Grand Place may be the famous one, but just by the EU Parliament (possibly Rue de Luxembourg, I was a little lost) was the cutest little old-town style square. Perhaps it was the lack of people everywhere that made it seem so much nicer. It was surrounded by really nice looking cafes, bars and florists, and I can only assume they are hideously expensive but have an excellent friday afterwork drinks scene, given the great location!
Just near myhouse lies Lake Skanderborg, or Skanderborg Sø. It is a really prettylake, with no shortage of million dollar hosues along the edge. Many of the houses have these cute lilttle pool-house type creations going on, some resembling sun rooms, others storage sheds, and others still mini houses. For 100kr you can take a boat tour around the lake, and the wee boat (SS Dagmar) even has a mini cafe/bar onboard.
The lake itself is quite historic, as I learned at the Viking Museum. There were many viking settlements around the lake, and it was the spot were a whole bunch of bashed up weapons were found, cast in to the lake in a fit of rage, from the viking village that had successfully fended of the attack. It still seems very odd to me that such a pleasant, unconfrontational population as the Danes have such a violent heritage!
About 3km from my house is Ejer Bavnehoj, or the tallest point in Denmark. When I was first told about it, I was a victim of my Host Mother’s wicked sense of humour – she mentioned she lived near the tallest mountain in Denmark, and I could climb it one day if I wanted but I might need to find some climbing gear first. In actual fact, Ejer Bavnehoj is 175m, a light jog with a restuarant, monument and tourist centre on top. The cheek of her.
The monument was built in 1929 as a memorial for the war. It was particularly symbolic as the celebration was held around the time that the border between Denmark was settled, post WWI. In a very lovely, considerate and Danish manner, a referendum was held on whether citizens in the proposed area identified more with Denmark or Germany. Where the population was 50:50 the line was drawn. Anything more than that it was Denmark, anything less it was Germany.
The monument also has a great little information centre with all kinds of historical information, and on Sunday mornings between 8am and 11am they sell the most amazing bread there.
There has also been some argument over where the highest point actually is. Technically the monument isn’t actually at the highest point, it is a hill about 50m over. There was also another region that was arguing they had the highest point, but measurement showed they fell a few metres short. Nonetheless, with the monument it most definitely is as high as you can get now, and provides an amazing panoramic view of the countryside:
You might call this one cheating, as I already tried out the whole walk-on-water thing at Uni, but back then all I really did was stand on the edge because I didn’t want to be all wet in class.
Well, in Helsinki, I decided to step things up a notch. As I wandered out to the Olympic Stadium (seems to be a massive deal there) there was a gigantic and fairly solid looking frozen lake. Even though I saw people walking dogs across it, I wouldn’t have considered a short cut across it unless I knew the ice was really thick. However, when I saw a little old lady dragging one of those wheely shopping carts across I decided to break from my “assume nothing” travel rule and give it a crack.
You’ll be happy to know I succeeded, and made it to the middle of the lake with great excitement! It actually got old really fast though, as it was super slippery and I really missed the handy grip provided by the pavement.