcast 10 °C

While I think we have seen our share of churches during our holiday, we did find a couple more which I thought may be of interest due to their historical significance.

While travelling into Aarhus on the bus one day, we chatted with an elderly lady who suggested we visit one of Aarhus’s churches, The Church of Our Lady. Originally known as St. Nicholas' Church, it was renamed after the Reformation in 1536 with the altarpiece and pulpit added in the mid 16thC. However our interest lay in the crypt church which was unveiled under the main building during restoration in the 1950s. Two graves were found - one of a child and one of an adult. This church is the oldest existing stone church in Scandinavia built in 1060. It was restored and reopened in 1957 and is still used for mass once a week. The crucifix above the altar is an exact copy of a Roman crucifix found in an old church in Aarhus, the original of which is now in the National Museum in Copenhagen. It is very unusual. The crypt church is lovely and well worth a visit.

The crypt church, The Church of Our Lady

The crypt church, The Church of Our Lady

Very interesting cruficix in the crypt church, The Church of Our Lady

Very interesting cruficix in the crypt church, The Church of Our Lady


After visiting Rikke’s family in Kolding one day we stopped to visit a lovely churchyard in Jelling south of Aarhus. The church dates from 1100 and the two large burial mounds and two massive carved rune stones from the 10th C.. The runic writings on the stones have been translated. The smaller and older one states that King Gorm the Old placed the stone in memory of his wife Thyra. The larger stone placed by King Gorm's son, Harald Bluetooth is in memory of his parents, and to celebrate his conquest of Denmark and Norway and his conversion of the Danes to Christianity. This stone has three sides and shows Christ with arms outstretched and a halo over his head. It is almost 2.5m tall and weighs 10ton!!

The body of King Gorm the Old was discovered under the church in 1978 and after extensive study was re-entombed in the church in 2000. How amazing is that!!

Jelling stones - massive carved runestones from the 10th century

Jelling stones - massive carved runestones from the 10th century

Standing on the burial mound looking towards church and rune stones

Standing on the burial mound looking towards church and rune stones

This is one of Denmark’s most important historical sites and is another UNESCO World Heritage Site. The inscription on the larger stone is considered to be the first written record in which the word ‘Denmark’ appears. They call it the ‘Danes Baptism Certificate’. A plaster cast of this stone has been made and a copy showing what are considered to be original colours lies outside the museum in Jelling.

Copy of Jelling carved rune stones from 10thC

Copy of Jelling carved rune stones from 10thC

One Sunday morning we decided to take a trip to Denmark’s Lake District. We set off but only five minutes later found ourselves unable to even read the signs on the motorway due to very heavy fog and light rain. However, we decided to continue (very carefully), and within a half hour the fog had lifted to a beautiful sunny, but cool day. Yeah!!

The ‘Lake District’ is an area around Silkeborg only 40km from Aarhus (has anyone watched Unit One on ABC TV which is set in Silkeborg??). This area is home to Denmark’s longest river (the Gudenå; 160km), Jutland’s biggest lake (Mossø) and Denmark’s highest point, Ejer Baunehøj (just under 171m!!). I counted 11 lakes (but I’m not sure – there may be more). A very picturesque area with a wonderful history.

As we had started our journey without breakfast we were on the lookout for somewhere to have lunch. Well, what did we find? A lovely restaurant with beautiful (vegan) food, in the most wonderful setting we could dream of. While it was too cold to eat our meal outside, we could not resist taking our coffee into the sunshine, with the odd canoe, small motor boats and a flock of ducks swimming by. Pure bliss.

View from our restaurant table

View from our restaurant table

Enjoying the sunshine  -  pure bliss

Enjoying the sunshine - pure bliss

Another definite ‘high’ was Himmelbjerget (The Sky Mountain) with a height of 147 meters. From 1839 open air meetings were held here where people came together to discuss the future of Denmark. On top of the hill is a 25 meter tall tower that was erected to honor King Frederik VII and his role in giving the Danish people a constitution in 1849. There are also a number of monuments several honouring Danish poets and one commemorating the women’s right to vote in 1915.

