We wended our way to Roskilde, the jumping-off point to Ærø Island. There were a few attractions in Roskilde that were worthy of our attention. One was a Viking ship museum, where we viewed the "Skuldelev Ships" that had been dredged up from the local fjord. Apparently, the boats were sunk on purpose in the 11th century to form a blockade. The locals excavated them and painstakingly put them back together. They were not as well preserved as some other Viking craft that we saw later at another museum. Of particular interest here were reconstructions of the ships, which have been taken out on the open sea. A full-scale trial is planned for July 2007, when the largest boat is set to sail to Dublin, Ireland. Visitors can book cruises on some of the boats. We didn't have time for that, however - we were on our way to Ærø!

This is a long page - you'll have to scroll down to see all of it. There was just so much to see that day (and so many things to photograph...). 

There was time for a quick jaunt through the Roskilde Cathedral, where many Danish kings and queens are buried. Apparently, there is some dispute as to whether Harold Bluetooth was actually buried there in the 10th century.

Lunch was on our own in the town. Denmark doesn't seem to have embraced the smoke-free ethic we enjoyed in Sweden, but we managed to find a place where we could sit and eat without hacking and choking. One thing we appreciated was the somewhat freer attitude towards alcohol - not to mention the somewhat lower prices for a beer or a glass of wine. We heard that people from other Scandinavian countries come to Denmark just to buy booze. Like we needed an excuse!


Someone (wink, wink) decided that Sven needed to be outfitted in more than a sweater. A sale at a local toy store prompted the addition of sunglasses. What could be more fitting for our good-luck sun charm?

Dave introduced us to the local firewater, Viking mead (honey wine). We each got a sip. Just the thing before setting sail to Ærø.

Skål! Or was it Skaal?


The ferry ride to Ærø wasn't long. Some braved the brisk breeze out on the deck, while the rest of us were a little more comfortable inside. We motored under a big bridge before the bow turned towards Ærø.


Ahhh, Ærø. Definitely on everyone's top ten list of "Wow Moments." Our group was scattered around various lodgings in the town of Ærøskøbing, from a hotel to a pension to a B&B. There was a group dinner at the hotel. It was to die for. Crackling roast pork, sugar-glazed potatoes (WAY better than they sound), and an unpronounceable local specialty for dessert -rød grød med fløde. (Well, unpronounceable by most of us). Literally, this was red gruel with fluid, which doesn't sound very appetizing. The reality was better than the name - luscious fruit compote with heavy cream. Oh my. I'm getting really hungry...     


Our tribute to the sun gods paid off when we woke to brilliant blue skies. Bikes were available for rent at the hotel, but those were quickly snapped up. A few folks were able to get wheels at the gas station up the road, but there still weren't enough to go around. The lucky ones pedaled north out of Ærøskøbing, occasionally consulting a rather questionable map. The slower group eventually met back up with the speedy ones, and we all coasted into the town of Dunkær Kro. The non-bikers joined us there for lunch.

Mmmmm, lunch. Another unpronounceable feast, this time of Danish open-faced sandwiches (smørrebrød). The variety was astounding. The optional shots of aquavit were a nice touch.


Time to walk off all that food. The trek down to the beach was well worth it. We could see forever. Giant wind generators (modern windmills) dotted the horizon. The trek back up the incline to the bus was invigorating - but not as much as it would have been if we had touched the electric fence that lined the pathway...

(It was interesting to return to Washington State and see recently-installed rows of similar giant windmills along I-90 overlooking the Columbia River).


Some of us are partial to antiquities. Here, Dave shows us an ancient portal tomb.


Ærøskøbing has the most picturesque little beach huts that you will ever find. They were painted all different colors, in a variety of styles. We wished we could somehow transport them to a beach back home. We had to settle for wading in the warm and sandy water of the cove. Happily, the waters here weren't filled with the jellyfish that we had seen everywhere else.

Susanna, the proprietor of the pension where some of us were staying, invited everyone for an afternoon tea party. The timing couldn't have been better. Just as we were finishing, raindrops started to fall. We all dashed indoors before a torrential downpour commenced. It was pretty funny to see us all running around in our shorts and tee shirts, drenched and wondering where we had put our umbrellas and raincoats.



Just as suddenly as it had started, the rain stopped. We ventured back out to search for dinner. Some of us ended up in the local hot dog joint (which offered other delicacies besides tube steak). Later, we met up at a pub down the street. You would think that we would have had enough walking, but nooooo....

Beddy-bye time. Joan had the most sumptuous room, over at the B&B. The other rooms weren't too shabby, either.