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Roadtripping in Denmark

For those of you that don’t know, James and I are getting married at the end of May and the planning/preparing/stressing is in full force.

Time is always running away from us but when you have an impending wedding that you’re planning and doing almost every detail yourselves, you wish you could put the brakes on and turn the speedometer down a notch.

As I don’t have a scar on my forehead or wear a pair of round framed glasses, I won’t be performing any spells to rewind time.

Anyway, I digress. So with little time to plan our wedding, James and I decided to take a trip to Denmark. What can we say? We like living in the fast lane…

Truth be told, I booked the trip as an early Wedding present to James before Christmas and probably thought we’d be a little more on top of things. Being impossible to buy for, I thought you can’t beat the gift of memories and experiences which led me to the idea of a little getaway. A getaway that would involve going to the home of Lego and doing a little roadtripping around Denmark.

Major fiancée brownie points for me.

Lego was founded in a small town called Billund, west of Denmark. Most people that live in this town work for Lego in some way or another. Here they have the design studios, the new Lego House, the factories that make the Lego, Legoland and plenty of other offices. With all this going on the town is somewhat lacking in anything else to entertainment tourists. Which surprised us, considering the money in Lego, how is this town not buzzing with local eateries and shops to host the visitors they get in the Summer.

Billund was our base as I had booked James and I on the Fan Tour of Lego (he’s going to blog about that in more detail) but we had another four days in Denmark so we hired a car so we could explore more of the country. I’m going to sum up some of our highlights below and where we would recommend visiting should you ever be thinking of a trip to Denmark. You totally should.

Billund (only if you’re a Lego fan)

If you’re a Lego fan or you have some little un’s that litter your floors with the stuff then Billund is a lot of fun. The newly opened Lego House is a beautiful piece of architecture from the outside and a wonderful playground inside. There is a basement where you can learn the history of the brand and reminisce over some of the old sets of Lego. On the other floors are the Experience Zones that offer up grand Lego builds and games to play with your very own creations. I wasn’t expecting much from the House but would easily pay to go back again – the child in me thoroughly enjoyed being let loose.

There is also a Waterpark called Lalandia in Billund that we visited where after 20 minutes we discovered that maybe we were too old for waterparks. A sad discovery but one we eventually accepted.

Viking Museum Kongernes Jelling

Not too far from Billund was the Kongernes Jelling Viking Museum. A free, fully immersive and digitally captivating museum where you can learn the history of past Viking Kings. James and I binge-watched Vikings, the television series so we were keen to learn more about their gruesome tales in their native country. The tales weren’t all blood battles and conquering lands, although there was a bit of that, which I was a little disappointed to learn but the museum shared other stories that were just as fascinating.

The town the museum was in was home to a large Viking settlement and was protected by a large wooden wall that went around the perimeter to protect them from invaders. Today there is a path that goes through the town to show where the wall once was.

Even if you’re not too interested in Vikings this is a fun, interactive museum for all ages.

Aarhus

Denmark’s second largest city and one of 2017’s European Culture Capitals. Only an hours drive from Billund, we hopped in the car to see why Aarhus was such a big deal in Denmark. As a University city, it’s fully catered for an influx of people with streets of boutique shops and large department stores housing more well-known brands. The food scene is a pretty big deal here, with plenty of choices ranging from small cafes to Michelin starred restaurants. It was a shame we only had one day there.

Just a 5 minute drive from the centre of Aarhus you can wander down to the beach, with sandy shores and set against large forests. Somewhere to definitely make the most of if you’re there for the Summer.

Copenhagen

Copenhagen was nearly a 3 hour drive away, including two significant bridges and a pretty expensive toll. It was also extremely cold, the temperature was below freezing with a wind chill of -13. We managed to brave it for an hour on a free walking tour, learning about the Danish maker of Carlsberg and the fact most of the city has burnt down not once, but twice.

We finished the tour at the harbour, one of the most famous sites of Copenhagen with it’s colourful terraced buildings. It was once full of brothels and known as the red light district of Copenhagen but now you can walk along and grab a bite to eat at the many restaurants – which is just what we did, keen to get out of the cold.

There are shops a-plenty, down fully pedestrianised streets, which is good news as the cyclists in Copenhagen get up to speeds often faster than the cars. With only a day to see the sights, we missed out on other must-sees meaning we’ll just have to make a return trip.

Ribe

Ribe was an half hour drive from Billund, so we decided to visit this quaint town one afternoon. Known as the oldest town in Scandinavia, the old buildings look as though they are either sinking into the ground or leaning over you. A town obviously steeped in history that can transport you back in time; if you ignore some of the modern shops dotted around.

There is another Viking Museum in the centre that shares the history of the Vikings as farmers and craftsmen. They also made lots of jewellery, many of it found in Ribe. One of my favourite parts of the museum was the children’s den – you could dress up as Vikings or try your hand at walking on stilts. Turns out it’s very hard, for me anyway, James mastered it no problem…

Overall Denmark was a lovely country to visit, the roads were nice to drive on and we enjoyed seeing some of the best bits in our short 5 day trip. The people are very friendly and we fully embraced their hygge way of life. There is obviously much more to be discovered so that won’t be the last of our Danish adventures.

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