The Himmelbjerg Tower 25m tall

The Himmelbjerg Tower 25m tall


View of The Himmelbjerg Tower from across the lake where we enjoyed our lunch

View of The Himmelbjerg Tower from across the lake where we enjoyed our lunch

On the day we visited there were many people enjoying the last burst of 'summer'. Many Danish tourist attractions close for the winter period so they hold on to the idea of 'summer time' as long as they can. This is a very popular destination. It is a beautiful natural area with magnificent views. It was peaceful and relaxing as we enjoyed the view over Lake Julsø with boats gently moving across the still water, and the trees starting the change to their beautiful autumn colours. What a day!!

Lovely view of Lake Julsø from Himmelbjerget

Lovely view of Lake Julsø from Himmelbjerget

I have been enjoying the change of the season –daylight at 8am, watching the changing of the colours and the gradual loss of leaves from the trees, the cold days (currently max 7-10deg), and cosy evenings at home with the central heating!

We have continued to explore the local area seeking lovely restaurants to enjoy lunch. One of our favourite destinations has been the quaint Skovmøllen (The Mill in the Wood) which is part of Aarhus University’s Moesgård Museum. Now a restaurant, it used to be Moesgård manor's corn mill, located in the forest, ten minutes' walk from the museum. Moesgård museum specialises in archaeology and ethnography. It is so cool, and one of my favourite areas in Aarhus.

Skovmøllen (The Mill in the Wood) Restaurant

Skovmøllen (The Mill in the Wood) Restaurant

The creek beside the mill

The creek beside the mill

Another part of the Skovmøllen complex

Another part of the Skovmøllen complex

Ducks playing in the pond Skovmøllen

Ducks playing in the pond Skovmøllen

The museum has exhibitions in various places around their quite large complex and you find them as you walk around the area. For example we came across a reconstruction of what they consider the first churches in Denmark may have looked like (based on archaeological evidence).

Reconstruction of early Danish church

Reconstruction of early Danish church

We also came across two interesting sculptures that I think were made from willow, which caught Chas’s eye especially!!

Chas admiring sculpture, Moesgård Museum

Chas admiring sculpture, Moesgård Museum

Well everyone, this is my last post to the blog as we head home this weekend. I hope you have found it interesting and have enjoyed sharing our journey as much as I have enjoyed preparing it for you. A very rough calculation has shown that we will have travelled over 47,000 km (on our trips alone). We have so many wonderful memories to bring home with us.

I'll leave you with some pics of Aarhus. There are more pics in my public gallery for you to enjoy. If you click on 'Show as stream' you can also read my added comments and view them in medium or large sizes so the images are more clear.


Looking forward to seeing you soon.
Hej hej fra Danmark.
Pat

Interesting artwork on side of building

Interesting artwork on side of building

Temp 4degC 10.45am

Temp 4degC 10.45am

Aaron scraping frost from car windscreen

Aaron scraping frost from car windscreen

Designated lanes for cyclists

Designated lanes for cyclists

Interesting artwork on side of building

Interesting artwork on side of building

A few remaining yellow leaves on trees

A few remaining yellow leaves on trees

Avenue of trees which have already lost their leaves

Avenue of trees which have already lost their leaves


Risskov Forest

Risskov Forest

Moesgård Forest.  Trees have started to lose their leaves

Moesgård Forest. Trees have started to lose their leaves

Chas splashing me with water, Moesgård Forest

Chas splashing me with water, Moesgård Forest

Posted by patsaunder 12:07 Archived in Denmark Tagged me landscapes lakes churches art buildings people trees family_travel Comments (1)

Aarhus: back home again

semi-overcast 16 °C

We moved into our second exchange home when returning from Spain, a 1 bedroom apartment in a large complex at Risskov (a northern suburb of Aarhus), only 800m or so from the beach, and the beautiful Ris Skov forest. The complex is very large with at least 6 blocks with 8 units each.

