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45
 
...two travellers in search of the world's wildlife

7 April 2012

Fun on Funen

It’s a bitter, bitter wind that blows in Denmark in early April. Even though the sun was shining bright the chill never felt much above freezing. It made getting out of the car to explore quite a grim trial, but we forced ourselves to and so we saw many lovely things.

We’d driven to the island of Funen over what is almost certainly the most expensive toll bridge in the world. Admittedly impressive and several kilometres long, I nevertheless had to suck the air between my teeth when I asked the toll booth attendant to repeat himself and he repeated “two hundred and thirty krone”. That’s £27 to you and me, and we’ll pay it again tomorrow on our return.

Funen is bucolic, with plenty of rolling farmland and occasional glimpses of the sea and lakes. It all looked especially handsome under a bright blue sky, what with all the orange terracotta roof tiles and the white or mustard coloured buildings. The furthest from Copenhagen that we reached was Faaborg, a harbour town of cobbled streets and painted half-timbered merchants’ houses where we stopped for lunch.

We found time for two other stops nearby, both of which I wouldn’t have missed for the world. The white church of Horne with its unusual circular shape looks a beauty from the outside, especially against today’s azure sky. Inside was a delight, the walls and woodwork painted a contemplative grey and with model ships hanging from the ceiling. It reminded me of another nautically themed church on the Portland peninsula. Our other stop was at the bronze age burial mounds of Pipstorn Skov, just visible through the leafless woodland down a narrow country lane. We walked to them through a sea of white wood anemones which lent the scene a fantastical elfin air.

Both these places were as magical as they were because we had them to ourselves. Faaborg too gave every impression of being packed with tourists in the summer, but today most of the big restaurants were closed and the town was all ours. Likewise the picturesque town of Soro where we had taken a morning walk by the lake.

I have always been convinced that people who come to England on holiday and don’t get out of London or the other big cities are missing the best of it. That’s what inspired this mad day-trip into the Danish countryside on what should have just been a three-day Copenhagen city break. And I have to say: I’m right. Even if you’ve only got three days to visit a country, get yourself out of the capital city for one of them.

Finally after a long day of sight-seeing we arrived at Broholm Slot, the latest in a series of grand red brick castle-mansions that we’d been passing (and photo-op’ing) all day. Broholm was different, because we had a room waiting for us along with a table for dinner. I love staying in big old buildings, especially this one where so much of it is left open to explore. The room where we took tea looked like it had been furnished by the National Trust! Splendid.

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