Munkebjergskovene, Vejle FjordJuly 31 in Denmark
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: https://youtu.be/qNr-gpaeDD8
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.Read more