Summary of a number of articles in Billed Bladet #36 & 37, 2013.
Written by Annelise Weimann & Ken Richter.
The great thing about the annual summer cruises is that they are a delightful mix of the locals turning out in full regalia, with parades, displays and fanfares and the less formal episodes inbetween and something always go wrong.
A summer cruise is to sum it up: a guided tour of the country where the Regent Couple look at the locals looking at them.
So join me on this little odessey of Denmark.
The Regent Couple this time started at the very top. The town of Skagen, located at the northern tip of Jutland and as such the northern most point of Denmark.
After going through the usual show with the Home Guard and local scouts parading and the local city councils showing up in their finest it was time for a look around.
They came to Skagen because this year is the 600th anniversary of the town as a merchant town. (*) Okay, it wasn't all idling away mind you. QMII was put to work, sewing the final sticthes in a new altar-carpet in Skagen Church. In fact 80 local women have been busy making 750.000 stiches.
After this little business PH was dragged into the local museum to learn about the town history and after a lunch it was out to an outdoor museum, where the Regent Couple had a look at homes for local fishermen a couple of centuries ago. They really weren't supposed to actually go inside, but that's what they did. - Okay not much to see really. Such a home was the size of a modern gardenshed, where there were two generations living along with countless children. And we are talking living on the edge, because life was hard at the coast! As long as your husband and oldest sons could go out fishing you lived a reasonable life, relatively speaking. But if they went down, and that happened countless times, you and your small children and surviving grandparents were thrown into poverty overnight.
While Henrik looked at a local cement works, QMII delighted herself by visiting the local butcher, where she had a good and long talk about sausages. Yes, royals get far and wide! It should be added that this really is good!
The summercruise was as usual one big island hopping, unsurprisingly there are lots of small inhabited islands here in DK. (In fact we have a little dream of setteling on an island, when we are finally allowed to retire or win the lottery).
Off to the island of Læsø, located in the middle of Kattegat, which seperate Denmark and Sweden. A decent sized island with a population boom of 1.900 inhabitants.
With considerable difficulty and quite a few hands to help, Prince Henrik managed to struggle onto the quay from the barge. The programme followed the usual pattern, off to a museum. See the local houses with the roof thatched with seaweed and so on.
Læsø in particular has a good history of enterprising piracy. When times were bad...or just in their sparetime, the locals went out to plunder a ship or two. Loads of ships passed by Læsø and in periods Danish waters were notorious for piracy. And other times they practiced beaching. There is a story about the locals tying lanterns to the tails of cows on dark stormy nights, to lure passing ships to beach. That is not correct, they rode horses instead, carrying lanterns, which resembled the lanterns on the stern of another ship and a skipper who was not vigilant risked ending up on the cliffs.
Now, if the crew was alive, the cargo still belonged to the owner and the locals got a meager finders fee. but if the crew was dead, the cargo belonged to the crown, so...
It was very well organised. At the top was a "beach foged" a magistrate responsible for the beach and what ended up there. His job was to ensure that the crown got it's share (and himself and the other local officials), the rest the local fishermen took for themselves. - Everybody, well almost, were happy and no one were really that interested in doing something about it.
The next day it was off to another island in the middle of Kattegat, to open a new windmill park. That has been covered. Anholt is even smaller than Læsø. In fact it belongs to the same municipality as the villiage I live in. Anholt also has a glorious history of beaching.
Then of to Møn, another island. And this is where things got a little out of hand. They were supposed to sail in a chaluppe to the harbour of Klintholm, but the weather was rought and the captain of Dannebrog wouldn't risk his passengers lives. So Dannebrog found a nice little cove not far away, where a crown car picked up the Regent Couple and somewhat unceremoniously drove them to KlintHolm harbour where they were properly recieved.
Here they visted a geo centre and were wheeled about in aluminium rickshaws. (**) Well, they may be practical but not particularly pretty!
Here PH visited the Karen Wolf factory, which produce mouthwatering cookings. Especially brunkager = brown cookies. If you ever come to DK, you should taste them - and then you are hooked! You can find "brunakger" everywhere but those from Karen Wolf are the best, unless you are really good at baking them yourselves.
"Brunkager" are a must around Christmas in particular, but otherwise no coffee table is complete without them them. The bag looks like this: https://osuma.dk/custgfx/5701124002059.jpg
and the cookies themselves: http://rvde.files.wordpress.com/2012...213-195546.jpg
My son and I can easily eat a bag each - and we must, we have to!
The final stop was the town of Vordingborg. It's a charming town and as the name imply (borg = castle) this used to be the location of a castle. There is now little more than a tower left standing called the Goose Tower. But enough remains for the town to open a castle-center.
Archeologists have been digging away and that's something that interest QMII! During the tour of the castle ground the leading archeologist told QMII about the finds and showed her pictures and a reconstruction on an iPad. Visually intriguing Her Majesty! Now, QMII usually can't tell the difference between a laptop and an iPhone, but perhaps this little tool got her interested? She has plenty of grandchildren to teach her...
The tower also has a direct link between QMII and QMI. Because the castle was build by QMI's father, king Valdemar, and it's more than likely that little QMI played in the Goose Tower in the 1300's.
One other island the Regent Couple visited was the tiny island of Nyord, ppulation 41, and here is the smallest museum in Denmark, 2 X 2 meters. It tells the story of local pilots who guided ships through the centuries thorugh the dangerous waters around there.
There are litterally countless museums in DK. Located just about everywhere and exhibiting anything imaginable and things you'd never dreamed of. Oh yes, we know how to pluck the tourists.
(*) There are countless small merchant towns in DK! Being a merchant town meant privileges in regards to having a market, taxation and so on. On average Danish merchant towns are located at 25 KM intervals, meaning that a peasant could comfortably walk to the nearest market with livestock and get back again the same day. - That was efficient. They could get to work again the very next morning and the chance of spending all the money on booze and other pleasures... was reduced if the peasant didn't have to stay the night.
But the prize for that was that few towns grew large. So basically up to mid 1800's you could name the number of towns in DK with a population of more than 10.000 inhabitants on one hand - easily!
For centuries Denmark litterally only had one city, Copenhagen. And to this day there are only five cities with more than 100.000 inhabitant.
(**) I think they are rickshaws, Or is that only if they a pulled by a kuli?