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  • Day748

    Oddesundbroen Day 1

    July 14 in Denmark

    We are within sight of the low, grey, triple arched Oddensund road and rail bridge. It occasionally stops traffic and raises the section closest to us in order to let a cargo ship or more often a tall masted sail boat pass through. The Oddensund is one of a handful of bridges that cross the Limfjord, a shallow body of water that spans the breadth of Denmark, separating mainland Jutland from the large North Jutlandic Island where we are now parked.

    At 14°C the day began a little cooler than we've been used to and the overcast sky even managed the lightest smattering of rain for a few seconds. Nothing near what it will take to refill the ponds that are running dry or rejuvenate the parched trees, some of whose leaves are curling crisply, turning brown and falling foul of the blustery winds who snap their stems and scatter them at the roadside.

    As we crossed the Oddesundbroen and saw the open grassland we were about to pull on to, Vicky recognised it as another place we had stayed during our previous trip to Denmark. It looked a bit rough with some heavy machinery, piles of aggregate and a couple of WWII concrete bunkers. However, it was close to the water, had picnic tables a toilet, walks along the fjord and Poppy could wander off lead to her heart's content.

    After a warming cuppa (we'd actually had the heating on when driving!) Vicky had a browse on Trip Advisor, which showed a grill house with decent reviews less than a kilometre away. We hadn't eaten out in Denmark yet so as it was approaching lunch time we set off on the scenic route, ducking under the bridge and skirting round the coastline on the stoney beach. Coming to a small harbour, various pieces of fishing paraphernalia lay stacked on the ground; nets, floats, concrete anchors and ropes. As well as the fishing industry, the marina catered for tourists, providing free bikes on loan and even a kitchen and room for you to sit and shelter from the wind.

    The Oddesund Bistro had a counter like a takeaway, with a list of dishes and prices on a backlit board above it. Vicky spent some time deciphering the different options as we let people go ahead of us, but in the end ordered a husburger (house burger) for Will and fish for herself. She enjoyed speaking a little Danish but the friendly server took it as a given that they should speak English.

    The conservatory that ran alongside the building provided a view of the Limfjord and a choice of tables covered in pink polka dot plastic tablecloths. For a simple roadside café the food was good, if a little over salted. On the way back we poked our heads inside one of the WWII bunkers near the van. There was movement and stange noises from the dark inside. Upon investigating further we found it was an art installation. In each room of the bunker was a large piece of sculpted iron mesh. To it was attached one or more moving lights and speakers. As the machines shone the light in different directions, the shadows would creep along the concrete walls. Vicky thought it looked like something out of a horror movie whose script went sonething like 'unsuspecting foreign tourists stumple upon the lair of...' Thanks to the internet, we found it was the work of artist Alex Mørch in his exhibition 'Fe' (both the symbol for iron and Danish for fairy). It was part of a series of exhibits to be shown in the Regelbau 411 bunkers. If you are interested, here is the website:

    Later that evening two of the three bunkers were locked up, but Will went to explore the third. With just a few information boards in Danish and German it was the least engaging, but it did have a swallow's nest from which two hungry mouths were protruding, proclaiming insistently that they were hungry!
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  • Day771

    The Thor Forest, Aarhus

    August 6 in Denmark

    Unusually for Denmark we are parked on a piece of land raised about 15m from the sea. The car park in Thors Skov or The Thor Forest (we love these Danish names) is located just a few kilometres from the outskirts of Aarhus, Denmark's second city. Sturdy Beech trees tower above us and their branches frame a view out to the powdery grey blue of the Baltic Sea. Although we can't see it from the van, a stream gushes down a crevasse which it has cut in the hillside and the sound of rushing water reaches our ears through the open windows. The stream passes a concrete building set back from the sandy beach and housing the Viking kayak club. Many people trudge up and down the steep concrete steps leading to it and we see a number of sea kayaks being paddled cross shore.

    Will has already taken the rough forest track from the other side of the car park down to the beach and had a refreshing dip in the sea. There are a number of other people doing this and we even see a couple drive up in dressing gowns covering their swimwear. The place is busy, but this isn't surprising considering its proximity to the big city.

    We decide to go for an explore on the tandem and after a short time following a rather tricky forest path we emerged onto the excellent tarmacced cycle track that led into Aarhus. On the way we passed a tall wire mesh fence with a double gate. Behind it were a herd of dear! We watched them for a while through the fence and listened to the strange long squeal made by a couple of them who seemed very interested in us. We were more than a little surprised when a group of tourists opened up the gates and went in to stroke them! Further on was another entrance with signs asking people to respect the wildlife and only feed them fruit and veg. A small caravan had set up shop here selling hot drinks and bags of carrots. We joined the 30 or so adults and children inside the park and both got to stroke the deer, who were a mix of Fallow and Sika deer. They were a little wary, but would approach you if they thought you had food. Wild boars also lived in the forest, but they were kept in a seperate area.

