Saturday, 30 September 2006

Jammerbugten - the Forest

Last of the dominating landscape types of Jammerbugten is the forest, which my family often visits for one special purpose: Hunting for mushrooms, or the delicate cantarel to be more specific.

My father is the most enthusiastic and probably also the most skilled cantarel hunter in the family. He never goes to the forest without his mushroom basket in his hand. He is also the one who usually prepares the mushrooms for dinner.

My brother is also an able cantarel-spotter. Here he looks for them in a little clearing in the middle of the forest. There was no luck here, however.

A very typical forest scene. The entire forest bed is covered by moss making it soft and almost cloud-like to walk on.

An example of the prized mushroom, which we spend so much time searcing for. It may not look like much as it is covered in sand here, but for those who haven't tasted it, it must be said that it is utterly delicious.

Jammerbugten - the Dune Heath

The dune heath is a very special landscape type found mostly in Denmark and a few other places. The sandy dunes are completely covered in low vegetation, providing a very special atmosphere here.

The dune heath is a very varied landscape consisting of of dry plains, moist hollows, shallow lakes and dune formations. This is a very "hilly" part of the local dune heath.

Here the dunes are larger and more rolling. It is my father in the red shirt walking towards the sun baked part of the dune heath.
A higher plateau of the Dune Heath with some slightly different plants.

Humans have come here for eternities. Here I am at the entrace to a many hundred years old burial mound , which would be hard to see if you didn't know it was there.

A close-up of some of the charactiristically purple vegetation of the dune heath.

Thursday, 28 September 2006

Jammerbugten - the Beach

I have previously mentioned our summer cottage in Northern Jutland. It is located in the small village of Slettestrand near Fjerritslev in Jammerbugten (Misery Bay) . Despite the gloomy name, it is a very attractive area with many recreational opportunities and some wonderful nature. I have taken some pictures of three landscape types typical for this area: The beach, the dune heath and the forest. Firstly here are the pictures from the Slettestrand Beach:

Jutland is famous for endless stretches (some places hundreds of kilometers) of white sandy beaches, attracting many tourists from the rest of Scandinavia, Germany and Holland where such quality beaches are hard to find. Behind the beach you will usually find these characteristic sand dunes covered in low vegetation, mostly lyme grass. There are many nice little hollows in the dunes perfect for private tanning or picnics (but beware - the sand will be everywhere when you're done)

A small bird scavenges for food in the surf. Even though the breakers look safe enough here, you shouldn't be fooled. The name of the area, Jammerbugten, translates roughly to Bay of Misery or Bay of Cries. This refers to the wives crying for the husbands lost to the treacherous seas here. Countless ships have gone down in this area, usually quite close to the coast. This was a source of great trouble and hardship for the local population, but actually alsoa source of wealth since materials and often valuable goods from the sunken ships would wash up here.

My brother Ole sitting on a big iron crab which has become a bit of a trademark for Slettestrand.

A picture showing how broad and nice the beach is. Tourists here use the plentiful space to play with kites.

Here a picture of my mother with the dunes in the background. I suspect she won't be too happy with me publishing this picture, mostly because of the wind in her hair (My mother has a thing about wind messingup her hair). I really like this picture, however. I think it captures an expression which is essentially her.

Slettestrand is an old fishing community, and I believe it still has a fleet of fishing vessels. So I thought it very fitting and also fascinating that one of the driveways in the village had been strewn with clam shells in stead of the more traditional choice, pebble.

Sunday, 24 September 2006

A Stroll Down Memory Lane

Often we humans take tons of pictures when travelling to foreign places or at special events like graduations and anniversaries. But most of us forget to take pictures of the everyday things - those that really characterise our lives. This includes very much our homes. Considering my limited age of 26 I have lived in many different places throughout my life. We took a trip to see several of my childhood homes - here are some pictures from that trip.

Town of Ry. Lived here from age 2 till 6. It was a nice house on a dead end street, which made it safe for us children to play on.

Village of Laven where I lived from 6 to 12 years of age. This is a small community surrounded by hills, forests and lake. All children in Laven knew each other and there were plenty of places to play in the surroundings, so it was pretty ideal for that age. I did however have quite a long commute to school.

Sejs-Svejbæk, suburb of Silkeborg. Lived here from 12 to (almost) 18 years of age. This was a considerably bigger place than Laven and also the location of my school, so it was probably good to move here for my teen years. Also much closer to Silkeborg which is where all the exciting, commercial stuff was.

