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Denmark. Island tour September 2007

This 2007 tour was just one of the courses offered this year in Denmark. The island area we visited is known for its thatched buildings, historic towns and sea-going heritage.

We take a close look at the route on the chart before we leave on the tour

Just across the water from the Nicus Nature launch beach lies the historic town of Svendborg

We pause to let one of the island ferries cross our path

...and are carried quickly along by the tide

When a smaller island ferry passes close by, it sends out waves we can ride

Renewed interest in historic sailing ships has led to many replicas being built as cruise vessels. This ship passes us under the Dutch flag

We pause for a snack before making the crossing to the next island. Some take the opportunity to eat lunch

...while the rest of us wait until we reach a place to camp on a small point beside a small boat harbor.

We take a walk to visit an old farm, once the home of an old friend of mine, Peter Blay, who sadly died a few years ago. This island once had many small thatched farms clustered close together. In 1942 a fire swept across the island leaving only a few of those buildings standing. Peter and his wife Beth lived in one of the remaining farms, where Peter set up his art studio. Since Peter's death, Beth has been converting the farm into a museum.

Fred scrutinizes the spiders that have encased the buildings in silvery threads. Spiders signify good luck, according to Beth.

Ceramic dogs are turned to face outward, according to local custom, to await the return of the man of the house. The dogs are turned to face inward when the man is at home. This custom is said to have been a great help to lovers who would know when it was safe to approach the house.

Viada, ever ready with a smile!

Brian and Anna embrace

Eel spears

Peter's collection of historic eel spears adorn the farmhouse walls. The shallow waters of Denmark, once farmland but gradually flooded by rising sea levels, has always been a good place for eels. For centuries fishermen in small boats have used long-handled eel spears to trap the slippery fish between toothed metal tines.

A cozy bedroom offers many distractions for the sleepless.

...and Nicolai is soon distracted to make himself at home.

while Beth offers the group a guided tour of the buildings, amusing us with stories of her life there with Peter.

Racks of plates and mugs on hooks line the wall above a long dining table

A cobbled farmyard nestles between thatched-roofed buildings

Decoy ducks in various stages of completion gather ducks in an old workshop

Peter's old "Anus Acuta" sea kayak, renamed "Osprey" was his first sea kayak. Peter paddled thousands of miles in Osprey, often leaving Beth only a date, time and location to meet him at each journey's end.

Along with Osprey in the rafters rest his long-bladed "Seamaster" paddles. The older one is made with plywood blades, the shape mirrored by the more recent fiberglass blades (left)

Peter's paintings adorn the walls and lean in stacks in his studio among artifacts he collected

A model of the village as it appeared prior to the 1942 fire is exhibited by the tiny farm store, where wooden toys designed by Peter and made by Beth's father are available for sale along with Peter's prints.

Nigel and Beth, happy to meet again after another year (photo by Kristin)

Spontaneous seating growing deeper...

...until the inevitable hilarious collapse

Fred and Anna squeeze beneath nets used to catch the tiny shrimps that are a local delicacy

Dry-land rolling practice under Kristin's instruction

The curved harbor wall cradles the small boat harbor

Green Starboard marks on poles indicate the deep channel to the harbor. Some such marks are fashioned as little green bottle-brush Christmas trees...



Sheltering from the wind at the corner of a field for a relaxing lunch break



Kristin offering an impish smile

village duck-pond

An island delivery truck

Locals encourage visitors to take care of the island wildlife...

while ceramic seagulls fly in circles in a mobile for sale at the store...

where we stop for locally made ice-creams sweetened with birch-sap syrup.

Finally we approach Svendborg and the ferry terminals near the end of our tour

Our tours and classes in Denmark run each summer. If you are interested in joining us, please contact us through the feedback form at the bottom of the home-page, leaving your contact details so we can send you more information. You can also enrol directly via the Nicus Nature website.