    We cycled onward into the outer limits of the urban area, choosing to turn back when the traffic got busy. On our return we stopped to explore a circular pier we had passed on the way in. The Infinate Bridge was built to bring people together, as the old piers that used to stretch out from the coastline used to do. Judging by the numbers gathered around and on it, it certainly seemed to be achieving its aim. We walked along its curved path, spotting several orange jellyfish with long tentacles floating underneath us.

    The following day we decided to drive the short distance into Aarhus because we wanted to give ourselves as long as possible to explore the city without worrying about Poppy. Unfortunately there was a fayre in town, as well as what we believe was an international sailing regatta, so the car parks were packed. Changing our plans, we returned to the outskirts of the forest where we left the van in the shade of a large oak tree and cycled the 2 miles to the city centre, most of which was on a dedicated cycle track, separated from the road by a kerb. Leaving the tandem chained to one of the many bike stands attached the walls of buildings, we set about sight seeing. We soon crossed over the train station and were drawn to the several hundred metres of pavement that was dedicated to double sided, double decker bike racks with a covered middle section. The provision for cyclists here is in a different ball park from what we've seen (or not) in the UK.

    First on the itinerary was the rainbow panorama at the Åros gallery. At the top of its premises the art museum has a huge circular walkway, whose sides are made up from large rectangular panes of glass, the colours of which change through a rainbow spectrum as you walk around it, giving you tinted views of the surroundings. We admired it from the ground and went in to the building with the intention of buying an entrance ticket, but at 140kr (£17) each we felt the fee was too steep for what would need to be a quick up, round and down tour.

    Den Gamle By (the old town) was next. We had visions of characterful, photogenic streets and followed the regular signs that pointed in its direction, only to be disappointed with what appeared to be an amusement park. A closed one. Oh well, never mind.

    By now it was was getting on for lunch time so we trudged our way towards Aarhus Street Food. A former garage, the industrial looking building houses a dozen or so eateries, selling an eclectic variety of consumables. We wound through the pallet benches and rainbow mix of parasols making up the outdoor seating and took a look inside. Traditional Danish dishes, hot dogs, pizzas, fish and chips, indian curries, icecream lollies and creme brulee donuts were among the offerings, along with milkshakes, fresh juices and a good selection of beers. Long wooden tables and benches filled shared eating areas, decorated with things such as lanterns and upside down umbrella frames strung with coloured ball lights. Food and drink prices were over inflated because it seemed to be marketing itself as 'the place to be'. We were pretty hungry by now, so despite this we chose 'Nord' because it offered Danish style food that was 90-100% organic. Our shared platter contained such things as toasted rye bread sticks, potato salad, salmon coleslaw and marinated beef slices. Will enjoyed it but Vicky wasn't so keen. She felt the whole place was trying a bit too hard with its hipster image, without paying enough attention to the content.

    After lunch it was time to return to the tandem and cycle back to Poppy and the van. We were glad to have looked round Aarhus, but certainly didn't like it as much as Aalborg that we visited a few weeks back. It was more spread out, pricier and didn't seem to contain that cosy character exuded by the more northern city.

    Back at the van, we noticed a couple of does and their fawns behind the wire mesh fence of the deer park. There were no gates nearby but taking a carrot from the fridge, Vicky fed one of the mothers through the fence.

    It was a hot day and we were parked close to the Infinite Bridge, so we got our swimming gear on and made our way down to the water. Will took the plunge first and was soon warned by a group of people standing on the pier that there were jellyfish in the water. Vicky recieved the same warning from a someone coming out of the sea with a child. They were the same jellyfish we'd seen the previous day, with long 'don't mess with me' tentacles. Will had the bright idea that he could stand on the walkway and act as a spotter for Vicky, who was thus able to swim a circuit of the pier without encountering any of the dreaded creatures. Will then dived in and swam to the shore where we both got out, choosing not to push our luck any further. A search of the internet later led us to believe they were most likely Lion's Mane Jellyfish; a species which does indeed have a painful sting.
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  • Day814

    Hornbæk beach

    September 18 in Denmark

    The sun warms our skin as the three of us sit on Hornbæk beach, on the Northwest corner of Zealand, looking out over the straights to Sweden.

    As we left the region of Copenhagen, the sights slowly became more rural and increasingly pleasing to our eyes. Reaching the coast we pulled into a car park on the edge of a town called Elsinore for a bite of lunch. It was only as we were packing up that Will asked Vicky whether she wanted to go and take a photo of the Swedish mainland accross the water! With all the islands and fjords we've been passing she hadn't realised the landmass over the channel was Sweden; it was so close she could hardly believe it was even when she was standing there with the camera. Ferries go regularly between here and the Swedish port of Helsingborg. We ourselves returned from our tour of Sweden and Norway via this route almost exactly a year ago.

    From Elsinore we travelled north, passing a flurry of cute beach cabins, just big enough for two people to sit, their vertical wooden wall planks striped white and bright red, blue or green. Open beaches were interspersed with deciduous woodland plantations and there were so many parking areas signed in these that we lost count. Ours was a long clearing backed by trees and separated from the soft sand beach by low dunes covered in shrub roses, still sporting the odd fragrent, cerise petalled flower.

