Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Jutland Tour, Part II: Skagen and Aalborg

And relax..... Finally a rest day.  I think we were both a bit tired of bicycles by this point so a train ride to Skagen was in order. Fortunately the guy at the campsite in Hjorring was very helpful and looked up the train times on the internet for us, so we knew we had an early start.  But we dozed and read eBooks on the way so it was OK (we probably should have been admiring the view or something...).

Two seas

Skagen is on the northernmost tip of Jutland where the North Sea and the Baltic Sea meet, and is the Denmark's most popular seaside resort.  What we didn't know much about was the Skagen Painters movement which was influenced by the French Impressionist with a bit of realism thrown in - fortunately the excellent Skagens Museum told us all about them and they even had a cafe in the studio of P.S. and Marie Krøyer.

The Krøyer's studio in the garden of the Skagens Museum

Garden of the studio looking out to Brondums Hotel
I really liked Skagen (that might have been influenced by the weather!) - it was quite small and very tasteful in the village, with most buildings in the traditional yellow walls and red tiled roofs.  None of the modern brash touristy stuff that you get elsewhere.  In fact, everything in Denmark was like that, even the significant Viking monuments were not over-the-top touristy.

Yellow and red

Skagen Lighthouses

Big sky and sand dunes

The day after Skagen, we cycled south.  All the time we'd been cycling north the wind was in our faces, and we were hoping the change of direction would mean we'd be pushed along by the wind.  But it changed! How unfair!! Fortunately the distance from Hjorring to Aalborg wasn't huge and really there was no route choice.  It was just straight down the road.

Our shorter day meant that we made it to the viking burial site of Lindholm Høje on the north side of Aalborg by lunchtime.  The museum there was excellent, with tonnes of interesting info on the history and use of the surrounding area (and most of it with english translation).  The cafe was run by Brian Blessed's Viking cousin - complete with jolly belly laugh, and a most impressive viking beard.  We had  gorgeous pulled pork sandwiches... which was a relief after days of pizza, burgers and steak.  I don't know where the Danes eat out, but we couldn't find it.  Unless you want mexican italian.  There seems to be a Danish infatuation with mexican pizza (meat and chilli as far as we could work out).  Most strange!

The approach to the Museum takes you past the burial site itself and you get a glimpse of the field - it was quite distracting.... Then when you enter the site you get presented with the view of the whole site.  It is absolutely incredible, the size of site just blew me away.  In much the same way I was in awe of the Callanish Stone circle in the Outer Hebrides, I was completely surprised about how impressive it was.

So far they think there are over 700 graves here dating from around the 5th Century through the Vikings in around 1000AD, and they've recently found evidence of villages on the site.

Triangle grave
The design of the stone settings around the graves gave some indication of their ages.  Earlier ones were laid out in triangles or created mounds, and later ones were ships with larger stones at the prow and stern.

Ship grave

Even Morag Coo was impressed

The following day we had another rest, and spent our time wandering around Aalborg.  First stop the city museum, which wasn't great (but free entry so that's ok!).  There was an interesting exhibition about the tobacco factory but that was it.  We did however find a leaflet for a walking tour of the city....

C18th houses

Aalborg Slot (castle) - now home to civil servants

Jens Bang's House - renaissance architecture at its best!

My favourite bit was the Franciscan Monastery Museum.  The Monastery remains were found when building on the main streets of Aalborg, and still remain under the shopping district.  The entrance was this elevator, unassumingly placed on the side of the street. This was it, put your money in the slot and the doors open and you descend into the depths...  It was all quite surreal.  Amusingly entry to the museum was by weight - if there were too many people in the lift, it wouldn't move!

Hjorring - Aalborg, 42.9mi

1 comment:

  1. Lovely photos - We're delighted that you guys had a good time up here in Skagen. Thank you for coming - Jakob/Skagens Museum