Apartment complex

Apartment complex

This was a 5-week arrangement so we had time to settle in to the local community. There was an especially good fruit and veg shop at the end of our street where we purchased our fruit and veg. Nobody asked why we were living there, but I’m sure there would have been discussion as to who these English-speaking people were and why are they here!!

It was fortunate that we had the apartment as 2 days after returning Brade and Katherine arrived from Brisbane so Aaron and Rikke needed our bedroom. It was wonderful to be together. The last time Aaron, Braden and I were together in Denmark was 2003, and 2008 in Australia. The challenges of having children who travel the world!!

We had a great time. While out walking in the forest we went searching for mushrooms which grow wild and found many other interesting living things. Rikke was able to explain the different mushrooms, those that are safe to eat and those that are not. Exploring is always fun especially when accompanied by two biologists. We had lots of fun together. It was wonderful.

The family together

The family together

Rikke discussing the good and the bad of mushrooms

Rikke discussing the good and the bad of mushrooms

Interesting

Interesting

There were many of these large slugs on the forest floor

There were many of these large slugs on the forest floor

Dinner at home together

Dinner at home together

While we had no more plans for further overseas travel (together), we did decide to organise a few trips in Denmark. Our first was to Odense on the island of Fyn. Again we chose our B&B close to the centre of Odense within walking distance of the old part of town. Unfortunately, while we had been enjoying the lovely warmth of Spain, Denmark had cooled considerably, and together with wind, was already quite cold.

Our first visit was the Hans Christian Andersen’s Museum, a lovely building which had been built to honour the 200th anniversary of his birth in 2005. The very small house in which Andersen was born has been incorporated into the museum complex. The exhibition showcased many original documents which provided an in-depth impression of what he was like as a person, illustrating his skill not only as a writer, poet and artist, but also the beautiful paper cut-outs for which he was especially famous. Apparently he carried his scissors with him everywhere and would entertain dinner party guests by designing intricate cut-outs depicting the story which he was telling. Some of these original paper cut-outs have survived and are displayed in the museum. This beautiful statue depicts Andersen telling his stories surrounded by children. Behind the statue is an Andy Warhol painting of Andersen’s famous cut-out which hangs beside the painting on the wall.

H C Andersen's statue

H C Andersen's statue

Detail of HC Andersen's paper cutout

Detail of HC Andersen's paper cutout

We also visited the house in which he lived aged 2-14. Three families shared the house , one room per family (one with 7 children), sadly showing the struggle families of this time had to survive. This display provided detail of his early life outlining some of the events which were instrumental in forming the person that he became. An extraordinary man and one of Denmark’s most loved icons.

H C Andersen's family home

H C Andersen's family home

H C Andersen's family home

H C Andersen's family home

Fyn is very much an agricultural area with little villages dotted through the countryside. I had wanted to visit Egeskov Castle (Egeskov - oak forest) since I had first heard that it took an entire forest of oak trees to build the foundation. I wanted to see if it had been worth sacrificing these beautiful trees. Egeskov is surrounded by a moat which goes right up to the castle walls. The castle has been privately owned since it was built in 1554, and has been in the family of the current owner, Count Michael Ahlefeldt-Laurvig-Bille, since 1784. He and his family live at the castle which is still a working farm. And I must say it is very impressive.

Egeskov Castle

Egeskov Castle

As you can imagine, the furnishings and art works collected over hundreds of years is amazing. We even had access to the loft which has a beautiful display of dinner services across the generations, and also an collection of toys from the last 100 years, both of which were surprisingly interesting. However, it was here that I was also able to see the beautiful oak beams which were used to build the structure. The trees must have been massive. An old castle story says that if the little wooden man who lies under the beams “is ever moved from his pillow the castle will sink into the moat on Christmas night”.

