24 Hours With The Danes.

Trip Start Feb 01, 2005
Trip End Dec 31, 2020

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Where I stayed
Cabbinn Odense
What I did
Hans Andersons Hus (House)

Flag of Denmark  , South Denmark,
Saturday, June 25, 2011

Denmark is very close to the West coast of Sweden. Spitting distance almost. So we ventured in and out in 24 hours and saw lots of sights, paid lots of bridge tolls, learnt a bit more about the nation but didn't see "our" Mary.

After a while on the road from our last stop, the Varberg radio station, we checked the route and found "Abba" (our GPS) was taking us via a car ferry so we went along with her and all worked with precision, saving us quite a few kilometers from the road we thought we would be taking over a huge bridge.

The (expensive) car ferry took us right to the city Helsinger in Denmark where we saw the UNESCO site of Kronborg Castle. This is a very majestic castle and we were to learn that it was there really as a tax collection place, to collect the taxes from the boats using the straits between Sweden and Denmark.   

We set off after Kronborg for a place called Jelling quite a distance and two Denmark islands away via bridges. The bridge tolls were horrendous and paid by slipping your credit card into the machine. Jelling is (yes, you've guessed it) a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is here that the grave mounds of two Viking Kings, King Gorm and his son Harold Bluetooth from the 10th century have been found. King Gorm died in 958 and Harold Bluetooth in 987. Two "Runic Stones" were found at the site with inscriptions. What is important about the one erected by Harold Bluetooth is that it is the first time in history that a reference was made to "Danes" as a people, so this is thought to be the baptism of the Danish nation.

The inscription chiseled into the big stone reads "Harold King made this memorial stone for Gorm his Father and Thrya his Mother.That Harold who won over the whole of Denmark and Norway and christianised the Danes". All very Viking like, having a name like Harold Bluetooth! 

It was getting late and time to start looking for accommodation, so we drove to the city of Odense which is the birth place of the famous children's fairy tale author Hans Christian Anderson. Here we found a room (with bunk beds again) in a hotel chain unique to Denmark (Cabbinn) of budget but new accommodation, with extremely tiny rooms, custom built with everything you need, but just very small.

We had one more UNESCO site to see in Denmark the next day, before we headed back over the bridge to Sweden. This was an 800 year old cathedral in Roskilde of great significance to the Danes. Apparantly neither the use of brick or the architectal style was common for this period and certainly not the size. It is huge!

After viewing the church we wandered down the hill towards the boat harbour as we could see something important was happening. The sight of groups of athletic, tall Danes milling around in bathers and wetsuits greeted us and a loud speaker system making announcements in Danish. We gleaned it was a marathon swim from an outlying island or peninsula of some 3 kms and we were there to witness the last swimmers come in. The picnic baskets came out after the final swimmers were in and everybody sat around eating their picnics even though the weather was cool and threatening rain.

Just 24 hours in Denmark but we saw a lot. In that 24 hours we managed not use any cash. Card use is everywhere, which suited us just fine, as we didn't want the hassle of getting Danish Kroners just for a day. With our side trip to Denmark over, we got the credit card out ready for one more major toll, to pay for the privilege of going back to Sweden.   

Footnote: Kronborg Castle, Jelling Mounds, Runic Stones and Church, Roskilde Cathedral are all UNESCO Heritage listed.  
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