We flew from Aberdeen to Esbjerg in Denmark to begin our family summer holiday. After collecting a hire car, we drove for about an hour through countryside very much like Suffolk. Our home for the week was a functional lodge fitted out like a room-set from the IKEA catalogue.
We headed straight to Legoland, Billund the next morning. Fenella was unexpectedly sick in the car on the way so we had to stop and buy a new outfit. Legoland was very crowded and there were long queues for the loos, food and rides. We rode on a Lego train, monorail, observation tower, and Viking boat. I got soaked on pirate ships equipped with water pumps and I kept my eyes shut on the roller coaster. The model villages were fantastic so we stayed late and had a picnic supper.
The next day we explored the small town of Middelfart and visited the medieval house that was a museum. We sat under a huge umbrella at a street cafe in a heavy cloudburst before going back to the resort to try out the chilly unheated outdoor pool. Later in the evening we walked along the narrow strip of beach at Fanoe Sound where there were hundreds of jellyfish and Freya found an antique ceramic Carlsberg bottle top which was decorated with a pre Nazi version of a swastika. Using shrimp nets, the children caught a few small crabs then let them go. There was a beautiful sunset and we even glimpsed porpoises gliding through the water.
On Friday we visited Ribe, the oldest town in Denmark. It was very attractive with many old buildings and large weirs. The cathedral had been decorated with modernist mosaics, stained glass windows and paintings by Carl-Henning Pedersen. I was intrigued to notice that an ancient stone sarcophagus was carved with curved lines similarly to how I had quilted two of the Odin’s Trilogy pieces. We sat outside a busy cafe to enjoy ice cream, waffles and coffee. There was a super amber shop and I bought a couple of strings of amber beads that I intend to use on my forthcoming Viking leather project. There was a very good museum of Viking and Medieval Life with plenty of interesting artefacts and we had a go at the quiz by working out the gist of the information in Danish however, there were not any Viking bog bodies. Amazingly, I spotted a small burial mound and dolmen across the road from the ice cream kiosk just outside Middelfart.
There was a jazz festival in Middelfart on Saturday and the town was busy with visitors. We managed to book train tickets online at the public library even though it was all in Danish. We stopped at the popular ice cream kiosk and almost felt confident enough to attempt ordering in stilted Danish. I guessed that it should be something like, “Ein vaffel med to kugle…?”
On Sunday we took the bus and train to Copenhagen. The city was much busier and a bit scruffier than the small, quaint Danish towns. There seemed to be a lot of renovations going on. There were many impressive buildings, several of which had been commissioned by Carlsberg magnate, Carl Jacobsen. We visited the art gallery with an impressive and priceless collection of French paintings and many ancient Egyptian, Greek and Roman statues. From the roof terrace we could see some of the adrenalin fuelled rides at the oldest funfair in the world. We took rather a long walk to see the Little Mermaid statue which was far smaller than we expected. There was a more impressive Valkyrie bronze sculpture nearby. We walked back along the historic harbour front where old warehouses has been converted into trendy apartments and had open sandwiches at one of the terrace cafes. One day was not nearly enough to explore Copenhagen: we did not even have time to visit the Carlsberg brewery museum, Tivoli Gardens or The Danish Design Museum. We stopped for drinks at The Hard Rock Cafe then headed back to the station. The train was very comfortable and spacious; it was definitely an easy way to travel to the capital city.
On Monday we awoke to torrential rain and Fenella was not feeling well so she and I stayed behind while the others went back to Legoland. The sun came out, she watched Harry Potter with Danish subtitles, followed by The Olympics with a Danish commentary and I picked rhubarb from a patch in the garden to make a crumble.
On our final day in Denmark we mooched around Middelfart looking for small souvenirs and Danish pastries. In the evening we had a simple but delicious supper at a family owned roadside cafe where the staff only spoke Danish so there was a bit of guesswork involved with the ordering. Everyone agreed that they had really enjoyed the holiday and would be happy to make a return trip in the future.