Denmark Day 7, Roskilde Ship Museum and Copenhagen!

It’s our last day in Denmark. Sigh. I will be sad to finish our amazing Scandinavian vacation, and I’m trying hard not to think about the work pile that’ll greet me upon opening my email for the first time in twenty days. But, I am determined to get the most out of today.

Once again, it’s a brilliant day. We check out and drive to the ferry terminal where we’ll boat to a tiny town on the north-west tip of the island of Zealand. As you can imagine, ferries play a huge part in Denmark’s transportation system, and this trip runs like clockwork. Here are a few pics of the ferry terminal and the scenery around Odden.

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We drive to Viking Ship Museum located in Rosklide, a city about an hour out of Copenhagen. The museum’s located on the water and this is the place where you can actually sail in a Viking longship!!! Unfortunately, they’re all booked up, and there’s no room for me L. But, it’s a fascinating experience, and we are able to board a docked longship—yay!

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From Rosklide we head back to Copenhagen and the Radisson Blu hotel, and collect our luggage. A quick shower and then it’s time for our last dinner. We find this quaint French restaurant, and have a wonderful meal. Not only is the food scrumptious, but there’s a folk singer with a guitar playing French ballads.

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Great way to end our vacation!

Denmark Day 6, Fyrak Viking Castle Ring Circle and Aarhus!

Yet another Viking settlement to visit today, the Fyrkat Viking Center, which is located near to the city of Hobro on the north-east top of Jutland. Fyrkat is a former Viking Ring Castle dating back to around 980 AD. This is an aerial view of what the ring would’ve looked like.

FYRKAT AERIAL VIEW

Fyrkat is organized like the Ribe center in that there are actual people who work there demonstrating ancient Norse crafts and explaining traditions. In the first longhouse, we found a woman who was actually mixing the dough for baking bread. This bread was cooked over the open fire pits in the middle of the structure. Here are some shots:

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The unique characteristic of Fyrkat is, of course the ring circle. The site on which the castle was located was excavated and stones were placed to indicate what would have been there and where. But, the stones are lame compared to the actual reconstruction picture above.

From Fyrkat we headed south to Denmark’s second largest urban center, the port city of Aarhus. We checked into the hotel (neat exterior) and went straight to the museum of the ‘Old Town’ of Aarhus. Hans Christian Anderson, the famous Danish fairy-tale author, (think The Ugly Duckling, The Princess and the Pea, just to name two) lived in Aarhus’s Old Town for a while.

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After wandering around the Old Town, we decided to explore the ‘New Town’, and ended up having dinner at our second ‘Danish’ restaurant called Frederiksgade 42. The hostess sat next to us and began by saying, “So the concept is sharing food.” The meal turned out to be a very different, but interesting and tasty experience. Everything’s absolutely fresh and the menu consists of 7 courses, which we share. We ate ingredients we’d never heard of before, like moss and wild herbs, and enjoyed every morsel. Nice way to end our day. Here are some pics of the ‘New Town’:

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Denmark, Day 5, The Jelling Museum and Silkeborg!

Uffe, our Radisson Blu concierge from Copenhagen grew up in Silkeborg, and he recommended three sites as ‘must see’ in the area;

1. The Kongernes Jelling Museum

2. Hotel Himmelbjerget, which sits on top of the highest ‘mountain’ in Denmark

3. Svostrup Kro, a family owned inn and restaurant that’s been in business since 1280, and owned and run by the same family since 1834

Today, we set out to visit each of the above. Our first stop is the Jelling museum, which is located inland and south of Silkeborg. Once again, we’re surprised and delighted by the rolling hills, verdant farms, and lush countryside. Everywhere we drive there are farms of every sort, dairy, vegetable, and even horses.
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Gorm the Old and Harald Bluetooth created the monuments at Jelling, the first of which is enormous, ship-shaped, and built of stone. There are also several stone runes, but two depict the reigns of King Gorm and King Harald. The Jelling church was constructed after Harald Bluetooth converted to Christianity and this is also depicted on a rune stone called ‘Denmark’s Certificate of Baptism’. There are also two huge burial mounds. The museum is unique in that it’s all digital and interactive. A very interesting experience.

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From Jelling we drive through the countryside to Hotel Himmelbjerget. We can’t get over how densely forested the area is and we’re both amazed that we don’t see a single car on the hour-long drive. The view is amazing. From the cafeteria we can see clear to the lake on which Silkeborg is situated.

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It’s straight downhill to Svostrup Kro. The history of this little inn and restaurant dates back to 1280 when a traveler by the name of Erik Klipping records in his diary; “Tomorrow we are going north and will be crossing the Gudenå at Svostrup, there is a little resthouse.”

Talk about quaint and charming. We have lunch here and the food is scrumptious. The Viking orders a ‘Thor’ beer, which has a faint lemony aftertaste. Afterwards, we stroll the grounds, and enjoy the sunshine before heading back to Silkeborg.

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When we take the elevator to our floor in the Silkeborg Radisson Blu, a new poster is hanging on the wall. I burst out laughing when I saw this as two of my sons are seriously into Crossfit. Who knew that it’s now worldwide?

