There’s some sort of important football tournament going on in Europe at the moment…? A Google search suggest it’s The UEFA European Football Championship.
Apparently Wales were pretty chuffed to reach the last 16 and their fans were really looking forward to watching their match against Denmark in Amsterdam. However due to the blumin Covid-19 rules, the Welsh fans weren’t allowed to go to the match, so the Danes won. Luckily for the England team their last 16 match against Germany was at Wembley so England won that game…, Lesley says Scotland were just pleased to be invited.
Germany has many interesting places to see, as we had discovered on a trip in 2019. However trying to abide by the Germany’s Covid transit rule of <24 hours made it hard to do anything more than take the most direct route. Ok it would be breaking the rules but we discussed the risks of long hours of driving and decided to take a bit longer and make two stops.
“The infamous Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, was located not far from Bergen. Liberated by British forces in 1945, is now a memorial site with a comprehensive visitor centre. Today, only the sombre mounds of mass graves remain along with various monuments to those who died; the original camp was raised by the British after its survivors had been rescued The suffering of Anne Frank and her diary are worldwide associated with the concentration camp Bergen-Belsen after she died here.”
Due to the many roadworks we averaged around 40 kph as we passed Hanover and Hamburg, even though on the generally good German roads Margo would happily cruise at 100 kph plus. As we crossed over the river Elbe the sky-line around the Port of Hamburg was filled with neat groups of colourful cranes.
We felt a sense of nervousness as we approached the Danish border. Looking at Google maps (what would we do without this technology) we could see the middle border crossing road had less traffic queueing for this smaller border post.
As we inched forward in the queue we saw the Danish cars were just being waved through. Our turn came, we gave the friendly young border guard our passports, he asked to see our CoronaPas (we don’t have one), I waved my NHS Covid QR code in his direction, Lesley couldn’t get hers to open! He just smiled and waved us through….!
Gråsten – Lærkelunden Camping
Feeling a sense of relief we decided if we made it to Denmark we would stay here at Lærkelunden Camping near Gråsten to chill and relax for a couple of days. We booked a pitch with waterfront views, put out the awning, got out the chairs, opened a bottle of wine and breathed.
Whilst I sat and watched the world go by Lesley, (never one to miss the opportunity to use a laundry) decided as it was gloriously sunny and 14 days into the trip, it was time for wash day!
Whilst the last of the washing dried in the sun, Widow Twankey took time out for a quick paddle and to check out the Danish firemen rehearsing with the water hoses on the beach.
Nick & Lisa who we met in Rincón de la Victoria near Malaga in January, arrived late afternoon and it was time to share notes of Norway plans and a glass or two.
To get to our next destination Odense we had to cross the Storebæltsbroen ‘The Great Belt’ bridge that connects the islands of Zealand and Funen. We knew we had to avoid paying the full price toll on the famous Øresund Bridge between Denmark and Sweden, but we hadn’t realised the Storebaelt would turn out to cost much more (610 DKK to exact – equivalent to £80.50 ouch).
We’d targeted Odense at it was the birth place and home of Hans Christian Andersen. Coming from a poor family his birthplace is in a very small town house which we skipped in favour of the newly opened H.C.Andersen Hus that only opened 5 days before so it was billed as a soft opening with half price entry tickets.
Part of the reason it wasn’t yet fully open is that some of the exhibits were still having technical problems and in particular there were no English language headsets, which was a bit of a shame as english actor Simon McBurney performs as H.C. Andersen in the English version of the museum experience.
I’m sure the Danes don’t blame the Brits but there appear to be quite a few working on this project including: Andy Gent – British puppet maker, British animator and illustrator George Shelbourn, Noah Harris British graphic designer and number one culprit British sound designer, director and scriptwriter Lewis Gibson.
I’m sure when it is all working properly it will be a great showcase of Hans Christian Andersen’s work. He wrote many famous fairy tales amongst my childhood favourites were The Emperor’s New Clothes, The Princess and the Pea and the Ugly Duckling.
With the English audio broken we had no idea what was going on here but we think it represented the the Snow Queen…?
