Skagen, oohh la la!

Trip Start May 20, 2007
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Denmark  ,
Wednesday, June 6, 2007

On an overcast Friday 25th May morning, we were picked up by Lar┤s parents, Ula & Bent and drove to Aalborg in their little blue Aldi car to pick up Mickael, Lar┤s older brother. Alborg is a larger city, actually one of the main cities in Denmark, probably the size of Penrith (maybe a bit bigger). I tend to pick up all the new things that Australia doesn't have, and one of the grooviest things I saw, was how there were big signs that said how many cars spots the city currently has free at the moment, and where they are!! How cool is that when you need a car spot!! Scooters are a rising form of transport in Denmark, and watch out cyclists cause they can swoop by you like that!!! Alborg is the home of mini Travoli, a famous theme park in Denmark, like Luna Park in Sydney. The real Travoli, bigger and better is located in Copenhagen way, so I must get myself down there for a ride on the roller coaster!!

Once we picked up Mickael, we drove to Skagen! Now all I knew about this town was that it was a very exclusive area of living, like Manly Beach. It is very popular as a Summer destination for Denmark families and tourists, so coming at the end of Spring there shouldn't be a crowd of people which will be good.
After we picked up the keys to the hus, I really enjoyed the more ┤scenic route┤of getting to the house (aka: we got lost but that was ok), and got a chance to see this cute and elegant part of Denmark. No tall skyscrapers here, no urban sprawl - just a pleasant old world, boutique village that one would escape to for a bit of peace and solitude.

One thing I was told that marked Skagen apart from other towns, was how the houses roofs were all red and had a white marking painted on the edges which in the old days the fisherman would look out to the town and these whites etchings alerted them that they were coming home to to the right place. Mmmm interesting, and again so very cute..the houses I mean. All individually decorated but fitting in with the uniformity of the town. We did see a few houses that obviously bypassed the towns plans of making sure that the roof was red.......including our summer house! With a black roof, we had a villa that was one of 6. Transformed from old train holding warehouses, the house was very schmiko indeed! One thing I love about Denmark is that they really know how to get house architecture right - white, wood and stainless steel, the three keys to a great house...well over here in Denmark anyway! The place enjoyed an outdoor BBQ area, jacuzzi (didn't use unfortunately!) and candles everywhere. Very newicce, very newicce indeed.

Once we settled in, we went down to the supermarket to pick up supplies for the ┤night┤.....well 2000KR later, one could say we stocked up for the weekend!! hehehehe, it was great though, anything you wanted over the weekend, just chuck into the trolley. With Lars┤s parents paying for the weekend, I would have normally went crazy but just sticked to the basics - nuts, muesli and lots of choccie! As it was a weekend of chill out for everyone, alcohol was at the top of the list too, the boys went for the beer (Carlsberg is the top beer here, and apparently an insider fact: either tooheys or fosters to bring Carlsberg into Australia), and I tried to hunt down a sweeter wine (they insisted I drink too!) and unfortunately Trish, no Brown Brothers, boo hoo! Only Jacobs Creek and Tyrells were the only labels here from Australia. Got a cheapo German wine, was the sweetest I could find.....and was actually pretty nice.

We headed off next to the butcher. Now normally a trip to the butcher isn't something you see me do alot, well at all! But I made this an exception as this butcher in Skagen was a famous worldwide butcher! Slagter Munch, rings any bells for the meatlovers?? Well this man has set a name up for himself in Denmark and internationally, providing any sort of sausages, meats, sliced meat, pates you can imagine. Its amazing, and busy is definitely booming for them. To me a sausage is a sausage but you would get a fresh sweet and sour pigs foot in the face in you said that out loud!! So as you can imagine I directed myself to the fresh chocolates area, yum-a-tum-tum!

Next we trailed off towards the fish manglers, for some fresh fish for lunch and dinner. On the way, I was just struck at how cute the houses were, all the gardens neatly trimmed and unique, like they were on show...which really they are with my trusty camera taking shots galore. Lars pointed out a hus called Villa Kulla, which for all you Disney lovers, that was where Pippy Longstockings lived..well actually it was Villa Villa Kula but even so, it looks like the set of the movie.

Skagen is part of a big fishing port and as such, there are lots of fishing boats and warehouses decorating the shore line. It was pretty windy out so all along the way you would smell fish. The fishshop itself, was quite small compared to other warehouses, so it was pretty tight whilst looking at the fish on show. Sitting on top a bed of ice, there was so many different varieties of fish, and shell fish, Bruce you would love it! Apart from the fact I had never heard of half the fish there, it was great seeing what the Danes are quite re known for - fish and meat. And herring, a favourite over here, was on the purchase list.

From here, we went back home to have lunch, and a traditional lunch we did have. As I mentioned in the last entry, smorreb°d is the choice for lunch (open sandwiches) and with all the fresh toppings we bought, it was great to see how the Danes really do lunch. You have all the br°d (bread) and toppings (liver pates, smoked herring, raw herring, beef salami, lamb salami, mayonnaise) in the middle of the table, and you take a piece of bread at a time and make you sandwich. Its a pretty simple style sandwich really, pate and salami with a dollop of mayo,or perhaps pate with smoked herring and cracked pepper. Nothing extravagant or unusual like some of the creations I make back home! Back to the story, cause the bread is quite smallish, you can have up to maybe 5 slices of things.

