Today we have had a lovely day with our hosts Birthe and Niels. We arrived in time for morning coffee and home made rolls and pastries – yummy! After putting our washing on (talk about taking liberties!), we then set off for a fabulous walk around their neighbourhood. The countryside here in the middle of Jutland is just beautiful, and not too dissimilar from some parts of Scotland. First we walked through a lovely beech wood – it looked so like Balmerino woods it was uncanny. We then followed paths past fields of pasture land and arable planting, passing by many pretty cottages and farms. We saw cows, horses and free range pigs – it was a scene of rural tranquility. Both Birthe’s and Niels’ spoken English is fluent, and Howard was happy to have a good old chin-wag with a member of the male sex for once – they seemed to be putting the world to rights.
Back at their farmhouse, we had a scrummy lunch of a frittata type dish using their hen’s eggs, with bacon and ryebread – a typical Danish dish we were told.
After lunch, we headed off to a town called Jelling, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site, famed for it’s burial mounds and runic stones, which are examples of pagan Nordic culture. Jelling was a royal monument during the reign of the Viking king Gorm and his son Harald Bluetooth in the 10th century. The site consists of two large flat-topped burial mounds, 70 metres in diameter and 11 metres high. Harald Bluetooth was responsible for introducing Christianity to Denmark, and integrating with Norway. A large runic stone is situated between the two mounds, is commonly known as Denmark’s baptismal certificate, proclaiming Denmark to be Christian. Next to the mounds is Jelling Kirke, an impressive white church, which sits on the remains of earlier wooden churches, the first dating back to the time of Harald, and are thought to contain the remains of Harald’s father, Gorm. I was taken aback by the simplicity inside the church, simple white painted wooden pews and very little adornment.
Next we moved on to meet the ‘Jelling Vikings’ – a group of people dressed up as Vikings, re-enacting the Viking way of life. Of course, a certain person couldn’t resist trying on the Viking hat (which had no horns, incidentally), and was then offered the shield and axe to go with it. Sometimes, it’s like taking a little boy out for the day – it took me back to when the boys were young, and they went through their dressing-up phase!
We then had a quick look in the Viking Museum, and then decamped to the local Arts Centre, which hosts a micro-brewery. No guesses as to what went on there – but the reports were that the ale was good!
We headed back to the farmhouse via the scenic route – Birthe pointing out all the places of interest. Central Jutland is a truly scenic part of the country, and we have been lucky to have been shown around by locals. For now though, I can smell supper – so I will sign off with a few photos of the day.
Danish hospitality is superb – we have been very lucky to meet such lovely people, and hope that at some time in the future, we can reciprocate and invite them to Scotland. I’m just not sure I can match the home-baking!