THE JUTLAND PENINSULA
On Saturday morning, our Danish hosts and we climbed into their car and left Copenhagen, headed off to the ferry for the Jutland Peninsula, the mainland that is actually the largest part of Denmark geographically. It’s more than twice as large as the better-known Copenhagen, which occupies the island of Sjælland. But Copenhagen’s metropolitan area accounts for about one-third of the country’s nearly six million people.
On our way to the ferry, we stopped in Overby at perhaps the most adorable church on the planet… at least in my limited experience. And I loved the look of the cemetery… natural rocks were used for most of the headstones and were so fitting as part of the gentle landscape.


















Then onto a very large ferry, the Mols Linien ferry from Sjaellands Odde to Aarhus. When I say very large, I mean LARGE! Since I’m most accustomed to the ferry from the North Fork of Long Island to New London, Connecticut, I was totally unprepared for what we found. The specialty of the house on the Cross Sound Ferry is a toasted cheese sandwich.
On Mols Linien, we found a sumptuous all-you-can-eat buffet that was more like what you’d expect on a cruise ship…different and delicious!






















About 75 minutes later, we arrived at Aarhus, the second-largest city in Denmark. It was initially a stronghold for the Vikings, and like Copenhagen, it has lots of people riding around on bicycles. But even better, it’s loaded with many little street cafes full of people chatting, drinking, smoking and having fun. I could have done without the smoking—something you see lots more of in Europe than at home—but I did love the look of Aarhus, with its many modern buildings set amongst a backdrop of ancient edifices. We wandered about Aarhus itself for several hours and had some coffee in a small shop.















Our day ended in Ebeltoft—a quaint but very quiet village where we strolled around, wondering where everyone was. It seems we were there at the tail end of their tourist season. After our walk, we drove a short distance to the house we had booked—the first Airbnb of this trip. And the accommodations were terrific—just like most of the spots we stayed. Two bedrooms, two baths, a fishpond and a visiting cat (I was especially glad of the cat, who reminded me of one of my own long-ago cats). Not to mention a swing set, where Lisbet and I spent some time reimagining childhood as we lifted off into the air with our husbands applauding and shooting photos. Since we’d eaten such a sumptuous lunch onboard the ferry, we opted for pizza that first night.

WE LOVE AIRBNB
This actually is a good time to tell you what great luck we had with Airbnb—from Jutland, to Prague, to Vienna, to Budapest. One spot on the Jutland had stairs up to a loft bedroom that were a little dicey, but aside from a tricky coffeemaker in Budapest and no coffeemaker at all in Prague, we found great accommodations, even at the last minute. We booked the Jutland peninsula as we traveled it.





















 
Next morning, we set off for the Danish steam frigate Jylland. The longest wooden ship in the world, it has been dry-docked and turned into a museum. And it has lots of mannequins taking the positions of crew and passengers…some gatherings were realistic enough to give me a start as I wandered belowdecks​.

Then we set off for one of Denmark’s biggest attractions, Den Gamle By—The Old Town Museum—in the Aarhus Botanical Gardens. Enroute, we spent some time at Poskær Stenhus, a stone circle that dates from around 3300 BC, during the Bronze Age. It’s the largest round barrow in Denmark and, like any other stone circle, is a bit magical. It didn’t have quite the mojo that Stonehenge did for me back in the day when you could wander for hours inside it, but Poskær Stenhus was pretty special. You can still walk around inside it and touch it—23 giant stones that weigh about five tons each except the capstone, which is about 12 tons. And it sits right out there in the middle of rolling hills in the lovely Jutland countryside.






















After stopping for lunch at an open-air restaurant overlooking an ancient fort, we again set out for Den Gamle By. This National Open Air Museum of Urban History and Culture is a living and breathing re-creation that demonstrates what it was like to live and work in a Danish market town in the old days. We met and talked with people enacting characters of the past as we wandered through their living rooms and kitchens and smelled the flowers in their gardens (we’re avid gardeners, so this was a special treat). We sampled wares from the still-operating bakery and enjoyed refreshments in the old-time beer garden.

​While there, I got a special kick out of using an old typewriter in a reconstructed 1970s office. It reminded me of when I worked as a secretary, typing lengthy,  important documents on one of those old clunkers—and it also reminded me of how happy I was to leave that job. Today’s computers make life for anyone who has to type soooo much easier. I even remember having to use carbon paper and the agony of correcting both layers of a document. I am so glad those days are over!




















For John and me, probably the most engaging exhibit there was the Danish Poster Museum. The reason? We met when we both worked in Manhattan at a theatrical ad agency—and we’ve both been involved in creating some of Broadway’s most famous theater posters. And the Danes have created some stunning posters. I was sorry there wasn’t a shop to buy some of the great ones we saw.

We stayed at an Airbnb in Jerlev that night and had a sumptuous dinner at the Jerlev Inn. Despite the fact that we were the only customers in the restaurant that night, they treated us like royalty—someone from the kitchen even ran across the street to get more lettuce when I ordered a salad. And the food was fantastic. If you’re ever in Jerlev, go there!





















Next morning, we visited Koldinghus, a Renaissance castle created from a medieval fortress by King Christian III. It had one feature that really entranced me. Upstairs, I found a woman sewing away on an elegant waistcoat intended for the man who will perform the role of King in the Castle’s Christmas festivities. “A group of us have been working on this for over a year,” she explained. Everything…I mean EVERYTHING was done by hand, including myriad little raised tufts on every inch of the front edges. And when I asked who could wear them, she invited me back to be take part in the festival. (Not this year…but sometime? As an actor, costumes make my heart sing. Nothing like transforming, via magnificent clothing, to some elegant someone from another time!) Koldinghus had a lot more to recommend it—a modern gallery, sparkling silver, reconstruction innovations, a great tower. One of my favorite spots on the Peninsula. And it sits in the beautiful little town it was named for.

The Jutland is full of lovely towns—we wandered about in Nyborg before heading to its outskirts to complete our tour of the Jutland Peninsula at a lovely country home. It was Lisbet’s brother’s house, and after walking about in the countryside for a quiet respite, we had tea before setting out to cross the bridge across the Great Belt—the Storebælt Bridge. This graceful suspension bridge is more than 11 miles long, and it links the eastern and western parts of Denmark together.

So we ended our time in Denmark back in Copenhagen. Next? Prague—we flew from Copenhagen despite hoping to take the train and make some stops between. Why? Simple answer—the plane fare for two of us was less than train fare for one of us!