At the beginning of June we started on a road trip through northern Germany and Denmark. Here is a short report of what we experienced.
After a drive of several hours (with long traffic jams) we reach our destination for this day: Villa Leda, a large villa with a city garden, which has been converted into a beautiful Bed & Breakfast by its Dutch owners.
In the evening we will walk through Leer to eat traditional fish in a traditional restaurant to celebrate the beginning of our journey in Northern Germany. But we spontaneously decide to go to the Gasthof zur Leda and eat tapas there. It tasted very good!
After a wonderful breakfast we drive along country roads through East Frisia. We stop in several villages, including Bagband, where we have lunch at the mill. The mill is an inn, which impresses especially with its interior decoration. Things are hanging everywhere on the wall or are on the ancient cupboards.
From Bagband we drive, further on via country roads, to Bremerhaven. We look on the internet for suitable accommodation and find one directly at the fishing port. After we have brought our luggage to the room, we drive to the city centre. There we have to realize that Bremerhaven is not a city that – well – visually appeals to us. So after a short walk along the waterfront we drive back to the fishing harbour where we watch the sunset while having fish rolls.
The morning starts with a visit to the museum. The German Emigration Center is a museum about the history of German emigrants. It shows very beautifully, and partly to be touched, the conditions of the overseas journeys at that time, and tells many stories of individual fates. A whole day would not be enough to read every single sign. And you want to read a lot, because it is written in an exciting way, how the people on the journey fared, or what happened to them in the new countries.
Our destination today is Flensburg. The journey there will be, as always, via country road, with the help of the ferry near Glückstadt, and a detour via Schleswig. In Flensburg a friend, whom I know since kindergarten, is waiting for us. We go to the harbour to eat there and enjoy the sun for a while. And since he is very fond of Denmark, he gives us so many tips for our trip that we change our original route to a large extent.
A tip from yesterday evening is a visit to “Annie’s Kiosk”. It’s a little place that serves delicious hot dogs and big soft ice cream. For whatever reason, over time this booth has changed to an attraction, which is why people stand in long queues and the huge parking lot seems to be always full.
We follow the Marguerite route through Jutland to Aarhus. There we are unlucky for the first time in terms of our intuition for accommodation on road trips. An ugly sleazy hotel, which is also totally overpriced, will fortunately be the only bad choice on this trip. After unloading the luggage we quickly drive back into the city centre. There we search and find a restaurant with acceptable prices. Because what we found out: Denmark is a very expensive country. A short look into a McDonald’s to check the BicMac Index later confirms the feeling that the prices here are about 20% more expensive than in Germany.
This morning also starts with a visit to Den Gamle By, which is the oldest open-air museum with urban cultural history. It is located in the middle of Aarhus, and if you ignore the noise of the city, the dense construction of the houses will take you back in time. Small shops and cafés complete the townscape. The vendors wear traditional clothes to maintain the illusion.
After the museum visit, we take the ferry to Odden, and shortly afterwards another ferry takes us from beautiful Rørvig to Hundested. From there we drive via Hillerød to Helsingør. This time we are lucky with our motel. In the evening we explore the really impressive old town of Helsingør with its many houses built before 1700.
We drive slowly along the sea. Already after a few kilometres we notice that this must be the luxury area of Denmark, there are huge villas everywhere. After a short stop halfway to Copenhagen on a beach to enjoy the sunny weather, we drive into the Danish capital. We park the car in a parking facility and head for the harbour area. In Flensburg we were recommended to take a boat tour here, and for getting to know the city for the first time it is certainly a good idea. The tour leads through various more or less interesting parts of the city, including a former submarine shipyard, which now consists of luxury apartments.
After the tour we walk through the city centre and enjoy the atmosphere. It is still very sunny and warm, we eat soft ice cream, look around in the Lego shop and rest in the park. In the evening we pay about 20 Euro for four hours of parking, and then we drive to the apartment, which we found in advance via Airbnb. So we meet the owner of the apartment, Katrine, a Danish artist. She hands us the keys and shows us a place in the underground garage for our car. She had kindly organized this spot for us as well. Our neighbourhood is not too far away from the city centre and is rather alternative. We have dinner at “Kate’s Joint”. Only a sign at the roadside points to this location, nothing is attached to the building itself. The food from, let’s say, international cuisine, tastes solid.
