Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Jutland Trip - Sunds

Day 5
After four lovely evenings at Thomas the younger's parents' home in Holstebro, we headed 30 km southwest to the small town of Sunds, where Thomas the elder's father lives. Sunds is just outside of the larger town Herning, home to the Carl Henning Pedersen museum. On our way to Thomas' father's home, we stopped at the museum. The museum is dedicated to the works of Danish painter and the art movement COBRA co-founder Carl Henning Pedersen. Just outside of the museum is the sculpture Elia. Elia is actually the largest sculpture in Europe, with four columns that reach 32 meters/105 feet, and a dome with a diameter of 60 meters/200 feet.
Created by Ingvar Cronhammar, Elia has a 30.000 cubic meter resonance chamber in the middle, which makes for some very interesting sounds. Bobby also discovered that Elia makes interesting sounds when jumping down the huge stairs. Only after jumping all the stairs did Bobby's knees remind him of his true age.
After visiting the museum and Elia, we headed to Sunds to visit Thomas' father. Thomas is one of three boys, and he has two nephews, so there are plenty of games in the house. We played foosball and Wii bowling, but our favorite game of all was Bob. Yep, the game is actually called Bob. It's like a smaller version of billiards. This Bob table was actually Thomas' father's table from when he was a little boy.
Day 6

After a restoring breakfast, we headed to the town of Silkeborg. This pretty town is surrounded by lakes. We took a 45 minutes boat ride from Silkeborg to Himmelbjerget (translates to The Heaven Mountain). With a height of 147 meters/482 feet, it is one of the highest natural points in Denmark (small country, small mountains). Until 1847, Himmelbjerget was thought to be the highest point, but the highest natural point in Denmark is actually Møllehøj, which is 170 meters/557 feet.
We walked up the path to the top of the mountain, where we had lunch in the shade of this tower. Erected in 1849 to honor King Frederik VII, you can pay to climb the tower. Not surprisingly, we opted out.
The path we took leading to the top and the tower was very crowded with other tourists, but it provided some beautiful views of the valley and lakes below. Here, Thomas and Thomas were talked into posing for a nice photo.
We took a different path down the mountain, one much less crowded. In fact, we were the only ones on the path for most of the way.
Bobby even found himself a walking stick. The 'stick' is at least 15 feet tall.
After taking the 45 minute boat ride back into Silkeborg, we walked into town and did a little shopping before heading back to Sunds. It turns out that while we were having fun walking up mountains and taking boat rides, Thomas' father was busy preparing a feast for us! He made 4 or 5 different salads and grilled both steaks and pork chops! He may have overestimated how much energy we spent on the mountain (I did mention that it's only 147 meters/482 feet high, right?), yet we still managed to eat most of the food.
While waiting for the meats to finish, Thomas' father spent time on this awesome bench. The bench says 'Fars ølbænk', which means 'Dad's beer bench', and it has a nifty box filled with cold beer built into it. I think my Dad should have one of these!
Day 7
On our last day of the trip, we headed to Århus, which is on the east coast of Jutland. You may remember that Bobby and I went to Århus in March to visit friends Leah and Flemming. Leah and Flemming were a bit busy this time around giving birth to their son (congratulations to the new family!), so Thomas, Thomas, Bobby and I visited the really cool Den Gamle By (The Old City). Similar to Hjerl Hede, Den Gamle By is an open air museum which recreates life in the city (as opposed to life in the country/farm) as it would have been in the 1700s/1800s.
Unlike in Hjerl Hede, where the buildings are spaced far apart to allow for fields, the buildings in Den Gamle By are close together like you would find in a modern city. All of these buildings were moved here from different parts of Denmark, with many of the buildings coming from Aalborg.
These two buildings are examples of the homes of the wealthy citizens. Inside you can find elaborate Baroque and Classical furniture and paintings.
These homes, while quite beautiful, were for workers who required running water for their work.
You can go inside almost all of the buildings. Inside this building was the old market.
Just like Hjerl Hede, people from all over Denmark spend their summer volunteering at Den Gamle By in order to reenact life in the 1700s/1800s. This young man tries to make a few shillings playing the calliope.
These young men are in charge of the row boats when they aren't taking a break.
Child labor laws were not yet in place during these times, so in order to maintain historical accuracy, even the children have to do manual labor!
I'm not quite sure what these ladies were discussing (understanding Danish when it is spoken in hushed tones from behind someone's back is quite difficult), but perhaps they were discussing the upcoming dinner, or maybe deciding who was going to darn some socks?
Similar to both Hjerl Hede and Spøttrup Castle, there were some period activities for people to try. Having already mastered the stilts and penny-farthing bicycle, the boys tried their hand at bowling. It is a lot more difficult than it looks, especially since the 'bowling balls' aren't quite perfect circles.
After visiting Den Gamle By, we headed back home. We crossed the Storebælt (Great Belt), which is Denmark's highest point (not natural, obviously) at 254 meters/833 feet. Opened in 1998, the bridge connects Zealand (the island on which Copenhagen sits) and Funen (another island, which lies between Zealand and Jutland, and is home to the town of Odense, the third largest city in Denmark behind Copenhagen and Århus, and home of famed children's book author H. C. Andersen). All in all, we had a fantastic 7 days exploring Jutland with Thomas and Thomas. Many thanks to Thomas and Thomas for planning the trip, and their parents for being such welcoming and gracious hosts!

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