Ravnsby& Dodekalitten, Lolland, Denmark!September 6 in Denmark
We've made it to Denmark! The northern shore of Lolland island to be precise. The pizza is in the oven and for a change we appreciate the heat radiating into the van. Rain rattles on the roof, running and dripping off the cab overhang onto the bonnet. We are in a small gravel car park whose large potholes are now filled with muddy grey water. It might not sound inviting but it really is rather cosy. Out of the windscreen we can see through a gap in the green reeds to a shallow bay dotted with more than a hundred swans, their impeccable white feathers making them stand out well against the steely grey waters.
We set off in good time this morning because we had a ferry to catch. The 10km drive to the Scandlines ferry terminal at Puttgarden went smoothly and we arrived well ahead of our alloted departure.
In July and August we spent over 6 weeks touring the Danish peninsula of Jutland and now plan to focus on its islands. We had the choice of driving up Jutland and crossing over the free bridge to Funen island before paying the €51 toll on the bridge to Zealand, the largest island and home of the capital Copenhagen. We chose the more direct route of sailing over the Fehmarn Belt from Puttgarden in northern Germany to Rødbyhavn on Lolland, Denmark. It set us back €115 but it saved us time and diesel. Also, if we left Zealand via the toll bridge, there would be no need to retrace our steps to the ferry port.
It was grey and drizzly as we showed the attendant our booking reference number and they handed us the van ticket and our receipt. We could have just rocked up and payed for the crossing at the port but we'd saved €9 by booking online. Another piece of paper that was handed over was a coupon 'entitling' us to a packet of discounted cigarettes each to be 'consumed on board'. Vicky lost her Mum to lung cancer when she was young so as you can imagine, neither of us were impressed.
We were one of the last to board and as we climbed the stairs from the car deck, the Prince Richard set sail. We headed straight for the outdoor area on the top deck, leaning over the railings and watching as we left the harbour. The rain had thankfully stopped and the air was warm so we stayed out for a little while. Will noticed one of the straps on a lifeboat was flapping free- not something that filled us with confidence! There was an announcement about how, because the ferry was a hybrid, the emissions had been reduced, but by the look of the plume emerging from the chimney, it still had a way to go.
The inside was clean with the usual 'probably better than duty free' shop and eateries. To her suprise Vicky spotted a large dog settled by its owner; dogs aren't allowed off the car deck on ferries crossing the English channel. It would have been nice to have Poppy with us but there was no way she could have made the stairs and she was quite content in the van. We spent the rest of the crossing in the quiet panorama lounge whose padded, high backed seats were very comfy. The 45 minute journey was over before we knew it and we waited in line to have our passports checked and the van searched- a bit unusual considering we were within the Schengen Area
For our first overnight stop we headed towards Lolland's north shore where there were some modern standing stones we thought might be interesting. The roads were quiet and the landscape gently rolling as we tootled along between farmers' fields and the occasional woodland. Following a single track road we arrived at the deserted Ravnsby car park and breathed a sigh of relief. It felt good to be back in this country. Because the parking area was small we shimmied on to a patch of grass at the edge. Unfortunately it was at an angle but we could put up with it for one night.
The sky brightened as the sun came out in the afternoon and we set off on the tandem to Dodekalitten; the standing stones. There was some confusion over where they were. Maps.Me and the signposts pointed in one direction but Trip Advisor had them placed differently. After 2km we found that the latter was mistaken and began the 3.4km journey to where they actually were. Approaching on a track that alternated between grass and gravel we arrived at the six, 7-8m tall stones. The quiet but exposed grassy field in which they are set looks out over farmland to the sea. They are a modern art instillation in progress and as yet, only half of the granite blocks have been sourced, the plan being to create a ring of twelve. One sculptor has worked by hand to carve a head on three of the stones so far. Within the circle was a ring of upright logs with faces carved in their wood. We assume this is some temporary school project. Sitting on one of several smooth rocks we took in the place as a low murmuring rose up around us. There are speakers concealed in the rocks. They play a chant that grows to a beautiful wordless song. It reminded Will of some of Pink Floyd's more esoteric tracks. The music has been created especially for the circle, based on a people called the Lolers who communed through song and settled on Lolland a long time ago. There were a few other tourists there when we arrived but they drifted away and left just us, the stones and music on the undulating hillside. It felt peaceful and absorbing to lie back and watch the stoic stone faces, the breeze, gentle, as white clouds drift by on their background of blue.
Our return journey goes no smoother than our outward one, as shortly after departing the chain came off the bike and got jammed behind the cogs. Will went to take the back wheel off, only to find the replacement dog bone spanner we bought isn't large enough for the nut. He eventually got it sorted just before two other cyclists offer help. Our spirits were lifted yet again as we cycled by an honesty stall at the end of someone's drive. We've seen loads of these in Denmark but rarely had the time to think and space to pull over as we zoom by in Martha Motorhome. The bike affords us this time and it is easy to stop on the side of the unbusy country lane. Wooden shelves display brown paper bags of beans, onions and a box of spicy looking red chilli peppers. On the ground are rich orange pumpkins and small marrows. Everything has a suggested price written on it in black marker pen. We take our pick and deposit 21kr in the slotted money tin, feeling happy that we finally got to make use of a stall.
The next day we spend half an hour exploring Ravnsborg Volsted, the remains of a 1330s castle on a 18m high mound next to our car park. Most of the stones are covered with earth, grasses and red berried hawthorns and we don't find the site particularly interesting, but the elevation affords us some good views of the coastline.Read more