    Poppy loves to sunbathe and now September is here and the rays have lost some of their summer intensity, we felt it was safe for her to lie on the sand in the gentle breeze until she was too tired to do it any more. Vicky sat with her and knitted while Will swam. There were a handful of other visitors enjoying the fine day, walking their dogs, taking a dip or simply soaking up the Vitamin D. The water is losing its heat now so Will wore his short wetsuit when he went out snorkelling. He discovered some amazing nature below the waves, passing through a misty patch that he initially thought was algae, only to realise it was a shoal of thousands of tiny fish. Long green weeds waved in the current and he found several starfish and the odd crab alongside small groups of larger fish. From the shore Vicky was vaguely aware of a fluorescent orange float bobbing around. It eventually bobbed to land attached to a neoprene clad diver holding a spear gun! We are still shocked to see such weapons weilded in public, but they seem to be increasingly common, on the continent at least.

    By the end of the day 4 other vans had arrived, all of them smaller than Martha. They parked directly in front of the access point to the beach and opened their back doors taking out chairs, tables and bbqs, despite the no camping sign. People in cars needed to park further away and weave past these vans to get to the sand. Perhaps we are overly cautious but we will always try to make sure we don't park in other people's way and respect the prohibition signs, just grateful for the opportunity to park overnight. There are many places, especially in the UK where this has been banned and we tend to think that it is for this reason.
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  • Day749

    Oddesundbroen Day 2

    July 15 in Denmark

    For the last 2 years we've had a month by month itinerary and stuck to it. We've been flexible within this, lingering in interesting or beautiful regions and zipping through ones we didn't enjoy. However, we've been expecting an appointment letter for Will's colonoscopy that has not yet arrived. This leaves us unsure of how much time we have to explore this part of the world and it has got Vicky mulling things over. How much should we look forward and think about the places left to go, the sights left to see and how much do we immerse ourselves in the moment? We sometimes feel an urge to get going, to make sure we don't miss out on adventures that await us, but is this necessarily better than enjoying the moment where we are?

    Well, we've certainly enjoyed our second day here at Oddesund Bridge! 16°C was warm enough for Vicky to take Poppy outside for half an hour of Pilates/Yoga in the picnic area when she first got up. After breakfast, Will took his fishing gear to the bank of the Limfjord, while Vicky set off with the camera on a walk eastwards along the shore. Summer was in full swing and Avocets circled above as Vicky crossed a cow field in which there were a few shallow ponds, where undoubtedly the birds had chosen to nest.

    Although the land was crisp and dry underfoot, nature still flourished. Little butterflies flitted between flowers and there was even a large dragonfly zipping back and forth over pink shrub roses. In the long grass Vicky found a silken caterpillar nest, whose occupants were ready to make their way into the world. Although the route was not very well advertised, along the way there were numerous benches and picnic tables, mostly tucked away in small woodland groves to shelter them from the wind.

    After meeting back at the van for lunch, we both went and had a look at the other WWII bunkers, then passed underneath the bridge to check out the water. We'd been itching to get out in the canoe but the wind had been so consistently ferocious that we'd not yet been able to. It was still blowy today but the section of water on the other side of the bridge was somewhat sheltered by the land and we reckoned it was worth a go. After trundling the canoe down to the waterside on its wheels, it was an easy launch from the shingle beach. Staying close to the shore we got our muscles working to power against the wind and paddle round to the marina we had walked to yesterday, with Vicky calling out every jellyfish she spotted. Soon after we passed the marina, the waves grew and whitecaps could be seen ahead, so we found a good place to turn and headed home, with the wind behind us. It had only been 30 minutes but it felt good to have got out on the water again. The Limfjord had one last treat in store for us; about 10 metres away Vicky spotted two dark, round, glassy eyes watching us from the water and Will turned round quickly enough to see the little seal duck its head back under. We scanned the waves for a while, hoping to catch another glimpse. Although we saw disturbances in the surface the creature knew we'd set eyes on it and was too wary to make contact again. We wonder how long we'd been on its radar?
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  • Day752

    Søndergaard Strand

    July 18 in Denmark

    A sea breeze is blowing through the open windows as we gaze out at the gentle waves rippling into the narrow sandy beach. Martha Motorhome is parked right on the edge of a strip of coarse, dried out grass, just a step away from the stones and shells. Will has hauled Little Green, our canoe, up onto the shore after a short fishing foray in her.

    The bay we are parked overlooking, as we sip our cuppas, is Amtoft Vig, part of the vast Limfjord network that splits North Jutland from Central Jutland. We spotted it on our way to a camping shop further up the road that had a campsite and stellplätz attached to it. The shop seemed to have closed down so we returned here, to the quiet pull-in, big enough for about 20 cars. A triangular white flag flutters at the top of its pole, displaying the blue swimming symbol with 3 stars. A wooden jetty extends 50m to waist deep in the water and a couple of metal ladders provide access for bathing. Needless to say Will made use of this! Light grey clouds have almost covered the sky, leaving only a few patches of blue. After yesterday's scorching heat we are thankfull of the shade they bring with them.

