Ribe, Brondby & Copenhagen – Denmark

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27th April 2019 – 02 May 2019

We continue to slowly make our way North, leaving Germany behind and we welcome in Denmark, a country that we have never visited before. As we are driving we notice that it is very, very similar to the U.K. in landscape. Green fields, acres of yellow rape seed glowing in the sunshine and bluebells bursting into life. Now, it is just our opinion, but we think that the architects in Denmark need to take a leaf out of the Dutch architects book. The architecture in Denmark is not at all spectacular, quite plain, box type brick buildings. Our first stop is the town of Ribe in the South West Jutland and the oldest town in Denmark, established in the early eighth century in the Germanic Iron Age. The town has many preserved old buildings, Ribe Cathedral and around 110 houses under the Heritage Protection, together with Denmark’s oldest town hall. The houses reminded us of Thaxted, a village near where we lived in Essex. We meandered around the town, ate chocolate waffles as you do ( fitness regime yet to begin !) and then retreated back to the van to sleep them off. The next day we headed north west to Brondby, a tiny strip of land with the North sea on one side and a lake on the other. David has a great APP on his phone for parking places and places to stay in Motorhomes and he found an amazing place tucked away, just us and the beautiful landscape. The sand dunes here are huge and as you climb them you see the most amazing view of the beach and sea that stretches for miles and miles. We were so lucky with the weather, lovely sunshine and the excitement of Chloe to feel sand between her paws always makes us smile. We stayed here a couple of days because it was so beautiful. There are many holiday homes on this coast and we later learnt that in the summer it is absolutely packed with holiday makers. You can understand why with the stunning coastline. We didn’t think we could top the parking spot but as we left and headed east a couple of hours we found parking right next to the water’s edge and it was so idyllic. When you looked out, there were fishermen in their waders enjoying the beautiful sunshine, canoes, small boats and yachts all moving along the estuary and we had blue, blue skies. It was a moving picture, one that I wish my Dad could have seen as he loved fishing and would have loved to have seen this view. Just further up the estuary there is a little one vehicle ferry that takes you across the estuary. As we walked along the beach, the water was filled with the biggest mussels that David has ever seen, as well as clams. I firmly said no, when he suggested eating them for dinner.

We left the tranquility of the stunning scenery and headed east towards Copenhagen, crossing over the most expensive bridge from Nyborg on the E20 over to Halsskov which David said would cost €70 but when we came to pay at the kiosk and with David talking X Factor of all things with the lady we were charged €35 ! Result.

First stop was the Viking Ship Museum in Roskilde for David, containing five unique Viking Ships excavated in 1962 from Roskilde Fjord near the village of Skuldelev. At the end of the Viking Age the late 11th century – a system of barriers was constructed to protect the royal seat and cathedral. These five ships were sunk across the sailing channel and were part of the effective protective barrier. After a couple of hours we continued our way to the city of Copenhagen.

Copenhagen we knew would be difficult to find parking near, what we didn’t envisage was that it would be so difficult. The first place we tried on the marina was not open until later in May and then the second place, which David would have loved to stay at was a site in an old fort. The only trouble was our Motorhome was too big ! Finally we found parking but it was a 35 minute cycle ride into the centre. The weather had been fairly fine but with the most bitterly cold wind. When we finally started cycling in, the wind was so strong I thought I was going to be blown off my bike a couple of times. I did wish I was still in the van with Chloe at one point. Unbeknown to us we cycled right through Christiania, a hash scented commune straddling the eastern side of Christianshavn. It was established by squatters in 1971 and the area has drawn non conformists from across the globe. Filled with shady hash and marijuana dealers and a wonderland of whimsical DIY homes it is a unique commune to say the least. We finally made it into the famous Nyhavn canal with it’s beautiful coloured buildings. A haunt for sailors and writers in days gone by, including Hans Christian Andersen, but now filled with cafes and restaurants. As it was late in the day we made a whistle stop tour around on our bikes, saw the changing of The Royal Danish Life Guards at Amalienborg, the beautiful Frederiks Kirke (Marmorkirken) a large Baroque Church and then we fought the wind to return to the van. I slept well that night. People say you cannot come to Copenhagen and not see the Tivoli amusement park and pleasure gardens. So, we decided to move the van somewhere where we could catch the train in, as it was easier than fighting the wind with the bikes. I loved the gardens, David wasn’t so keen. The spring flowers were still in bloom and if you stay into the evening there is an amazing light show. There is also a fantastic food hall just outside the gardens, with mouthwatering food freshly prepared, it reminded us of the one in Porto. We saw the main hi-lights of Copenhagen but like most cities we visit, we struggle to really immerse ourselves into them, due to time factor of leaving Chloe. However, a small price to pay and Copenhagen is on the growing list of cities to re-visit another time.

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