After getting an early wake-up call, so that we could see and do many interesting things and also squeeze in travel time to our next destination, we found a breakfast table in the same restaurant where we had dinner. This morning we had a lovely view out to the kitchen garden. Despite the lovely setting, Steen would come to refer to this breakfast as “a complete disaster”.
Besides the fruit juice, we were uncertain what to do, as there were small cups with powdery, flaky stuff and nothing more. There was no server in the dining room (only a few other patrons). Steen, being used to the European style of breakfast, saved the day by removing a white napkin from a basket which we found held some lovely breakfast breads. Very soon after, our server came with a small jar of white yogurt (?) which is what the powdery content of the small cups was to be mixed in, and also a plate with meat and cheese. There were exactly 2 pieces of everything, no more and no less. Steen found this to be very odd, and thus labeled this breakfast “a complete disaster”. Read on, we will have better breakfasts later.
This is our view to the kitchen garden where they grow herbs and flowers that they use in their dishes.
Before our final trip down the wobbly stairs, we needed to stop to pay our respects to the girl in the wall so that she doesn’t haunt us the next time we stay at Dragsholm.
Our rooms were on the top floor of the castle (3 flights from ground floor) and the steps were crooked and oddly spaced. We had to make several trips up and down these stairs, as the restaurant was on the second floor, and to get out of the castle into the courtyard you had to go to the first (ground) floor. Even though we kept most of our luggage in the car and just packed overnight bags for the one night stay, we still managed to have to make a couple of trips up and down. The extra exercise made up for all the delicious food we ate last night (and wine) and, well, breakfast.
Before we could leave Dragsholm, we took a walk through the castle rooms. Each room was uniquely decorated and had a special charm of its own. Here are just a few of our favorites.
We also wanted to take a quick tour around the grounds of the castle since we had not managed that the evening before. We strolled through the kitchen garden, and then walked around the side to where Amy and Tim had the view from their room. On the way we passed over the moat, and this was a beautiful reflection we caught. The buildings straight ahead are belonging to the castle but are not part of the main building. The white reflection on the left is the castle.
When the castle is viewed from this side the tower is evident and we believe that this makes the castle look a bit more like a ‘traditional’ castle.
After packing the car, Steen finally managed to squeeze the car through the castle arch (coming from the courtyard) and we were on our way.
To pass from the island of Zealand to Funen we had to cross the 18 km long bridge called “Storebaeltsbroen” (Great Belt Bridge). This is actually a photo taken coming the opposite direction (on our return trip to Zealand) to show you what the bridge looks like. The photos taken of the bridge, while on the bridge, don’t say much.
To pass the time driving over the long bridge, there were some nice things to look at: This pretty lighthouse to the left, and then the beer train on the right. We can’t label it the “Tuborg Train” because several Tuborg cars were followed by Carlsberg. It was a long train. Notice the windmill farm in the water behind the train.
After driving for a bit in the beautiful Danish countryside we came upon some strange rock formations along the road. Steen explained that these were Stone Age burial chambers. We made a selfie next to one of them to give you the perspective of how large they are.
The next stop on the tour was the Nazareth church, where there are many wood carvings by the same man who carved some of the pieces of furniture in Steen and Jennifer’s home. The artist was a friend of Steen’s father, who was also an artist (painter), and the pieces in their home were commissioned by his father for different events (e.g. wedding, birthday, etc.).
The church was locked, but Steen walked to the grocery store next door and was able to obtain the key.
The first thing to really hit you when you walk in the church is the pulpit. The entire pulpit was built by the wood carver and all of the detailed carvings are his. There are many cherubs, each holding a different musical instrument. Each panel tells a story from the bible with amazing detail.
The iron work in the railing along the steps of the pulpit were made by a different man (an iron worker / artist) and if you look carefully, you can see a scene depicted where the son is at the feet of the father, and the second son is turning away (to the left).
This is just one panel / side of the pulpit showing the detail of the carvings. The first (top) has 2 cherubs holding a banner which says “Raise your heart to God” ; the next rectangular panel (middle) shows a farmer with a scythe being invited to come to the church, but he declines ‘as he just have bought an extra field and need to harvest this’, and the last rectangular panel (bottom) shows the farmer with death’s arms around him, to show what happens when he only worked instead of taking time out for God.
The troll holding the pulpit is very similar to our troll at home (at home he holds a cast iron bowl above his head). Jennifer says she likes our troll better.