    We'd not made a decision about how long to stay, but Vicky needed rest and this place was both quiet and beautiful so we lingered a second night. On the drive here the red warning light on Martha's dashboard had suddenly begun to flash insistently, telling us she needed oil. Will had a look on and found a garage 2.6km away. It was a warm day, if a little blustery, so he took the tandem, bought a litre and emptied it onto the oil reservoir. Hopefully this will placate her! Vicky started a new crochet project while Will gave the rest of the day over to fishing, reading, swimming, playing his flute, downloading sat nav updates and making Vicky a delicious vegetable omlette and salad for tea, then washing up afterwards. He's a goodun!
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  • Day778

    Ebeltoft and Stubbe Sø

    August 13 in Denmark

    Tonight's overnight spot near Stubbe Sø is quiet and calm. We are alone in the small car park, looking out onto a meadow of nettles, surrounded by cherries, oaks, berry laden elder and a border of brambles. Light rain has been falling on and off all day so the temperature is comfortably cool.

    This afternoon was taken up with a trip to Ebeltoft, one of the prettiest towns in Denmark. We parked up on the outskirts at a Kvickly supermarket that had a sign giving permission for 3 vans to stay overnight. From here it was a short walk to the old town and the cobbled mainstreet of Adelgade. It reminded us very much of Ribe, the historic town we visited earlier on our tour of Denmark. The characterful thoroughfare was lined with an enchanting mix of frontages that could have come straight out of a fairytale. Many of the one and two story buildings were timber framed, rendered and painted white, rich yellow, red or blue. Like at Ribe they lent at odd angles and bent round with the line of the street. Wooden doors had carved detail and where also painted; green being a favoured colour.

    Today will have been many Danish childrens' first day back at school and this combined with the rain meant that at points, we found ourselves alone in a deserted street. Many shops away from the core were closed but we enjoyed a bit of window shopping. The harbour too was quiet, the water still and clear. A large tall ship floated in dock, its masts and sheets reaching up towards the overcast grey sky.

    Back in the town centre we wandered through the main conmercial area, past cultured clothing boutiques, classy homeware shops, glass and ceramic galleries. There were a couple of sports shops and Vicky managed to find a swimming costume to replace her old one that had fallen apart. It was more money than we'd normally pay but we haven't been spending much on fuel or accommodation and reckoned that buying items on a highstreet was a good way of contributing to the country's economy. With this in mind we settled ourselves into Jack's Burger with a veggie and a classic burger meal. These came with drinks and interestingly enough, there was a range of beverages on offer that were produced in Ribe; the town that this one reminded us of so much!

    As a last treat to ourselves we visited the ParadIS icecream parlour, that sold a mouthwatering array of dairy and vegan icecreams. We each had two scoops which lasted us all the way back to the van, where Poppy took great pleasure in waiting for and finishing off the end of Vicky's cone.

    Grateful for the parking place, we paid our dues by shopping at Kvickly supermarket then continued on to our quiet overnight spot near Stubbe Lake. It was great for Poppy to be able to roam freely without the worry of passing traffic or disapproving locals. Will took the tandem past the free camping area to the lake and climbed the bird observation tower. Stubbe Sø is within Mols Bjerge National Park, so the area was oriented around wildlife habitats and there was no access to the water for swimming or fishing. On the path leading back to the van Will noticed a whole load of damsons and plums. Many of the latter had split while still on the tree; starved of moisture then deluged with downpours, it was a natural reaction. With only a salad to make for tea, he went out and picked several kilos, spending the evening stoning the fruit and putting it into our big pressure cooker with some sugar to make jam.

    Just as dusk was beginning to fall, Vicky noticed two long pointy ears poke into view through the driver's window. Two large, round, golden eyes peeked in at her for a second as if to say 'what are you doing here?' The hare crouched down within Will's line of sight and Vicky hit the record button on her camera phone, just in time to see the creature stick its head up at the front of the van, then hop round us and off into the undergrowth. What a treat!

    Before leaving the following morning, we both took a walk to the bird tower. On the way we heard a cacophonous honking and looking behind us, saw hundreds of geese flying in a V formation high over Martha Motorhome. When we got to the lake they had all settled themselves down on the water at a respectable distance from the swans that partolled the near shore. At this point we were able to tell they were a mixture of Canadian and Greylag Geese.

