Prior to leaving Hirstshals for the second time, I made use of the wifi in range, and looked up to see if I could find any water/waste sources nearby as my databases and aires guides showed nothing suitable. I stumbled on http://www.parkel.dk/dacf/vand_en.html which is a Danish campervan association and they show on google maps numerous motorhome stops – none of which were in our guides. So on our journey today we stopped at 4 different stops they documented, all motorway, and all had really good water/waste facilities – and all free! Even one petrol station had a separate area. None were signed so you need to look at the above site and copy the details – or buy “Nordic Camper”. The ones we used are in our database.
With the weather forecast iffy we decided to just have a sight-seeing day heading south midway down Jutland and, sadly, missing out a lot of the outdoor fun areas such as Bakker Rebuild (the forest trail area). Freshly full of water we headed south first stopping at Lindholm Høje just north of Aalborg which is an old Viking burial ground. There is a museum there (we didn’t go in) but you can walk around the grounds and explore the graves and old building areas. Worth popping in if passing near and want a coffee or lunch stop.
From here we headed to Vikingecenter Fyrkat to see the old fort and Viking village. We walked around the outside and up to the fort, but apart from us and the staff there was no one and they all looked at us expectantly. So feeling under pressure of being pounced on we ran saving our Viking fort trip for the larger Trelleborg which is apparently better anyway.
Continuing our journey we passed through Auning and the impressive Gammel Estrup manor house and grounds so we parked up to take a look. Top tip: Arrive just gone 5pm when the ticket office is closed and you can wander rounds the impressive grounds for free! Eventually we made our night stop at the far east of Jutland at Grenå ready to explore in the morning.
After a very good nights sleep we went for a run around Grenå which looked okay, but nothing really special, so after a good shower we planned the days sight-seeing. First we went to Ebeltoft which has a huge unspoilt and undeveloped old centre with cobbled streets and very old houses and a very old boat in the sea. Fairly touristy and very expensive ice-creams – made us want to drive over to Italy to get some really good ice-creams! We have fond memories…. Anyway, from Ebeltoft we ventured just over the other side of the “spit” to the east coast and found a lovely sunny, sheltered and almost deserted beach (stony) but with a nice grass verge and flat sea…. So the days plans went out of the window as we decided to chill, sunbathe, read and spend the night there.
After watching a film (Green Zone with Matt Damon – hmmm bit of a theme eh Mel?) and a nice tea we ventured back outside just before midnight where it was a calm, clear sky, and almost moonless and the view of the stars was amazing. We lay on the beach watching the stars and seeing some shooting stars. The sky was so clear you could see stars beyond the stars as well as star cloud clusters. Stunning and beautiful – and something we never saw in West London!
In the morning, in glorious sunshine and calm waters we ran out to have an early morning swim. We got to about knee depth before running back in – the sea was flippin’ freezing!
We then headed around to Mols Bjerge, a natural light hilly area and say the Posekjaer Stenhus – which is the Danish “Stone Henge”. So yep, the scale was slightly smaller! From here there is a very pleasant trail to Tinghulen through some beautiful scenery where we also met a flock/swarm of Butterflies. Very pretty. Moving around the coast we then ventured to Kalo Slot a castle from 1313 on its own island connected by a causeway, again a rather nice walk.
Finally for the day we headed into the city of Arhus which is probably described as a little rough around the edges but very young, vibrant and active. We thought it was “Fresher week” as the place was packed with students and loads of live outdoor music. Some of the music was rather good – though we couldn’t work out the sex of one of the singers (Scissor Sisters esque). The church was impressive inside, the longest isle in Denmark, bizarre being in a church hearing loud music from Mick Jagger from the stage outside. We later found out though they have a major Arhus Festival in early September so guess that was it! The town is a mix of old and cobbled streets as well as new. Bit of a mish-mash but the people and festival gave it character. The late evening showed the crowds rather drunk but with no police around (unlike UK), and the street cafes all looked very busy and numerous outdoor bars were packed. Very much a party city, at least this week!
We did venture into the impressive “Den Gamle By” – a reconstructed town from ancient houses moved from around Denmark to create this one village. After closing time you can get in free (though can’t get into the buildings), but from the outside it was mightily impressive and still growing.
After a naughty wildcamp in the middle of a park just north of the city centre we ventured back in to continue our exploration. The Nordea bank (next to Cathedral) has a free Viking museum in the basement made up of artefacts they found when building the bank – not too big but interesting nevertheless.
With knackered legs from the walking we left Arhus, via a motorway motorhome service area, and headed to Ry in the heart of the Danish lake district. Pleasant scenery all round and a nice trail leads to Himmelbjerget which is the top of a “mountain” (148m!) and the most visited point. We decided to cycle there though the trail was rather sandy and very steep in places making it quite hard work (we came down via the road!). The view from the top was impressive and earned us a big (but nowhere near Italian standards) ice cream. We found an LPG station in Ry in our database so we filled up with LPG there just to ensure we wouldn’t run out for the rest of the stay – £1.20 a litre! Eek. But at least we were full of all the good stuff, empty of all the bad stuff, and ready to continue exploring.
From Ry we headed to “Them” a small town in the “lake district”, then to Skanderborg. Both places were a bit disappointing really and not a touch on the UK Lakes. We decided to head on the back roads to Billund to visit Legoland – again the scenery was okay but nothing special. Billund was modern/plain/dull but Legoland was quite fun! If like us you don’t have kids you won’t spend long there, so rather than paying £30pp you can get in half hour before the rides stop for free which gives up to 2.5hrs free time there. So thats what we did (and glad we did), the rides were almost all kiddie and not worth adult funds, though we did go on one. The mini world was impressive – lots of “been there!” comments! Even so, the lego Den Tilsandede Kirke still wasn’t impressive.
Finally on a busy day we headed to Middelfart on the edge of the middle island in Denmark – Fyn – and found some more random music, beer-crate climbing and some other weird goings on. We settled in a nice cafe for some good and huge food and beer in 750ml glasses. Fortunately we were parked only a few meters away and we slept very well…
We eventually awoke and crawled out of bed and then headed off on the small Fyn roads towards Æbe Island which is an island you can walk to at low tide. Before Æbe Island we visited Bogense which is a small and very pretty town and marina and worthy of a visit. We eventually got to Æbe Island and found a full car park, and after lunch realised the “track” to the island was under water. Some people were roughly trying to make it, but judging by the fact the car park was full and no one was there suggested everyone was stranded on the island. Not being able to read the timetable we thought it’d be safer to move on, so following the country roads we made it to Hasmark where we found a suitable place to stay the night and decided to have a restful afternoon and do some more laundry.
We were looking forward to the next day as we were heading off to Odense – a city our guidebook made sound pretty and interesting. Our walk into the centre started well through a reasonable park, but the rest our tour was a disappointment – the biggest of the trip so far. Odense wasn’t pretty, okay there were a handful of interesting streets, but none warranted a second look. Even the statues in the main square were ugly and tatty. The Hans Christian-Anderson house and museum really didn’t make up for it. So unless you specifically want to look at something in Odense, your time may be better spent elsewhere. Speaking of which, we left fairly quickly and headed towards Kerteminde on the east coast of Fyn, a town suggested by some tourist information we picked up previously.
Kerteminde was as expected, a rather pleasant town, nice marina and beach, and a nice relaxing atmosphere. Unfortunately we missed a big water-sports festival which finished the previous day, but staying overnight in the marina was the chill out we needed after a rather busy week!