Sunday, 25 July 2010


We decided before we moved here that what little spare time we had we would use to explore Scandinavia, and last week we began to do just that! Our first proper trip away from Copenhagen was great, Skagen is just beautiful. Famous for its special light that has attracted artist's for hundreds of years, it is situated on the very northern tip of Jutland and is the most northerly point of Denmark. Its beaches stretch for miles and totally live up to a child's ideal of what a beach should be like, with shells galore and various interesting sea-creatures to investigate.
We booked the holiday in what seemed like the depths of winter, so had quite forgotten exactly what lay in store, so we were pleasantly surprised that the cottage that was waiting for us was actually really nice, and only 500 metres walk from the beach. We spent the week enjoying the sunshine and exploring what Skagen and Nord Jylland has to offer(which is quite a lot!). As well as the fabulous beaches, (which I know I keep going on about, but these are some of the best beaches I have ever seen, and best of all they were almost completely empty, have you ever seen a picture of some English beaches at the height of summer? You are totally spoilt for choice here and the dunes surrounding them are just as stunning) we visited the Tilsandede Kirke (the church buried in sand), and partook in the Danish tradition of visiting Grenen so that we could stand with feet in two different seas, quite a strange sight! It was probably the only time we encountered a big crowd of people during our entire trip! We took the lazy route and got the Sandormen,a tractor-pulled coach up to the tip and back again. With a tractor mad three year old we wouldn't have had an option even if we had wanted to walk...

Being married to a food enthusiast, we searched out local food where and when we could. There's obviously lots of seafood to be had, and we found one particularly good fishmonger in Hirtshalls, a place also famous for its North Sea Aquarium. My husband asked if they had any sea bass and they weren't quite sure what it was, so I helpfully directed them to the huge poster of fish species on the wall. My eyesight is obviously failing me, as I thought I had read sea bass as the English name for a fish underneath a picture, but I obviously hadn't looked at the picture properly, you can just imagine the hilarity(!) when it turned out to be a Klumpfiske, aka a Sun Fish. I couldn't have eaten a whole one anyway, and later we saw several in the Aquarium itself and they are just too cute to eat. If I had room for a big aquarium in our house, that would be my pet fish of choice. We had monk fish instead which I felt really guilty about afterwards as we shouldn't be eating those either. We also found plenty of good fresh local prawns and languoustines (which we cooked on the barbecue) and managed to eat out at a few restaurants too. My only complaint would be the lack of variety, the menus are almost identical in each one. I quite often thank my lucky stars that my children will eat most things, so we aren't limited to only choosing things from the children's section of a menu, but seriously the children's menu in every place was plaice fillet with potatoes or typical Danish fishcakes, hardly an inspiring selection! As well as an extension to their menu selection, I would also recommend that a couple of the restaurants in Skagen Harbour have a look at their customer relation skills. Just because you have a good location and have a reputation for being the best, does not mean you can ignore customers, keep them waiting and then be rude to them! I would however recommend the Pakhuset for simple good food, and good service (and a great display of figureheads from local boats). The best place we ate at was actually a tiny place called the Det Bette Olhus in Ålbæk near to where we stayed. The food was really lovely and fresh, and it boasted a massive selection of beers from all over the world (plus really kind and lovely service to boot). The other best meal we had was dinner on our last night, a bbq on the beach with meat from the local butcher. Shame it was blowing a gale that evening, but it was lovely all the same, until the end of the evening when my other half was disposing with the disposable bbq, and I stood on the sand where it had been cooking. Never do that, it hurts a lot! It was a great holiday, the best we have had as a family so far. It could have come directly from the pages of an Enid Blyton book, with plenty of sun, lots of ice creams and long days spent on the beach. The only thing missing was lashings of ginger beer!

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