And to skip ahead to dinner, for dessert I tries a new Danish specialty too. Koldskol is a sweet soupy dessert, that features a yoghurty soup (which tastes like Yukult) and then you crumble in these cardoman citrusy round biccies into the soup, and then add in fresh cut strawberries. Now I was very keen on trying this. Verdict: well its very refreshing, something you would have on a hot summers day, but the Yakult flavour did get to me and I ended up eating the biccie crumbles and strawberries.

Unfortunately I started to get sick this weekend, relaxing has caused my immune defenses to come down and I ended up getting an annoying cold, but still planned to have a wow of a weekend! So I dosed up on herbal tea, and it was great cause Ula got a mixed flavoured pack and she had not tried some like green tea or chamomile, so that was nice that I could say what something was like for once.

On Saturday, still on the Food subject,  I got my first lesson on what a true Danish Breaky consists of. Fresh danishes, coffee, and bread rolls with jams .....and cheese!!! again, a bit too out there for me, yet I am a lover of vegimite and cheese, mmmm.

After breaky, we sunscreened up, well (cough cough, yeah ok I was the only one), and we started our walk to Grenan, which is the tip of Denmark! It would have been great if we had bikes and could cycle there and back as it was perfectly flat and the scenery was fantastic. We passed fields of buttercups and another yellow flower (which you see all around Denmark) and again all the flowers were all in bloom, and marking the way to the beach.
The scenery changed as we drew nearer to the beach, with scrub and dry sand beds. We heard this loud drumming noise, and were told that it was the call of a native bird. It really sounded as though someone had a drum kit in the reeds.

Once we reached the beach, I thought of Auz and the bright white beaches we enjoy, as here, whilst still is a picture in itself, it is more a pebbly shore, and no surf, rather soft waves that break against the shoreline. Lars told me a story of how the gemstone Amber is a rare find along the shores, and if you see an orangy type of pebble and knock it gently against your teeth, and it sounds like hard plastic, it amber. And it like opals here, sold in very exclusive stores.
While it is quite shallow along the coastline shoreline, if you walk out say 30m, it will drop suddenly and get quite deep. Because of this the big ships are anchored quite close to the mainland, and with the wind quite blowly, you will find random objects on the shore, like workers helmets, buckets, rope, items that have just blown off the ships.

This walk to the tip of Denmark was a little longer than expected, so I was relieved when we got there. Here at Grenan, the oceans at either side of Denmark, Kategat & Skaerak, clash on to each other in waves, its amazing to watch. Unfortunately the piccie that was taken on me doesn't show this but it looks like dolphins playing together making these mini waves. So I can now say I have been at the tip of a country!!

There is a ┤sandworm┤which is like a tractor train that can take people out to the tip if they don't want to walk. But the walk was nice and along the way back we passed the old bunkers from the 2nd world war. I have passed alot of these along the coastline of Denmark, hiding in bush scrub or buried in sand or mini hilly grass mounds. You can only just imagine  what it would have been like then.....

When we got home, we had a got home we had a well deserved nap, and then played a few games of Yatzee. A bit of a novice with this game but it was fun and a good learning experience when it was played in Danish!

On Sunday, we went Museum and gallery hopping. Quite a few famous Danish Artists came from Skagen, and alot of their work represents the fisherman tales and woman walking along the beach in their lavish turn of the century, pride & prejudice outfits. We also visited the towns old water tower, which would have reached over 30m! You wouldn't want to be scared of heights, but really when you think about it is really isn't that tall at all actually, but yeah it was ┤high┤up. :-) It was good way to see the whole town in full and I was pointed to where the Danish Royal Family holiday house is.

From the tower we could see a white church point, and this was our next point of call. This was the town┤s old church. With the town situated along the sea, the coastal winds blow alot of sand into the mainland. Unless you made an effort to sweep it away, it gradually builds up and one time this church (back in the early century) just didn't do it, and as time got on, it got too thick and buried most of the church under the sand. Pine trees were planted to deflect the sand and keep it from moving further into the mainland, but as far as the church goes it was too late. Only the tip is open to the world now....imagine going underneath the sand....

Our last activity for the day was EAGLE WORLD!! Yeah sounds cool hey...eagle world..woooooooh! Well a man is famous in this area for breeding and training falcons and huge, and I mean huge eagles!! We went to the day show and all these falcons and eagles were released, flying high above us, ...and probably thinking stuff that bait food! Bring on a human feast! Thank god it was drizzly, so we had umbrellas between me and the man eaters, but seriously they are amazing creatures. There wings extending out to at least a metre, each one. I learnt, through Lars┤s trusty translation commentary, that they are one of the fastest creatures in the world and can even kill animals like baby horses etc! There was one eagle that wasn't doing what it was told and it flew off as it was new to the show. It was funny when the commentator said řeah she┤ll be back soon....yep any minute now...ummm hahah she┤s playing hide and seek I think, ok ..yeah..┤ and as she hadn't come back he said that was the end of the show and I was thinking trust our luck we walk to the car and this little eagle decide to play pin the hole in the tourists head!! And even funnier, we were driving out of the park and an eagle was flying ahead of us!! but it was a native, but how freak-a-rama was my afternoon!

Early Monday morning, we left the beautiful town of Skagen to head back to Thisted. It was raining, so it was a good day to leave. But I had a great time meeting Lars┤s family, learning about the Danish ways and seeing more nice sights of Denmark.

Keep smiling, and make those travelling plans in the back of your head happen! :-)
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