Holidays on the Danish Baltic Sea

Picking the Baltic Sea in Denmark for our holiday destination this summer came about in an interesting way. In my many years of downsizing our home, I had to revert to certain tricks to let things go. This actually applies more to my better half.

I told him to imagine we would move to a House in the Danish Dunes. If that were the case, would he take this item with him..? If the answer is no, then it is time to say good bye.

I spend my free time sorting and de-cluttering, and so the liberating expression, “Would you take this to Denmark?” popped up on a regular basis. Then, we could not help but actually book a holiday there this summer.

We spent a wonderful week in Sydals, near Sønderborg in southern Denmark, which was the first part of our leg (first week in July).

Driving around the countryside, we had never seen so many poppies before. If you thought bright sunshine would make a dashing contrast to the red color, try dark skies. This is much better.

Poppies in Denmark

This is the view from where I sat every morning. Our hostess explained that the sea lies hidden behind the tall canola field. I didn’t mind. Looking at the skies, feeling the morning breeze, and listening to the birds was all I needed. Well, add coffee to that.

Morning sky in Sydals, Denmark

Lucky for me, we had a Strandimbiss (beach snack bar) in walking distance. We came here almost every day – if not for a light lunch, then it could be for a small bottle of wine to go, or just to do laundry. The Danes are so relaxed and kind. No wonder Denmark rates as the country with the second highest happiness index (behind Finland).

Sonderby H in Sydals, Denmark

Here we stopped in Mommark for lunch, and enjoyed another great view of the open skies. You might have noticed by now that the skies are usually dark. We had daily average temps of 17°-20°, which is perfect for me. Without the constant wind, it felt much warmer though.

Mommark, Denmark

If we are on the seaside, then it had better be seafood for lunch. For my husband, not me.

More to follow in my next post.

German Gun Battery at La Pointe de Néville in Normandy

From Spain to Norway, Hitler had created an “Atlantic Wall”, composed of defensive fortifications, such as this gun battery at La Pointe de Néville.

Most of the gun emplacements were destroyed.

Beach at La Pointe in Néville
Entrance to a bunker in Néville
Part of the gun battery at Néville
Gun battery ceiling at Néville

Our next stop was the Gatteville Le Phare, which, at 71m in height, is the tallest lighthouse in France. It takes 365 stairs to reach the top, which is better suited to the sturdy traveler.

An Afternoon Visit to St. Malo, France

While vacationing in Cancale, we drove over to St. Malo. It was well worth it! I’ll let the photos speak for themselves this time.

Emerald Coast of St. Malo

St. Malo, France

Walled part of St. Malo

Charly’s Bar in St. Malo

We would like to spend a few days here next time.

On the Road in the USA – Concord, NH

On our way to Boston, we stopped in Concord, a town rich in history.

We went to see Thoreau’s house in the woods where he wrote his famous novel Walden. 

 … two months later, Thoreau embarked on a two-year experiment in simple living on July 4, 1845, when he moved to a small, self-built house on land owned by Emerson in a second-growth forest around the shores of Walden Pond. The house was in “a pretty pasture and woodlot” of 14 acres (57,000 m2) that Emerson had bought, 1,5 miles (2.4 km) from his family home. (source: Wikipedia)

Thoreau house

Where Thoreau wrote “Walden”

Of course, our teenage children could not resist from modifying his sculpture for a little fun. Thousands of others must have done that before them.

Thoreau sculpture

Next we went down to Walden Pond to have our take-away lunch by the beach.

Walden Pond

Walden Pond

This was my first Reuben sandwich in 30 years and it was delicious. Reuben is corned beef, topped with sauerkraut, melted cheese and 1000 – Island dressing on toasted/or marbled rye.

Reuben sandwich

Reuben sandwich

We had gotten our take-out lunch from a restaurant on Main Street. The menu to choose from was plentiful and most decorative!

restaurant menu

Again and again, I see so many homes which have tiger lilies growing right around the edge of the house.

tiger lily

tiger lily

From here in Concord, it is only a one-hour drive to Boston, where we will spend the weekend to walk the famous Freedom Trail.

Notes from Boscombe

 As our address Inner Cliff Road indicates, our apartment is sitting right by the ocean. I can hear the waves washing ashore, but the view is obscured.

We have been getting lots of very short rain showers throughout each day. Not one of them leaves enough time to open one’s umbrella, or close one’s book. As soon as I look up, the clouds have moved over and the sun is mocking us once more.

Not knowing what to expect of the infamous British Cuisine before coming to the isles, I was surprised to find the bad reputation the British Cuisine once held is dying out fast. There are so many good cafes, bistros, and restaurants around here, with some of them offering fusion food, local delicacies, and ethnic dishes. We eat very well around here.

Around the pier area, where we reside, some of the cafes, bistros and restaurants are sophisticated and a bit pricier. But leaving the bay area and walking up the hill into Boscombe town, one encounters the real local life. The pedestrian zone in the shopping area is often full of litter. Some stores are closed or look run down. A few locals have taken to drink very early and raise their voices in public. My daughter has learned a few cuss words she had not heard before.

Most downtown residents of Boscombe look rather poor compared to the plush clientele around the pier area. It has also been a while since I have been served by a cashier missing teeth. Just made me realize the things we take for granted in socialized medicine in Germany.

I have also found the Brits to be less environmentally aware than the Germans. Of course, I would not expect anyone else to sort out the trash like the Germans do. But the British salesclerks hand out plastic bags as if there were no tomorrow. I have to rush my prepared phrase to stop them from bagging my purchase.

The British English is another story. Well, this is probably what they say about my American English spoken with a German accent. Then again, some think I am Dutch.

Speaking of Dutch and going Dutch– the British landlords must have had some bad experience with previous tenants. We were left with an inventory list, stating each single item in the kitchen, e.g. six forks, six knives, six spoons, two wooden spoons, etc. This makes me wonder if the British vacationers  (most of them are here by car) do take things away.

On the other hand, some basic items were not supplied, such as drying towels in the kitchen and it took me close to two hours to find some at a shop. There was no soap in the bathroom, no paper towels in the kitchen, no sugar in the bowl. I’d suppose most vacationers bring this along in their car or know where to buy things in the morning. We didn’t as we came here by plane Sunday night and it took most of our Monday morning to get the basics.

Other vacation homes we had rented in the past (e.g. Crete, Azores. Provence) not only came with a functional kitchen, but also with a „Welcome Package“ including a bottle of water and wine, bread, butter, jam and cheese, among other things. Oh well, this kind of welcome marketing has not reached the Boscome agents yet.

Nevertheless, the landscape is wonderful around here. There are so many walks to take along the beach, and on walkways along the cliffs, The weather, including the sudden rain showers, suits me well and spending my free time reading on the underground patio, while listening to the ocean waves, is very soothing. I hear the sea gulls, the wind rustling in the trees, and I think of the little boy flying his kite on Honeycombe Beach yesterday afternoon.

Ocean view around Boscombe Bay