I assume when the museum is fully open these will be animations of his most most popular fairy tales. For now this is a fairly static multi-layered image from the Ugly Duckling.
Museum experience completed, we headed back towards Margo waiting patiently at Odense station carpark. As we passed this shop on the way… we though what harm could it do to just ask about Danish prices for the latest iPhones. Worryingly for the budget, the demo of Apple’s iPhone 11 pro max was very impressive – we eventually left with even less trip budget than we started with (it was just a curious question as we were passing).
Roskilde Viking ship museum and Cathedral
We had a very quick look at the Roskilde Viking ship museum but decided we would spend more time in the Norwegian Viking museum in Oslo later in the trip.
Whilst touring around Europe, it is inevitable that churches and cathedrals are the local attractions which will from time to time demand to be visited. We’d spotted the pointy spires but we hadn’t realised Roskilde Cathedral was such a significant and important building.
The Cathedral is the most important church in Denmark. It is also older than it looks as it was constructed during the 12th and 13th centuries, the cathedral has been the main burial site for Danish monarchs since the 15th century and is therefore unsurprisingly listed as a UNSECO World Heritage Site.
I am not a church goer or a fan of all things religious but the cathedral inside was bright and airy with a clean modern feel. Yes of course there was the usual showy opulence but somehow it felt ok. Oddly there was also lots decorative arty pieces in the style of The Scream by Norwegian artist Edvard Munch. There’s an idea for later.
As Danny Kaye once so memorable sang “Wonderful, wonderful Copenhagen“. But neither Lesley or I knew very much about it. We found City Camp, only 2kms from the centre, a perfect place to park Margo and explore the city from.
Setting off on the bikes, we passed through the University area on cycle ways and eventually found the main riverside district.
It has been said of Copenhagen “where there are more bikes than people, and perhaps more bridges than bikes.” Riding passed the Opeream- the Copenhagen Opera House we soon saw what was meant by bikes.
Cycling is incredibly popular with separate cycle lanes and traffic lights although it might take us a while to fully understand how bikers safely turn left?
Nyhavn is probably Copenhagen’s most iconic image so we had to get a couple of pictures. Ideally we would have liked to stay awhile and soak up more of the atmosphere. But we both thought this is a place to come back to so for now it’s a 24 hour whistlestop affair.
With rain threatening it was time to find a cash point to pay for the overnight stop (the enterprising Markus wasn’t yet able to accept cards at City Camp’s impromptu field. The heavens opened – panic ensued – we took a few wrong turns – we got very wet.
Reaching Margo and with rain getting ever stronger we hastily chucked the bikes on the bike rack only for it to inexplicably jam! Taking off one bike we got it to move and then added a second – we got very, very wet.
Few of Copenhagen’s well known (or photographed) sculptures are more famous that this one – Hans Christian Andersen “The Little Mermaid“
Before leaving we found a good place to park Margo before taking our morning constitutional around the Kastellet.
I think I first became aware of the Øresund Bridge after watching the tv series The Bridge, this then lead to growing interest in Scandi noir including the excellent “Kurt Wallander” and the Swedish television series Rebecka Martinsson Artic Murders a big favourite and most recently the binge worthy series The Killing which we just finished before we came away.
Anyway back to the bridge –
The Øresund Bridge is an approximately 16 km long road and rail link between Sweden and Denmark with from the Danish side a road rail tunnel then the bridge. To cross in a motorhome and pay the full price is €128. with the tag it’s €48. As we left home not knowing if would make it this far we were not able to order a tag (also used on tunnels and ferries in Norway) but after telephoning Øresund pay we picked up a tag from the toll both on the Swedish side. Sorted.
Well, with England’s football team beating Denmark in the semis of the Euro’s (albeit after a disputable penalty) and remembering the noisy fans who watched their team beat Croatia at the campsite in Gråsten, demonstrated how passionate the Danes are about their footie. We thought it’s time to swiftly move countries before they recognise the GB plates.
Toodle Pip till next time.
PS – Please feel free to leave a comment.
PPS – Our new (thanks Lisa) Where are we now link to Polar Steps seems to be working well, if you’re a FB user.