Oak beams

Oak beams

The castle is very well presented and the stafff dress in costume depicting the year 1875. This is very effective is giving the castle ‘life’ which helps one to visualise those times. There were not many visitors to the castle on the day on which Chas and I visited as it was closing that weekend for the winter. We were therefore only 1 of 2 couples who attended a short concert in the Banqueting Hall performed by the castle staff (butler, governess, stable boy and smithies). They sang beautifully and it was enjoyable to watch the other couple singing along with them – obviously traditional Danish folk songs. They cheerfully engaged in a lively conversation on Danish politics with Chas after the concert (in English of course) which was fun also.

Egeskov Castle staff

Egeskov Castle staff

However, I was blown away by a display currently on loan to Egeskov by the LEGO Fund. Titania’s Palace is a fantastic doll’s house built in 1907 by Sir Nevile Wilkinson for his daughter who wanted a proper home for the elves and fairies that she’d seen at the bottom of the garden. The house has 18 rooms, and about 3000 miniature art treasures from across the globe. There is a thimble made of gold, rings with precious stones, a cello, and an organ which can be played, all in miniature.!!!! It took Sir Nevile and his skilled craftsmen 15 years to complete. Absolutely unbelievable.

Titania's Palace

Titania's Palace

The grounds provide much more than just a castle with 13 magnificent gardens (eg the fuschia garden has 1538 varieties!!), 4 mazes, a deer park, 5 museums (agriculture, horse drawn vehicles, veteran cars, motor cycles, emergency vehicles), a collection of airplanes and helicopters, and a fantastic restaurant where Chas was able to enjoy his favourite Danish meal, Stjerneskud (translation: a shooting star) as we enjoyed watching the peacock and peahens outside.

Enjoying lunch

Enjoying lunch

Stjerneskud (translation: a shooting star)

Stjerneskud (translation: a shooting star)

We did not have time to see everything but hopefully I will have an opportunity to visit Egeskov again.

We also visited St Knud’s Church in Odense, named after the Danish king Canute the Saint. The church has a beautiful altarpiece (completed in 1521) which is coated with 23 carat gold. However, the church's most visited section is the crypt where the remains of King Canute and his brother, Benedict are on display. Slain by rebels in 1086, he was the first Dane to be canonized. He was recognized by the Roman Catholic Church as patron saint of Denmark in 1101, under the name of San Canuto. While it was a little disconcerting, I feel that his special status in Danish history warrants his remains being displayed in such a way.

Remains of Danish king Canute the Saint

Remains of Danish king Canute the Saint

Posted by patsaunder 23:08 Archived in Denmark Tagged landscapes art buildings people castles family_travel Comments (0)

Copenhagen

Copenhagen rocks ... I love it.

sunny

On Monday 23 August we caught the train for a 4 hour trip from Århus on Jutland, crossing the island of Funen to Copenhagen, Denmark’s capital on the island of Zealand. Copenhagen is a wonderful place to visit – vibrant, welcoming, very easy to find your way (can walk to most of the central attractions), full of history, architectural splendour and beautiful sculptures. Copenhagen rocks ... I love it.

We were lucky to obtain cheap accommodation through Rikke’s brother-in-law’s brother!! The complex in which he lives has an apartment which residents can offer to family/friends when visiting the city. However, I stress the ‘cheap’ - A$20/night. We could not refuse such an offer, could we? It was very easy to find, just a 15minute walk from central rail station and situated in the middle of what used to be the red light district of the city (with some ladies still remaining). Hmm! We had a 24hr massage parlour across the road, and many sex shops displaying their wares along the street to town. The accommodation had everything we needed (eg beds, lounge, kitchen, toilet) however I found it a little disconcerting to have to go outside the building to two doors along the street to use a communal shower. (This has a funny story which I will share if you remind me when I return). Apparently this is not uncommon as it is a high density city with accommodation sometimes difficult to acquire. While basic, we did appreciate having accommodation in central Copenhagen as that fantastic price.

