Tanya works at the reception of a hotel in Christiania, Copenhagen. She’s Danish, and very chatty. Stop by for a card and you’ll return two hours later. Tanya and I suddenly started discussing Jutland. “I think, if people have something to share, then they should share it”, explained Tanya, resolutely cutting the air with her hand. “We have food, clothes, we have a place to live; what do we need extra for? Do you know how many ghost towns there are in Jutland? Why do we need abandoned homes? Why not let refugees live in them?”
Surprisingly, if we mentioned to the locals we were heading to Jutland, the residents of the Danish capital would become excited. Someone would talk about Aarhus, which this year became the cultural capital of Europe, and is set to compete with Copenhagen. Someone would recall the resort Ebeltoft (“The map of Jutland resembles a profile. Ebeltoft is located right under its nose!”). It is known for its fjords and craft brewery (we visited their summer cafe Gaardbryggeri, where we enjoyed a delightful rhubarb beer, overlooking a meadow and the sea). Some breathlessly spoke about the lighthouses on the north coasts, while others, on the contrary, snorted with contempt, ‘What’s there to do at those backwaters?’ The more opinions were gathered, the more we looked forward to going there.
Jutland begins with a great bridge; it stretches over the sea for almost seven kilometers. There are white triangles of sails far below in matte blue. We quickly pass by the Island of Funen and the panorama of Jutland opens up before us. There are many camping sites located on the coast of the peninsula, along with small-sided homes at the edge of the water. This type of housing is so popular among Danes on holiday that we didn’t manage to find a vacant one.
Fields, haystacks, lindens, poplars, and birch. Wind turbines. Cows. A young bull-calf is brown and so shaggy that it looks more like a bear cub; he pokes his curious nose through the hedges. We slowed down on a country road and let a rider on a sleek horse, a girl in a black jockey cap, pass.
The open window brings in the scent of grass and manure. The countryside looks amazingly perfect. The farms along the road are all the same, with criss-cross beams on the façade, impeccable in their concision (a black and white façade, even with the number “1827” written above it looks like it was repainted this morning). There is a neat cat near every house. And the thing that delights me most: there are alternate bicycle paths along the roads, no matter whether you are driving through a field or a dense forest.
The final understanding that Denmark, a country where equality has triumphed, is realized at Cape Blåvand. It is actually a cottage area and it is very expensive, but you’d never guess that. The terrain resembles a country of trolls. There are no trees here, but the thick overgrown briars covering the little hills that hide houses with traditional roofs of moss and dry grass. The houses themselves have no fences, no gardens, and no sign of distinction from each other. It wouldn’t even come to somebody’s mind to show off, say, by putting a golden candelabrum at the entrance.
The tall grass quietly rustles. Beyond the dune lies a long and wide sandy beach on which dug-outs from the World War II still stand (with horse heads and tails attached, so that they now resemble giant horses scrutinizing the sea).
We stopped at the Blåvand, because we heard about Chef Claus Skov, who runs a deli shop and a tapas bar here. And indeed, there is his kiosk with gourmet hot dogs, there is the bar, and Claus himself. He gives us a tour of the shop, explaining to us that all the sauces, the jam and the schnapps are made exclusively from the gifts of the local forest, and the leaves, herbs and berries for them are collected by two specially hired people all year round.
Погода портится. По дороге от Блованда вниз по западному побережью внезапно сквозь стену моросящего дождя на берегу вырастают несколько каменных исполинов, сидящих у самой воды. Это памятник навсегда ушедшим в море, тем, кого вечно ждут на берегу. Полуостров – часть суши, почти со всех сторон окруженная водой, об этом на Ютландии не забываешь ни на минуту. Сразу за «мужчинами у моря» начинается гигантская портовая зона, и постепенно дорога приводит в Рибе – этот город считается старейшим в стране, примерно так в VIII веке выглядели все населенные пункты викингов. Дома с островерхими черепичными крышами, украшенные резьбой и витражами, построены еще в ту эпоху.
In the gastronomic sense, in recent years, Denmark has been actively “self-exploring”. At the Noma in Copenhagen, René Redzepi has collected specialties throughout the country: seagull eggs, mushrooms, moss, seaweed. Of course, Jutland was not left behind.
Among the main gastronomic addresses of the peninsula noted by Michelin stars are the Henne Kirkeby Kro, a few kilometres north of Blåvand, and Ti Trin Ned in Fredericia.
The weather is turning bad. On the road from Blåvand down the western coast, several stone giants suddenly appear, sitting near the water and visible through the wall of drizzling rain on the shore. This monument was erected in memory of those who left for the sea forever and who are always awaited on the shore. A peninsula is part of the land that is almost everywhere surrounded by water, and you always know it in Jutland. Immediately after the Men At Sea, the giant port area begins, and the road gradually leads to Ribe. This town is considered the oldest in the country, and in the 8th century, all the local Viking villages looked approximately like this. Houses with pointed tiled roofs, decorated with carvings and stained-glass windows, were built in that era.
Day by day we were wheeling around Jutland. Every stop was a new story. The city of Moravian Christians, Christiansfeld, is on the UNESCO World Heritage List. If all people are equal in Denmark, then in Christiansfeld, they are even more so: Built based on a single plan at the end of the 18th century, the city has still maintained its structure, and even the bakery with the delicious gingerbread has remained in the same house.
Mariager on the coast of the fjord is called the ‘City of Roses’; you can take a map of the local gardens at a local tourist information center and go to the fragrant bushes by bicycle. The farther north, the wilder the nature. Skagen is the northernmost point of Denmark. It is a port with fishing boats, seafood restaurants that, on a sunny day, have wooden tables and benches laid out. The lighthouse directs the way in the harsh North Sea at night.
And only in the young and dynamic Aarhus does life happen in full swing, almost in the literal sense: in the vast multimedia museum of Dokk1, which opened two years ago, a gong notifies you of the birth of every new citizen.
...On the streets of small Jutland towns, there are a lot of antique shops. Not those that look like museums, but simple antique shops with items that tell the history of not-too-spoiled villagers. Two steps from the Kolding Train Station, and there is another shop. Only ten minutes before our departure, and without much thought, I buy a large tin for homemade biscuits. A bunch of rowan berries is painted on the box. How many generations of large Jutland families have kept their sweet stores in it?
The train to Hamburg is already arriving at the first track.
- How to get there You can get to Jutland by train from Copenhagen or Hamburg; however, it’s much better to rent a car in Copenhagen and drive along the E20 highway through the bridges over the Great Belt and the Little Belt straits. Driving is also the easiest way to move around Jutland.
- High season From late May to early September.
- Accommodation The most popular choice for the Danes is camping at the seaside, as well as B&B’s and rooms that the local inhabitants rent out (an excellent way to appreciate local hospitality, by the way).
- Activities Yachting, tracking, cycling, jogging, gathering mushrooms and berries in the forest, swimming in the North Sea (weather permitting).
Text: Elena Golovanova
Published on: May 20, 2018