Monday 25 September 2017

PHOTO DIARY: Silkeborg, Denmark, June 2017

Having headed inland after driving along the western coast of southern Jutland, it was time to explore the Danish lake district part of central Jutland.


Before arriving in Silkeborg we had a few nearby attractions to visit. What is a Hansyhobs road trip without a million and one diversions? The first stop was Birk Centerpark, an industrial park cum university campus cum art complex found outside the town of Herning. The two museums found here, Carl-Henning Pedersen Museum and HEART, are striking examples of contemporary art galleries and are fascinating places to wonder around. Nearby you'll find a sculpture park, geometric gardens, and Jørn Utzon's prototype house which is unfortunately closed to the public. At the end of the park you'll fine Elia, the largest sculpture in Northern Europe. But be careful when you climb to the top as it attracts lightning.

We visited the nearby Baune Church which has an incredible circular structure. The churches in Denmark really are wonderful examples of modern architecture and I'm glad we were able to visit so many.

We arrived in Silkeborg where we checked into our simple Airbnb and headed into town to grab dinner at Cafe Evald. The bistro is a favourite amongst the locals but compared to everywhere we'd eaten this was probably the least exciting place. There was nothing wrong with the food, it just felt a little basic, but judging by what we saw of Silkeborg, this is not a town know for it's cuisine.


Without a doubt this was one of my most favourite days of our holiday, Legoland day. But before we reached the famous theme park we had one brief stop. Jelling is the birth place of Christianity in Denmark, the monarchy, and all things truly Danish. This quiet, little town has some deep spiritual routes, it served as the royal seat of King Gorm during the Vikings' most prominent era, the first king in a millennium-long chain of Danish monarchs that continues unbroken to this day. The site of Gorm's ancient castle can still be found at Jelling Church. The church is also home to the Jelling stones, two 10th century runestones. The smallest, and oldest of the pair, was erected by King Gorm in memory of his wife. The second and larger of the pair, erected by Gorm's son in memory of his parents and is adorned with the oldest representation of Christ in Scandinavia and is dubbed as Denmark's baptismal certificate.

As well as the stones, the church is flanked by two large burial mounds. Gorm's son, Harald Bluetooth, was believed to have been buried underneath the northern mound. Next to the church you can visit Kongernes Jelling and learn all about the history of this area. There's a great viewing gallery on the roof where you can see the church, and burial mounds. Jelling is a UNESCO World Heritage site and a deeply fascinating place to visit. Before leaving, we grabbed tasty sandwiches to go from Viking themed Cafe Sejd.

We arrived at LEGOLAND Billund around 11am, an hour after opening and didn't leave until closing at 6pm. The park is wonderful and absolutely everything I hoped it would be, and so much more. The last time I visited the Windsor park was ten years ago, and whilst I do love it there, the original Danish version is better. There are more rides geared to adults and the Scandinavian based mini land is beyond incredible. I was hoping our Monday visit would be quiet, that was until I discovered it was actually a bank holiday. But despite the groups of kids, the longest we had to queue for a ride was 20 minutes so it wasn't really that busy. Mini land was of course my favourite part of the park, we must have spent two hours walking around and inspecting all the little towns. It was great to see Copenhagen and Ribe in miniature form, having previously visited both places. The Star Wars area was pretty special as well, with a sizeable section of the park taken up with Lego displays. We must have ridden every ride in the park, except the kids only driving school which makes me terribly jealous because it looks so much fun. I really hope I can visit again because LEGOLAND Billund truly is a wonderful place.

Instead of heading straight back to Silkeborg we went on a little drive to see more of Central Jutland. We drove around the town of Billund, where Legoland is situated, but there isn't anything to see so we left pretty sharpish. Our next stop was Engelsholm Højskole, a 15th century castle that has been turned into a folk school, and then it was on to the fjord side town of Vejle. As it was a bank holiday, and late in the day, most things we closed, but we got a change to see Vejle's cathedral and windmill, the impressive looking Wave building, and the lovely Tirsbæk Strand.

Back in Silkeborg we decided to cook our own dinner as the restaurant scene wasn't too appealing. Netto is a great supermarket chain so we stocked up on ingredients and had a much needed night in.


We spent the morning exploring the town of Silkeborg has we hadn't had much chance to see what was going on. As Danish towns go, Silkeborg is nothing special but it does have a couple of great museums. The area surrounding the town aka the Danish Lake District is a much prettier part of Central Jutland. We visited Museum Jorn, a gallery dedicated to the private collection of Asger Jorn, a Danish painter, sculptor, ceramic artist, and author. Next up was the fascinating Silkeborg Museum which documents the history of the town. I was particularly interested to see the Tollund Man bog body. The Tollund Man is a naturally mummified corpse of a man who died between 375 - 210 BC. The man was buried in a peat bog which is why the body is so well preserved. The amount of detail you can make out in his face is incredible and it's worth visiting the museum just for this. The museum if located near Silkeborg Langsø, which contains some of the largest lake fountains in northern Europe. It's a lovely place for a stroll, and make sure you pop down in the evening for an impressive light show.

Our last stop in Silkeborg was the Art Centre, found on the outskirts of town. The former sanatorium served as headquarters for the Gestapo during WWII and now acts as an impressive art museum thanks to a gorgeous extension overlooking the lakes. A bunker museum if located in one of the old buildings in the park.

We had a long day of driving ahead, taking a huge detour to Aalborg via the west coast of Denmark. We drove via the city of Viborg, which doesn't have much going on except the cathedral aka the largest granite church in Scandinavia. Our last stop before reaching the coast was Spøttrup Catle, a 16th century defensive castle and one of the best preserved in Denmark.

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