The altar was also made by the same wood carver. The railing around the altar was made by the same iron worker, and each section again tells a story from the bible.
A cabinet that Jennifer and Steen have at home is based on the man plowing in the altar scene (detail on left). This was the last piece that the carver made and it was commissioned by Steen to show a farmer with his plow and horses. We feel extremely fortunate to have such beautiful works of art in our home, with the very special link to this beautiful church in Denmark.
We could not pass the town of Ringe without paying a visit to the home where Steen was born. His father built this house himself and especially liked the yellow bricks because (a) they were unique as not many homes were made of this and (b) they were not as expensive as the red brick. The neighbor in the adjoining house lived alone and Steen’s mother Ella took meals to him and the family looked after him. He willed his home to the Jensen family, so the family joined the 2 houses together, and eventually moved into the home on the right. The windows in the front sticking out a bit are where Steen’s father had his hairdressing salon.
Before long we arrived at one of Jennifer’s favorite castles, Egeskov (meaning “oak wood”). Besides it being a really beautiful castle there are a real Count and Countess living here with their young children. It is fun to imagine that when the last tourist is shooed out at 5 PM, the doors open and the family come out and play in the castle rooms. There are also many lovely gardens at Egeskov, but the family has their own private garden so the children don’t have to wait until 5 PM to play outside.
With the hour getting late, we hadn’t had lunch and were all a bit hungry. We all ordered tomato and mozzarella salad and then found a seat outdoors. Each individual table and chair grouping is surrounded on 3 sides by hedges. There were peacocks running around, but they must have found some goodies elsewhere because they didn’t bother us when we were eating our delicious, fresh, lunch. We had a very generous serving of bread which made Tim (and all) very happy.
Because we had arrived a bit late in the day, we didn’t have time to linger during our tour of the castle, but we did manage to see all of the public rooms: The Hunt Room (the skins of many wild animals [lion, tiger, leopard, cheetah] and the heads of large game [African buffalo, impala] hang as well as many smaller trophies of antlers) ; The Yellow Room (it probably has another name, but it is primarily yellow, with light furniture, and a beautiful porcelain fireplace) ; The Victorian Room, The Red Room (again, not the ‘real’ name, but you get a mental picture…this room had a lovely chamber pot which matched all of the linens in the room), and the Knight’s Room (the one with the large paintings with eyes that follow as you walk across the room…ask Amy about that). In an effort to reduce the (already high) number of photos in this post, I won’t share photos of these rooms, but they are beautiful. If we have enough requests from our readers, then we can make a separate post just to show more of the castle and gardens.
One of the more remarkable things to see while at Egeskov is Titania’s Palace. It is a very large (if not world’s largest), and finest, dollhouse. A young girl named Gwendolyn was convinced that she saw a fairy in the garden and was very concerned that the fairies had to live in holes in the ground. She asked her father, a painter, to build them a fine house. It took him 15 years, a bunch of Irish craftsmen, and over 3000 components to build Titania’s Palace. It is now owned by Legoland and used to be displayed there, but since 2007 the Count made a loan agreement with Lego to have it displayed at Egeskov.
Here is one example of the detail of the many items inside the dollhouse. The china and crystal are real, there is a peacock made of diamonds, the furniture is made of mahogany, etc. The book holder in this photo is made of real opal. Notice the crown on top which has real gem stones, and the key hanging from that is also made with authentic sparkly things. Really amazing to see, but we had to move on.
Since we skimped a bit on the photos inside the palace and around the gardens, we figured we better throw in a selfie of the group in front of the castle to prove we were really there.
After a quick stop at the local grocery store in Middelfart, we finally arrived at our Feriebyen (vacation city) where we will stay for several nights. In one unit (think ‘bungalow’) there are 2 separate bedrooms and 2 full baths as well as a full kitchen, dining table and living area. We rested for about 30 minutes and then drove 5 minutes to the home of Steen’s nephew Lars, and his wife Berit, with whom we were invited to have dinner. We had a fantastic dinner which started with venison carpaccio, then the main course of pighvar (turbot) and salmon, with new potatoes and parsley cream sauce, and cooked carrots (the whole carrot). The evening was topped off with a dessert of Danish vanilla ice cream (so creamy!) and aeblekage (yet another delicious variation of this Danish specialty). We really wished that we could have stayed longer, but we have an early, and long, day planned tomorrow, so we said our adieu’s and drove 5 minutes back to our bungalow and fell into the arms of Morpheus.