Sunday, August 20, 2017

Photos of Funen

Northern Zealand, Roskilde & Funen

We have been so busy lately that I haven't had time to blog, but it's been amazing! We visited more castles in Northern Zealand (one being the summer residence of the Queen, however she wasn't home to receive us), as well as zipping across the Oeresund Sea from Helsingor, Denmark to Helsingborg, Sweden (a mere 20 minute ferry trip). Had a great view of Kronborg Slot in Denmark from the ferry - the formidable castle built in the 1420's for defensive purposes, and now a Unesco World Heritage site. The Swedes make the short trip to Helsingor to buy cheap(er) alcohol, so the streets were full of liquor shops to cater to the tourists. We loved exploring the smaller streets though, with many old half timbered houses and brick buildings that were impressive. In Sweden we just stayed long enough to explore the harbour area and stop for coffee.

We also spent a day in Roskilde, visiting the cathedral and the Viking museum. The cathedral, another Unesco World Heritage site, is not only the most beautiful of Danish cathedrals, but is also the royal mausoleum, containing the crypts of 37 Danish kings and queens. The highlight of the Viking museum was the remains of five ships (made between 1030 & 1042) that were unearthed from the bottom of the narrow channel 20 km north of Roskilde in 1962 and meticulously reassembled. The Vikings sank the boats presumably to block an invading army, piling stones on top of the ships to create an underwater barrier. Russ was impressed with the fact that they were able to get an exact date and season that the trees used for building the boats were cut down (more than a thousand years ago).

We have been on the island of Funen for the past few days, staying in our friends' summer house on the beach. This is a beautiful place, and our days have started with a very bracing early morning swim in the ocean, followed by a hot shower and lovely breakfast of muesli, fruit, yogurt, fresh breads with local cheeses and jams. I could get used to this! We have had some fascinating day trips. The first day we visited the island of Aebelo, which is accessed by walking through the water at low tide. It was tough getting there, as the water was knee deep, and it's about 1.5 km (seems much longer!). Coming back was much easier  wading, only about 6 in deep, but we had a strong wind against us! Being a nature sanctuary, the island has an amazing array of wildlife, including fallow deer, mouflon, and some birds and insects that are rare in other parts of Denmark. Unfortunately we did not see the famous 20 cm long beetle, but there are about 1,000 species of beetles on the island. The deer are everywhere, and a herd of about 200 ran across our path at one point! 

Tomorrow we leave this island and head to Jutland, the only part of Denmark connected to mainland Europe (68 km long border with Germany). Our plan is to spend some time at Legoland tomorrow, then head to the west coast.

Photos to follow.....