Tag Archives: Denmark

WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE: Geometry – Bornholm, Denmark

Halse smokehouse. So where’s the smoke?

The Quintin Lake photo that inspired this week’s challenge made me think immediately of the shots I took when Mevrouw T and I cycled around Bornholm Island, Denmark.

It’s an island with a rocky, wild, windswept coastline, but every man-made element appears to have been meticulously designed.

In my original post about Bornholm I wrote about the colours, though I could just as well have focussed on the shapes. Continue reading


Filed under Art, Cycle touring, Scandinavia, travel photography

SCULPTURE BY THE SEA – popular winners announced

Winner of the people's choice award. South Korean artist Byeong-Doo Moon's Cosmic Elk

Prince Frederik of Denmark and our favourite Princess Mary from Tassie visited Sculpture by the Sea today and announced the winners of the popular choice awards.

The People’s Choice went to the one I picked as my favourite too. Damn! I’ve got the same low-brow taste in art as the Sydney hoi polloi. Continue reading


Filed under Art, Travel-Australia

SCULPTURE BY THE SEA – the Danish version, Aarhus

Arhus 040Our lovely Aussie princess Mary of Denmark is still massively popular there – ‘she is being so down-to-earth and natural for a fashion icon’, so when she suggested Denmark should have a Sculpture by the Sea like the one in Sydney, everyone thought it was a great idea. And it was.  I was able to go there in June this year and see for myself.

Arhus 033Aarhus, Denmark’s second largest town, doesn’t have the spectacular cliff walk coastline of Sydney’s Bondi to Tamarama location, but it has a pleasant, quiet beach, with bushy slopes behind it.Arhus 019 The Danes turned out in their hundreds of thousands to slog two kilometres along the sand (quite hard work in the soft stuff), admiring the 60 works, nearly half of them Australian. Ruth Belotti and Steve Rosewell’s ‘Soldier scale 1-1’ was very popular, as was Marcus Tatton’s ‘Carbon Equation’.    And as for Aarhus itself, it’s a Arhus 015nice town; smart, modern, organised and everybody speaks English better than most Australians.  They’ve corralled their river into a canal through the centre of town so that people can lounge by it drinking coffee (good, but at a price) and imagine they’re in Italy. Arhus 078 Aarhus also claims to have Europe’s oldest outdoor museum, Den Gamle By, which is very well done, lots of fun for the kiddies and certainly worth a visit if you’re there. I’ll post more about it in the future.Arhus By


For more information on attractions and accommodation, see: http://www.visitaarhus.com


Filed under Art, Travel, Travel- Europe

COLOUR CLASH – cycling Denmark’s Bornholm Island

Allinge church

‘That shirt doesn’t fit in here,’ says my wife, ‘It’s repulsive.’ She prides herself on her ability to spot bad taste, mine in particular, and the purple and aqua pattern splashed across my chest is admittedly rather striking. ‘It’s a cycling jersey,’ I counter lamely, ‘It’s supposed to stand out and repel motorists.’

But even I can see that my shirt looks wrong on Bornholm, an island where everything, from each waving wheatfield to every cottage windowsill, seems in perfect visual harmony.

The Danes have gone to a lot of trouble to make this place look good. In Svaneke they’ve even had their water tower architect-designed, by a chap very well known to Australians.

Svaneke crop (red)

Bornholm is where the Danes themselves go to recharge the batteries with beauty, fresh air and country charm. It’s an hour’s train ride from Copenhagen into Sweden, then another hour or so on a sleek catamaran ferry, which we’re pleased to note was built in Western Australia.

‘We’re big on nature, arts and crafts and crazy ways of getting round the island,’ says Kim in the Bornholm Tourist Office. ‘It’s only 30km across and 40km up and down.You can do it on roller blades if you like.’ We pass on that one, and instead choose Bornholm’s most popular means of transport, the rental bike, with a deal which includes getting our luggage shuttled to our accommodation each night. It’s also reassuring to know that in case of rain, fatigue or loss of motivation, we can flag down a local bus to take us and our bikes somewhere dry and comfortable.