Copenhagen has a very European feel - vibrant, stylish, cosmopolitan. And the place to go to be part of this is the Stroget, the pedestrian street, called the ‘spine of the city’, which consists of five streets which wind their way through the inner city. This is the shopping area where you will find famous brands like Cartier, Tiffany, YSL, the traditional Danish icons like Georg Jensen and Royal Copenhagen, as well as many restaurants, souvenir shops, street buskers and stalls. On arrival we stored our luggage at the station, and headed there to just feel the energy, people watch and check out the shops. One can stroll aimlessly through the little alleyways and side streets and have a wonderful adventure just looking. For example, in one of the squares we came across a fantastic exhibition of large photographs (2mx1m) depicting children's initiation rites of various cultures around the world. Fantastic.

Stroget Copenhagen

Stroget Copenhagen

Chas and I visited many of Copenhagen’s main attractions on our last visit – for example The Round Tower, Nyhavn Canal, and Amalienborg (the Royal Palace), as well as the iconic symbol of Copenhagen, The Little Mermaid. I thought it interesting that if you visit Copenhagen this year from May to end of October you would not be able to see The Little Mermaid,. This beautiful statue depicting Hans Christian Andersen’s famous children’s story which has sat for the last 96 years on her stone at the harbour has left home for the first time to be part of the Danish pavilion at World Expo in China. However, the Tivoli Gardens amusement park in the city has a copy of the original which you can see (at an entry cost). I think they should have left the original (which is free to visit) and taken the copy to China!!

The Little Mermaid, Copenhagen

The Little Mermaid, Copenhagen

However, as we only had a few days we decided to visit selected sites, some with a more cultural focus. Our first was Rosenborg Slot, a small but beautiful royal palace built 1606-34 by Christian IV as his summer residence. It remained the residence of kings for the next three generations until Frederik IV decided he wanted a bigger palace (Frederiksberg Castle built in 1710). Rosenborg then became a storehouse for royal heirlooms, regalia, thrones etc. The Royal Danish Collections of objects relating to the Danish monarchs over the last 400 years are stored here, however, it is unique in that the royal collections have been open for display to the public since 1838. As expected, the decoration, furnishings, and objects-de-art are lavish, with magnificent craftsmanship and beauty.

The castle is also home to the Treasury and well-guarded Crown Jewels and Crown Regalia which is still used by Queen Margrethe II at state functions. It is awesome to see. While the Crown Jewels and Crowns are magnificent, there are also other items such as the royal baptismal font and basin and a water pitcher and two candlesticks – of pure gold. I was also impressed at the superb embroidery and detail on the 'blanket' for the horse which Christian IV rode for his coronation. It was beautiful and must have taken many hours to complete. The castle is also surrounded by beautiful gardens and more magnificent statues.

Rosenborg Castle, Copenhagen

Rosenborg Castle, Copenhagen


Coronation Chair, Rosenborg Castle

Coronation Chair, Rosenborg Castle


Sculpture

Sculpture

Our next stop was the Statens Museum for Kunst, National Gallery of Denmark. The museum building is magnificent, but its beauty was hidden when we visited as the front entrance was draped with massive banners advertising their current exhibition by Bjørn Nørgaard. Definitely not appealing. Chas was interested in seeing a photographic exhibition which was also on display. Unfortunately we found it very disappointing also.

The museum is very large and houses a significant collection of European art. While we wandered through the galleries enjoying the many beautiful art works it actually became somewhat overwhelming (as you can see). However, I was especially impressed with a preparatory sketch by Reubens for an alterpiece titled Ascent to Calvary . There was so much to see but unfortunately I felt our visit on this occasion was disappointing. I will have to visit the museum another time so I can revise my opinion.

