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  • Day335

    Køge, Denmark, 11 months away today!

    May 27, 2017 in Denmark ⋅ ☀️ 18 °C

    It was Day 6 of our Swallow's flight from Slovenia to Sweden and there were 627km left to Gothenburg.

    It was also exactly 11 months since we left home. What a long way we've come, what a lot of sights we've seen. We feel the first few months away were far larger milestones. Even though we'd spent a lot of time in the van before moving in to it, we didn't know back then whether we could make living full time in it work for us. At 11 months we feel comfortable, confident anf very happy in our choice of lifestyle. We continue to feel incredibly privileged to have been able to make that choice.

    Today we soon reached the motorway. There were fewer renewable energy farms and the vegetation seemed markedly faded compared to that of lush Slovenia, despite it being a clear day. We crossed what seemed like a huge suspension bridge from the Danish mainland of Jutland, to the large island of Funen. We then came to the Storebælt (Great Belt) bridge. It rose to 65m above sea level and was 18km long, only touching down on land once on the small island of Sprogø in the channel between Funen and Denmark's largest island, Zealand.

    We knew it was a toll bridge but got a shock at the end when the price displayed was 745 Danish Kroner (about £95)! The toll booth assistant saw our shocked faces and asked what weight the van was. We needed to show the log book to prove it was under 3.5 tonnes but got the price down to 'only' 365DKK (about £45).

    We stopped at a motorway rest area and were able to fill with water this time. Our home for the night was the car park of a coastal Nature reserve north of Køge and south of Copenhagen. We enjoyed a wander through the wetlands and low dunes to the sandy beach. It was a hot weekend and there were lots of families and couples by the water. Vicky had planned a paddle but stopped short when she reached the water because of the stench of rotting weed. Will persevered and found clearer (and colder) water further out. He gave the underwater camera its first sub aqua experience and you can see the result in the photos!

    We'd driven 300km today.
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  • Day30

    Sooooo many steps!!

    July 17, 2017 in Denmark ⋅ ⛅ 18 °C

    So this morning we walked the bell tower/spire of the beautiful Lutheran 'The Church of our Saviour'. There were 400 yes that's 400 and just to reiterate that- 400 steps up to the top and then 400 coming down! Views from the top worth it as you see all over Copenhagen, including Sweden in the distance - connected by a bridge. The spire at the top is black and gold. When we finished the church was open and the organist was practising on the pipe organ- magnificent. (Even though I could hardly walk at that stage!)Read more

  • Day41

    Copenhagen - Christiania

    July 17, 2017 in Denmark ⋅ ⛅ 19 °C

    Forgot to mention we went to Christiania on our last day. It is a self-proclaimed autonomous neighborhood of about 850 residents, covering 84 acres in the borough of Christianshavn. Christiania has been a source of controversy since its creation in a squatted military area in 1971. Its cannabis trade was tolerated by authorities until 2004. In the years following 2004, measures for normalizing the legal status of the community led to conflicts, police raids and negotiations. The people in Christiania have developed their own set of rules, independent of the Danish government. The rules forbid stealing, violence, guns, knives, bulletproof vests, hard drugs and bikers' colors. Famous for its main drag, known as Pusher Street where hash and skunk weed were sold openly from permanent stands until 2004, it nevertheless does have rules forbidding 'hard drugs'.

    There was definitely something in the air when we were there....and I was asked to put my phone camera back in my bag by a mysterious man hiding behind a tree!! Very interesting place.
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  • Day23

    Hans Christian Andersen

    June 26, 2018 in Denmark ⋅ ☀️ 25 °C

    The Hotel Royal, Gothenburg offered a delicious breakfast, including several varieties of my favourite pickled herring - tasty. I made my way to the Stena ferry terminal to catch the 08.00 ferry to Frederikshavn in Denmark. The ferry was very busy and the ship well equipped with facilities including a discount store and duty free shops. I tried out a liberal spray of the Dolce and Gabbana eau de toilette spray, only to discover it was the ladies version. Well hello, honky tonk!

    It was a cooler, cloudy morning and the first time I’ve had to use my zipper, but the sun came out during the 3 hours 15 minute crossing to the top of Denmark. I caught the connecting 11.33 train to Odense. I couldn’t be in Denmark and not visit the birthplace of Hans Christian Andersen could I? Again I was glad to have a place in 1st Class. The stewardess brought a flask of hot water and left it for us with a variety of coffee and teas (even green tea, Anne), and delicious violet flavoured chocolate marzipans. You don’t get that on ScotRail.

    In the warm evening sunshine I had a lovely walk around the old town and a delicious steak dinner with a large glass of Merlot. Denmark, like the rest of Scandinavia, is certainly not cheap. As I walked back to my hotel I spotted a sign saying ‘Pee not here’. How did they know I was about to?

