Sæby harbourJuly 23, 2018 in Denmark ⋅ ⛅ 24 °C
Out of our front window Arctic Terns are shrieking as their lithe bodies turn into torpedos, dive bombing the water and often emerging with a wriggling flash of silver between their beaks. They are joined in the air by Herring and Black-backed Gulls and bizarrely, a hoard of ladybirds! The bugs crawl across our van, prompting us to pull the flyscreens over the open windows and door to keep them out. Vicky is wary, one of them has already bitten her arm!
We are parked up in Sæby harbour and have paid 150kr (€18) for the privilege, our most expensive overnight tarif for a long time! The waterfront development extends over a large area, with a sea wall along which fishers are lined up with their rods. Traditional red wooden huts run adjacent to the vans and act as storage or workshops for the repair of boat and fishing equipment. The moorings are full with a diverse range of boats, from casual day trippers to vintage fishing vessels, elegant sailing yachts and 'flaunt it to the world' pleasure cruisers; huge beasts of boats with luxury seating areas and shiny railings. Different flags fly from the vessels as their engines guide them gently in and out of the marina. Many are Danish, but we also spot a fair few Norwegian, Swedish and German. The vans parked alongside us are also from these countries as well as a couple of Dutch and an Italian one.
We were lucky to get a place looking out over the water when we arrived straight from Skagen in the mid afternoon. There is no shade, so Will went out and joined the fishers while Vicky filled up with water from one of the harbour's long hosepipes, got the van as well ventilated as possible and stayed with Poppy, looking over our photos and videos. After a while, Will came to the door with a 'very pretty' little fish, asking if she knew what it was. Neither of us did at that point but he later returned, having caught a second. 'Do you think it could be a Weever fish?' he asked. This one, it appeared, had got its own back and stabbed him with its venemous dorsal spines. Vicky got on the internet and positively identified it as a Weever, reading through the long list of possible symptoms (significant pain, itching, swelling, heat, redness, numbness, tingling, nausea, vomiting, joint aches, headaches, abdominal cramps, lightheadedness, increased urination, and tremors). Finally she got to the bit that recommended heat be applied, so made Will sit down with his finger in a cup of very hot water for 10 minutes; a cure that worked well enough for him to go back and start fishing again. Weevers will bury themselves in the sand in shallow water and lie in wait for their prey. Injuries often occur when they are trodden on by unsuspecting paddlers enjoying a splash around.
Towards the evening Vicky spotted a lifeboat speeding out of the harbour mouth and we both saw it return sometime later with a white haired man and a boy of around 8 with their kayaks. They were both wrapped in blankets but able to walk to the waiting ambulance.
After tea we headed into town for a drink. We knew from Park4Night that we needed to pay our overnight fee at a ticket machine that was hidden away some distance from the van. The place wasn't well signed and we had to wend our way through a large crowd of elderly people, to beside a stage where an ageing live band was performing. The harbour was heaving with its temporary residents, many of them a nutty shade of brown, perusing the high priced clothes shops or sitting outside the many eateries with cool glasses of beer or white wine.
The area is really an additional village for the summer visitors, but we wanted to get away from the main tourist trawl, so headed into town where the streets were quiet. We passed the Lanternen pub whose music blasting out made Vicky a little nervous, so we carried on. However the Italian eateries on the square lacked character so we returned to Lanternen and Vicky at least, was pleased to find it had quietened down. We ordered two 'Royal' beers, choosing the 'mellem' sized one out of the little, medium and large glasses. According to our guide book Danes often accompany beer with an akvavit chaser. We therefore did as the Danes do and asked for a Danish brand, being given a couple of glasses of the fennel flavoured Linie spirit (of Norwegian origin).
Strolling back to the van, happy with our experience, we caught the sun setting over the masts of boats moored at our harbour; a beautiful sight.
The following morning we visited the Lady from the Sea; a sculpture in the harbour area inspired by Henrik Ibsen's play of the same name, written after a stay here. Will had to brag that he ahad recently read the book! Making our way into the pretty town we passed hollyhocks and roses growing against earthy yellow, timber framed houses. More than a few doorsteps or back yards displayed second hand or craft items for sale and at several points the pavements were lined with canvas paintings propped up against walls. As with many Danish towns, Sæby was clean and attractively presented, its highstreet had good quality products on sale in jewellery shops, cookery and homeware stores and clothes boutiques. Its stand out feature was definitely its focus on the creative sector. Paintings, ceramics and glassware were first and foremost, but handmade jewellery, wood craft and yarn based works featured too. We even stumbled accross an atmospheric former barn that had been repurposed as a space for independents to display and sell their work.
The stalls and shop windows were enjoyable to peruse, but the heat of the day tired us quickly so we rounded our visit off with a trip to a café for icecream. We failed to find anwhere that sold sundays which Vicky had taken a fancy to, but we got a triple stacked cone each from a friendly place with shaded outdoor tables. One of the flavours we chose was liquorice- something that neither if us had tried before but seems to be a big thing up here. Is it anywhere else we wonder? It was delicious so we certainly hope so!Read more