Sunday, 27 July 2014

Back on the Road - starting our Scandinavian adventure

After a week of sad farewells, parkside picnics and closing the door on our flat we enjoyed one last fabulous barbeque and we were off.
Dover did it's best to make us remeber how average English weather can be.  The white cliffs camouflaged with fog.  A very atmospheric send off for the ferry.

Rotterdam had interesting modern architecture around a working harbour and lovely clouds and sunsets made for a good walk for our evening visit.
Hamberg has a vibrant waterfront and we enjoyed exploring the parks and botanic gardens between the Harbour and the artificial lake before walking through the old town to reach the rejuvenated wharf warehouse district.  Here we found a music/ beer festival for dinner and admired the shining Philharmonic centre under construction.
The next day we caught the ferry over to our week's destination Denmark calling in on the island of  Møn with it's 15th century frescos and chalk white cliffs topped with beech forests on our way north.
Copenhagen was a great place to base ourselves in the well equipped Absalon Camping for the next few days as we pounded the cobblestones of the pretty centre with it's old and modern architecture.
The Design museum had more cool Danish modern furniture than you could poke a Wegner chair at and the David Collection had a wonderfully curated and comprehensive collection of Islamic art in the full breadth of it's forms.  The parks and waterfront were great and the Viking artefacts at the National museum were a testament to what master craftsmen they were.  The sun chariot and jewellery collections were amazing and we were smug about the quietness after the reported crowds of the recent British Museum exhibit.  We've had good Viking coverage each day. At Roskylde Viking Ship Museum they have the remains of 5 big sunken boats and a series of reconstructions of the "experimental archeology" vein.  The warship reconstruction even made it all the way to Dublin and back with it's 70 person crew in 2007/2008.
Lousianna just to the north of Copenhagen was a wonderful sculpture garden and art gallery set into the forest overlooking the ocean.  I was unaware of Nolde but his north German expressionist brightly coloured oils and watercolours were very interesting. We had a great dinner in their cafe to top off a rather fab day of eating having had paleo bread and tuna seaweed salad near "Hamlet's" Kronborg Castle at lunch.  Next to Kronborg they have built a modern home for the Maritime museum into the walls of the old docks. Wild subterranean design contained loads of model ships and nautical instruments made modern and cool!
On the way to Ribe we saw a Viking ship Grave where you can go inside the big burial mound and see the partially excavated remains of where a chief was buried in a dragon shaped boat with a dozen horses and dogs who's bones are still apparent.  I consoled myself that the grave was disturbed and old guy removed by thieves just 100 yrs post internment not by archeologists. 

Ribe is a cute little medieval town to stroll around with icecream before up to Aarhus with our waterside campsite amongst the trees.  I think the woman thought I was mad for taking the full shade site beneath the beeches but it has been very hot and sunny! (not that I would dare complain)
Sunday in Aarhus has been very relaxing with the ArOS modern art gallery giving us fill you up the whole day modern brunch to power us through many enjoyable hours exploring the exhibits.  We started in the Rainbow Walkway by Olafur Eliassons of the Weather Project and Iceland concert hall fame on the roof with views over the city. 
 The way your eyes adjust to the kalaedoscope of colours is fascinating.  
This set the tone for the whole place with the effects of light being a thread through many of the exhibits from Skagen painters of the 19th century through to a wild modern art exhibtion "into darkness" that finished with a mist filled room saturated in coloured lights.  The town itself is a interesting mix of styles and pleasantly laid back.
And so the adventure begins. Denmark while rather flat with rolling fields it has had plenty to occupy us and help to ease me into a new relaxed pace of being. (even if I do have a few more papers tapping me on the shoulder)