Although I have family from Denmark (hello Ragnhild), I was amazed at how little I know about the country. In four days we managed to cover 75% of their national parks (a slightly easier task than in Sweden as Denmark is a much smaller country!)
Having caught the ferry to Grenaa, we headed to the north west coast of Jutland to Thy National Park. There we met a volunteer called Evelyn in the Stenbjerg (above) tourist office who shared her passion and knowledge of the area. Thy National Park has an amazing history. From sand cliffs that were compressed during the Ice Age then acted as sponges when the ice melted, to the immense changes that happened just 200 years ago when storms destroyed the farmland and created sand dunes in its place, it is an extremely interesting area. They now have 'plantation' forests just back from the sand dunes to help prevent the area from being devastated by storms again.
When the farmland was destroyed two centuries ago (with the old town of Vester Agger and its medieval church being swallowed by the sea), farmers were given the choice of either taking up farmland further inland or becoming fishermen. Many chose the fishing option, but with the rough seas, a lot of them lost their lives. However, the villagers looked out for their own, and if a fisherman was lost at sea, the rest of the crew would continue to support his family after his death and bring them fish as they would with their own families.
With industry changes, the area is no longer such a fishing hub and tourism is now their main focus. Although the winds once destroyed this area, they are now a draw for many and we saw plenty of windsurfers. This part of Denmark is known as the 'Cold Hawaii Coast' and has 31 surf spots.
Thy National Park offered some excellent bird watching opportunities. From one spot we could see over 10 different species.
One thing that did surprise us in Denmark was the number of brick buildings! It sounds bizarre, but having left England over half a year ago we've seen very few red brick buildings, so Denmark's vast number of brick and thatched buildings were quite something!
Our next stop was the island of Rømø where we were able to drive along the beach.
We then blasted across Denmark to Roskilde to visit Ragnhild's family. They really did spoil us, we were as full as we are on Christmas day!
We were taken to the Viking ship museum and the cathedral. The museum was fascinating and they were showing the remains of five Viking ships that had previously been intentionally sunk to protect the city.
We found out that Viking ship ropes were made from fibres from plants and animals (including walrus, seal, deer, elk and oxen).
Next we visited the cathedral - another brick building.
The interior of the cathedral was extremely varied. It has certainly kept up with the times, they even have a very modern monument ready for when the current queen passes away. I was personally amazed by some of the paintings they had in the cathedral. The angel below isn't a sculpture - it's just a 2D painting!
Although we only had a few days in Denmark, we were once again overwhelmed by the generosity showed to us. Thanks to Marianne, Eva and Asger for welcoming us to Denmark (and for feeding us so well!)