Before I got to Denmark I had a day off driving in Plon, Germany where we went for a boat trip across the lake – a nice chilled day.
Unfortunately we got caught in a downpour on the way back to the campsite – so they only thing to do was to dry out in the bar before heading back to Beryl. It was of course a hardship – but it had to be done.
From Plon I drove into Denmark and Scandinavia – it was a pretty uneventful drive and given the previous drive to Plon (off-roading, autobahn & central Hamburg) I was more than happy with that.
It’s only been a brief visit to Denmark and unfortunately its been pretty wet and windy the whole time. But what I’ve seen I’ve liked – the countryside is beautiful, with rolling hills, the houses quaint, the castles magnificent and the people friendly.
I stopped at the border just to find a cash point so I had some Danish Kroner on me – I always feel better once I have cash on me – especially as some places haven’t taken cards. So I’ve needed to make sure I had enough money in cash even if I’d prefer to use my card.
I always find it strange that countries can look be so different as soon as you cross the border. In this case the houses quickly changed from red brick with big roofs to smaller white houses and increasingly the houses had black beams either in white or a natural clay colour. All of this on a background of undulating hills and fields either in bright green or vibrant yellow. Against the grey and cloudy background the bright yellow looked stunning. I didn’t manage to get any photos of the fields of yellow – there was never the right place to stop or it was pouring with rain.
The first night I stopped in Kolding city campsite – nothing special but perfect for a city campsite. It was a 45 minute walk into town down one long road – which is absolutely perfect for me – given my lack of navigation skills. I had a quick wander around town – briefly checked out the castle, had a coffee, dinner and a cider – the first one since Amsterdam.
The next day I started heading towards Sweden – there are two islands between the mainland of Denmark, which is called Jutland, and Sweden – the first in Funon and the second is Zealand. On Funon I visited the Egeskov Castle – which was pretty impressive with a perfect moat around it and some great turrets.
I only went inside briefly as Alf wasn’t allowed in and I didn’t like to leave him outside for long especially in the rain. There was a huge hunting theme in the rooms I went in – which I have to say didn’t impress me at all. I can never understand how people think a dead lions skin and head looks better on a wall than the live animal looked in the wild. Having seen this I was quite happy to head outside again.
There were a few museum exhibitions at the castle – which I must admit – I assumed would be a bit naff. In the main I proved wrong. The car and motorbike collections were brilliant – so many old and new cars and bikes it was incredible. There was also a collection of aircrafts and a very strange collection of dolls – not old vintage ones – plastic ones. To me it was the stuff nightmares could be made of. And then there was Dracula’s Volt – no explanation as to why this was there – in reality it was just a dark room with a few coffins and with dressed up mannequins in them. You couldn’t actually see the mannequins because it was so dark – I could only see them afterwards in my photos. I got the impression that the collections were mainly from the Count and Countess’s private collection – they must be extremely rich (Dad I’ve taken loads of pics of the cars so you can look at them)!
The campsite that night was lovely. The owner was very chatty and great to talk to. The site was set out on graduated fields so you got a great view of the water from wherever you were. I immediately felt comfortable there – not that I’ve felt unconformable anywhere because I haven’t. But this was my kind of campsite, friendly, in a beautiful spot and felt more like a family business than on their farm.
I had originally planned to only stay one night – especially as it was grey and wet – if the weather is like that I’d rather keep moving. But when I got up the next day I was feeling a bit tired (the last dregs of this cold I think) so I decided to stay put. I pulled the awning out for the first time and set up the table and worked on my last blog post and did some research – and with a slow internet connection that took most of the day. It was the first day that I’ve not been anywhere apart from the site.
That is except for an early evening stroll – when I found a lovely little deserted beach – you couldn’t hear anything but the water lapping gently on the beech.
It looked like there was a small fishing village just round the corner, I was going to walk down and investigate but Alf didn’t want to. Now I know it may sound silly that Alf didn’t want to so we didn’t, but when my dog decides that he doesn’t want to go somewhere – he is not going. So we headed back – and lucky we did too – just as we got back the heavens opened. The rain stayed through most of the evening – so Alf I snuggled up in the van and watched a movie (p.s. I love you – don’t watch it – its terribly cliched).
I don’t know why, but Alf didn’t settle that night so we both had a disturbed sleep – him more than me. But nevertheless the next morning we got back on the road and headed to THE bridge. Now this isn’t The Bridge that is in the TV programme – that’s the one from Copenhagen – this bridge is actually longer. It’s 18km long – and in two parts – the first part is fairly low – so it was OK. The second part you could see looming ahead was HUGE and TALL. I had Janis Joplin playing loudly and I was, well I’d like to saying singing along, but I don’t think that would be a fair description of what I was doing – shouting and screeching is probably a more accurate description. I was feeling fairly calm, until a bit of wind made Beryl wobble – which consequently made me wobble. I kept going (I didn’t have choice really!), talking myself through it, with a lot of lalalala’s (I don’t know why but it helps!) and before long it was over – phew.
Rather than go to Copenhagen and as a result over the next bridge – I decided to head to Helsingor and get the ferry across to Helsingborg in Sweden. It’s only a 20 minute ferry so even if I have to leave Alf in the van it won’t be too bad. I didn’t actually make the decision because I wanted to avoid the bridge (that was just a bonus). The Eurovision song contest was held in Copenhagen the night before and there were also a few protest planned as well over the next few days – so it was going to very busy. This was a handy bit of info that I first got from a guy at the bus stop in Kolding (who by the way looked a bit like a very tall Seasick Steve) and which Elaine later confirmed for me.
Back to the journey – after conquering the bridge – I headed for Roskilde – where there is a museum with a few original viking ships and a big cathedral that sounded worth seeing. I didn’t think I’d get in the museum with Alf, but I thought I’d try – in fact I couldn’t actually see it in the town, so I didn’t worry about it.
After a walk around the cathedral we headed on to the next castle – Frederiksborg. This was truly magnificent – with some beautiful manicured baroque gardens. Alf wasn’t allowed into the gardens, which was fine by me – they looked a bit to neat for the likes of us anyway. This castle was probably the most majestic of all the ones I’d seen so far – with high towers, ornate fountains and multiple statues. There was a bit of building work going on – which was a shame – but didn’t ruin it – and I guess good to see that it was being maintained.
Again Alf didn’t really want to walk far – I think the wet weather has aggravated his arthritis. At home he also usually sleeps most days, and whilst he can sleep when I’m driving he doesn’t really. So I think I’m going to have to factor in snooze time in the day for Alf – which is good enforced chill out for me – because the temptation is to keep moving.
So once we got to the campsite in Helsingor rather than wander into the town and have a look at another castle we’ve spent what’s left of the afternoon chilling out. Well to be more exact Alf has been snoring his head off – and I wrote this post. It’s good really – it forces us to relax and there is no rush – we can wander into town tomorrow morning instead. The camping pitch was right on the beach so I was able to look out to the ocean from the van.
Tomorrow we will get to Sweden. It’s amazing (to me!) that the very basic plan I put together before we left – is working out. Lucky really as I’ve not been following any detailed plan on the journey – we’ve just kept going at a steady pace.
This now means we have two weeks to get to Bergen to pick up Debs, Charlie and Emma at the airport for our weeks holiday together. At this stage I’ve driven 1,335 miles and Sweden will be our seventh country in just under three weeks – so far so good.