Within fifteen minutes of the ferry docking we were on our way! Such a welcome and refreshing change from the hassle and stress of airports!
We were heading for the region of Silkeborg, known as Denmark’s Lake District due to the woodlands, highlands, lakes and long stretches of waterways. Denmark’s longest river, Gudena, winds its way through the town and from 1880 to 1980 Silkeborg was Denmark’s largest spa town.
The drive was an easy two hours from Esbjerg. The roads are so much quieter than in England. Lower driving speeds, an absence of road works, and a noticeable respect for fellow drivers, and you have a very pleasant driving experience!
If a town has a river running through its centre, I head for it on arrival! We had been provided with a range of exhibitions and sights to see in Silkeborg (it has a thriving arts and cultural scene) but for now I just want to sit and take in this new country, language and people. What better way than to sit in the sun by the river with a Danish coffee and pastry and watch the world go by! We are sat among a group of cyclists (there is a local road race today) shoppers (we are minutes from a bustling pedestrianized shopping zone) and some sort of private party gathering for a boat trip (lots of laughter and welcomes, platters of food and picnic baskets!). I could sit here for hours but I am supposed to be exploring!
What shall we do next?
Museum Jorn and Galerie Moderne, to see exhibits by international and influential artist Asger Jorn who came from Silkeborg or the Silkeborg Museum where the mysterious remains of the world famous Tollund Man, the perfectly preserved Iron Age man can be seen, or what about a visit to The Arts Centre located in a former spa building in the town, or should we ascend the nearby Himmelbjerget, one of Denmark’s highest points, and marvel at the breath-taking views from Himmelbjerg Tower? Hmm, all this sounds interesting but on such a lovely day I want something outdoors and relaxing.
We opt for a leisurely cruise taking in the sights and nature of Silkeborg from the river Gudena. The oldest original paddle steamer in the world Hjejlen takes guests on a trip through the beautiful Lakeland just as it has done so for the past one hundred and fifty three years! From the boat you can get a sense of the scale of the Lakeland area of the region, the woodlands and the natural beauty. We see cyclists, fishermen, walkers, campers, canoeists, private boaters and picnickers all enjoying this great outdoors! I also spotted a number of very nice houses with riverside gardens that I thought I would quite like to live in!
In keeping with the natural beauty of the surroundings, our first night’s stay is situated about half an hour’s drive from Silkeborg, close to the hills, woods and lakes and is a traditional roadside inn.
Norre Vissing Kro dates back to 1801 and you can imagine, in those early days, weary travellers coming across the accommodation in what I would have imagined to be quite rough and testing conditions, particularly in winter.
Today the inn has all the modern comforts the weary traveller requires and reminds me of the small boutique hotels found in the Cotswolds or Lake District regions of England. We had a lovely room overlooking the road, though we heard no traffic noise at all. (As I have said, roads, particularly country roads, are so traffic free here in Denmark!)
A little at odds with my impression of this small roadside accommodation, is the fabulous cuisine the inn is famous for! In a stylish restaurant diners can enjoy an amazing dinner described in the hotels literature as:
“Uncompromising cuisine, personal, intense and creative. Its gastronomic raison d‘etre lies in the joy of creating small miracles for the senses”
A gourmet evening with fine wine and lots of attention and care from our waiter Anders who practised his English by patiently taking us through the menu, before describing each course to us on its arrival! Alas we were unable to practise any Danish in return apart from a huge “Tak!”
• Read Touring the Marguerite Route in Denmark: Day 1 – Setting off
• Read Touring the Marguerite Route in Denmark: Day 3
• Read Touring the Marguerite Route in Denmark: Day 4