Tuesday 6th June
First thing in the morning, Rosie went for a swim in the freezing ocean. Because she’s insane. And Lex agrees.
We spent most of the morning walking around the lovely forests near Aarhus, partly scouting out prospective wild-camping spots for the next night, whilst Steen advised us where might it be possible.
Next we walked along the coast towards the city, wandering through some quite baffling open-air art installations that occupy the seafront and forests. Also, there was a deer park! But no dogs allowed, so I just had a quick peek.
Around 3pm Steen needed to head off to work, so we said our goodbyes and drove back into town to explore some of the areas he had pointed out to us the previous day. Including this excellent whale-copter, which Rosie proceeded to climb inside:
Our main objective though was to find somewhere we could get a coffee and sit to do some writing. Preferably with wifi, and not exposed to the cold winds. If we didn’t have a dog with us, there’d be a billion coffee-houses and cafés happily offering these features to us, but it seems most of Aarhus doesn’t let dogs indoors, and generally when places have wifi, the signal doesn’t extend to their outdoor seating. Eventually, we found a nice old-man pub that was dog-friendly and set up camp in there.
It was kinda late by the time we left our cosy spot in the pub, but our carefully formulated plan involved driving up North towards Hirtshals – the town we’d be getting the ferry from the next day. Steen had found us a website with a map of Denmark showing all the areas where you’re allowed to wild-camp, and there were a few zones in the forests & beaches surrounding Hirtshals.
We arrived at a forest on the North coast about 9pm, and although the sun was heading down for the evening, it was still just about light enough to sort out our camp and make dinner. The main issue was that it had started raining.
While walking Lex through the woods, I scouted around for a good place to pitch up. The forest canopy was reasonably thick and gave protection from the wind, so that seemed to be our best option. Then I bumped into another guy walking his dog (a massive 2 year old Samoyed who REALLY wanted to play with Lex, who has not been interested in “playing” with other dogs for the last 10 years.) This guy kindly told me that if the weather gets too bad for us camping, there’s actually a viking settlement just a 2 minute walk up the opposite path, which we could take shelter in. Interesting..!
Earlier that day, Steen had told us about how groups of people would go and live like vikings in settlements in the forests around Aarhus each Summer, but that the whole place needed to be built mostly from scratch each year, and it wasn’t quite the season for it yet. So at this point, I had no idea what to expect from the ‘settlement’ at Hirtshals. I headed off to explore.
What I found was pretty amazing!
Although totally empty of “vikings” at this hour, the place was eerily frozen in time, as if they’d been here working and drinking not long ago – with tools, drinking horns, chainmail, intricately carved quarterstaves and a LOT of animal pelts, all just lying around. There was a fully-equipped eating-hall, kitchen, firepit, council room, stables, blacksmith, outhouse, and various other miscellaneous or under-construction buildings.
I skipped back to Rosie to explain what I’d discovered, and after dinner we packed our viking-sleep-over bags and headed back to the settlement.
Lex was thoroughly smitten with this place too – He was propelled to investigate each and every sheep & deer-skin in the area. A couple of times I caught him trying to chew on one of the pelts we were sleeping on. Rosie just heard “Stop eating our bed!”. Lex got the idea and settled back down, and we all slept like sleepy Vikings.
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