The last 2 days Lars and I have been all over Brussels, celebrating his 60th birthday! I have been taking hundreds of pictures and right now, I am still selecting and editing the best ones. Hence, a bit of silence on this blog.
And then I remembered that earlier this year, Lars and I had spent a beautiful evening in a small place in Denmark called Rantzausminde. It was an idea of his sister and her partner; little did they know that we had already been there in the summer of 2012. Read about it here. This time, we stayed in the harbour, enjoying the views and drinking cold beer.
What is it with us – and me, the photographer, especially – and those Wild Horses of Langeland? Or maybe we should start with the question: what are the Wild Horses?
Langeland, an island located to the south of the central Danish island of Funen, is a place of contrasts. The north consists mainly of pretty coastal towns with a cozy marina and lots of pubs and restaurants. The south, on the other hand, counts less inhabitants and looks rougher with its grasslands. In order to avoid the grass to overgrow, the land needs grazing; hence, the introduction of a group of Exmoor ponies. The horses are ‘wild’, because there is as good as no human interference in their coming and going.
Since Lars and I visit the horses regularly – almost every time we are in Denmark, we know – of course – where to find them. To be honest, it is actually a matter of luck and patience. And some driving around. Sometimes, we don’t even see them at all! So I was happy when last May, I saw three of them.
Maybe, it’s because they can be so elusive, that the Wild Horses fascinate us… Or maybe, it is that rare combination of looking rough and elegant at the same time.
Anyway, we drove to another spot where we sometimes see the horses as well. But, no luck there… When we returned to our original place, a big group had joined the beautiful trio. Most of them went straight to a big puddle, making the whole scene even more picturesque.
The group now consists of 80 horses. And I think we saw most of them that day. You can approach them, but you must keep a distance of 50 meters; you are not allowed to take a pet with you and you may not feed them.
Don’t those ponies look adorable? As a rule of thumb, you better stay away from them. Come a bit too close and you will encounter a very protective mother. And an encounter with the alpha male and female of the group can turn violent as well. Now, I am the first one to admit that I don’t know how to distinguish those horses from the group. But as long as you keep your distance, it is quite safe.
Can you see the Wild Horses with public transport? A local bus can take you to the nearest town of Bagenkop, but then you need to do a lot of hiking to see them. Let’s face it: it is a lot easier when you travel by car.
I am sure you all saw this one coming. The harbor of Svendborg is a gateway to many small and big islands, either by ferry or bridge. Our own favorite harbor however (and not so far from Svendborg) is Lundeborg, because it’s so small and quiet. And on Thuro we found one as well.
Or in other words: ruins of a castle, completely conquered by nature. Not so easy to find, but if you do, this odd landscape is really worth it.
This was our list of interesting things to see in and around Svendborg. Do you agree? Or do you think we missed something?
Svendborg is the biggest town in the south of Funen and although it lacks the charm of its smaller neighbor, Faaborg, it does have a lot to offer, whether you are looking for art, history or beautiful landscapes.
Lars and I always stuck to the harbor of Svendborg, thus ignoring the gems of the town. Anyway, if you are interested in contemporary art, this art house is the place to be. Furthermore, they have a beautiful collection of Kai Nielsen’s work, a sculptor who was born in this town and whose work is scattered all over Svendborg. Nielsen (1882 – 1924) was influenced by the works of Rodin and Constantin Meunier.
The old town
This part of Svendborg is very close to the harbor. It’s not as beautiful or colorful as the historical center of Faaborg, but this is certainly a cozy place with pubs, restaurants and all kinds of shops.
And you will also stumble upon the St. Nicholas church:
You can read more about Svendborg later this week!
I think it’s safe to say that after 5 years of traveling together, Ingrid and I have pretty much seen most of Funen’s coast. It was about time to explore other regions of the island. The best thing you can do first is to go to some of the biggest tourist information offices and ask for advice. Here are some of the gems that we found.
If your GPS can’t find this place, program it for Morud.
Morud is the name of the village, whereas Langesø is the name of the manor. It was built in the late 18th century, but is not open for the public. Langesø also refers to the lake next to it; in Danish the name means “long lake”. You can hike in this area – which is very picturesque with forest surrounding the lake -, but if you want to cycle, you need a special license.