    Enjoying the sounds of the wind rustling the reeds, along with the high pitched 'pip, pip' of a Coot, we scanned the scene with binoculars and the camera's telephoto lens. Cormorants occupied a fallen trunk laying in the water and their presence extended upwards into the living tree above, where they roosted almost all the way to the top branches. Will spotted a bird of prey that turned out to be a Marsh Harrier. Although it was far away it was a real joy watch it hovering and swooping, especially when its mate appeared too!
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  • Day808

    Who knew there were so many islands to explore in such a small area of Denmark? We are finally settled near Mosehældgård woodland shelter on Møn, our fourth island of the day, and we have company. A young grey and white cat is climbing over the bonnet and wing mirrors mewing loudly. She came bounding up when we arrived at this gravel and grass parking area and immediately made friends with Will, bounding through the long grass alongside him as he went to check out the camping area with its wooden sleeping hut, compost toilet, picnic tables and stone campfire circles. Vicky fed her some of Poppy's food and treats, much to our beloved dog's displeasure.

    We started off the day on tiny Farø island and were pleased to note that after yesterday's ghastly grey weather, the skies had begun to look brighter. A well built up causeway took us over to Bogø island and soon after, another bridged the sea to Møn; a larger island with acres of green, gently rolling fields.

    Møn had come highly recommended, both by the guidebook and by locals we'd talked to on a neighbouring island. From its long list of attractions we'd picked out a couple to visit, the first of which was Klekkende Høj, a 5000 year old burial mound. Driving down a single track country lane we parked on a small gravel area before following a 300m long path worn into the mud through the middle of a brassica field. Ahead of us rose a grassy dimple, reaching about 6m above field level. Two bare earth tunnels approximately 1m high, with stone slabs lining the walls and roof provided entry to the centre of the mound and a small information board stood discretely to the side, as seems to be the way with many Danish sites of interest. The south tunnel was blocked at the far end so we both got on our hands and knees and entered the north tunnel, Vicky leading the way. All of a sudden Will felt something prodding him from behind, he twisted his head round and thought for a second that Poppy had followed us, but no, he found himself face to face with a German Shepherd! Luckily it was friendly and soon went on its way! After about 10m we emerged into a small chamber about 1.5m high where, between two large slabs through a glass pane, we could see another chamber. Piles of bones, that looked like a mix of human and other animals lay amongst earthenware pottery containers and a complete human skeleton sat up against the far corner, wearing a hat and furs. We generally have little interest in museums, but viewing historical ways of life in situe holds value for us and we really enjoyed the hands on experience of crawling through the dark tunnel to take a peak at the past.

    Continuing to Møn's north coast, we passed through Ulvshale village; pretty strips of pale yellow sand backed by maram grass and a string of 'cute as can be' beach houses, many of them made of wooden board painted in an attractive mix of colours. Each compound had hedges or rustic looking fences marking out their own little gardens.

    From Møn we hopped over to Nyord Island via a single lane causeway controlled by traffic lights. The marshlands we could see as we crossed are classified as a Ramsar Site and protected because of their importance to geese, ducks and other wading birds. At 5 sq km Njord is more than five times larger than Farø, where we had set off from that morning, but like Farø, it could hardly be classed as a big island. Much of it is salt meadow and we passed hardy looking black or brown cattle grazing happily on this. In winter the meadows are flooded, reducing the island to a fifth of its summer area. One of the reasons we wanted to visit was because Njord is certified as one of twenty official International Dark Sky Communities and one of the best places in Denmark for stargazing. Unfortunately the cloud cover wasn't set to lift anytime soon so we didn't stop overnight.

    Back over the causeway to Møn we drove a short distance to Mosehældgård free camping area and pulled into the woodland clearing. Although we'd stayed at several of these shelters over the summer the hot weather had meant most had signs prohibiting campfires. Well, with the amount of rain that had fallen since, there was no problem here and Will built and lit a fire for us to sit round while he played guitar. A kitten had joined the young cat and we sat with the warmth of the flames watching its boundless energy. It jumped here there and everywhere, swatting the insects it disturbed from the long grass and crunching them up if it caught them. Although the forecast had been cloudy, as evening drew on the sky cleared a little and the brightest of the stars shone through.

    The night chilled to 10°C so the heating was called for when we got up the following morning. Dew lay heavy on the grass as Vicky went for an early walk along part of the Camono; a trail that extends 175 km over Denmark's southern islands. Our last act before we left was to take a peak at the hornet's nest in the 7ft 'bug house'. At around 2.5cm long the flying insects were so much larger than we are used to and we didn't hang around too long! Hornets are becoming an increasingly common sight here in Denmark as the climate warms.
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  • Day809

    Møns Klint and Hvide Klint beach

    September 13 in Denmark

    At the end of a single track road we've squeezed Martha into the corner of a car park that's only just wide enough to do a three point turn. With fields to either side and only the reeds separating us from a beautiful crescent beach ahead, we are pretty chuffed with this overnight spot at Hvide Klint.

