All that driving yesterday paid off – we have the day free to explore the most Northern tip of Jutland. We had originally planned a trip to Hirtshals to see the aquarium, but inspired by Tracy’s comments we instead head to Grenen, Denmark’s most northern tip.
First stop though, is the Viking burial site at Lindholm Hoje. This is a rather rare and glorious archeological find. Covered by drifting sands, it lay undiscovered until 1952 when it was found during an archeological dig. It’s Denmark’s largest intact Viking and Iron Age burial site with 700 graves. It dates back to the 600s when the area was a lively trading port.
The site is set on a hillside and comprises not only of the burial ground but also remnants of Viking houses and a museum. It’s a peaceful resting place, grassed, surrounded by trees and grazing angora sheep. Helpfully, signs are placed periodically throughout in English to explain what we’re seeing.
There’s a lot to learn and see. The first thing that’s apparent is how different the graves are. They’re all made from rocks; the oldest are made into triangle shapes and simple built up mounds. Following that are particularly beautiful graves in the shape of Viking boats, of all different sizes. These were mens’ graves. Womens’ group graves were circular in shapes, again of all different sizes presumingly in both instances to denote importance of position within the community. Judging by the number of round graves, it was a dangerous business being a woman in this era. The oldest graves are in the centre, radiating outwards to the more recent ones. The latter are smaller, reflecting the trend of cremation. Many are are single stone markers. House foundations are high on the hill, only the footings remain. I’m pleased we had the opportunity to see it – Lindholm Hoje is a really special place.
We forgo the museum in the interests of time and head instead to Saeby, a medieval village along the northern route. Along the way we encounter the Marguerite Way, sign posted by daisy markers. It’s a driving route designed to show the best Denmark has to offer. I knew of it, but despite best efforts could not locate a map. Lots of articles mentioning it, no map. Hmmm. Still the sections we do encounter from time to time, are indeed lovely. This is no exception. The light continues to work its magic, the forests and fields deliver green peace and tranquility, the sea offers every shade of blue when it appears and the sky is a riot of billowing white clouds. It’s a glorious day, finally.
Saeby delivers a second delight – it’s gorgeous. Half timbered houses, each painted a different bright colour, cobblestoned streets framed by hollyhocks of every colour – it’s a medieval postcard. Many photo opportunities. The hollyhocks are full of bumbles, buzzing about from flower to flower, getting covered in pollen as they go. Loving the Samsung phone camera – on zoom, I can see every grain of pollen.
Saeby’s main attraction is its church. It’s the Vor Frue Kirke which once formed part of a 15th century Carmelite monastery. In stark contrast to the colorful half timbered houses, the church is white, but what it lacks in colour on the outside is made up for by the beautiful frescoes on the inside and a late Gothic altar. Gorgeous.
We bid the bumbles and Saeby goodbye and head to our next stop, Skagen, just down from the tip of Denmark. First stop, the harbour, at least that’s where TomTom takes us. It very busy, boats of all kinds including freighters, a navy vessel and many serious ocean going yachts and motorboats. The wind whistles through the rigging creating a high pitched chorus.
We’ve come to see the museum but have trouble finding it, there’s no tourist information and the road signs are, of course, in Danish. We spot what seems to be a sign to the museum but it comes to naught, as does another. A few dead ends later, we decide it’s time to make our next stop, Grenen the very northern tip.
It’s here that TomTom lets us down again. It’s struggled in Denmark like no other place. According to it, Grenen is less than 300 metres away, which clearly isn’t right. That would place it before the harbour. It also gave us a bum steer on the directions to the museum. Google Maps to the rescue – it’s a few kilometres away. On our way out, we see where we should have been – the main street, housing the missing museum. Ah well, can’t see everything!
We’re soon there and it’s busy, not that you’d tell by the photo above! Tracy was right, everyone wants to dip their toes at the point where the North and Baltic seas meet. It’s a 3km return walk out to the tip and it’s here, late in the afternoon, that the light delivers its best magic to date. The lighting is simply extraordinary. No need for filters here, nature cannot be improved on: crystal blue skies, aquamarine water and golden sands. As we walk to the point we have a great vantage point of where the two seas meet – the water looks like it’s boiling. It’s a magnificent sight. We’re soon there and it’s shoes off and toes in. It’s not as cold as I expected but I can’t coax Chris in, he says firmly on shore. The dunes make a great back drop and I get some great pictures. I’d love to be here in the early morning and have it to myself.
Our last task is to deliver ourselves to Frederikshavn for an early flight ferry tomorrow.
Denmark has delivered an extraordinary final day. Just spectacular. I can’t do it justice here, the rest of the photos will be on Facebook