It usually takes us 9 – 10 hours to drive from Brussels to Nyborg, Denmark. This cosy town is situated in the north of the central island of Funen; this is where Lars and I start most of our excursions.
The first thing I want to do after a long drive is to go to the beach; watch the waves, feel the wind and if possible some sunshine and breathe in some fresh sea air.
Lars’s mother lives very close to the harbor of Nyborg, so we often go there for a walk. This is not exactly an industrial harbor; most of the boats are yachts and pleasure boats in all shapes and sizes. It’s just a pity that this whole area is being invaded by expensive apartments. Every time Lars and I come here it’s like there are ten times more buildings than before.
Luckily we – and lots of other people – can still find spots where you can enjoy the views of the sea, the boats and their owners, the horizon and … the expensive apartments. Anyway, it was late in the afternoon and the sun had come back.
I still remember my first visit to a church in Denmark with Lars. My beloved had taken me to Roskilde, where we going to have a look at the cathedral, which belongs to the UNESCO World Heritage List. I was looking forward to this visit, since I could only associate Roskilde with its famous rock festival.
I was in for a couple of surprises. First, I had to get used to the simple decoration of the cathedral. Catholic churches and cathedrals tend to be lavishly decorated. This doesn’t mean that I thought that the cathedral of Roskilde wasn’t beautiful or magnificent, I just had to get used to a different culture and religion.
But then came the biggest surprise. When I had finished taking my first pictures, I saw Lars walking on the altar… I gasped. I looked around me, since I was convinced that any minute a priest would come running towards him, screaming ‘Sacrilege!’, but this didn’t happen.
Afterwards we could laugh with this ‘incident’, because it seems to be common practice for Danish people to walk around this part of the church. But in Catholic churches in Belgium this is really a forbidden place and even now, after having visited dozens of Danish churches, I stay away from the altar. It just doesn’t feel right.
Anyway, back to our church in Nyborg. What a gem! Some of the highlights are:
The Baroque Pulpit, which was built in the 17th century.
A couple of weeks ago I read a very surprising newspaper article. Apparently, we Belgians don’t like to show our affection to our beloved in public. And we don’t like it either when we see other people showing their affection to each other in public. We are talking about very basic stuff like walking hand in hand, a kiss on the lips, a kiss on the cheeks, hugging each other, and so on.
Huh?!? Are we Belgians so prudish? I think it’s cute when I see a couple – young or old – walking hand in hand or giving each other a kiss. And I certainly don’t mind walking hand in hand with Lars. Or hugging or kissing him in public!
Around Nyborg Slot there is a moat and since it was such a beautiful day, Lars and I had a walk there. Walking hand in hand in the snow. And the Danish people didn’t seem to mind…
I am referring to Nyborg Slot. Numerous times Lars and I have been to Nyborg and every time we simply never had a look at it. What a shame! First of all, this castle has an interesting history. I found this information on their website:
Nyborg Castle was built in the 1170s, probably by a Christian Wendish prince in Danish service named Knud Prizlavsen. At his death it went into the possession King Valdemar the Great’s son, King Knud VI (1182-1202).
At this castle, King Erik Klipping proclaimed the first Danish constitution in 1282. From 1284 many important decisions were made here as part of the Danehof, an early form of parliamentary system. Its central location in the Danish kingdom, which then included parts of southern Sweden and northern Germany (Schleswig-Holstein), made it the ideal meeting place for nobles, emissaries, courtiers and the royal family.
In the 1520’s, King Frederik I was urged to make the castle his primary residence, instead of Copenhagen Castle. (…) However, the king never moved to Nyborg permanently. Christian III (who reigned from 1536-59) later modernized and further fortified the castle, and did make it his primary residence and ruled Denmark from Nyborg. In 1560 the central administration was moved to Copenhagen for reasons that have not been explained. From then the castle went slowly into decay.
The Swedish Army occupied many parts of Denmark in 1657-9, including Nyborg, and the castle was especially ravaged and vandalized after they departed. Anything of value had been sent to Sweden, and the rest of the furnishings had been burned as firewood. However, a Swedish officer and engineer, Erik Dahlberg, did provide the first painting of the castle, showing a four-winged, imposing structure with spires and towers. No Danish king has used the castle as a residence since, with power more strongly centralized in Copenhagen when Frederik III declared absolute monarchy in 1660.
The castle became a military garrison and functioned as such until 1913. The lower buildings were gradually demolished, replaced with structures that met the needs of the garrison, such as the two low, yellow buildings that house the Café Danehof /museum shop, and the administrative offices of Nyborg Museums. They were built in the 1800’s.
After a fire in Nyborg in 1797, King Frederik VI ordered Odense Castle to be built with reused bricks from Nyborg Castle buildings. Knud’s Tower, which is still a part of the castle site, was reduced in height and used as a powder magazine.
Doesn’t it look like a fairy-tale, this beautiful castle, surrounded by snow and ice? We couldn’t visit it unfortunately, since it’s closed during the winter months.
Since we had spent the whole of Tuesday on the road, Lars and I thought it would be a good idea the day afterwards to stretch our legs a bit. So off we went to the center of Nyborg. Until then, we had always been at the harbor and the beach. You have seen numerous pictures of these places in different seasons, moments of the day, b&w and color. So now it was time to concentrate on the center of town. A place we had neglected for almost three years!
I was very pleasantly surprised! The history of Nyborg goes back to the 12th century and the center of town is filled with old, colorful, (half – ) timbered houses. You can find some of them around the church and others around Nyborg Slot (which we will discuss tomorrow). The contrast between the vivid colors of the buildings and the snow was simply picturesque.
One thing is sure: we have to come back here in spring or summer!
Our last stop was at the beach of Nyborg. It was partly covered with snow; it was sometimes difficult to see where the snow ended and the sand begun! I loved the light since sunset was approaching.
I have to admit that January and February are the most difficult months for me. In November and December the weather can be awful too, but at least you have the holidays to look forward to. Afterward, I tend to get a little bit bored and exhausted by winter and I start longing for spring and summer. And when I am walking on such a beautiful beach like this one the longing gets bigger …
Anyway, the bridge you can see in the distance is the one that connects Funen with Zealand.
Photographing the backroads of Europe, exploring beauty and enjoying life at our own pace