So, it’s been a couple months since my last post….again.
Life has been continuing as “normal” here. The girls are still in school but COVID-19 continues to create issues across Denmark. The borders are pretty much closed unless you have a worthy purpose and a negative COVID-19 test to travel here. Travel is still unadvised and a strict 10-day quarantine policy is in place if you do travel (can be shortened if you test negative on day 4 of quarantine).
But Denmark is starting to open up! Many stores have opened and after Easter, hairdressers (and the like) were allowed to open. The reopening is expected to continue over the coming weeks if cases remain down and vaccinations continue. The only “but” is that everyone over the age of 15 must prove a negative test, antigens to COVID0 or vaccination to be able to enjoy many activities. Enter: the digital Coronapas. This app is the hope that the country can open up more and potentially allow more travel in the upcoming summer across Europe. *fingers crossed*
As in my last post, we really haven’t been able to travel that much as a family. But we have taken some daytrips around Denmark seeing trolls, snow and sea.
Day Trip #1
At the end of January, we decided to make a trip to Fanø, an island off the west coast of Jutland. Fanø is a very popular destination in the summer time for Danes and Germans.
The only way to reach Fanø is by ferry. We didn’t think it would be that busy (due to the time of year) so we arrived 15 minutes before departure. But many Danes must have had the same idea as us as the ferry lanes were full. We missed our original departure time but were on the next one about 30 minutes later.
Our first stop was to a local farm shop to get some meat. Next, we went to a playground. We have found that we are touring more playgrounds across Europe then actual historical sights. Anything to keep the girls entertained for an hour or so.
It was a cute playground in the forest. It had an obstacle type course, a wooden stacking game that four people controlled with ropes, and a huge, twirling green net (a favorite for the girls).
There were also wooden H.C. Andersen themed sculptures all around the park. We spotted the Little Mermaid, Thumbelina and the Princess and the pea.
It was rainy and chilly. The girls were warm running around the playground but mom and dad were ready to go after an hour of play. Next stop, the beach!
Ok…the beach wasn’t a great idea. It is the west coast of Denmark which usually means strong winds and cold. And it was definitely cold. We were able to drive on the beach and we found a good spot with a view of the ocean. With all our gear on, Claire and I got out of the car and explored the beach just a bit. But like I said, it was a brisk day so we walked to the ocean and back to the car before breaking out the hot chocolate I had packed.
The girls also witnessed their first wild seal pup.
Seal pups are very common in Denmark and are frequently seen along the northern and western coast. There are usually signs posted on the beach stating to give them space and to not worry, mom is usually out in the ocean waiting for them.
We kept our distance and I snapped a quick pic of the little guy.
Our next and last stop brought us geocaching and troll hunting. As I wrote in my last post, we have been searching for the Thomas Dambo troll statues. We found Anker Drømmefanger or Anchor Dreamcatcher at the top of a hill overlooking part of Fanø. Beautiful!
Day Trip #2
Our second trip brought us to another island, Fur.
Fur is located in the northern part of Jutland and is in Limfjord. It is a small island, only around 14 square miles. We had heard wonderful reviews from friends about the cliffs on Fur (and the brewery).
As with Fanø, Fur is only reachable by ferry. It was a much smaller ferry than Fanø but ran quickly as the distance is very short from the mainland to the island.
First, we drove to the brewery. We arrived here (not for the beer because it was closed due to COVID) but for a parking spot close to the cliffs and beach. As soon as we pulled in, it started snowing huge flakes. It was the prettiest snowfall we had seen in Denmark since arriving here. The girls immediately started playing in the snow and a snowball fight ensued.
After a good fight, we made our way through the trees towards Knudeklinterne (a cliff). The snow really offered a beautiful walk and it truly felt like a winter wonderland.
Finally, we reached the cliff. It was a bit blustery near the cliff so we were sure to keep the girls back off the ledge.
We then headed south along the coast. We were trying to find a safe descent down to the beach. It was quite a walk but we eventually found a safe trail on the SW corner of the island.
The beach offered a different view of the cliffs. They looked especially gorgeous with the snow along their faces.
After a long while on the beach looking for shells and rocks, we started making our way back towards the car. The sky really opened up at this point and it was snowing hard by the time we got back.
We then decided to drive to the Molermand statue. This area provides a look out over a mining sight on Fur that mines for lime/chalk. According to the sign posted next to the statue, mining in Fur started in 1925 and still continues today. It is on a raised spot and looks down towards what is called the Bispehuen (the bishop hat). The Bispehuen is a reference to show how deep miners have cut into the earth. It shows the stratification of the soil.
We drove next to the northside of the island and parked at Steilklippe. The sun was out and most of the snow had melted. Avery decided she was too cold so Claire and I headed out to find two geocaches in this location. The setting sun really offered an awesome view of the the northern cliffs of Fur. It was a great view to end the day.