    Odense really is Hans Christian Andersen town. With a dedicated museum, his birthplace and his childhood home all there to visit, I really enjoyed this charming town on the island of Funen, bang right in the middle of Denmark. It brought back happy memories of being in the show Hans Andersen with the Apollo Players at the King’s Theatre, Glasgow in 1987 - can you believe it was 31 years ago! John Sinclair was Hans, Jim French was Otto, Jane Macdonald (Waterfield) was Jenny Lind and I was Max Claus. My niece Jennifer appeared as one of the children singing Thumbelina. Happy days.

    The lady in the birthplace museum was delighted to hear I was from Scotland. She smiled and recalled how she had had a happy school camping trip there in the 1970s. ‘We stayed at the beautiful village of Luss’ she explained ‘and every day I would stare at the lake, but I never did see her. I never saw my Nessie.’ I hadn’t the heart to tell her that that would be hard as she was at Loch Lomond.

    Well time for the off again and continue my train travels down through Denmark and then via Hamburg, Germany to Cologne. It’s been nice, Odense - thanks for all those lovely reminders of these great fairy tales.
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  • Day740

    Ribe Viking Centre

    July 6, 2018 in Denmark ⋅ ⛅ 17 °C

    A few kilometres away from Ribe's motorhome park was Ribe Viking Centre. Now, museums don't usually draw us in, but this one seemed to be the Danish equivalent of The Black Country Museum or Beamish, so we thought we'd give it a go. Hopping on the tandem, we soon pulled into the bike park at this open air site.

    First on the route was Hviding Manor, a reconstruction of a 34m longhouse. Stepping into the dark, it took a while for our eyes to become accustomed but when they did we saw people in period dress, peeling and cutting veg for the pot, which hung ready over an open fire. The benches were lined with animal hides, and painted shields and tapestries hung from the walls. A whole village, including church, harbour, farm, blacksmith and market had been created and there were enough staff dressed as Vikings to allow your imagination to stretch to what life must have been like back then. Real food was used, real wool was spun and real metal was heated and shaped. With the summer holidays already underway in Denmark, the kids of employees had even been enlisted to dress up and put on a show, playing games with sticks, ropes and leather bags, not a mobile phone in sight!

    We ourselves were encouraged to sit and play the Viking equivalent of naughts and crosses, using a wooden board with draughts pieces made from pale and dark horn. Outside we were introduced to catching and throwing games. Everybody we spoke to knew English and the fact that so much of our experience was hands on meant we really enjoyed our time, losing ourselves in yesteryear! At 130kr (£16) each, the entrance fee was more than we were used to paying for attractions but it was most definitely worth it.

    You can watch a 3 minute video of our experiences here on the VnW Travels You Tube Channel:
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  • Day748

    Oddesundbroen Day 1

    July 14, 2018 in Denmark ⋅ ☁️ 15 °C

    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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  • Day749

    Oddesundbroen Day 2

    July 15, 2018 in Denmark ⋅ ☀️ 21 °C

    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, 2018 in Denmark ⋅ ⛅ 20 °C

    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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  • Day757

    Grenen, Skagen

    July 23, 2018 in Denmark ⋅ ☀️ 21 °C

    Today we visited Grenen, the famous finger of land at the northernmost tip of Denmark, where the Baltic meets the North Sea.

    We'd been here several years back and knew how busy it could get, so put it off until Monday in the hope there would be fewer people. For all we know there was, but traffic increased noticeably the closer we got to the nearby town of Skagen. We'd entertained the possibility of stopping here to have a mooch around; with its boutiques and eateries it seemed like an enjoyable place to while away a few hours, but its busy streets put us off and we continued along through the dune landscape towards Grenen. We'd been following Denmark's North Sea coast up until this point, but now the road took us alongside the Baltic Sea on our right. As we approached Skagen Grey Lighthouse (now a centre for birdwatching) cars began to line the verges and more and more people were using the pavement and cycle track. Reaching the end of the road, a high vis official directed us round the roundabout to the motorhome parking, but being cheapskates we saw the ticket signs and doubled back to where we had just come, choosing instead to park in a small grassy picnic area a kilometre or so away and make use of the excellent cycle track.