DSC00143

DSC00143

(ps re Bjørn Nørgaard .. considered one of Denmark’s most notable artists, reflected by his commission by Queen Margrethe in 1990 to create a series of 13 tapestries depicting the history of Denmark to present day. We actually saw these on our last visit. They are stunning. However, I haven’t yet got over also seeing his piece titled The Horse Sacrifice (1970) where they slaughtered a horse, carved it up and preserved pieces in 199 jars. I found it quite confronting and not my idea of art!! Though (in his defence) I have read that this piece was intended as a protest to what he saw as the Danish population’s uncaring attitude at the time to the horrors of the Vietnam War. Needless to say, he can be somewhat controversial.)

The next day we planned to spend the afternoon and evening with Rikke’s aunt and uncle (Aase and John), so we only had a few hours in the morning to explore. Chas chose to visit Our Saviour’s Church (Vor Frelsers Kirke), unique in that it has a spiral staircase of 400 steps which runs around the exterior of the spire. While it was no contest for me (if climbing 400 steps (up and down) wasn’t sufficient detriment, my vertigo would have been), Chas couldn’t resist the challenge. It was quite a windy day. When he finally returned to earth, Chas said that going ‘up’ was fine as you had the support of the rail. However, going ‘down’ was scary as it appeared that you were being pushed into nothingness when the wind was behind and pushing you forward. He was thrilled that he was able to reach up and touch the bottom of the globe on top of the spire. It is Copenhagen’s 2nd highest panoramic viewpoint from 90m high. The church itself was also worth the visit with many beautiful pieces. Built in 1696 the altar is magnificent, as is the 3-storey organ (dating from 1698) which has over 4000 pipes and is supported by two giant elephants. A very enjoyable morning.

Vor Frelsers Kirke, Copenhagen

Vor Frelsers Kirke, Copenhagen


Vor Freslers Kirke Organ

Vor Freslers Kirke Organ

After afternoon tea with Aase and John, and catching up on news since our last visit, we headed out for a walk through Copenhagen. Firstly to the ‘free state of Christiania’ which has been in existence since 1971 when a group of squatters took over some deserted military barracks and established a commune. The local authorities initially tried to force them to leave, but as the community’s numbers grew, the government decided to treat Christiania as a ‘social experiment’. Today it has over 900 residents, with its own schools, infrastructure and system of government which are financed in part by proceeds from its cafes, restaurants, and the sale of locally made handicrafts. Christiania was initially linked with the hippy drug culture (they even have a street called Pusher Street), but the sale of cannabis was outlawed in 2004, and other hard drugs are not tolerated. It is one of Copenhagen’s biggest tourist attractions and contributes economically to the state. It is also amusing to see the sign as you leave Christiania which says “You are now entering the EU”.

Christiania Copenhagen

Christiania Copenhagen

All this walking is hard work, so Aase and John took us to a new cafe which they have found just off the Stroget for a beer and sit down. It is called Cafe-retro. It is a non-profit organisation, staffed by volunteers and targeting Copenhagen’s student community. With 20% student discount on beer, tea and French coffee, free wireless internet, live music, art exhibitions, and more, I will be very surprised if this cafe is not a goer. Not to mention it is very groovy. Reminded me a little of The Three Monkeys in West End which some of you may know - dimly lit, little nooks and crannies where people can sit in privacy and lots of atmosphere. And ... all proceeds go to support selected small projects in Africa. And very friendly staff. We sat at an upstairs table and when John and Chas went for refills, Aase and I were surprised to see both of them behind the bar helping the staff to open a keg!! Very cosy.

And there’s more ... we then walked to Denmark’s biggest tourist attraction and most famous and favourite destination, the Tivoli Gardens. I have visited the Tivoli on each of our trips and I never get enough of it. Opened in 1843 it is the 2nd oldest amusement park in the world and 3rd most popular in Europe. With rides, entertainment, concert hall, pantomimes, a magnificent lake and gardens, fantastic food and restaurants and wonderful atmosphere. Unfortunately I haven't got a good-enough pic which shows the magic of Tivoli as we always visit in the evening. If interested in seeing more log on to http://www.tivoli.dk/composite-3351.htm. After dinner we watched the laser show across the lake, had after-dinner drinks at Rosie Macgees before heading home to bed. A wonderful night, great fun and fantastic hospitality from Aase and John, as always.

