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Goodbye Copenhagen! – by Renee

by on June 25, 2017

Today we picked up our rental car (a nice, but small Ford Station wagon) and headed out of the city.  Along the way to Aarhus (a medium sized city on the mainland part of Denmark) we made three stops.  The first was at Roskilde where they have a very famous Viking Museum.  Why so famous?  Well. believe it or not, in Viking times Roskilde was the most important city in the country, and they created barricades of their shipping lanes by sinking boats filled with rocks (they only left the most difficult-to-navigate route into town open, making it harder for invaders).  In 1962 divers discovered 5 of these Viking ships in the mud at the bottom of the bay and have built a museum and workshop (where they make replicas of the ships using tools and techniques that the Vikings used).  All in all, very interesting…esp the movie (in ENGLISH!) that explained the ships and what each of them would have been used for.  Apparently one of the medium-sized ships could sail to England in only 7 days and could make it to the Mediterranean in only 14 days!  Most impressive was the “war” ship that could carry 80+ warriors and their shields off to capture land or treasure.  The Vikings were the pirates of their time.

We enjoyed the “Viking Lawn Games”.  Anna proved to be very good at throwing the line to tie up the ship!   

They even offered a one hour cruise on a replica Viking ship — but we had a lot of miles to cover so didn’t want to wait till sailing time (did I mention it was COLD, windy and raining off and on?).  This will be on our list of ‘next time we visit we must do’.  Today the local Viking Sailing Club went out on the ship.. the rowing looked hard!

Our next stop was in the town of Odense…the birthplace of HCA (Hans Christian Andersen, but here he is known by his initials).  Most famous for his fairy tales, he has been fully embraced by his home town.  Here are some photos of us with him and his characters…all over town.

Our third stop was the town of Jelling.  WOW!  This was the headquarters of the first Viking king, Gorm the Old.  In addition to creating a HUGE fort/HQ/palace (I use this word lightly) he also erected a Rune Stone to his wife Thyra — creating the first written record of his kingdom and on the rock, the first recorded mention of the name “DENMARK” .

His son, Harrold Bluetooth went on to conquer all of Denmark AND covert all Danes to Christianity…and yes, he too erected a rune stone.  These stones are set next to a church (originally built in 1000 and then rebuilt in 1500).  Also next to the church is a beautiful cemetery where each plot is its own perfectly manicured garden.

The entire place is lovely!

There are two large burial mounds (Cousin Rachel – don’t these look just like the ones we visited in Ireland??), and also a the outline of a giant stone “ship” that would let you sail to Valhalla to be with the gods.

All along the way today we were driving through beautiful, green, lush countryside with rolling hills and skirting the Baltic Sea.  Really pretty although a bit cold and windy!

One of the few things I don’t love about Denmark is the prevalence of smokers.   Coming from California we don’t have many smokers – but here it seems that every young person old than 15 is a smoker.  And most of the adults too.  Anna’s allergies are not loving the smoke as well as the grasses — glad we brought Zyrtec and her inhaler with us.

We are also having a hard time finding good food.  As it turns out, the traditional Danish Smorrebrod isn’t something the kids or I really like.  Its an open faced sandwich, cold, with a mayo/pea/tomato sauce on it.  Alex did try it and “COLD FISH?” was his comment.  David ate some with a big smile but I think he was teasing us.  Add to that smoked herring and its not something that we are loving.  Also due to the high taxes in Denmark, food is crazy expensive.  You can easily spend $40-50 per person on lunch…which we have done a few times with mixed results.  SO…we are eating a lot of pizza/kebab with fries which appear on every block.  Who would have thought Denmark would be harder than China to get food we liked?

Tonight we tried the Aarhus “Street Food”… they had this in Copenhagen as well but we arrived as everything was closing at only 10:00pm!  Street Food is a warehouse space (indoor, which is important) with a bunch of shipping containers that act like food trucks.  All very funky with many young people and the beer flowing freely.  Tonight’s dinner was really good (Alex had spaghetti, I had Thai, David had Jamaican and Anna had Mexican).  In fact, with over 25 places to choose from and indoor seating that keeps you out of the wind and rain, we may go back  again tomorrow night!

Last thought on Demark — buy 7-11 stock.  I realize that in the US we don’t think much of 7-11, but here in Denmark they are literally on every block.  In fact, at the Norreport train station in Copenhagen (near our apartment), they have them on 3 corners of one block!  They look similar to what you would expect on the outside, but inside is more Starbucks — salad bars, hot foods to take away, fancy coffee drinks and designer juices.  If we see as many of them as we progress through Scandinavia, I am going to buy some stock!






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  1. John Beaver permalink

    When you take pictures next to a man standing on one leg you must stand on one leg also. It’s the law. Also wondering why you didn’t bring Renee?

  2. Lucy permalink

    That first picture of David, Anna and Alex is excellent. You should print it out and frame it when you get back 🙂

  3. Virginia M Turezyn permalink

    Really fun pictures. Appears to be a mix of rapidly changing weather. I agree the first picture is cool! Anna and Alex are so grown up and looking sharp.

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