Denmark – claims to fame roll in

Our stay in Germany was brief, we intend to explore more after Scandinavia. Onwards and upwards to Denmark, where we were pretty sure they had converted to the Euro, until we arrived and saw the prices in Kroner. After searching out a bank and drawing out funds we found out most places accept the Euro too, prices nearly everywhere are shown in both currencies.

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Our first stop was just a few km over the border, Mogeltonder – surely worth visiting just to say the name! A tiny village with just over 800 residents, including one very special one; Prince Joachim of Denmark, the 2nd son of the present Danish monarch, has his private home in the village (sadly he wasn’t home!).

It’s also a popular destination for tourists, “Slotsgaden” (The Castle Street) is the main street and is covered with paving-stones, flanked with lime trees and every house has a thatched roof and roses growing over the doors and walls. Several tea shops and a couple of gift type antique shops, the only thing missing were the tourists – on a sunny Monday morning just us and two Italian motorhomes.

The village church was more like a cathedral, one of the biggest churches in Jutland. Elaborately decorated with enclosed wooden pews, painted wooden panels covering the walls and a fresco covering the ceiling. The church has two claims to fame – the oldest church organ in Denmark and that Prince Joachim celebrated his second marriage there a few years ago.

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Mogeltonder – main street

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Our first taste of Denmark

We stopped off for our first few nights at the town of Ribe – where the Danish claims to fame continued to roll out thick and fast. Ribe’s being the oldest town not only in Denmark but in Scandinavia.  The town hall dates back to 1496 but the town itself was established in the 8th century.  More cobbled streets, houses leaning at angles that defy gravity and a vibrant shopping area full of all things Scandinavian – bright, colourful, fun and you never knew you needed it til you saw it – type stuff such as cups with a slot on the side to hold a biscuit, weeny deckchairs that are just big enough to rest your neck on etc etc.

Every evening the Night Watchman wanders the town, singing an alert to the residents that its time for bed. This takes place at 8pm then again at 10pm, apparently very popular with the tourists but wouldn’t think its a great deal of fun for the locals.

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Ribe – shopping area with cathedral in the background

On our second evening at Ribe entertainment was provided by a German in an Arto motorhome, driving on to what was clearly sand – and sinking. The more he tried to get out the deeper he sank, what started as an inch or so was, an hour later over half way up his tyres. Could have cried for them, if it had been us would have cried! Everyone on the campsite knew a better way to get him out, and each way sunk him more. After two hours a small tractor managed to tow him away – we will from now be checking the firmness of all ground before parking, still having palpitations thinking it could have been us!

Denmark is all about the islands – Funen in the middle, Zealand next to Sweden and a further 404 of them scattered around the coast. We are currently on Jutland, which is attached to mainland Europe but has a large contingent of islands all the way along its coast. We popped over the 10 km causeway to Romo, claim to fame being the southern most Danish island after the previous holder of that accolade sank in 1999! We high-tailed it out in case history was due to repeat itself anytime soon.

Many of the islands have causeways but at Fano they go one better. When the tide prevents driving over the 10 km causeway they operate a sea-tractor bus. Basically a tractor pulling a double decker bus type contraption over its axels in sea water. It must be a popular route for tourists, only 40 people live on the island and yet there were five sea-tractors parked up at the boarding point. The top deck is open to the elements, with a gale blowing ice cold winds no-one was hardy enough to sit outside, saying that even on the enclosed lower deck people looked freezing.

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Fano public transport

As we drove through Esbjerg it was slightly strange to see a road sign for “England”, we guess its a hangover from the days when a ferry service existed. We didn’t linger in the town, instead our aim was to see the “Men at Sea”, a 30 ft (9 metre) high monument consisting of four, white concrete, seated males facing out to sea.  We parked up for an hour in the car-park overlooking the statues along with a  number of others, only jumping out briefly to take photos during lulls in the storm force winds.

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Men at Sea – Svend Wiig Hansen.

We ambled up the coast searching out somewhere to stay, it seems there are two types of campsite here, the first wants to charge more than the cost of the national debt of a small nation, the second priced in-line with what a sane person might want to pay. We aren’t ones for the bigger sites, we did try one today and the guy just kept adding numbers until a night was over what we want to spend for 3 nights. We drove on and within a few miles came across a small farm cafe with a camping sign,they charged us less than half the price of the first site 🙂 we do love a bargain so pitched up with the ponies for the night :).