Denmark, Day 4-Part 2, The Ribe Viking Center!

The Ribe Viking Center transported me back in time. Every hut, every craft demonstrated, every vegetable and herb grown in the garden, all the goats, chickens, pigs, and cattle, has been reconstructed with meticulous detail. Where possible all materials used are those that would’ve been the standard for the ninth and tenth centuries. Since, there’s no way I can convey how astounding the experience was, I decide to let my pictures paint the afternoon for you.

CP D4 RB MERCHANTS CP D4 RB LHOUSE U CP D4 RB LHES U CP D4 RB FEILDS4 CP D4 RB JOHN  CP D4 RB LH INSIDE TOOLS U CP D4 RB ARROWS CP D4 RB BOWSS CP D4 RB DRUM CP D4 RB GLOVES CP D4 RB HELMET CP D5 RB LONHOUSE U CP D5 RB MK SHBLD BEST CP D5 RB MKT TENTS U CP D5 RB MKT U CP D5 RB MKT VENDOR U CP D5 RB MOM AND DAUGHTER U CP D5 RB VIEW BRIDGE VILLAGE U CP D5 RB VIEW SETTLE U CP D5 RB LH IN  VIEW OF ROOMS U CP D5 RB LH IN BARROW BEST U CP D5 RB LH IN BED WITH CURTAINS U CP D5 RB LH IN DRESS U CP D5 RB LH IN DRESS3 USE CP D5 RB LH IN GIRL FIRE USE CP D5 RB LH IN OVEN BEST USE CP D5 RB LH IN SERIES OF BEDS U CP D5 RB LH IN TABLE CHAIRS SHELVES U CP D5 RB LH IN TABLE WITH STOOLS U CP D5 RB LH IN TABLE WITH TAPESTRY U CP D5 RB LH IN USE CP D5 RB LH IN WINDOW USE CP D5 RB LH TABLES TOOLS SHELVES CP D5 RB BARN HOOK CP D5 RB BLACKSMITH

The last picture is of the blacksmith’s drool-worthy arms. Can’t tell you how much I enjoyed watching him work.

We ate lunch in a nearby town, and then headed off to Silkeborg, which is a town located in the middle of the Jutland peninsula, and is considered the lake and forest vacation spot of Denmark. I can’t stop talking about the Ribe Viking Center and I know my dreams will be overrun with Norsemen, Valhalla, and Harald Bluetooth.

Denmark, Day 4, The Road Trip, Part 1!

Our Denmark road-trip begins today! Yay—so thrilled!!!

We grab a quick breakfast, store our luggage, walk around the corner to Hertz, and pickup our rental car. It’s rush hour and it takes a good forty minutes to weave our way out of the city proper, and onto the highway.

The Viking and I are both struck by the hordes of cyclists everywhere. The Danes bike, bike, and bike some more. There are bike lanes and bike stands everywhere, and, as I’ve noted before, the cyclists have the right of way. What that means is the Danes are fit. The only overweight people we’ve seen are obviously tourists (and North American if you go by the flags on purses and backpacks). In south Florida, you take your life in your hands if you attempt biking on major roads.

We’re both surprised by the landscape change within minutes of driving on the freeway. Copenhagen is flat, but the second we exit the capital, rolling hills peppered with lush, verdant farms dominate the landscape.

CP D6 FARMS

Until this trip, I never realized that Denmark is actually composed of the peninsula of Jutland, 12 major islands (Zealand, Funen, Jutland, Amager, Lolland, Als, Falster, Bornholm, Samsø , Ærø, Tåsinge, and Mors), and over 449 (the number is dynamic as new islands form and other disappear according to sedimentation) smaller islands (of which 74 are inhabited). Here’s a map of the country:

MAP-Denmark with islands

In addition, Greenland and the Faroe Islands, are also considered part of the Kingdom of Denmark (although absolute monarchy was abolished in 1849). Iceland also once belonged to Denmark. We’re planning to visit several Viking sites on our road-trip, and the first one, Ribe VikingCenter, is located on Denmark’s west coast on the island of Jutland. This is our planned route over the next four days:

Map-Denmark

The major islands of Denmark are connected by bridges. When we cross over from Zealand to Funen, this is what we saw from the bridge:

CP D4 RT3

 

Windmills in the sea! A first sighting sighting for both of us.