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For our last meal in Silkeborg, we head downtown, and eventually end up at Café Safran. OMG. First of all, a blond giant who could’ve been a SEAL he was so built sat right opposite me. It was so hard to not drool over his tanned, hard-as-rock body. Second, the ambiance, the food, and the service was nothing short of superb.

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Sigh, a fabulous way to end our time in Denmark’s ‘Lake District’.

Cheers,

Denmark, Day 4-Part 2, The Ribe Viking Center!

The Ribe Viking Center transported me back in time. Every hut, every craft demonstrated, every vegetable and herb grown in the garden, all the goats, chickens, pigs, and cattle, has been reconstructed with meticulous detail. Where possible all materials used are those that would’ve been the standard for the ninth and tenth centuries. Since, there’s no way I can convey how astounding the experience was, I decide to let my pictures paint the afternoon for you.

CP D4 RB MERCHANTS CP D4 RB LHOUSE U CP D4 RB LHES U CP D4 RB FEILDS4 CP D4 RB JOHN  CP D4 RB LH INSIDE TOOLS U CP D4 RB ARROWS CP D4 RB BOWSS CP D4 RB DRUM CP D4 RB GLOVES CP D4 RB HELMET CP D5 RB LONHOUSE U CP D5 RB MK SHBLD BEST CP D5 RB MKT TENTS U CP D5 RB MKT U CP D5 RB MKT VENDOR U CP D5 RB MOM AND DAUGHTER U CP D5 RB VIEW BRIDGE VILLAGE U CP D5 RB VIEW SETTLE U CP D5 RB LH IN  VIEW OF ROOMS U CP D5 RB LH IN BARROW BEST U CP D5 RB LH IN BED WITH CURTAINS U CP D5 RB LH IN DRESS U CP D5 RB LH IN DRESS3 USE CP D5 RB LH IN GIRL FIRE USE CP D5 RB LH IN OVEN BEST USE CP D5 RB LH IN SERIES OF BEDS U CP D5 RB LH IN TABLE CHAIRS SHELVES U CP D5 RB LH IN TABLE WITH STOOLS U CP D5 RB LH IN TABLE WITH TAPESTRY U CP D5 RB LH IN USE CP D5 RB LH IN WINDOW USE CP D5 RB LH TABLES TOOLS SHELVES CP D5 RB BARN HOOK CP D5 RB BLACKSMITH

The last picture is of the blacksmith’s drool-worthy arms. Can’t tell you how much I enjoyed watching him work.

We ate lunch in a nearby town, and then headed off to Silkeborg, which is a town located in the middle of the Jutland peninsula, and is considered the lake and forest vacation spot of Denmark. I can’t stop talking about the Ribe Viking Center and I know my dreams will be overrun with Norsemen, Valhalla, and Harald Bluetooth.

Denmark, Day 4, The Road Trip, Part 1!

Our Denmark road-trip begins today! Yay—so thrilled!!!

We grab a quick breakfast, store our luggage, walk around the corner to Hertz, and pickup our rental car. It’s rush hour and it takes a good forty minutes to weave our way out of the city proper, and onto the highway.

The Viking and I are both struck by the hordes of cyclists everywhere. The Danes bike, bike, and bike some more. There are bike lanes and bike stands everywhere, and, as I’ve noted before, the cyclists have the right of way. What that means is the Danes are fit. The only overweight people we’ve seen are obviously tourists (and North American if you go by the flags on purses and backpacks). In south Florida, you take your life in your hands if you attempt biking on major roads.

We’re both surprised by the landscape change within minutes of driving on the freeway. Copenhagen is flat, but the second we exit the capital, rolling hills peppered with lush, verdant farms dominate the landscape.

CP D6 FARMS

Until this trip, I never realized that Denmark is actually composed of the peninsula of Jutland, 12 major islands (Zealand, Funen, Jutland, Amager, Lolland, Als, Falster, Bornholm, Samsø , Ærø, Tåsinge, and Mors), and over 449 (the number is dynamic as new islands form and other disappear according to sedimentation) smaller islands (of which 74 are inhabited). Here’s a map of the country:

MAP-Denmark with islands

In addition, Greenland and the Faroe Islands, are also considered part of the Kingdom of Denmark (although absolute monarchy was abolished in 1849). Iceland also once belonged to Denmark. We’re planning to visit several Viking sites on our road-trip, and the first one, Ribe VikingCenter, is located on Denmark’s west coast on the island of Jutland. This is our planned route over the next four days:

Map-Denmark

The major islands of Denmark are connected by bridges. When we cross over from Zealand to Funen, this is what we saw from the bridge:

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Windmills in the sea! A first sighting sighting for both of us.

The Ribe VikingCenter is located near the old Viking trading center of Ribe, which served as the conduit for trade with the Middle East and the Mediterranean. The ancient site was excavated and a new center built to the specifications of what was found during the excavation. Every summer, the Viking village in the center is occupied by people who live and practice the trades of Vikings during the tenth century. These are the statues at the entrance to the Ribe Viking Center:

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We stayed at the center for over three hours. Both the Viking and I were completely enthralled. Tomorrow’s blog will be devoted to pics and experiences at Ribe—I  minted a gold coin!!! Yikes—they let me near fire :)