    This morning we woke to brilliant blue skies and after Vicky gave Will's hair a trim we set off back towards Ulvshale, the pretty beach village we'd passed through yesterday. Will enjoyed a refreshing dip in the clear waters and we were away, on to our next destination, Møns Klint; the highest cliffs in Denmark. To access the site we drove along a dirt track in Beech forest. We didn't meet a single vehicle on this road but there were 50 or so stationed in the car park beyond the raising barrier at the end. Thank goodness we came off-season because it meant we were easily able to find a spot. The parking ticket covered the whole day, allowing us to grab some lunch in the van without worrying about 'getting our money's worth' from the £4 fee.

    Making sure Poppy was comfortable we hopped out and skirted the perimeter of the Geocentre building. It provided info and exhibits about the cliffs, but we were more interested in seeing the real things so we checked the map on a display board and decided on a round trip along the cliff top, down to and along the beach and back up to the van. People hummed around the centre but we left them behind as soon as we entered the Beech woodland walk. These mature trees covered the cliff top and their trunks and branches framed small glimpses of the famous chalk cliffs with vibrantly turquoise waters lapping at their feet. Most of the path was fenced off from the edge and at certain angles it was abundantly clear why. Tree roots were the only thing supporting the ground as it had been seriously undercut, leaving a deceptive overhang that couldn't be detected from above. After just over 1km we came to the steep wooden steps leading down to the shore, approximately 120m below. Will's knees and the tendons in his feet are prone to problems, as are Vicky's hips, so we took it easy. Even so, Vicky found her legs were shaking when we finally stepped out onto the grey stones covering the beach.

    Møns Klint are Denmark's equivalent of the white cliffs of Dover. While England's cliffs stretch further, they rise to a height of 110m whereas Møns reach just a little higher at 128m; no wonder Vicky's legs were protesting! From the narrow shore, the towering chalk formations really were stunning, especially when the sun highlighted their bright white faces. As we walked northwards we noticed dark flint stones tracing diagonal lines in the face. The chalk consists of crushed shells from microscopic creatures that lived on the sea bed over 70 million years ago. The shells were compacted and pushed upwards by glaciers to form hills and emerged as cliffs when the ice melted 11,000 years ago. The sea and other elements are taking their toll on the soft limestone and the remnants of landslides lay for us to walk over. It certainly wasn't the sort of place you'd feel safe returning to on a stormy day!

    Approaching the steps that led back up to the car park there were a few groups, families and couples milling around taking in the views. It was then we saw a little seal just 5m out in the shallows, sunning itself on a submerged rock. What a way to end our time on the beach! Surprisingly the climb back up the cliffside wasn't as difficult as we'd imagined, but we still treated ourselves to some ice cream when we got back to the van!

    We'd paid our parking fee using a credit card at the ticket machine and the scanning software recognised this as it registered our number plate, opening the barrier for us to pass through without the need for us to stop and feed the ticket in. We couldn't help but think that if the car park on a little island could master this technology, surely the Scandlines ferry company could dispense with the need for us to show our booking number, as we'd had to when crossed!

    It wasn't too long a drive to our overnight beach parking and despite having had dip earlier in the day, Will took to the sea once again, making the most of the late summer.

    We had a treat in store when the sun set. The blue sky day carried over into a clear night sky and the stars were magnificent. We hadn't previously realised that Møn was an International Dark Sky Community along with Njord Island but could well believe it. At just after 2am we woke and went outside to gaze into the atmosphere. From our position on the beach the landscape around us was flat with very few trees. The stars reached so low to the horizon and the Milky Way stretched accross the twinkling blackness. Will went back in after a while but Vicky stayed out for nearly 2 hours playing with the cameras and lying back on the sand staring up at space and time, quietly blowing her mind with the enormity and beauty of our universe. She eventually got brought back to earth when the cool night caused her to start shivering and a sandflee jumped onto her throat. It was time to go in, snuggle up to her living hot water bottle and get some shut eye!
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  • Day811

    A night out in Copenhagen!

    September 15 in Denmark

    Visiting Denmark's capital city was a must. As such we'd decided on a Saturday night out and a 'City Sunday'. Vicky had researched the sights in the Lonely Planet and Will had researched possibilities for parking. There was on street parking close to the centre that was free after 5pm on Saturdays through to 8am on Mondays. It was even next to parkland, meaning Poppy would be happy. It looked too good to be true and we set off with our fingers crossed and a backup in the sat nav, hoping we'd be able to find a space.

    Copenhagen is located on Zealand's East coast, on the shores of the Baltic Sea. On the city outskirts we passed by a sandy beach and lagoon where people were relaxing and trying their hand at windsurfing. As we progressed the low rise blocks were well spaced and there were more grassy areas than we would have expected in a major city. Although cars were numerous, they didn't fill the streets. Instead, thousands of cyclists flowed along the wide bike lanes, giving way to pedestrians as vehicles gave way to them. We were beginning to like Copenhagen!

    As luck would have it, we parked with relative ease alongside some embassy mansions in Østerbro (Eastern Borough). We had the road on our left side and the right sided van door opened onto a cycle track, but hop accross this and a walkway ran adjacent to the green parkland surrounding Kastellet (The Citadel); old military barracks built on a star shaped island within a moat. Brilliant!