With Aase and John after a wonderful evening

With Aase and John after a wonderful evening

The Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek (a collection of sculpture) founded by the Danish brewing magnate, Carl Jacobsen was our destination the next morning. I had passed this magnificent building many times but had not taken much notice of it. The museum has over 10,000 pieces with its main emphasis on the cultures of the ancient Mediterranean world, as well as Danish and French art from 19th and 20th centuries. Very impressive. For example, it has 35 works by Rodin which is the largest collection of his works outside of France. I was interested in the Edgar Degas exhibition, Studies in Bronze (the museum’s own complete collection of his sculptures), Carl Jacobsen’s sculpture collection which he donated, and the French Impressionists art.

The Degas exhibition was interesting mainly reflecting his focus on ballet dancers and horses. The Glypotetek sculpture collection is spectacular. It was a pleasure to just wander through and enjoy their beauty. And the impressionist collection impressive. It was wonderful to see works by Cezanne, Matisse, Toulouse-Lautrec, Picassso, Degas, Manet, Monet, Renoir, Rodin, many of which I had learned about in my very brief foray into art at school (way back when!!) .... though I only saw one Renoir, my favourite artist. I also loved Degas’s sculpture Little Fourteen-Year-Old Dancer where he actually used real tuille for her dress and attached a silk ribbon around her hair. Beautiful.

However, the building itself is impressive. It consists of two main buildings, completed and opened in 1906, which are linked by the Winter Garden which has sub-tropical palms and plants under a glass dome. A third building was added in 1996 to house the growing collection. Walking into the Winter Garden is magic. It is a lovely area - beautiful, peaceful, and, for me, totally unexpected (I even saw maidenhair fern growing in the garden). And the beauty continued throughout the museum. It wasn’t only that we were surrounded by most beautiful art works, but the building itself was beautiful (in structure, design and the materials used), and also the way the art was presented. It was also peaceful. I have just read on the net a little of the history of the museum which quotes Carl Jacobsen himself saying of his museum “With a beauty all its own”. I think that is exactly what it does. It was a pleasure just to be there. For me this visit was one of the highlights of our trip.

This magnicifent sculpture, which is the feature in the centre of the garden, reflects the beauty and splendour of the museum.

NY Carlsberg Glypotek

NY Carlsberg Glypotek

Copehnhagen has so much to offer. We could not see everything we want to see on this short trip, so have left many more places of interest for our next visit.

Our next adventure, Spain. Stayed tuned and check out more pics in the photo gallery.

Posted by patsaunder 13:05 Archived in Denmark Tagged me churches art buildings people family_travel Comments (0)

Skagen

.... you can go no further

sunny

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.

Skagen1 Den Tilsandede Kirke - Sand-Buried Church

Skagen1 Den Tilsandede Kirke - Sand-Buried Church

Skagen2 The stairs to the church tower

Skagen2 The stairs to the church tower

Skagen3  Looking out from Den Tilsandede Kirke's tower at the sand dunes which surround it

Skagen3 Looking out from Den Tilsandede Kirke's tower at the sand dunes which surround it

Skagen4   surrounded by the sand dunes

Skagen4 surrounded by the sand dunes

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.

Skagen5   Raabjerg Mile - shifting sand dunes

Skagen5 Raabjerg Mile - shifting sand dunes

Skagen6  as far as I eye can see in all directions

Skagen6 as far as I eye can see in all directions

Skagen7   and there's more ...

Skagen7 and there's more ...

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.