Fortunately we never need to resort to that wussy alternative. The weather is fine, the rolling hills manageable and the surroundings extremely beautiful.
Bornholm1 024

Poppies are sprinkled through the ripening crops, the sea is never far from view and villages are all colour co-ordinated. Paint on Bornholm is apparently only available from a limited colour chart. Cottages are deep russett red or yellow ochre, with black timberwork. Interiors are white. Purple cycling shirts are frowned on.

Smokehouse, Halse (red)
We stop for lunch in the little town of Halse, known for its ‘rogeri’, the smokehouse where herrings are hung out to dry. In the old days, smokehouses may have been smelly, unpleasant workplaces, but now their beachfront locations and characteristic pyramid-shaped chimney stacks make them ideal for conversion into cafes and charming holiday houses.

Bornholm1 010

The aroma inside the Halse rogeri is irresistible. We order the traditional local delicacy – a whole smoked herring served with heavy rye bread, chopped radish, chives, lettuce and a raw egg yolk. I don’t know the correct etiquette for eating raw egg yolk, so I just pour it over my herring, which does the job very well.

Further up the coast the shoreline is broken by rugged cliffs. Jon’s Chapel is a spectacular rock formation where legend has it that an Irish priest called Jon used to preach to a congregation on the beach below. It’s hard work to get down the steep steps, so Jon’s flock presumably consisted of a little band of devout masochists.

Jon's Chapel, Bornholm (red)

Hammershus Castle, ‘the biggest ruined castle in Northern Europe’, is strategically perched on a headland for maximum photogenic effect. So too is the modern Bornholm Art Museum, all white angles set against sea glimpses. ‘This place looks really stylish,’ says my fashion guru pointedly. I get the message, and pull a dark rain jacket over the offending purple shirt before we go inside.

The museum is superbly designed to let nature in – low windows give us views of forests and fields, and a tiny stream trickles down the treads of the internal staircase. The work of Bornholm’s artists is seriously good, and we particularly like the early 20th century landscapes and the modern ceramics. Stylish indeed.

Gudhjem village, Bornholm (red)

Gudhjem village is also a triumph of art direction. It lures the tourists with a perfect white windmill at the top of the steep hill and a church tower at the bottom. Half-timbered houses are all painted regulation red or yellow and every second building is a craft gallery, glasswork being the speciality. German tourists are arriving by the busload.
We join them for an excellent all-you-can-eat smorgasbord at the smokehouse. Again the major menu item is herring; smoked, double-smoked, pickled, pickled in sugar, pickled in pink sugar, battered, deep fried with onion relish or smothered in yellow mayonnaise. Those who don’t like herring can have salmon (smoked of course).

GudhjemNOTE: Visitors to Gudhjem should be correctly colour-co-ordinated.

Then it’s on to Svaneke and that water tower. We heard it’s now surplus to requirements, but it still stands above the village, a black pyramid on three concrete legs, with an elegant metal staircase winding into its belly. There are no backstage tours, but as water towers go it’s pretty special – it was designed by Jorn Utzon, on his way to do the Sydney Opera House.

Utzon watertower, Svaneke, Bornholm (red)

The following day we roll past wide beaches and back into Ronne, the island’s capital. ‘What’s that smell?’ asks my wife. I consult the guidebook. ‘Ronne was named after the Danish word for rotten and once smelled putrid, due to decomposing seaweed.’

‘Rubbish,’ says my wife, ‘It’s that shirt of yours.You’ve been sweating in it for three days.’ I peel off the lurid purple and slip into something more understated. My wife puts her Gudhjem glass earrings in. Then we blend effortlessly into Ronne’s cobbled back streets. We could almost be mistaken for Bornholmers.

The offending shirtThe offending shirt – this photo mercifully not available in smellorama!

The writer was a guest of the Scandinavian Tourist Board in Australia and Scandinavian Airlines.


Combined train/ferry from Copenhagen to Ronne on Bornholm takes about three hours and costs from DKK248 one way. See dsb.dk/bornholm
Staying there: Pension Slaegtsgaarden in Allinge, Bornholm offers B&B from DKK300. See slaegtsgaarden.dk. For other options see bornholminfo.dk

Further information: Bike hire on Bornholm costs from DKK65 per day, see bornholms-cykeludlejning.dk . For other accommodation and activities on Bornholm see bornholminfo.dk, visitscandinavia.com.au.

First published, Sun-Herald, Sydney


Filed under Art, Cycle touring, Cycling, Travel, Travel- Europe