In memory of cancer patients dear to our hearts
who fought and lost the battle against cancer.
Gone too soon but never forgotten.
After five months quietly bobbing around in Flensburg’s harbour, the usual pre-sailing tasks were carried out aboard Blue Heeler. Nothing arduous, just the usual – oil change, check the bilge, spring cleaning, stock up with local grocery items, cheap wine and cheap German beer, and so on. I even cut off a good portion of my long hair as it seems to grow pretty fast! Grocery and alcohol prices in Germany are way cheaper than Scandinavian countries so we made sure we had enough of each to keep us going for a couple of months at anchor.
On a brisk April morning, we began our voyage from Germany to Denmark. Our stay in Flensburg couldn’t have been more enjoyable thanks to the kind people we met – Kerstin, Helmut, George, Mo, Andreas, Stefan, Lutz, and Alfred, just to name a few. From the Christmas markets; New Year fireworks; the Große Straße; the forest walks; and foreshore cycling – Flensburg is a great place to stay over winter and I highly recommend it for anyone considering wintering in this region.
Our focus is now looking ahead to summer 2019. Leaving so early in April gave us a good start to the season. Although the daylight is up to 15 hours, the days are still quite cold (6degC).
Last year we sailed the northern coast of Germany before crossing the Baltic Sea to Bornholm (Denmark) and Sweden and onto Latvia, Estonia, and Finland; this year our course takes us through the island chain at the south of Denmark. A good weather site for Denmark is DMI.
Stopping at Sønderborg and Svendsborg, we anchored in a couple of other places before heading north to Copenhagen. The Harbour Guide app is perfect for identifying anchorages (translated in English) and marinas in this part of the world (We bought books last year but couldn’t translate the Swedish without the use of Google Translate). We would have loved to spend more time in the islands, but the combination of chilly days plus a long voyage ahead of us kept us moving each day.
At Sønderborg we bought diesel; over winter we’d kept the Webasto heater running with bio-diesel from Flensburg, but as bio-diesel has been known to cause growth within the tanks, the diesel at the fuel dock in Sønderborg was ‘normal’ diesel (except the price – a hefty A$2.50 per litre, ouch!). We added just enough to get us to Norway where it is moderately cheaper.
As we sailed north into the Kattegat and on to Copenhagen to our west the Møns Klint, a stretch of chalk cliffs on the island of Møn; to the east of us the famous 16km Øresund Bridge linking Sweden to Denmark, while to the north a series of spinning wind generators delineating the shipping channel and indicating where to turn west and head into port.
Two kilometres north of the city centre is the Langelinie Boat Harbour – a circular harbour with stern moorings; visitors berths identified by a green tag. Access is easy although a sea-plane landing area is outside; depths inside are between 2m-3m. The sailing season doesn’t officially start for some weeks but we were welcomed by the harbour master who showed us the facilities. The washing machine was operating, as were the toilets, but not the showers (he let us use the club’s showers). We still had to pay, but were offered off-season rates.
Overlooking the marina is an impressive Maritime Memorial erected in 1923, commemorating civilian Danish sailors who lost their lives during the Great War.
Copenhagen’s flat terrain makes it wonderful to cycle around. Unfortunately Wayne’s free wheeling hub died on our final day at Flensburg leaving him spinning but going nowhere. He didn’t have time to fix it but luckily Copenhagen has plenty of cycle shops to find a new part.
Miraculously the first cycle shop he entered had the exact Shimano part he needed but fixing his wheel would have to wait until the next day as we had some hours of walking to do.
Next to the Langelinie Boat Harbour is the popular statue of The Little Mermaid “Den Lille Havfrue” – a statue dedicated to Hans Christian Andersen’s famous fairytale. Even at this time of year, busloads of tourists come to see her famous bronze figure perched atop a rock – she looked awfully cold in the 3degC temperature!
Walking south along Langelinie Park trees bursting with pink blossom filled the park located next to the star fort and Kastellet. Over a small bridge is the St Alban’s Anglican Church and magnificient Gefjon Fountain – the statue depicting a team of animals being driven by the Norse Goddess Gefjon. At this time of year fountains are turned off to prevent frozen pipes bursting – it must look spectacular when it’s flowing.
A little farther south is the square at Amalienborg, the home of the Danish Royal Family. I kept my eyes open for a glimpse of any Royals, especially the Taswegian, Mary. The guards enthusiastically kept tourists away from approaching too close to the buildings.
One of the worlds most recognised canals is Nyhavn. The brightly painted buildings and facades of the 17th and 18th centuries are quite charming. Restaurants along the northern bank were bursting with tourists – I can only imagine how busy it will be in summer.
To the south of the city is the amusement park Tivoli Gardens. The rides were operating which was surprising at this time of year. Preferring to walk around and take in the sights, we walked to the City Hall square where a bronze statue of Hans Christian Andersen attracts his fair share of photo-happy tourists.
Copenhagen’s architecture is a mix of old and new. A number of magnificent spires tower above the building skyline while to the south and north of the city new apartment blocks are popping up everywhere.
Wayne fixed his rear hub the next day so we rode to the castle Rosenborg Slot then along the Peblinge Sø waterway, continuing south through the ‘burbs’ and meatpacking district until we reached Sydhavnstippen Park. It was good to exercise after a week aboard and the cold air kept a glow in our cheeks.
After a picnic lunch of hot soup and sandwiches, we rode to the east and found our way to the hippy sanctuary – Freetown Christiania. Established in 1971, this hippy commune with its post apocalyptic trimmings would fit quite easily in a Mad Max movie. Over 19 acres of land at the edge of Copenhagen’s city area, this commune has developed over the years to include artists, hippies, and pot-heads.
The aptly named ‘Pusher Street’ is lined with masked men displaying their wares – blocks of hash and skunk weed. Photos are not allowed here as selling dope, although tolerated in Freetown, is still illegal in Denmark. As you walk around it’s hard to avoid clouds of weedy exhaust filling the air. Murals painted on the walls of former military barracks are humorous and some even quite good. One of Copenhagen’s tourist hotspots with a population of around 1000, it certainly is a little different!
After five nights in Copenhagen, we packed the bikes and departed Denmark to continue our journey north following the route along the west coast of Sweden to Norway.