Skagen8   Grenen - the tip of Denmark

Skagen8 Grenen - the tip of Denmark

Skagen9   where the two seas meet - you can actually watch the waves coming together

Skagen9 where the two seas meet - you can actually watch the waves coming together

Skagen10   I can actually say I got my feet wet at the tip of Denmark

Skagen10 I can actually say I got my feet wet at the tip of Denmark

Skagen11   as did Chas

Skagen11 as did Chas

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.

Skagen12   Various remnants from WWII still visible

Skagen12 Various remnants from WWII still visible

Skagen13  Looking up the beach towards the lighthouse

Skagen13 Looking up the beach towards the lighthouse

Skagen14   Adding a holiday atmosphere to Skagen many of the houses are painted alike with pure white trim, brilliant yellow walls and red tile roofs.   Very pretty

Skagen14 Adding a holiday atmosphere to Skagen many of the houses are painted alike with pure white trim, brilliant yellow walls and red tile roofs. Very pretty

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.

Posted by patsaunder 01:03 Archived in Denmark Tagged family_travel Comments (1)

North Denmark

Thy National Park

sunny

On the weekend of 24 & 25 July, Rikke, Aaron, Chas and myself travelled to the north of Denmark to visit the beautiful area of Thy. This is a special area surrounded by the Limfjord and the North Sea. The locals are very proud of this unspoilt environment, part of which has been proclaimed Denmark's greatest 'wilderness' - the first and largest national park, an unspoiled nature area of 244 square kms.

Rikke's mum grew up in this area so Aaron and Rikke were very keen to share this with us. Rikke spent many of her childhood holidays here with her grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins.

With kilometres of white, undisturbed sand beaches along the west coast, this is a major tourist area with many people coming for the summer holiday season. Many Danes have small summer houses which are only used during holiday time. In some areas the small villages actually close down over the winter months. You certainly get a sense of the ruggedness of this area with the strong winds and the surf blowing in from the North Sea. One of Europe´s best surf spots, known as 'Cold Hawaii' is on the coast at Klitmøller in Thy, and a world competition for windsurfing will be held here in September.

We stayed in a B&B on a farm (Munkebo) with chickens, sheep, donkey, ducks, dogs and cat. It was comfortable and close to everything. It was amazing beautiful summer weather, except for the ever present wind. Our first visit was to Nth Vorupør, a beautiful fishing village. It was very peaceful walking along the sand by the water with the sand dunes which seem to go on for ever. The dunes developed at the end of the last ice age and are still moving east.

Thy

Thy

Thy

Thy

Thy

Thy

On Sunday morning, Aaron, Chas and I rose at 5am to go hunting for deer and birds in the national park leaving Rikke to catch up on some much needed rest. Obviously we were only armed with our binoculars and cameras!! It was quite cold, with a strong wind blowing. We first tried the open areas looking for signs of the herd of deer. We then moved into the forest hoping to find our way to the observation tower. Aaron is an avid bird watcher and was able to point out different ones to us. This area of the park is one of only four areas in Denmark which has a mating pair of cranes. We were very pleased to be able to see them with the binoculars quite some distance away, initially in the water, and then venturing out onto the grassed area, which was special. The sun was just reaching the top of the trees when we decided to go home for breakfast 3 1/2 hours later. While we did not see the herd, we did see one beautiful deer running across a field. A lovely time together.

Thy National Park 5

Thy National Park 5


Thy National Park

Thy National Park

After lunch we went for a walk through a different forest to a lovely secluded lake. Rikke is definitely a 'water' person who has to get her feet wet whenever she can. It was a lovely peaceful area, and several other families arrived to enjoy it also while we were there.

Thy National Park 8

Thy National Park 8

Thy National Park 7

Thy National Park 7

To have a look at the map to get a better idea of where Thy is located, log in to http://www.visitthy.dk/international/en-gb/menu/turist/thy.htm

Remember to look at the photo gallery for more pics of this beautiful area. I have included captions on most, and it is lovely to see them in the 'Large' sizing.

Posted by patsaunder 02:44 Archived in Denmark Tagged family_travel Comments (0)

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