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Published: October 14th 2015
It is sweater and candle weather in Scandinavia! My knitting needles are delighted by the change, and so far, I am enjoying it, too!
Mads and I managed to squeeze in some out of town adventures in September. Exploring Denmark outside of Copenhagen is something we both enjoy.
With Mads’ parent’s car, we zoomed off one Friday afternoon for the island of Møn (I am glad I just have to type it, not pronounce it!). The impetus came from me giggling at the image on a Starbuck’s mug; there was an outline of cliffs that made me think of Ireland or England, but did not match my experience of super flat Denmark. Mads insisted that not only did dramatic the chalky cliffs exist, but that Denmark was known for them. Well, seeing is believing!
The island is only about an hour’s drive from Copenhagen, but not when you take the wandering back roads and pull in to towns along the way to marvel at old buildings and historic squares. We made it nonetheless in time for a meal at a local landmark, the Møen Hotel, before hitting the hay.
Our planning for the adventure was, well, minimal, but we decided to appreciate some frescos at a church along the way before hiking around the cliffs. The island’s community appears healthy, with buildings in great repair and many artist’s studios and ceramic shops dotting the roads. After a bit of nosing around the church and a ceramic shop, it was time to see these cliffs with my own eyes.
The cliffs were impressive! We walked down 470 steps to reach a black rocky beach, which allowed us to marvel up at the towering white cliffs! As we walked along the beach to another set of stairs, we were able to appreciate the variance in colors of the seemingly white cliffs, which, up close, were at times orange or green. Mads was determined to look for fossils, and broke open one chunk of chalk to find a seashell fossil! It is hard to capture in words drama of the cliffs to one side and the crashing sea to the other, but there was a raw beauty to it.
After the long climb back to the top, we walked along by the edge looking down at
the bright ocean, appreciating all the blocks of intense dolors-green leaves from the trees, white cliffs, black beach, blue ocean; it was a treat for the eyes, and like all time in nature, a balm for the soul!
High on the energy of that saturation in beauty, we explored the nature center, where we were able to test geological theories with manipulative and learn about the creation of the cliffs.
With our main attraction behind us, we decided to meander over to Nyord, a neighbouring island. We had to park the car outside of the town of Nyord and walk into it, raising my hopes that it would be a charming little place. Indeed, it was just that! Little streets, houses nestled together, a man on a ladder painting his house, and little shops with blown glass and ceramics.
Before heading back to Copenhagen, we enjoyed a delicious meal at a funky spot in Stege; a butcher was next to an antique shop, so they broke down the connecting wall, and you order your meat and load your plate with salads, then head into the antique shop to enjoy your feast!
We fell into easy conversation with every local we met, rounding out the sweetness of the weekend away.
After a few weeks in the grind, we then took off on another weekend away! Mads’ parents had gifted me a trip for my 30th birthday; so we set off to experience the “black sun” in person! The black sun is when the migrating starlings move in a group, blacking out the sun. We drove clear across to the west coast of Jutland, by the German border to stay on the island of Rømø. That was our jumping off point to explore the Vadehavet National Park.
Our tour to see the black sun was not until early evening on Saturday, so we enjoyed a leisurely breakfast and soaked up the sunshine on the back porch of our condo, before heading out to appreciate the beauty of the area. We wandered among the small towns to the manmade locks to keep the land from being flooded, all the while enjoying the sun and birds flying about in the big sky.
The tour took us into northern Germany, as that is where this particular group of starlings
had nested the night before; we waited for them to return from their day of feasting, which allowed us to enjoy the moon rise, just before the super blood moon event, and soak in the colors of the setting sun.
The flying birds were indeed impressive. As someone who is not particularly taken with birds, I did not have great expectations, but watching thousands of birds move as a harmonious unit was spectacular. Our guide wisely pointed out, that we were only seeing the event in 2D, so we needed to also imagine, and be in awe at the thought, of the depth of each soaring group, as well.
I suppose unfortunately, no predator came that night, so we did not have a magnificent event of the group defending itself agains the predator, which can happen, but watching the bids nest and hearing them did impress. But, Mads wanted more! So, after a short night’s rest, we set off before sunrise, in the light of magnificent full moon, to make it back to the spot at sunrise the next morning. Remarkably, we were not alone! As the sun came up, so too did the
volume, and then suddenly, it was time to take off! Groups of starlings set off in various directions, moving in something like a dance as they flew off for the day.
We took advantage of being on Jutland to visit the city of Ribe and its cathedral, before making our way back to Copenhagen. As we walked the narrow streets, we came across a plaque for Jacob Riis’ home. In light of all the political discussions and closed borders and so on, I could only think what a significant contribution Riis made as an immigrant to the US.
Denmark’s beauty is so wildly different from the beauty I was raised with, the majestic Rocky Mountains are a far cry from the flat farms and enormous sky, but it does still soothe and impress me.
Now we are settled in to ever shorter days. Not sure where our wanders will take us next, but there is plenty we enjoy in Copenhagen! We are anxiously awaiting a week-long visit from my sister, which will give us all the more reason to explore this great city.
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