This is me (in a Silkeborg IF jersey) by the bell tower of Church of Sejs-Svejbæk, where I worked as a bell ringer every monday for many years, starting when I was 12. The bell may not look very big compared to me, but when I was 12 the contrast in size seemed very big. I earned good pocket money here.

A photo taken near when we visited Sejs-Svejbæk. Doesn't really have anything to do with my stroll down memory lane, but I just think all the colourful caterpillars made for a nice shot.

Tuesday, 19 September 2006

Historical Århus: Moesgård Museum and Den Gamle By (The Old Town)

As of the 1st of September I am no longer living in Århus. As a tribute to the city of Århus where I lived for 6 years I will now show a few pictures from two of Århus' great historical attractions: Den Gamle By (The old town) open air museum and the marvellous Moesgård Museum.

This handsome fellow known as "Grauballemanden" is perhaps themost famous exhibit of the Moesgård museum. He is one of the best preserved Bog people found in sphagnum bogs around Northern Europe. In roughly 290 BC his throat was slit presumably as part of a sacrificial ritual or as punishment for some crime. He was then thrown into a bog in central Jutland, not to see the light of day again untill 1952 when he was discovered. He was so well preserved that it was speculated that we was either a recent murder victim or the local drunk who disappeared some 70 years earlier when taking a short cut through the bog at night.

Here Grauballemanden is seen from above. His skin has turned leathery and his hair has been dyed red by the bog, but apart from this his features have been amazingly well preserved. Scientists were able to tell exactly what he had for his last meal by analysing the contents of his stomach.

Moesgård is a brilliant Museum dealing with many aspects of Denmark's past. It also houses a nice collection of rune stones, where my ancestors would commemorate special events or fallen comrades with writings in the old rune script.

Here I am in Den Gamle By, an open air museum featuring a large number of old Danish houses brought herefrom all parts of the country. Within the opening hours the museum is filled with actors dressed in old costumes and showing off how things were done in the 19th century.

Another picture of me in Den Gamle By, here sitting amongst all the old barrels at the docks.

And finally a picture included solely for it's cuteness factor: Mother dog relaxing in the sun while baby dog is sitting in a stroller. This is how I found the dogs - I did nothing to manipulate the scene.

Wednesday, 13 September 2006

Holland

On the way home we drove through Holland where we visited the charming city of Utrecht.

This picture is so quintessentially dutch that it had to be my first picture from Holland. Bicycles and canals are two things which this country is famous for, and even in Holland's national colour orange.

A street scene from Utrecht. More bikes and canals.

The very flat countryside is also characterised by waterways, used for transportation of goods...

...and to cool the cows in the summer heat.

And then of course Holland is famous for flowers. Usually tulips are the main product in this inudstry, but since it was off season I snatched in stead this shot at an Utrecht flower market.

Monday, 11 September 2006

Grand Place Light Show

Since we stayed at the Grand Place we had the plasure of experiencing an amazing light and sound show focused on the old town hall. Lighting of the square and the city hall kept changing with the music and the colour of the sky seemed to change with it. Very nicely made and completely free! Here are some pictures from the show:

Wednesday, 6 September 2006

Brussels, Belgium

After France our trip went to Brussels, capital of Belgium, the EU and home of the muscles from Brussels, Mr. Jean-Claude Van Damme.

One of the main draws of Brussels is the amazing Grand Place, which is possibly the most beautiful square in all of Europe. We stayed in the only hotel located at the square which gave us a wonderful view of the square and meant we could look out at it without getting wet in the massive rains. To the left you see the bottom part of the City Hall.

Another corner of the square, this part being just to the left of the city hall.

Belgium does not have that many famous people or famous sights and attractions. What this small country however is known for are all things that are delicious but bad for you: Chocolate, Beer, Fries and what you see above: Belgian Waffles.

Here you see me at one of the relatively few famous sights of Brussels, which perhaps is a testament to why there are few famous attractions: A very small statue (or figurine) by the name of Manneken Pis showing a small boy relieving himself. Legend has it that it is a portrait of a boy who hundreds of years ago got seperated from his parents. They promised God and each other that if they found their boy again they would erect a statue showing him in the exact position they found him... the rest of the story tells itself. I have no idea whether this is reality and myth, but it is an amusing anecdote. There is however not that much to see (no pun intended) and the fame of the thing seems a bit excessive.