The Ribe VikingCenter is located near the old Viking trading center of Ribe, which served as the conduit for trade with the Middle East and the Mediterranean. The ancient site was excavated and a new center built to the specifications of what was found during the excavation. Every summer, the Viking village in the center is occupied by people who live and practice the trades of Vikings during the tenth century. These are the statues at the entrance to the Ribe Viking Center:

CP D4 RT5 STATUTES AT ENTRANCE U

We stayed at the center for over three hours. Both the Viking and I were completely enthralled. Tomorrow’s blog will be devoted to pics and experiences at Ribe—I  minted a gold coin!!! Yikes—they let me near fire 🙂

Denmark, Day 3!

Over breakfast on the penthouse floor of the Radisson Blu, the Viking and I discuss the concert from last night and our plans for the day. I forgot to post the views yesterday, so here are some shots:

CP D4 HOTEL1 V CP D4 HOTEL2 V CP D4 HOTEL3 V CP D4 HOTEL4 V

Man have we made some right choices on this trip. The weather’s perfect for being on the water as temperatures have climbed into the 70s, the breezes are light, and again, a cloudless sky. The vistas are superb and I take way too many pics, but how can I resist?

CP D3 BT CANAL U (2) CP D3 BT CANAL U CP D3 BT CANAL3 USE CP D3 BT WIND U CP D3 BT1 U CP D3 OPERA1

Until visiting this side of the world, I couldn’t comprehend how deeply ingrained seafaring is in Scandinavians. No wonder the Vikings ruled the waves. Because we loved the canal area and it’s close to where we dock, the Viking and I lunch there, but in a different spot. Our waiters are from Armenia, Siberia, and Lithuania. Not a single Dane.

Did I mention that this happens to be National Jazz Fest week in Copenhagen? Talk about luck and good fortune, first Elton John, now Jazz everywhere. We saunter back to the hotel via the main pedestrian street and stop to have a drink in the many courtyards intersecting the cobblestone paths.

CP D3 CTYD U CP D3 JAZZU  CP D3 BT C4 SIDEWAYS

So far, all the cities we’ve visited are organized around two main things; the central train station (Central Station) and a wide, tree lined pedestrian main street (with many offshoots). Outdoor cafes abound and the ambiance is celebratory.

When we return to the Radisson, Glenn and Uffe, the concierges, help us plan our road trip around the country. We organize the car rental and head out to eat.

Remember that tapas restaurant from the first night? Well, we finally find it, and have a yummy meal before retiring.

CP D2 TAPAS CP D2 TAPAS2

 

Cheers,

Denmark, Day 2!

The Viking and I woke up late today. We had a lovely continental breakfast on the penthouse floor of the Radisson Blu Hotel. The almost 360 view proved breath-taking. I’m amazed that we can actually see the bridge that joins the mainlands of Sweden and Denmark.

We discovered in Stockholm, Finland, and Tallinn that Hop On/Hop Off tours are a great way to get a quick layout and history of a city, so after breakfast we head to Central Station and purchase two-day tickets. Yesterday, when we arrived the temps were almost suffocating and nary a breeze relieved the heat. Today, it’s in the 60s, the winds are gusting, and hold an icy chill. But, the sun’s shining and only a few clouds interrupt the vast expanse of a powder blue sky. Here are some pics of Copenhagen:

CP D2 CENTRAL  CP D2 DOWTOWN   CP D2 H3 U

CP D2 OPERA U  CP D2 H3 U (2) CP D2 CANAL U CP D2 HP1

 

Everyone hails Denmark as a ‘green’ city, and the narrative on the tour emphasizes over and over that the country intends to have no, that is absolutely zero, carbon footprint by 2025. Cars are taxed a 180 percent to encourage cycling and, believe me, all those on bicycles have the right of the way. Yet, this is the first country (except for parts of St. Petersburg) we’ve visited where litter abounds. I took a shot of one street to prove this. There are cigarette stubs, paper wrappers, and other garbage everywhere. It’s so contradictory.

