Category Archives: Denmark

Yet another castle #AtoZChallenge

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Sometimes, it seems that there are so many castles!  This one is Egeskov and is still occupied but rooms are open to the public. The castle is built in such a way that the family could move to a separate halve, closing it off from anyone who might attack it.

There are also extensive grounds around it with different gardens, exhibits and other exhibits. One garden, Caroline’s Garden, is interactive, with various types of musical instruments like bells and drums that can be played. It was quite magical!

Nyborg #AtoZChallenge

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Nyborg is a beautiful Danish city, with a medieval city central. but, before I could venture into town, the ship had to go under the Great Belt Bridge. My first time under this bridge was at midnight — and this time it was at dawn.

The Nyborg’s central area is anchored by a castle, one built for defense. The grounds surrounding the castle was a beautiful public park.

 

Mystery Cruises #AtoZChallenge

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So, why would someone pay to go on a mystery cruise; get on a ship and head to ports unknown? Since I love to cruise, this sounded like an interesting opportunity to sail into, well, mystery! I’ve now done two of these cruises and both on the Braemar.  I really like this ship. It is a smaller one and feels like family. It is very easy to sail solo and meet lots of friends on this ship.

On the first cruise, we sort of knew where we were going. The passengers were given a choice and we voted for one port or another — but we did not know where we were going until we got there! Here are the ports we visited:

Porto, Malaga, Barcelona, Valencia, Cartegna, Cadiz, La Coruna

The second mystery cruise was truly a mystery — one that would include only maiden ports (ports where our ship had never visited). It was very strange not to be able to plan or research the ports we were going to, nor to be able to know exactly what to pack — for warm or cold! The cruise was early May, so it was hard to plan for everything. It started in Dover and we waited to see if we would turn to go north … or south (or if we could even trust that, in the night, the ship would change directions!). As it turned out, we continued North and thus we began a cruise that went to Norway, Denmark, Germany and Sweden.

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The ports included:

Larvik, Hundested, Nyborg, Fredercia, Wismar, Lyskil

Would I go on another one? It would be hard to keep me away!

 

 

Kronborg Castle #AtoZChallenge

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Kronberg Castle is also know as “Hamlet’s Castle.” The first time I cruised in this area, I sailed by the castle on the way to Copenhagen.

Kronberg Castle, setting for Hamlet
Kronberg Castle, setting for Hamlet

On the Mystery Cruise, we docked close to the castle and I was able to finally go into the castle. It is perfectly situated at a place to stop ships sailing on their way to the Danish capital — perfect for collecting tariffs.

The outside fortifications are impressive, with several types of fortifications surrounding the castle.

 

Inside, there are large rooms and hallways that lead to a ballroom that is the entire length of the area facing the sea. I thought is would be very cold in that room, as there was only one, albeit large, fireplace at one end.

As for Hamlet, This castle has so many nooks and crannies — places to hide and towers to climb. It could definately be a place of secracy and betrayal.

 

Jelling #AtoZChallenge

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Ever wonder where the symbol for Bluetooth comes from — or even the name?

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If you go to Jelling, Denmark, you will learn about the Viking King Harald “Blåtand” Gormsson and see this familiar symbol carved into rocks, on signs and in the museum (Blåtand sounds like “bluetooth”). It seems that his name is living on through modern technology. However, Jelling is not about the technology, it is about a Viking burial ground filled with the memories of King Harald and the beginnings of Denmark.

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Archaeologists discovered remains of wooden pillars that formed an outline of a very large long boat. Now, white stones and pillars mark the space. In the center is a small chapel and graveyard. On the north and south side of the chapel are two large mounds. It is believed that the north mound was originally built for Harold’s father, Gorm, but no bones were found there.

Bones were eventually discovered in the church, and have been reburied there after extensive renovations. If you follow the line the goes along the floor of the chapel, it points to the spot where the bones were interred.

The chapel and surrounding graveyard is still actively used by the local community. My tour guide told that this is the church she attends and that her family is buried there.

Just outside the chapel are two carved stones. The oldest is known as Gorm’s Stone and is the first time Denmark is named as a country (~950).  This stone was dedicated to his wife, Thrya. The larger stone is Harald Bluetooth’s Stone it is tells of his conversion to Christianity.

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I don’t always to into museums, preferring to get a sense of the place from the outside. But, the tour guide advised that we should, at the very least, go to the roof of the Jelling museum to get a better sense of the whole site. So, in I went and all I can say, is you should try to visit this museum! It is one of my favorite museums anywhere. It includes several an interactive experiences that shows Viking history and their culture through interactive displays. I found myself playing with every button to see what the displays would show next. We were all transformed into children playing with all the exhibits.

Some of the exhibits showed items that had been found onsite, and then, through holographic imagery, the object were transformed into what they probably looked like. It was fascinating and so much fun!

There there was the room where you could stand on different spots on the floor and experience a Viking death, funeral and journey to Valhalla to be with your kin and fellow Warriors. Sounds a bit morbid, but really is was so much fun!  I think it did that a couple of times. It was fun to “see yourself” flying with the Valkyries!

From there, you climbed the stairs to learn more about the Viking Gods and their stories. On the roof of the museum, you can get a panoramic view of the whole site. Yes, I could have stayed at the museum for a long time!

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Hundested #AtoZChallenge

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Hundested is a small town of about 8,500 residents and is located on the northern coast of the island of Zealand. And this was our second port of call on the Mystery Cruise of Maiden Ports I took in May 2016. It was the fist time a cruise ship ever came to this port of call — and what a welcome we received!

It started with a flotilla of various types of ships — from small personal boats and kayaks to military boats to a Viking ship.

Then, there was the turnout of, what seemed to be, the entire town to greet our ship!

And finally, we we greeted dockside by Vikings!

Once we were off the ship, there was a little Viking Village setup where they were selling mead ad other souvenirs. The town itself had arranged for a number of tours around the local area. Everyone was friendly and seemed very happy to receive their first cruise guests.

 

 

Fredericia #AtoZChallenge

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Fredericia, Denmark was one of the port stops on the Mystery Cruise. Like all of the ports we visited, it was small, but had very good support for cruise ships and tourists. The sil-in was beautiful and I saw a few dolphins, but was unable to get any pictures. When we docked, the ship was met by a band. There was an information centre and very helpful people who shared information about things to do. There were bicycles for rent and souvenirs to buy. I spent time pouring over a map with one gentleman — trying to place where we’d been and where we might go next.

In the morning, I went on a tour, but that left the afternoon to explore the town. It was an easy walk form the ship to town — or there was a tourist train. The town is as cobbled streets and interesting artwork.  Everyone was friendly and I enjoyed my walk and just being surprised by what I might see around each corner.

 

There are a lot of things to do in Fredericia and it is close to many areas in Europe.