Review of 2012 – 2. Holidays

We had three holidays this year. First, we spent Easter in London. This was an interesting experience of the city as tourists after having lived there for ten years. Then, taking advantage of the additional Bank Holiday for the Jubilee and Royal Wedding we spent a very varied week in Barcelona. Finally, as a surprise for my 40th birthday we spent a couple of weeks travelling around Denmark. I also had a nice long weekend walking in the Yorkshire Dales. Now we are looking forward to a week ski-ing in Italy. It’s not such a hard life!

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Denmark

This year our summer holiday was a fortnight in Denmark. It was a surprise arranged for me by Mrs B and OMB to have an unusual holiday to mark my 40th birthday as Denmark is not the most obvious or common of destinations. It wasn’t a complete surprise as in their excitement after booking everything I had to play a guessing game a couple of days before my birthday and somehow guessed Legoland, but this showed how well chosen a surprise it was!

I had said beforehand that I fancied a driving holiday rather than flying so we took the overnight ferry from Harwich to Esbjerg. The DFDS ferry was very comfortable and civilised – a far cry from the atmosphere on some cross-channel ferries or the ferry we took from Portsmouth to Bilbao the summer before OMB was born.

Bye bye Harwich! Hello holiday!

The only hitch was that, of course, I had absolutely no idea how to switch off the car alarm so that it wouldn’t go off on the voyage! So, half an hour after setting sail, I and a number of other drivers was called over the tannoy to go to my car. Thankfully I was far from being the only one to find myself standing by my car looking inside a car trying to find an off switch and then randomly pressing buttons on the key fob in the hope of disabling the alarm while keeping the car locked! The crossing was uneventful and very smooth apart from OMB’s disappointment at not getting past the first round of the limbo dancing contest (he was pleased to get to the last four on the return trip!). Arriving at Esbjerg dead on time we drove to Billund where we would be staying at the Lalandia holiday park for three nights. The countryside was dead flat and reminiscent of the miles we had driven through eastern England on the way to Harwich, sharing its grey skies. However, even if the setting was dull we enjoyed the large indoor waterpark at Lalandia and even more, Legoland in Lego’s hometown. You can see and read more about Lalandia and Legoland here.

We then had a long drive of 150 miles for five nights camping on the north coast of Jutland at Klim Strand near Fjerritslev. Apart from one lovely sunny day which fortunately happened to have been the day we chose to go to Legoland, the weather had taken a turn for the worse with some rain. As we drove up, things didn’t improve with strong winds. After the challenge of putting up a large tent in high winds and realising that it wasn’t very weatherproof any more since one of the door flaps could no longer be zipped up we feared that we might have been a little too adventurous. But, following a blustery first night the rest of our time there was in calm and warm sunshine. More about our time in northern Jutland can be found here. Despite an inauspicious start to the camping part of our trip we hadn’t expected to be sad to leave for the final leg of our journey taking us 300 miles back down the length of Jutland then across the island of Funen to Zeeland and Copenhagen.

Up to this point we had barely encountered any traffic at all while driving round Denmark. The population density of the parts we had visited was very low, unsurprisingly for a country with only 5.5 million inhabitants, but as we crossed over the bridge we hit a large traffic jam caused by a road accident which reminded us that we were heading towards a large city at the end of a weekend.

Copenhagen is a great city to spend time in, although we were blessed by having lovely warm weather for the four days we were there rather than the dour greyness of the city as you might have seen it in The Killing! Read all about it here.

Finally it was time to drive back across the country to Esbjerg and the ferry home. The small towns of Denmark had been very sleepy and unexciting. Copenhagen had been lively. So nowhere on the way back looked sufficiently enticing to organise a final excursion. However, running low on fuel and needing lunch we stopped at Kolding, a small industrial town that looked utterly miserable in sheeting rain as we ate a picnic in our car. With four hours to kill before our ferry and low expectations that Esbjerg in the rain would provide any diversion our holiday looked to be petering out. We remembered that our guidbook had a photo of a statue of four giant men looking out to sea in Esbjerg and decided that we should go and look at it, perhaps going to the fishing museum next door if needing some shelter, but with low expectations. Then, as we reached the statues the clouds blew away and were replaced by clear blue skies. So, we had a few hours lying on a lovely sandy beach by the sea. Denmark couldn’t let us leave on a low after a fantastic fortnight!

 

Denmark – Klim Strand & Skagen

Klim Strand campsite on the north coast of Jutland is a peaceful place to spend a few days. The facilities are very good with an indoor heated pool, spa, climbing walls, several outdoor play areas, a good value restaurant and a long sandy beach.

Mine, all mine!

Whee!

Yes, your eyes aren’t deceiving you, that is someone mowing the lawn by their caravan. They weren’t the only ones either, we saw two others, including an elderly man with a push mower. Caravanners are weird, I can never quite work out why you would spend thousands on a caravan and slow down getting to your holiday destination when you could either pay for a lot of hotels or camp if you wanted to be outdoors. Lugging a replica of your front room along with widescreen telly and sofas (as most appeared to have done) let alone bringing a lawnmower and doing a spot of gardening while your garden at home goes untended is just odd.

We spent most of our time at Klim Strand just relaxing around the place, flying a kite or using the pool but did also do one day trip 100 miles up the coast to Skagen. Skagen is a small town at the northernmost tip of Jutland with a spit of land at the end of which the North Sea meets the Baltic Sea. Watching the two sets of waves hitting each other was a strange but fascinating experience. Standing in the water you could feel the different temperatures of the meeting seas on each leg. Skagen is home to many artists attracted by its famed light and the skies did seem oddly luminous.

Waves crossing

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