Wednesday 12 August Skagen (Denmark)

This morning, we arrived in Skagen, Denmark’s main fishing port and the sun is shining and the sky is blue! The settlement began in the Middle Ages as a fishing village and Skagen harbour is one of Denmark’s most important fishing harbours, with a leading shipyard industry and daily fish auctions. Every summer, there are lost of visiting yachts and Skagen’s houses, with their characteristic yellow colour, are rented out to tourists.
We were picked up from the ship in buses to go on our guided tour of Skagen. Our guide, Kathleen told us that where we have docked is the New Harbour for Cruise Ships. We drove past an area with distinctive yellow houses with red roofs and white edges on the roof – this is from the mortar to keep the roof from blowing off, and then the mortar is painted white. They are not allowed to paint the houses any other colour now.
We saw an interesting lighthouse, called the Bascule Light, which works a bit like a seesaw. The basket is pulled down, filled with wood, which is then lit and it is hoisted up – the light from the fire can then be seen out to sea. (see photos)
We visited the Skagen Odde Nature Centre, a 4,000 square metres museum devoted to the natural effects of sand, water, wind and light, especially on the peninsula. Each of the pavilions presented one of these elements. It was designed in 1989 by Jorn Utzon, the architect who designed the Sydney Opera House. We were able to climb up to an outside viewing area where we had a great view.
From there, we were driven to the Ska Spit, Grenen, the most northerly point of Denmark, which is where the North Sea and the Baltic Sea meet and we were able to walk up to a viewpoint where we could see this amazing natural phenomenon. The two opposing tides in this place cannot merge because they have different densities. This as known as “where the Kattegat and the Skagerrak meet” and you can stand with one foot in each sea. It was a bit too cold to try this today – 15 degrees. It was interesting to learn that Grenen is the world’s largest spit, which has been formed since the last ice age 10,000 years ago by sediments of sand and gravel from the west coast of Denmark. Grenen still grows by approximately 8 metres each year in a northeasterly direction. Grenen is constantly changing in shape and size, from year to year, from day to day and from dawn to dusk. The strong currents and the shallow waters around Grenen have caused many shipwrecks in years gone by and apparently still do from time to time.
From Grenen, we were taken on a guided tour of the Skagen Bryghus (Brewery). We heard all about the history of the Bryghus and learnt about brewing techniques – they do not use chemicals and all ingredients are natural. We were seated at tables where there were three glasses of beer set out per person for a tasting of the local brews. The first one was Drachmann, a Pilsener, which is a light colour and is 5% alcohol. The second one was a medium colour, Skagen Bitter called India Pale Ale and had 6% alcohol. The third one, which was sweeter and the nicest of the three, was German Dobbellbock, called Vaeltepeter. We also saw the bottling area, where the machines wash the bottles, fill them with beer, the cap gets put on, the label is stuck on and then they are packed into boxes, ready for sale. It was quite an interesting visit.
We were then taken past the shopping area, shown where to catch the shuttle bus (back from town later) and then back to the ship.
An interesting story we heard today was about how the shifting sands have affected Skagen for centuries. One example was of St Laurence Church, also known as the Buried Church, which was built in the 14 century and was the biggest church in the region at that time. Over a period of many years, the sand drifts began to slowly encroach on the area around the church, finally reaching the church in the 18th century. The congregation had to dig their way to the church and as this task became increasingly more difficult, the church was finally abandoned in 1795, and today, only the tower is visible.
After lunch, we disembarked the ship and got on a shuttle bus that was provided for the Island Sly passengers by the Port Authority to take us backwards and forwards into the town. We wandered through the shops and managed to get a couple of souvenirs before returning to the ship to get our gear organised for our move to a new cabin tomorrow.

2 Responses to “Wednesday 12 August Skagen (Denmark)”

  1. Maria Hughes says:

    Love the yellow houses – looks such a clean area too, and especially liked the Apothek. Keep having a wonderful time, lots of love from us in freezing cold Leeton xoxo

  2. sandy says:

    Hi Sis, The yellow houses were quite different from the other wooden houses we have seen and because Skagen is SO windy, they had to glue down the roof so it wouldn’t blow away and then they painted the edges white, which gave it an unusual look. I thought you would like the Apothek. 🙂 xo

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