THERE AND BACK AGAIN 2019
This year's travels are dedicated to John and Sarah Rixon
We are leaving home on Wednesday 22 May and will be travelling through France, Belgium, the Neths and Germany to spend most of our holiday in Denmark. Back on Wednesday 3 July.
Episode 1: From Ipswich to Tondor, Denmark
We have just finished an extensive study tour of Dutch and German motorways and and are now relaxing fjord-side in Schleswig in the very north of Germany. Van is going like a good 'un.
Spent a great couple days in Schleswig (above) cycling around checking out Viking villages and mummified bog people. We also went to a huge warehouse on the border where Danish people come to buy trolley-loads of cheap(er) alcohol, vats of sweets and the biggest Toblerones in the world. Hideous. But today, at last, we've arrived in Denmark!
Thursday 6 June
We are on a small Danish island in the North Sea for a couple of days. Huge sandy beaches stretching for miles, windy and flat.
That look like east Suffolk, don't ut? (Romo Island, Denmark)
The highest peak on the island stands at a towering 19 metres. (Romo island, Denmark)
And just for people with a special interest in container ships, here is the ancestral church of yer actual Maersk family (Romo island)
Monday 10 June
Back on the mainland of Jutland now. Tomorrow, we start heading slowly towards the eastern islands and Copenhagen.
View from the top of the cathedral tower in Scandanavia's oldest town (Ribe)
So farewell Slimming World (Ribe)
Ours, all ours - but only till tomorrow. We are the only people camping here in this beautiful place. The grass is even cut by a robot. (Near Jelling with its ancient connections with the first known Viking kings, Gorm the Old and Harald Bluetooth - this is not a joke)
And so we say goodbye to Jutland but not before seeing these pricey waterfront flats, known as The Wave (Vejle)
Friday 14 June
Spent last few days on the magical south coast of Funen island in a place we picked only last Monday and almost at random. Parked at a lovely low-key harbour overlooking little islands. Biked, walked and lazed around. Village mostly empty of people but full of posh and beautiful thatched houses, including a Michelin starred restaurant where diners arrive by helicopter and seaplane.
View from our front window (Falsled, Funen island)
'in vacant or in pensive mood' (Falsled, Funen island)
Paul has decided to keep his holiday beard
Saturday 15 June
Storms followed us here to Roskilde, over the Great Belt Bridges from Funen to Zeeland (11 miles of bridge over the sea). Paul absolutely loved the Roskilde Viking Ship Museum - and actually I found it interesting too.
Believe it or not, Paul is crewing this ship on Roskilde fjord. Shame I haven't got a zoom lens!
Thursday 20 June
Arrived in Copenhagen on Tuesday, via Louisiana Museum of Modern Art. In our few days here in the capital we have also seen statues, the Baltic Sea, palaces, canals, beaches ... My abiding memory though will be cycling out of central Copenhagen with a peleton of home-bound commuters - what a fearsome and fearless bunch. Glad I lived to tell the tale. Paul's top moment was going for his run this morning followed by a swim in the sea.
Giacometti's Walking Man placed in front of beautiful gardens (Louisiana Museum of Modern Art).
The Danish Parliament is in recess for its three-month summer break. This closed door was the nearest we could get. (Copenhagen). (PS Brexit still going well, isn't it.)
Lined with colourful houses, now mostly restaurants, this must be one of the most famous streets in Denmark (Nyhavn, Copenhagen)
Sunday 23 June
On the Danish island of Moen. A very inauspicious start. We arrived at the tiny and unoccupied campsite I'd earmarked only to see a taxidermied sheep's head dangling from the lintel of the woodshed. We high-tailed it out before anything wierder happened and found a beautiful beach campsite which has been perfect.
Paul has been swimming every day here, mostly in the 'naughty, naked nude'.
Our last sleepover in Denmark. Anyone else thinking it looks like the Norfolk Broads on a sunny day? (Sakskobing marina, Lolland island)
Episode 3: Home to Ipswich
Tuesday 25 June
Got the ferry today from Lolland in Denmark to Fehmarn island in Germany. Lolland's claim to fame is its sugar beet. Fehmarn, on the other hand, is where Hendrix played his final gig. Despite this, we have come straight on to Lubeck, capital of Gothic brick architecture. Much of the old town had to be reconstructed after WW2 air-raids and, in fact, some of this postwar redevelopment does looks like Coventry. Today we are sweltering with the rest of nothern Europe in 30 degrees plus.
We noticed this graffiti when we went to see Lubeck Synagogue, one of the very few pre-war synagogues still functioning in north Germany. Good news - the Synagogue seems to be expanding - a restaurant and community rooms are being added. Bad news - there is a large police portacabin in the grounds.
Saturday 29 June
Spent the last few days driving through Germany. Visited Bergen-Belsen. Now camping peacefully in a very large national park in central Netherlands, as recommended by John Rixon last year. Miles of cycleways and tracks through woods but the crowds of people round the nearby art museum are a challenge. For a kick off, most of them, being Dutch, are a good deal taller than us. We look like the Diddymen.
Our neighbours one night in Germany were two old boys from Bonn with their beautifully restored 1963 Massey Ferguson tractor (made in Banner Lane, Coventry) towing an equally classic Eriba caravan.
This old boy is Meneer Jacques (Mr Jacques) (Sculpture Park, Kroller-Muller Museum, the Netherlands)
Wednesday 3 July
Spent our penultimate night tucked up right in the north west corner of Belgium, nestled between a canal, a biscuit factory and a land-fill site - all of which contributed to the intriguing aroma at our end of town. And so we came to our last night. We decided to go back to the very place where the van had broken down six weeks before. Tempting fate, we parked up on the same spot in the carpark, went to the same cafe, sat in the same seats there - but all was well. Engine started next morning and we were back in Ipswich in time for Afternoon Theatre.
Home to Ipswich after a great adventure and a lovely holiday.
If you have been, thank you for reading. And to Linda - a special thank you for being so enthusiastic about our trip. See you soon xxx