Jeg kan ikke tale ret maget dansk (I don’t speak much Danish) so you will have to make do with English.
After our day off waiting out strong winds on Utklippan we headed 43 nautical miles south west to the Danish Island of Christiansø, the journey was about 1/3 sailing and 2/3 motor sailing in light winds, yes it had gone from blowing a hooley to virtually nothing!
Christiansø (and Bornholm our next stop) are Danish islands off the south coast of Sweden – meaning we will be stopping along more of Sweden’s coast again before actually arriving full time in Denmark.
There are actually two islands here joined by a small bridge. The western island being Fredriksö and the eastern being Christiansø, neither of them are very big in-fact the day ferry suggests that tourists should enjoy walking the circumference of both islands the inland garden paths, climb the tower, have a swim and lunch at the pub and be more than ready to return to mainland Sweden or the larger Danish island of Bornholm after 3 hours – and we can confirm that 3 hours is plenty of time to complete all those activities. However we were here for 24 hours so were going to make the most of it and have a real good look around, maybe even see somethings twice!
To put the size into perspective Fredriksö is 440 meters long and 160 meters wide with the highest point being 8 meters above sea level, Christiansø being the bigger island boasts a length of 710 meters by 430 meters wide and rises to a height of 22 meters above the sea.
The islands were fortified in 1684, and include a stretch of over 2,500 meters of continuous masonry – impressive. The fortress walls, bastions, towers, half timbered building and stone huts still remain today and little has changed since the last soldiers left the island in 1856.
There are around 100 full time residents here and the homes are all very old, traditional and very endearing to the surroundings.
We walked the huge and largely intact defence walls, saw the local protected green toad, climbed the tower, visited the old prison, looked at the swimming hole and old dwellings.
It was a popular spot for boats and boats were rafted two deep all the way along the quay. Phil impressed himself by taking a great picture suitable for the cover of a sailing guide he thinks!!
The next morning we awoke to rain, and we let it do it’s thing waiting for it to clear before we slipped the lines and sailed downwind the short 12 nautical miles to the island of Bornholm stopping at Svaneke. Why are all the nice down wind sails only on short legs??
After securing to the wall in the basin we took a stroll and immediately were both impressed by this little village. Almost every place we visit is nice but we both really liked this place it had a really nice feel.
We immediately set off to visit an attraction having a heavy link back to Australia that being the Svaneke Water Tower designed by Danish architect Jørn Utzon in 1951 and built in 1952, what is the connection I hear you asking, well in 1957 Jørn Utzon went on to design the Sydney Opera House! Whilst the two buildings couldn’t be any more different (although both largely use concrete) it is obvious that Jørn was very creative and thought outside the box. The water tower for example is the only one of its kind being three sided – a pyramid shape. The surprisingly shaped water tower was inspired by the old sea marks used for assisting the navigation of ships at sea. The marks were used in the west of Jutland and in the Swedish archipelago from the end of the 16th century in cases when there were no other distinguishable markings along the coast. It really is quite striking and very visible from the sea, we certainly used it as a navigation point when approaching land.
We also stopped in at the 5 sisters smoke house, easily recognisable by the 5 smoke house chimneys that stand proud and distinct along the coastline. We shared and enjoyed a freshly smoked herring.
The village has many a tourist drawcard but because there were very few visitors/tourists in town it was easy to enjoy. They had a boiled sweets shop where they make the lollies, a brewery, locally made fudge and chocolate shops, lots of ceramic crafts and glass art, we enjoyed watching them doing the glass blowing (which we were to later lean the Queen is coming to see also this week).
Our second day we decided to catch the bus across the island to the capital Rønne 30 km due west, but of course we chose the bus route that was the longest pretty much sticking to the coast line north to enable us to see as much of the island as we could.
Rønne had a big busy commercial harbour and the required new look city and shops fitted into old cobblestone streets. We armed ourselves with a map of the old town and historic sites and went off walking to see it all. It wasn’t long after we reached the old town that we noticed a bit of activity in the streets in the form of police and what looked like defence force personnel, turns out we were in for a treat and watched the Danish mounted forces band performing. We asked a local policeman what was behind the parade and he explained they were practising their route and parade for when Queen Margrethe II arrives on the island on Wednesday, she is bringing the Royal Yacht over as part of her summer holiday. We inquired as to if Princess Mary (and Freddy) would be with her but seems not. Very unfortunate as if Mary “my old mate” being a fellow Tasmanian was visiting I have no doubt she would have invited us back on board the royal yacht for a refreshing beverage!!!
We arrived back at Svaneke after taking the bus back via the southern coast to find the harbour that was the night prior very empty (four boats including us) to be rather full and boats milling around looking for a space. They ended up being rafter 2, 3 & 4 deep in places but we were pleasantly surprised that nobody rafted against us, the red boat must have put them off!! Turns out they were all German charter boats so each had 5-8 people on board for a sailing holiday.
All the German charter boats left pretty early and we had a lazy start leaving the harbour around 11am for the short but good sail 15 nautical miles sail north to Allinge.
Allinge is pretty much at the northern tip of the island and we had read about some bronze age rock carvings/drawings that are on the coast line that we wanted to visit. They turned out to be a little underwhelming, but not to worry a nice walk to see them.
After the picturesque Svanke, Allinge isn’t as attractive but we got around the major sites during the afternoon, those being the church, the shoreline, a couple of fish smoke houses, the rock drawings and walked north to the next village of Sandvig to see the beach.
We depart tomorrow back mainland Sweden, originally we thought we might bus back to Rønne or Svaneke to see the Queen, the parade and her yacht but the winds look good for sailing so will take them while they are there.