CP D3 LITTER

We have lunch along this charming canal (this is what I imagined Copenhagen would look like everywhere), and then head back to the hotel for a nap. After our rest, we cross the street to Tivoli Gardens to grab dinner before the Elton John concert. The gardens are lush and soothing, and we eat outdoors at a Bavarian place in Tivoli.

CP TIVOLI CP D2 TIVOLI CP D2 TV GARDENS CP D2 TV PEACOCK CP D2 TV WATERFALL CP D2 TVGDNS1 CP D2 TVHERCEGOVINA REST CP D2 TVPAGODA  CP D2 TIV1

 

Now, Elton John’s one of my favorite performers, and I’m totally in paradise when he plays Candle In The Wind, Rocket Man, Daniel, Your Song, and so much more. The breeze has died down, the sun’s shining, and Elton John’s singing. Could there be a more perfect end to our first full day in Denmark?

Cheers,

 

Stockholm to Copenhagen!

CP D2 TVNITEUWhile we’re sorry to see the end of our Baltic cruise and say goodbye to our friends, the Viking and I are eagerly anticipating our week-long visit to Denmark. First, however, we have to survive Royal Caribbean’s nightmare of a disembarkation.

Because we have to catch the early train to Copenhagen from Stockholm’s Central Station, we opt for a manual disembarkation.This means  we take our own luggage to the exit, await clearance, and disembark. Sounds simple and easy, right?

Turns out there’s another ship in port and they’ve gone ahead of us and Royal Caribbean’s staff is thrown into a tizzy (like this hasn’t happened before *rolling eyes*). What should’ve taken thirty minutes and been an organized and orderly leave-taking turns into almost a mob exit, which lasts for two hours. Another nail in the Royal Caribbean’s coffin— for me anyway.

Finally, we’re on the train travelling to Copenhagen. The scenery’s interesting, the seats comfortable, and everything’s hunky dory until we hit the last stop in Sweden. The conductor announces there are delays in Denmark, our train will go no further, and we must switch to another. No one bothers to give any details. However, there’s only one other train in the station, so we board that one.

Once we cross the sea border (the bridge between Sweden and Denmark is sooo impressive and a little unnerving as we are going over the Baltic Sea), the train stops and starts with no explanation. When we arrive at the Denmark international airport, we’re informed of another delay, but no one’s able to estimate the length of time it’ll take to get to Copenhagen’s Central Station. The Viking’s tired and snappy, so we opt to take a taxi to our hotel.

By this time, we’re three hours late, and anxious to get settled. While the Viking checks in at the Radisson Blu Royal registration desk, I head over to the concierge to ask for dinner recommendations. To my surprised delight, the concierge, Glenn, is a Trini who grew up not ten minutes away from my old childhood haunting grounds. Go figure.

Glenn recommends a tapas bar and mentions that Elton John’s playing the next day at Tivioli Gardens (right across the road from our hotel) and that the concert’s included in the price of the tickets. Hah! We buy tickets immediately. Here’s the view of Tivoli Gardens and one of the more hair-raising rides from our hotel room:

CP TIVOLI CP TV RIDE CP TV RIDE21

CP D2 TVNITE U2

 

 

 

 

 

After a shower and a rest, we head out for the tapas bar, get hopelessly lost (I took the directions, and I’m directionally-challenged, or, in other words, I have trouble with left and right). We end up at a restaurant called uformel. Our first experience with ‘Danish’ food (the Danes pride themselves on serving purely organic, seasonal, sustainable food). Our haughty waiter informs us that uformel serves ‘little plates’. The Viking replies “Oh-tapas.”

Doooing! Wrooong!

“We’re in Denmark,” the waiter snaps, “We don’t do tapas.”

Aside from the twerp’s attitude, the food turns out to be scrumptious, and we end up having a wonderful dinner. Click here to see the menu:
http://uformel.dk/food-wine/

We had the monkfish, the crab, oysters, ceviche, pork, and ended with this desert (not listed on the current menu, salted caramel gelato on a bed of lingonberry crumble):

CP AWNING      CP FROMO   CP UMO DESSERT

 

 

 

 
 

Lovely ending to a somewhat trying day.