    We'd planned to eat in the van then head out for the evening, but our curiosity got the better of us and we set off to scope out the area before we ate. Maps.Me told us that the famous statue, Den Lille Havfrue, was just the other side of the Kastellet grounds so we skirted through the parkland around the perimeter. Weeping willows hung over the moat and Moorhens strutted in their dappled shadows. What a great way to start our exploration of the city! Arriving at the estuary the first point of interest was the Copenhill waste to energy plant on the opposite bank. A modern, metal and glass construction, it had a roof that sloped at about 25°, and provided a recreation space for the public. This roof was planted with vegetation and open for people to relax and picnic on in the summer and ski on in winter! We were too far away for a visit but it was intersting to see all the same.

    From here we shuffled the short distance to Langelinje Pier where a crowd of foreign tourists had assembled to see Den Lille Havfrue or The Little Mermaid bronze statue that is one of Copenhagen's icons. A gift to the city from the Danish brewer Carl Jacobsen, son of the founder of Carlsberg brewery, the sculpture was created by Edvard Eriksen and based on the fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen, who lived and wrote in the city.

    Conscious of time, we made our way back, taking the more direct route, crossing the moat and cutting through the Kastellet barracks, along the uneven cobbled road between two imposing rows of regimented windows set into the earth red walls of long multistory buildings. Two armed soldiers passed us at the far end, off on a march along the grassy ramparts.

    After a quick tea we got our glad rags on (well, Will changed his shirt) and we headed out towards Rundetårn, Europe's oldest functioning observatory tower. It was open the latest of all the towers and Vicky thought it might be a good vantage point to see the early evening lights of Copenhagen. Unfortunately our visit to The Little Mermaid and tour of the Kastellet had pushed back our timings and the clock was striking 8pm as we arrived, signalling that the tower was now closed. Never mind, we got to take in the atmosphere and get a feel for the city along the way. There were people out and about and the city certainly had life, it just wasn't in your face like in many major urban areas. Neon lights of advertising hoardings didn't assail your eyes from every direction, music didn't blast from bars, instead the self confident buzz of Copenhagen was there for you to seek out.

    The weather forecast hadn't predicted rain but as we arrived at the tower, the heavens opened. The downpour came on quickly and was intense, so we ducked under the marquee of a nearby bar, whose space heaters gave off a warming glow. It didn't look like it would abate anytime soon so we nipped in and settled ourselves, organic Tuborgs in hand, on the high metal chairs at a black and red painted table bearing the name of the establishment; Lo-Jo's Social. It was a hipster place with various abstract murals and slogans on the walls and a decent vibe. We thought it was a nice touch to have a tapped demi-john for you to help yourself to water.

    After the cloudburst had moved on, so did we. On the way we crossed the Sankt Jørgens lake and became mesmerised by the gorgeous warm white lights lining the basin. To complete the scene, a crescent moon hung low and large, reflecting back off the water together with the shining street lights. We joined a few others who'd stopped to take photos.

    A little further on and we arrived at a bar whose drinks were supposed to be a little less pricey. Copenhagen is famous for beer, but recently there has been a boom in cocktail bars and Kassen (The Box) offered them at a little over £10. We knew it wasn't going to be a cheap night out but our spirits were lifted when the bartender told us it was 2 for 1 until 10pm! Yey! Vicky ordered two vodka based Red Pearl Necklaces with fresh orange and passion fruits and Will two bourbon based Happy Endings with fresh mint and the absinthe burned off. When living in a house we used to keep enough spirits to make cocktails ourselves, but can't afford the space and weight in the van, especially considering we each have very different tastes. It just makes coming out for cocktails all the more fun! Kassen was busier and noisier than Lo-Jo's, with standing room only. We were quite happy to prop ourselves against the bar and watch the concoctions being prepared! Will followed his first two up with a couple of Campari sodas and we made our way back to Poppy, the streets more orderly and quiet than those of many other capitals on a Saturday night. It had been a great evening and we were excited about exploring the city in the daylight tomorrow.
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  • Day765

    Mature Beech forest shades the dell we are parked in and we can see the pale blue-grey of Vejle Fjord through the trees. A warm breeze blows crisp, curled leaves from their branches and flurries of them scuttle along the nearby road. At 28° it is far from cool but at least we are protected from direct sunlight.

    This morning we got some shopping in, filled and emptied the van at motorway services then set out in search of tonight's stopover. After refuelling with LPG we are heading north once again. With 2km to go to our destination we turned into a road warning of a 3m height limit. Martha measures 3.58m with the canoe on top. Vicky wasn't keen on continuing but Will persuaded her we should at least take a look and see if it was an arched bridge whose middle we could fit under. Descending a 12% hill we stopped a little way back from the traffic light controlled bridge. It was indeed arched. Pulling over with some difficulty into a layby, Will used his fishing rod to measure the height and when he was certain we could get through, persuaded a beleaguered Vicky to walk backwards under the bridge, directing him through without any scrapes. The woodland parking was almost immediately after this point and while we could hear cars passing on the road and the occasional train on the bridge, we had very few people pull into the oval of gravel we'd chosen as our overnighter.

