Family Onboard - Week 1

8th July - 15th July

150709 1 Legoland Day150708 3 Scott getting a little basketball in Svendborg Harbour150709 31 Legoland150709 7 Nyhavn Legoland style

When you are enjoying the rare opportunity to tour with family, updating photographs and sending out a news update seems to slide down the list of priority. We were joined on Tuesday 7th of July by our two sons Chris and Scott along with Andrews brother Ian and wife Shan. All had traveled many hours from their home towns of Bendigo, Adelaide and Townsville Australia, before piling into the rent a van we nicknamed the Griswalds for the drive from Copenhagen airport to Svendborg where Katherine was waiting. It was certainly a memorable occasion as it is the first time we had them all onboard together.

150709 16 Legoland Day Ride Time150709 35 Ribe

All plans for sailing were put on hold as bad weather with strong winds were forecast for their first few days. We had chosen Svendborg as their arrival destination as it is not only a safe harbour in bad weather but also an interesting town to wander. The harbour itself has great facilities and during our time was alive with boats and families. One of the funniest activities to watch in every harbour are the children catching crabs on small fishing lines complete with a peg. Apparently if you attach a coin to the peg the crabs latch on then its a simple scoop with the colourful net. Once landed crab racing begins. Behind our boat was a very handy basketball court used by a lot of kids including our own.

Drive day 1 took us across the island of Funen west to Jutland to the town of Billund home of the original Legoland.  Lego was invented by Danish man Ole Kirk Christensen in the 1930s as small timber toys before changing to the familiar plastic blocks in the 1960’s that our children grew up with and we stood on in the middle of the night cursing. Legoland the amusement park opened in 1968 and is now visited annually by over a million people - we added six to the number for 2015. It is amazing how visiting LegoLand can turn adults back into children as soon as they pass through the gates. Among the many attractions of Legoland is Miniland. In Miniland over 20 million lego blocks have been used to construct famous buildings, airports, train stations, ports and canals. The attention to detail is simply incredible and the automation of the individual pieces where planes are being washed or boats are negotiating locks is both amusing and entertaining to watch. One of the most recent attractions comes from Far Far Away. A replica of Luke Skywalkers Starfighter built from over 5 million lego bricks standing at a height of 3m and with a wingspan of 13m it was rather impressive. So once the lego viewing was over it was time for the rides. We were thankful that the day we visited Legoland it was all of about 14 degrees, bitterly cold and raining for the early morning. Thankful because it kept the crowds to a reasonable level allowing rides to be accessed without long waiting times. Andrew, Chris, Scott, Ian and Shan tackled the roller coasters and the star wars ride whilst Lee happily opted to stand on bag guard and camera duty.

150709 39 Ian and his birthday gifts150710 18 Egeskov Slot150710 5 Egeskov Slot150712 11 Viking Museum Ladby Viking Ship Grave

With Lego purchases in hand for Shan and Ian we headed for Ribe on the west coast of Jutland for a late lunch. Ribe is Scandinavia's oldest town with a beautifully preserved medieval centre that we had visited in 2013. The town was once a seaport but over time the mouth of the river that flows to the sea has silted up and now the town is considered to be a long way from the seashore. With winds whipping up white caps on the water and walking being a challenge against the wind we opted for a lovely lunch in a pub by the river that served a very appetising Tasting Plate of Danish cuisine. 

Perhaps the most important event of the this day was the celebration of Ian turning 50. It was very special for us to be able to share his birthday onboard Katherine and in a country that we have had so many memorable experiences in. 

Our next land tour day took us a short distance north of the harbour to Egeskov Slot. Egeskov Slot was completed in 1554 and is a castle situated literally in the middle of a lake. It is deemed to be one of the best preserved Renaissance water castles. In 1883 the castle underwent renovation by a Swedish architect and established itself as a model farm with its own dairy, power station and rail line to the neighbouring railway town of Kværndrup. In the 1950’s when the Castle was facing reduction of staff due to a downturn in the farming industry the then owners undertook to retrain the staff as gardeners, set about restoring the historic gardens and open them to the public. Over the years the castle has undergone further restoration and now it is a place that has something to offer everyone of every age. From wandering the glorious gardens, children playground areas, multiple museums for everything from vintage cars motorbikes and bicycles to dresses of the 15th century. Thats before you even enter the castle which has many rooms open to the public all adorned in original artefacts. As we wandered through the multiple buildings of the estate and rooms of the castle we were in awe of the collection of items on display both in quality and age. 

With the weather improving it was time to sail north to the town of Kertiminde - just km by road from Svendborg. Kertiminde was a quaint town with its main feature being the 15th Century Sankt Laurentius Kirke which has just been reopened after renovation. It was also a good town from which to get to the Viking Museum of Ladby. The Viking Museum houses the remains of a 22m long Viking ship that was the grave for a Viking Chieftain buried in the early 900’s. The excavated remains of the ship was lined with the bones of the horses and dogs that were buried with him beneath the burial mound. In the neighbouring yard a replica of the Viking Ship was underway by volunteers. Work had begun on the construction of the “Ladby Ship” in 2011 and volunteers hoped for completion some time in 2015. Though not to the level of Roskilde which we had visited in 2012 it was still very much worth the visit. 

So came to an end our first week of touring onboard Katherine, a lot of fun, laughs and conversation had by all.

(For more photos Click Here.)

© SV Katherine 2018      Cover Photo: Katherine on Anchor Isle Tabarca Spain