It is raining, and that will not change throughout the day. Nevertheless, we make our way through the city on foot and walk to the National Museum, which surprises us with free admission (in a total of ten national museums in the capital, you don’t have to pay any admission). Especially the time from the stone age to the early middle ages is very interesting. But from then on we get the feeling that we are in a conglomeration of objects from all over the world. But the collection from Greenland impresses us very much.
After our visit to the museum we walk to Christiania. This autonomous area within Copenhagen is often praised as a gathering place for free thinkers and creative people. However, in this rainy weather we mainly meet people who are rather uncanny to us. We don’t stay long in the somewhat lawless zone (I recommend to read the Wikipedia article about the origin of Christiania).
We continue on foot through the city, up to the market halls. Unfortunately we arrive there too late, the first booths are already closing. Drenched we decide to return to the apartment first. We notice that despite of the continuous rain, many Danes walk around in short trousers or miniskirts, and not like us in long clothes with a rain jacket.
Another day where we will walk a lot starts today with a visit to Ida Davidsen. There you can eat Smørrebrød in all imaginable variations. I choose one with roast beef, Maraike chooses the variation with salmon. It tastes damn good. We enjoy and eat very slowly. After paying, we quickly suppress the fact that we paid 275 crowns (37 euros) for two sandwiches and two waters. We are on vacation and we have to try the Danish national dish!
After the Smørrebrød trip, we continue through the town to a rather remote shop called Karamelleriet. There you can buy handmade caramel sweets. The ancient machines used to make the sweets are in the sales rooms. Unfortunately they were not in operation at the time. Next stop – walking on the other side of town – is the Designer Zoo. In this shop everyday objects are for sale, which were designed by young artists. On request, you can also have certain things specially designed.
After about 14 kilometres of walking we arrive back home and are welcomed by thundering beats. The Distortion Festival starts in our neighbourhood. Of course we also spontaneously blend in with the crowd. There are three big stages and many small stands in the midst of thousands of people who are all celebrating. The festival lasts four days and takes place every day in different parts of the city.
The road trip continues. With the ferry we leave Denmark and cross over to Fehmarn. After several stops at rather unspectacular places we arrive in Lübeck in the afternoon, where we stay in a small hotel. We walk towards the city centre and visit the Holstentor, where a film crew is shooting and the gate is blocked spaciously. Always these film people …
Then comes the culinary highlight of this journey. The restaurant Hacienda in the ground floor of the hotel offers such fantastic food that blows us away. The meat is absolutely excellent, to the point and even the side dishes are really delicious. Those who drive past Lübeck must absolutely have dinner at the Hacienda!
This day starts with a visit to a dinosaur park. On a poster we learned about it by chance and decided to go there. And, well, you can see from the exhibits that they have left the best days behind. A little bit disappointed we set off to Kiel. Unfortunately we didn’t find the really nice corners here. And also the old town seems to be only a geographical name. But we were impressed by a huge cruise ship at the harbour. We meet with friends and spend a nice evening together.
The open-air museum Molfsee is the largest one in Schleswig-Holstein. But we don’t stay long, because we want to visit friends in Pinneberg. Around noon we have a late breakfast, only to start the barbecue a short time later and consume insanely delicious grilled food. Until late into the night we stay outside and enjoy the evening.
After an extensive breakfast we drive to the Elbe to the beach, where gigantic electricity pylons are located. These altogether four masts with the names Elbe crossing 1 and 2 are amongst the highest overhead line voltage masts in Europe. Since the weather is not good, we go back pretty soon. We stay in Pinneberg until the early evening and then drive comfortably to Cologne, where our road trip comes to an end.
(Maraike could not resist to contribute here in the text as well 😉 )