Nearby, we found a small cemetery.
Let’s face it: Stige itself has little to offer (even if you are an off the beaten path traveler). But venture a little outside the town and you will discover the world’s smallest ferry, that takes you to an uninhabited island. It used to be a junkyard, but now in the high season the local population go to it for a picnic.
Another beautiful manor. If you can find it with your GPS, program it for Søndersø. Anyway, this manor was built between the 16th and the 19th century and now functions as a rehabilitation center for cancer patients. The surrounding grounds and lake are accessible for the general public.
Close to Dallund Slot, you will find something more ancient…
Horne is a small town, situated in the south of Funen:
Lars and I visited the church of Horne 2 years ago; it’s the only round church of Funen and it was the setting for a Danish dark comedy, Adam’s Apples. We came back, because in 2012 I had the idea of converting all my pictures to b&w and deleting all the originals…
Anyway, this is how the exterior of the church looks like during a cloudy spring day:
Usually, Danish churches are closed on Saturdays, but we were lucky. The local organ player was rehearsing, so we could visit Horne church after all. The reason why I insisted on coming back here and taking color pictures is because of the charming blue interior.
Mission accomplished! It was such a beautiful afternoon that Lars and I decided to continue our drive. We went south and stumbled upon Bojden Nor, a beautiful coastal lagoon. Because of the many species of migratory birds, this is a protected area.
15 minutes later, Lars and I were in Dyreborg:
This was our second time here. 2 years ago, it was raining; this time, there were sun and clouds. I simply love this beach…
After an absence of two weeks, we are back. What happened? Illness? Laziness? A trip? Stopping with the website?
None of the above.
Lars and I just took some time to think about the blog. Somehow, we weren’t entirely happy with it. After studying our site in detail, we found out why. It wasn’t the content, it was the way we organized the content. And we introduced – and are going to introduce – a couple of changes:
we created some order in the Our Destinations page. Have a look!
no more two posts a day, mainly due to a lack of time and energy. From now on, we will travel and publish posts at our own pace. And we will have more time to read other blogs. By the way, if you don’t want to miss anything, just subscribe to the website.
one destination = one post instead of one destination = several posts. Unless we really have a lot to tell. On the other hand, we will publish pictures on Flickr as well.
And now, back to business! Going to Langeland and not looking for the Wild Horses is like going to a Belgian pub and not drink any beer. I have photographed these magnificent animals 3 or 4 times before and I was very eager to do this again when we were in Langeland in the beginning of May.
The biggest problem is finding them, since they live in an area of 100ha. What we usually do is to drive on the main road between Rudkøbing and Bagenkop.
About 5 kilometers from Bagenkop, you will see signs saying Wild Horses. Just follow them and you will end up at one of the major viewpoints. You will see this beautiful landscape:
Lars and I saw people standing on a high hill, pointing in one direction. We decided to go there as well, but the only thing we saw were the horses far, far away from us.
By the way, on the other side of the main road, you’ll find one of the most beautiful beaches of Langeland, in Ristinge:
Anyway, I wanted to see more of the Wild Horses. We continued our drive on the main road to Bagenkop and as soon as we arrived in the center of this small town, we saw other road signs, but this time to the right. You don’t have to drive far to find the next viewpoint, which is located on a steep hill.
And at the foot of this hill, we saw this:
Lars stayed in the car, while I climbed the hill. And I was not disappointed!
I stayed there for at least 15 minutes and then went slowly back to the car. Or at least, I tried. The hill is so steep that I slid slowly down and right at that moment, 2 stallions started to fight. While I tried to take pictures of this event, I lost my balance. The quality of the photographs is therefore not the best:
Another interesting place Lars and I found was the Tobaksladen (Tobacco Drying Shed) in Tranekaer which illustrates the growing of tobacco in Denmark during World War II. There is a beautiful forest right next to it.
And we stumbled upon an ancient burial site as well:
Photographing the backroads of Europe, exploring beauty and enjoying life at our own pace