    After grabbing a bite to eat, applying sunscreen and packing water, we set the van up to remain as cool as possible and made our way towards the hub. Parking the tandem in the extensive (and nearly full) bike racks, we climbed over the dunes and read a small information board about friendly seals, before skirting round an old and grafittid WWII bunker to the beach. Off came the sandals! Vicky waded out into the water and hopped up onto a partly submerged bunker to take a few photos of the beach goers making their pilgrimage to the point. We trekked along with them, sticking to the surf line and allowing the Baltic to surge up over our toes and around our calves as we went. Being nosy, we paused to see what someone was pointing at in the shallows, soon realising that the two dark shapes moving quickly under the water were seals! Vicky had her camera to hand and began filming as one of them swam towards the onlookers and deliberately beached itself just a metre away from the growing crowd! Luckily people were sensible, but it wasn't long before the seal became nervous and turned tail, undulating itself back into the waves. Vicky had been standing in the water to film and got an extra special treat when it swam towards her and poked its head out to say hello!
    You can watch the video on the VnW Travels YouTube channel here:

    On a high from this close encounter, we reached the point in record time and wove through the large group clustered where the sand ended and the two seas began. Less than 4 months ago we passed by the Gibraltar Straights, where the Atlantic meets the Mediterranean. Here it is a lot more tangible because the point is so thin. We waded out into the turbulent seas, the Kattegat (an arm of the Baltic) to our right and the Skagerrak (an arm of The North Sea) to our left. Waves crashed together from either side and the current was strong; signs had warned that it could be life threatening and prohibited swimming. We took an obligatory selfie standing knee high in the convergence, then walked round to the North Sea side where, at a suitable distance, Will took a super quick dip. Even here the current was strong!

    Making our way past the Sandormen; a bus pulled by a tractor to ferry tourists to the point, we retuned to the Baltic coast, where Will again took a very quick dip. The sands seemed even busier as we waded back to the bike and as we cycled towards Martha Motorhome, we feared she may have been blocked in by the nose to tail cars that had at least tripled in number. Luckily we had nothing to fear as despite space being tight, people had parked considerately.

    The van was a lot cooler than the air outdoors but we still made sure we got underway quickly to provide a cold stream of air for Poppy. Until this point we have been driving north in the hope of reaching cooler climes, but having reached this point, we can drive no further north!
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  • Day768

    Fillerup Picnic Site

    August 3, 2018 in Denmark ⋅ ⛅ 27 °C

    Swathes of sandy coloured stubble fill our windscreen view. The grain and straw have been harvested and this isn't the only thing that triggers thoughts of Autumn. We are parked under the shade of a tall oak tree in a layby picnic area. Despite the lack of breeze we occasionally hear the crisp sound of an acorn falling through the canopy, hitting the dry leaves and branches on the way down. Some even land with a loud bang on Martha's roof, making far more noise than they are entitled to, given their small size. The small Plane trees that provide shelter for the picnic tables have had enough of the hot drought too. They have begun to drop their leaves that lay thick on the grass, crackling in a flurry when the odd car drives by.

    The day has been focussed on getting jobs done. After three days in the forest dell near Vejle the van batteries are drained, as are our portable power packs. The shady spot was great for keeping cool, but not good for solar charging. Running the air con so frequently when driving diverts a lot of charge that would otherwise be directed to our two 110amp leisure batteries, leaving them sadly lacking. Setting off, we stuck as much as we could on charge, eschewed the air con, except for the occasional blast and hoped that just our side lights would suffice for the Danish law requiring you to drive with lights on at all times.

    First port of call was an Aldi that didn't exist and second was a caravan shop that transpired to be just a caravan storage pen. However there was a Rema 1000 supermarket nearby, so all was not lost. We were quite desperate to find a cap for our oven flue after the original came off. The resulting 6cm hole in the roof not only made it difficult to keep the oven alight, but let in what little rain their was. When driving in slow traffic we'd followed a caravan with a 'Vejle Caravans' sticker on it. Vicky had commented that it was local, so we did a search and on finding out it was just 10km away, let Google guide us there. It turned out to be an amazing shop with plastic wine and spirit glasses and even a decanter, all made to look like cut glass. It also had very good plastic imitations of crockery bowls, plates and cups. We were almost disappointed we already had everything set up in the kitchen! We had not dared hope that we'd find a flue cap here, but sure enough, there it was, exactly what we needed! Relief buoyed us up and we made the purchase with wide grins on our faces. Despite having measured it, we still couldn't quite believe our luck, so Vicky climbed on top of the roof and fitted it there and then in the car park. Result! It was perfect!

    Next on the jobs list came filling and emptying. Will had found a motorway rest area that provided a service point, but the water was turned off and the toilet emptying backed up. There was enough room for the contents of our cassette, but we still had the problem of clean water; our guage telling us we were at 0%. A 14km drive brought us to the service point on the other side of the motorway but again we found the water had been switched off at the caravan filling point. Looking round, we discovered the unsigned motorhome point, but were dismayed to find the water button had actually been removed. However, water flowed freely from the hose designed to rinse the drain after emptying waste. We've only had one bout of water poisoning in the two years we've been on the road, but it certainly isn't something we want to repeat! We decided to go for it, running the water through first and rinsing the nozzle thoroughly. We hope it will be ok.

    From here we travelled a decent distance, giving the batteries a reasonable charge. Will had planned to stay by the sea but it had been another hot one and the site looked very exposed, so we instead opted for the shade of the acorn tree in this picnic area.
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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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