6 September 2016

Copenhagen, 12th August 2016

Odense to Copenhagen

Feeling in need of more, more, MORE Viking history, we stopped at the Viking Ship Museum in Ladby. In 1935 the remains of a viking ship were discovered here, along with the bones of the King's horses and dogs. It is the only Viking burial ship still situated in the mound where it was placed over 1000 years ago.

These cool viking kiddie carts were very convenient for hauling little vikings around the archaeological site.

The entrance to the burial mound.
Inside the burial mound. The wooden planks of the ship have long since deteriorated, but the metal nails, hooks and decorations are still in place. Even the anchor and anchor chain lie ready in position for the King's voyage to Valhalla. An awesome sight to see.

In December 2011, construction began on a full scale replica of the burial ship, using the skills and tools of the Viking age. In May 2016, the Ladby Dragon was launched successfully (lucky for us!). Eventually a Viking crew will be trained to sail the ship around the Fjord.

Me turn Mama?

Ok Lew, here you go!

Leaving Ladby, we continued our journey across the Great Belt Bridge to the island where Copenhagen is located - an 18km long bridge! A super duper long bridge with a super duper expensive toll!

We stopped off for a bite to eat in a small town called Rosklide. We fluked upon the town square, a rockstar park and an awesome cafe with great food and coffee. This is starting to be a habit in Copenhagen... Maybe it's not such a coincedence.

Unfortunately and sadly, the cathedral was closed for a funeral (that prompted some interesting conversations), but we were able to have a stroll around the grounds and the town centre.

Should we visit another Viking Museum? No, I think we're good for now...

Rare family photo! Look relaxed!

Arriving in Copenhagen there was a 'slight' mishap with the booking... Ben booked it for September instead of August! Hmmm that could be a problem! A hasty internet search for nearby accomodation turned up Sweden as the best result (admittedly just across another bridge but still). Luckily Kirstie was able to talk them around and we managed to wrangle a room as long as we changed rooms on the second day.

Out and about for more non-German food (ignore the German beer!)!

Josh doing his best Usain Bolt impression. Ben doing his best "don't drop Lewie in the fountain or break a leg" impression.

Top of the list was a canal tour around Copenhagen. Doesn't get any better than this!

But as we discovered, it can get worse! The heavens opened up and we got soaked! Ben was the only one on the boat without a raincoat so had to borrow the captains.

The tide was up and the bridges were low... Everybody duck!

The famous mermaid statue, and 3 million tourists (like us).

Danish Royal Library. 
Also high on the list was a bike with a box at the front for the kids. Unfortunately this was the best we could manage but it was fun nonetheless! Fun with a sense of danger as it only had lap seat belts - eep!

Our ride took us as a far as the Paper Island food markets (about 200m away!). It was worth it.

Mmmm fully loaded hot dog.

Creme brulee donuts. I'll have 10,002.

Lovely view from our hostel...just don't look inside!

Rosenborg Castle, in the centre of town. Home to the crown jewels, and big scary guards with guns trying to look scary. Moving swiftly on!

And finally, the famous Tivoli Gardens amusement park! Conveniently located just down the road from our hostel, we had seen many of the bigger rides on our walks and so had a plan of what we wanted to try. Sadly, Josh was too small for the ride he had his heart set on (devastating for him, but we were grateful - it was the "death drop" style ride!). He and Ben had to settle on another far too small and far too squishy roller coaster instead.

Lew's choice: the giraffe on the carousel that went around a few too many times and Lew wanted to get off. Once again, he was much happier watching the rides than going on them.

Someone just HAD to have fairy floss (one guess). Yum!

Mum, up there? Is she crazy? Evidently, yes.


Across another massively long bridge over the ocean and our trip to Denmark was coming to end. Unfortunately we eventually ran out of massively long bridges, and had to settle for a ferry for the last part of the trip. Bye Bye Denmark.


Final note/ word of advice: On ferry trip between countries, where announcements are given in many more languages than you can speak, it is important to watch what your fellow passengers are doing. Clearly, the 5 minutes warning before the ferry docked started at the BEGINNING of the announcement, and not the end, nor the Wnglish part. Luckily for us, and unluckily for everyone else, our car was at the front of the queue. No one would be leaving without us! :D

4 September 2016

Odense (as in the sound of techno music Ons Ons Ons), 10th August 2016

Viking brothers having a peaceful discussion about who is the rightful heir to the throne, Royal Jelling Exhibition Centre, Jelling.
Josh and Lew enjoyed trying to solve this Viking's death a little bit too much. Each time you touched a weapon it made a gory sound and a projection of blood (as well as some information about the injury) appeared on the body! Scientist-Teacher-Mummy thought it was pretty awesome too!

We followed the entire Danish family tree up to Princess Mary. Unfortunately she was left out of the accompanying commentary and after sitting through centuries of history it skipped back to the start. Will we ever know what really happened?

The 10th Century Jelling Runestones are now kept behind glass to protect them from the weather and tourists. The stones show the transition between the traditional Norse paganism and beginning of Christianity in Denmark, with descriptions of Norse Gods, Danish Kings and Jesus Christ.

The other attraction in Jelling are the two large burial mounds, which now come with handy steps.

It was a bit breezy up top! Oh my beautiful hair!

Odense is famous for being the birthplace of Hans Christian Andersen. The town loves him, with monuments everywhere, streets and parks and shops named after him, and a museum dedicated to him. Unfortunately, HCA wasn't so keen on the town himself, and he left as soon as he could for the bright lights of Copenhagen. 

Our picturesque hotel (the First Grand Hotel) is a tourist attraction in itself and located right in the middle of town. The downside was one shared room for all. It was cosy.

Down the street we made the most of the playground before dinner. 

During a lengthy wait for dinner, Ben ran the kids ragged in the laneway.

We were about to chuck it all in (seriously how long can you make a family with small children wait before everyone else decides to leave?), but thankfully we stayed. The small French bistro was worth the wait... Oh man, we've forgotten how good non-German food can be.

Many thumbs up!

After a hearty brekky of too many runny egg soldiers we headed out of town to Egeskov castle. 

It was stunning!

The grounds of the castle were the best I have experienced for families, ever. Lots of playgrounds, picnic areas, a treetop climb, balance beams, horse-drawn carriage rides and beautiful gardens to run around. This place is definitely a must-see when in Denmark.

And a vintage automobile collection... Lifestyles of the rich and the famous on display here!

In fact, members of the Royal family still live here in the ACTUAL castle! In one of the rooms was an enormous, intricate dolls house. By the time it had been finished by the dedicated father, the child was no longer interested. That tends to happen when you take 20 years to complete a project. "Thanks Dad, I can give it to my children now!"

Returning to Odense we followed the official HCA trail around town. Being such big fans that we are we had dedicated 25 mins to the topic, most of which was spent running around and on the theatre. When we finally made it to the museum, it was closed. Oops!

One of his childhood homes. "Is anyone there? Can we go in?" "No and no, let's get dinner".