Showing posts with label Denmark. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Denmark. Show all posts

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Baltic Summer


The Baltic is the Mediterranean!  A huge bowl of the bluest of cloudless bright blue skies sharply etched with vivid green trees and pretty houses washed white, pale yellow, red and ochre, each topped with a neat red-tiled roof, clustering around ports in the small towns and villages of Danish South Zealand. 




There is something magical about living on a boat on the water at sunset during the long twilight hours of the Baltic Summer, being part of the unfolding drama of the closing of each day.  The swifts swooping for their supper, the splash of fish jumping for theirs, the water like ripped silk, as we watch the achingly slow draining of the light as the sky turns from deepest blue to soft shades of silvery lavender, rose and the very palest of spun gold, laughter and voices drifting across the harbour; ancient, impenetrable tongues.


For days we hopped from one idyllic island to another drifting on a light breeze, exploring inlets and bays, mooring up or anchoring for long lazy lunches and a siesta, as one long, hot summer's day followed another, swimming with the fish in the clear, clean water then threading our way back precariously through the shallow inky-blue waters, reading the runes of the sea to bring us back to the relative safety of deeper waters, before  moving on to the next harbour, each one prettier than the last then slowly heading north towards Copenhagen.




Sailing into Christianshavn Kanal right in the centre of Copenhagen, and mooring up there for two days in the shadow of the brightly painted converted warehouses that line the canal, was a complete contrast and an opportunity to spend some time exploring this busy, vibrant Cosmopolitan city, dipping into museums, galleries, shops and restaurants, sampling home-made schnapps and eating freshly caught fish, before returning each evening to our own small boat, sitting in the cockpit with a glass of Aquavit watching the world go by, then rocked gently to sleep by the movement of the boat.



We tore ourselves away from Copenhagen and reluctantly left Denmark, crossing the Sound to Sweden and the somehow cooler delights of Malmo, spending a day exploring the old town, lunching in the market square and stopping off for delicious Italian ice cream before setting off the next day on the final leg of our journey, sailing under the Oresund Bridge in a very fresh wind which threatened to blow us off into the massive concrete pillars, a train rumbling overhead, then fighting the wind on a rolling swell for a while as we sailed off the coast of Southern Sweden, spending the night in a small fishing harbour smelling strongly of fish, too tired to care. 



A change in the wind the next day swept us straight into the seaside town of Ystad in Southern Sweden and, finally, time to spend with a small Swedish granddaughter, building sandcastles on the long white Baltic beach and paddling in the dark blue waters that had carried us safely here.

Saturday, 6 July 2013

"See you in Copenhagen!"

"I'm cold, wet, exhausted, uncomfortable, nauseous and I've been bumped about on a rough sea for the last 24 hours."  And this is fun?  I am so glad I decided to stay at home and go to a garden party instead of joining my partner in crossing the North Sea in a small sailing boat.  Once was more than enough for me!  He had good crew and apparently they all rather relished the challenge. I guess it's a man thing.

This is the post I wrote about my first (and last) crossing of the North Sea to Holland before I found out just how tough it can get out there.



Night Crossing




"Our crew turned out to be profoundly deaf, a burly 6'2" giant. Somewhere in his sixties and retired, he delighted in telling tall stories of near disasters at sea in a very loud voice, whilst chain smoking, not entirely inspiring confidence. Quite overpowering on a small boat, he felt the need to touch me every time he spoke. I edged further away on the hard bench, trying to maintain some personal space, without falling into the churning sea, fighting nausea.


The night crossing was definitely a test of my courage and a huge challenge. Sailing in a small boat across the North Sea to Holland, wind over tide for those who know about such things, is a bit like trying to ride a bucking bronco, whilst at the same time trying to make a cup of tea, or go to the loo. A particular low point was trying to adjust my clothes and momentarily letting go of the nearest handhold, just to ram my forehead into the shelf opposite. The damp night sea air crept into every crevice of my being. Even my bones were cold".


I shall fly out to Copenhagen and join him there, potter round the Baltic sea and end up in Southern Sweden with his son and granddaughter, which is after all the point of all this.