Day Trip #3
Our next trip was to Ebeltoft. Ebeltoft sits along the sea on Ebeltoft fjord. We could tell it is a tourist town but pretty much everything was closed (thanks COVID).
Before we arrived in Ebeltoft though, we went troll hunting. We stopped in the town of Mørke. Thomas Dambo has a giant AND troll here. First, we found “Sigurd, the Bird and the Red Thing” sitting in the middle of a tall hill. Since there was snow on the ground we also tried to sled down it on cardboard. (Side note: we forgot to bring our sleds to Denmark due to the fact there is usually little snowfall here. When it did snow, sleds were sold out across Denmark. So cardboard was our fill in (it worked ok).)
After a few trips up and down the hill, we made our way over to Mørkemanden/Ben Chiller (the giant).
We could tell Ben must have been one of the original sculptures by Thomas Dambo; he was in rough shape. Pieces of wood were missing and many boards were broken. But we were still happy to see in on that crisp morning.
Next, we made our way to Ebeltoft.
We found a parking spot (and a toilet) before making our way down to the harbor.
We were hoping the Maltfabrikken was open. It is an old malt factory that has been transformed into a cultural center full of restaurants, stores and a library. But again, due to COVID, it was closed. So we just walked around the outside of it looking at its structure and the view of the harbor.
Down at the harbor, we walked by the Fregatten Jylland, an old warship launched in 1860. It sits restored in Ebeltoft harbor and is part of a museum that offers many activities for families especially in the summer.
We then found a playground (always a must).
The girls played and the adults watched the ducks and people around the harbor.
Finally we decided that Ebeltoft didn’t have much else to offer us so we headed east out of town to Jernhatten, another cliff located on the east coast of Jutland.
The hike to Jernhatten reminded us a lot of Møns Klint. It required a lot of hiking, steep steps and offered a wonderful look over the sea. We even enjoyed some hot chocolate at the top of the cliff.
We were exhausted by the time we made it back to the car to drive home.
Day(s) Trip #4
This trip is actually a few days over the Easter vacation. In Denmark, many days around Easter are considered national holidays. Shops and businesses are typically closed down.
We decided to rent a little vacation home near a beach to get our fill of sand and sun. Another reason, it has a tub; a whirlpool to be exact. Oh how I miss a bathtub….
We spent three nights at the little house about 500 meters from the beach; Købingsmark Strand on the island of Als. For the kids, it had a loft with beanbag chairs, a swing/slide set and sand box.
When we arrived, we first read the meters. It is very common in Danish vacation homes to be charged on the amount of electricity and water you use. While unpacking, we heard a jingle down the road. Low and behold, the ice cream truck was making its way down our drive. The girls were so excited that they flagged him down and he pulled right up into our parking lot.
The ice cream man is a little bit different than back home. He’s more of a Schwan’s man. You pick out a combination of ice cream treats you would like and you receive an entire box of it. And you can pay electronically. It is never too cold for ice cream.
When we finished unpacking, we picked out our ice cream treat and made our way down to the beach to enjoy the sunset.
The next day was windy and chilly. After lunch, we walked to see a nearby lighthouse: Augustenhof Fyr.
It was only about a half mile from our vacation home. Luckily for us grown-ups, we ran in to a playground complete with an inflatable jump pad and tame cat.
We eventually reached the lighthouse after traversing through a field.
We walked back along the beach picking up rocks to paint and numerous seashells.
The rest of the day, I worked on a puzzle, the husband watched videos and the girls played.
That evening, Claire and I went back to the beach to watch the sunset. It was windy and cold but we had a good time sitting on the dock and hanging our feet over the edge to see if the waves would reach them (it did…twice).
The next day, I had to pull teeth to get my family out the door. The girls just wanted to play at the house while I wanted to go check out Nordborg. Saturday is one of the days that the shops are open during the Easter holidays (although they close early). So I was trying to get us out the door.
Our first stop was Nordborg Castle. It is now an efterskole (a type of boarding school). Unfortunately for us, the grounds were closed so we couldn’t even walk around outside it. But there is a great lake to walk around, IF you have the legs for it (my children do not).
We spent the rest of the time there pursuing the thrift store (we found a scooter, æbleskiver pan and pint glasses) and grocery store. Claire and the husband had decided they wanted to make a special meal that evening so they needed to get a few supplies.
We returned home and spent the rest of the day enjoying the sunshine (which can be rare in Denmark). The girls got their fill of sun and swings.
After a delicious meal that I didn’t have to cook, we went to enjoy our last sunset at the beach. It was the best night so far with the water so calm you could see the bottom of the seabed.
A beautiful ending to our short vacation away.