    When the temperature rises beyond a certain point, we have two very different reactions. Vicky will slow down and do as little as possible and Will seeks water. Vicky therefore stayed with Poppy, watching with bewilderment as troops of cyclists powered up the steep hill and Will took his snorkelling gear to the nearby shore of the Vejle Fjord. The fjord is yet another finger of the Baltic Sea poking into Denmark's East coast. The head of the fjord is a town of the same name, some 20km inland. Will really enjoyed cooling down and investigating the weeds that grew up from the sea bed. Crabs scuttled along and even scaled some of the underwater plant life. Tiny fish darted in and out of cover and one even let Will hold it in the palm of his hand!

    The following day, after savouring the dell's cool air during the morning, we lugged the canoe over the road and down the dirt path to the fjord's narrow sandy shore. Pushing off with the paddles we were amazed at the glassy surface of the water. At points it was like floating over mercury. Even the occasional wake from boats wasn't rippled and it was a somewhat surreal experience to travel through it, without anything by which to guage the waves' height. We took advantage of the calm conditions and canoed over to the other side of the fjord, where Will got out for a swim to cool down. Vicky held on and enjoyed an ice cream when we returned to the van.

    You can watch a video of our paddle on the VnW Travels You Tube channel here:

    On the third day we ventured out for a walk in the beautiful Beech forest. Strong, old tree trunks reached up to the sky and the sun flooded through the canopy, backlighting the vibrant green leaves. The woodland was managed, but trees had been allowed to fall and lay naturally. Gnarled bracket funghi clung to the dead bark of tall, snapped shafts. You could imagine using them as footholds, like on a fabricated climbing wall. We climbed up to a viewpoint near a hotel, from where we could see a section of the fjord framed by green flora. Taking a path down the hill, we found a few small rasberries to munch on, then a good handfull of ripe blackberries; our first of the season. Once we were back in the depths of the forest, Will was some way ahead when Vicky heard the crackle of branches being snapped underfoot. Looking down the long slope she caught sight of a doe, picking her way through the undergrowth and soon disappearing.

    Carrying on there was heather and low bilberry bushes growing at the side of the path. Looking closely we did manage to find half a dozen shrivelled berries that clearly hadn't fared well in the drought. Approaching a small settlement we did come accross a huge redcurrant bush from which Will foraged a few good handfulls of fruit- yum!

    Dropping back down to sea level we emerged near the bathing place where Vicky dangled her feet off the side of the wooden jetty and Will dived off the end. It wasn't apparent at first, but looking closely, there were hundreds of tiny transparent jellyfish being pulled back and forth by the waves around Vicky's legs. Fortunately they were too small for any stings to affect us.

    Back at the van it was cool enough and we had sufficient LPG for Vicky to heat some water and get stuck into some clothes washing. The pile had grown considerably of late!

    We ended up spending a total of three nights in the forest dell and enjoyed both the shade and the centred feeling this gave us. However, even if the toilet hadn't been full and the batteries low, we felt ready to move on and explore new places by the third morning.
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You might also know this place by the following names:

Kingdom of Denmark, Dänemark, Denmark, Denemarke, Dɛnmak, ዴንማርክ, Dinamarca, Denemearc, الدنمارك, ܕܐܢܡܐܪܩ, Danemarka, Данія, Дания, Danemarki, ডেন্মার্ক, ཌེན་མཱརྐ།, Danmark, Danska, Danimarca, Dánsko, Dëńskô, Дани, Denmarc, ཌེན་མཱཀ, Denmark nutome, Δανία, Danujo, Taani, Danimarka, دانمارک, Tanska, Danemark, Danemârc, Denemark, An Danmhairg, ડેનમાર્ક, Yn Danvarg, דנמרק, डेनमार्क, Danmak, Dánia, Դանիա, Dinamarka, Dania, Danmörk, デンマーク王国, დანია, Denmaki, Danmarki, ដាណឺម៉ាក, ಡೆನ್ಮಾರ್ಕ್, 덴마크, Ḍēnamārka, Denimaaka, Danemarca, Danɛmarike, ເດນມາກ, Danija, Danemalaku, Dānija, Danmarka, Данска, ഡെന്‍മാര്‍ക്ക്, डेन्मार्क, ဒိန်းမတ်, Denmakhi, Däänmark, Denemarken, Dannemar, Danemarc, ଡେନମାର୍କ, Denemarrick, ډېنمارک, Danimariki, Dánmárku, Danemêrke, ඩෙන්මාර්කය, Danimarkë, டென்மார்க், డెన్మార్క్, เดนมาร์ก, Tenimaʻake, دانىيە, ڈنمارک, Đan Mạch, Danän, דענמארק, Orílẹ́ède Dẹ́mákì, 丹麦, i-Denmark

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