September 21, 2010

With Kurt and Ulla in Denmark

Press HERE to see a slideshow
of our days in Denmark.

Ulla and Kurt
IMG_1033: Ulla and Kurt
Kurt's View of Pastures and Sea
Ulla's Knitting
IMG_1030: Ulla's Knitting
The Museum Manor House
IMG_1006: Manor House
Bill by Jelling Ruin Stones
IMG_6225: Bill by Jelling Ruin Stones
At Kalø Castle Ruins
IMG_6235 - Kalo Castle

We left Stockholm early Wednesday morning. We were bound for a small village, just a dozen miles north of Århus. The journey was to take ten long hours. Paying $55, we took the ferry from Helsingborg to Helsingør and then drove across the largest Danish islands of Sjælland and Fyn. They are connected by a bridge that costs $40 to cross. It began raining heavily as we crossed the final bridge to Jyland (Jutland). We turned north toward Århus and were at the home of our friends, Kurt and Ulla, one hour later. It had taken more than ten hours to drive from Stockholm to Århus.

It was great to see Kurt and Ulla. The last time we saw them is when they visited us in Argentina back in 2005 and the time before that was in the early 1990’s in Århus. In 1994 they purchased an old farmhouse that had been built in 1776 along with three other buildings that had been used to house pigs. The four buildings are arranged in a traditional square. To get a full picture of the buildings click on the this link to a short YouTube video of the buildings. They did restoration work on the house and they began to transform the other buildings into a second and third house for living. Eventually Kurt and Ulla moved into the building that overlooks the sea. One of the best features they preserved is the thatched roof. These are disappearing in Denmark. Their friends, Peder and Henrik live in the other buildings. The land seems like a garden of eden with apple and plum trees, current and blueberry bushes, raspberries and a green house for tomatoes and peppers. Ulla’s son, Christian - age 21, lives with them. Ulla’s older daughter lives near Århus. Kurt’s daughter Stine Bramsen has become a pop-star as the lead singer in Alphabeat. Kurt is a journalist and works for the Danish tabloid, Ekstra Bladet. Ulla runs a childcare center. The five of them will head to New York City at the end of October to celebrate Kurt’s sixtieth birthday.

We had a lovely meal together that first night with Kurt and Ulla along with Christian, Peder and Henrik. We talked and drank wine until we could not keep our eyes open another minute.

On Thursday we visited the manor house of an earl whose family broke up the estate after the death of the last earl in 1928. Now what is left of the estate is a museum. We first visited a working blacksmith shop to see the smithies shaping hot metal. Then it was off to a display of Danish farm life over the past 400 years with the heaviest concentration on the past 100 years. Finally we went through the manor house, which felt a lot like a castle. Parts of the house were more than 600 years old, but it more reflected life in the 1800’s. We took too many pictures all of which can be seen on my Flickr pages.
In the evening we went into Århus to have dinner with Simon Breyen-Simonson. He is the Kurt’s nephew and the son of our good friends Nils and Bet, who live in the north of Denmark. Simon and his best friend Jakob visited us in the states three years ago. We had a nice evening of catching up. We also got a chance to meet is partner, Edit, although she was unable to join us for dinner.

On Friday we visited an old friend, Gregers Mørch-Lassen, who live south of Århus. Then we drove another half an hour south to the village of Jelling, which is pronounced “yelling.” I have visited this place before and I knew about the Jelling rune stones that lay next to the church. The were placed there by Bluetooth Harold, the King of Denmark, before he died in 985 AD. The reason I wanted my photo taken there is that Bluetooth Harold is in my family tree.

On Saturday we said our good-byes to Kurt and Ulla. They were going away for two days. We spent the afternoon exploring the cute little village of Ebeltoftby. Then we went for a hike to the Kalø Castle ruins that are only a few kilometers from where Kurt and Ulla live. The wind was blowing at more that 30 mph as we took the 30 minute hike to the ruins. The castle was first built in 1313 and it was occupied until 1662. There has only been a small bit of restoration, so they are truly ruins. The island where it stands is very pastoral and we could see that cattle feed on the island, although none were present on this gusty afternoon.
That evening Betty prepared a wonderful pot of beef and vegetable soup. We invited Henrik and Peder to join us and we had a lovely evening talking and drinking wine.

We left Sunday morning driving south more than six hours to Bielefeld, Germany. More about that in my next entry.

The Farmhouse of Ulla and Kurt Simonsen
IMG_0989: Kurt and Ullas Farmhouse

Posted by bill at September 21, 2010 04:11 PM

Wow..what an exciting trip so far, The Volvo looks great......Jim asking ..."did the deal include passageway back for The Volvo too ?''You have lovely relatives & friends, Love ur writings.....makes me wish we were there too. Miss u & Betty.......what r u doing after xmas ??
My Sis is married to a Swede & they were there in Aug, Familiar to us.
Jim has officially retired.....and we are ALL adjusting to the new life. He went with his Buddies to Ottawa/ Montreal area for a couple of weeks....ostensibly... to fish,,,,,had fun.....we r off to Fernie Bc now..& on to Vancouver / Victoria.for our Canadian Tksgiving.
Still have a Mother & it is difficult.........she needs a lot of supervision. xxx Have

Posted by: lise nicholson at September 25, 2010 08:39 AM