Friday, 11 August 2017

Friday 11 August - Jelling and Billund

Where's Bertie? He's at the motorhome parking area in the town of Ribe (exact location: 55.33450, 8.75761).

It has been another action-packed day. So much so that at 8pm we are only just on our way to find a kipping spot (hope there's room where we're going!) and I'm typing whilst Mick is driving.

We started (admittedly not early - I was busy typing yesterday's blog) with a 3.5km drive to Jelling, which is a particularly important place to the Danes, being the birthplace of the Monarchy* and of Christianity in the country.

The town now houses an arm of the National Museum, which is truly excellent value, being free. I'm not sure I'd call the indoor part a museum, but rather a visitor centre, as there are very few artefacts on display and of the few that are, many are copies of the originals. However, what they have done very cleverly is a series of interactive exhibits telling the story of the King Gorm, and his son, Harold Bluetooth (who 1000 years later gave his name to a wireless communication method - yes, really!), of life in Viking times and of the conversion of the country to Christianity.

The second room held our attention for quite a while, with a series of interactive displays where you pressed a button on a subject and a series of scenes were sketched out before your eyes, white on black, on the wall:

Then there was the exhibit where you grabbed hold of a weapon impaled in a body and text came up explaining the various likely causes of death of vikings in battle, together with the time it would take to die by that method. The red lighting depicting blood was a nice touch:

The best exhibit, in my opinion, was upstairs and was a walk through of the royal family tree. I wish I could remember the stats about how many pretenders to the throne were murdered by close relatives in a very short period way back when. The combination of the audio on that exhibit (in English via an earpiece akin to a very early telephone receiver) and the clever graphics made it particularly engaging.

One of the great things about this all being free was that one could wander off and back at will, so after finishing inside we wandered back to Bertie (in the large, free car park) for lunch before walking around the outside exhibits.

The way that the location of the old perimeter wall of the original settlement was marked, together with the three long houses whose remains were found inside of the boundary, and largest ceremonial stone Viking ship outline, was cleverly done, and very clean and visually appealing. Also within the boundary wall was a church and two burial mounds, all of which still exist and all of which we visited.

The stone is of great historical significance, its runes being the first record of a king of Denmark and of the name Denmark itself, but we were distracted by the tour group who were all dressed as vikings. I bet none of them felt uncomfortable at all...

Finally exhausting the depths of the site, which took longer than expected, it was time for something completely different, and off to Legoland, in the town of Billund, we went.

It costs something in the region of £40 per adult for a day pass to Legoland. Or you can go in for free half an hour before the rides close (the rides close two hours before the park closes). We went for the free option and, happily, today wasn't a late closing day, so we were allowed in at 1730.

We squeezed in a quick look at the haunted house and a ride on a roller coaster before they closed, then spent another hour and a half looking around Miniland:

As we left Legoland we were going to head to Esbjerg, purely to take part in a ParkRun there in the morning. However, the thought of a late night (it's now 2030 and I've not had tea yet!) followed by an early morning, and making a 60+km detour purely to run with a bunch of other people for under half an hour, made us decide to ditch the ParkRun and head for the town of Ribe instead. We are now 1.5km away, so I'd best resume navigational duties.

(Post blog note: we arrived in Ribe to find one motorhome slot free, which was incredible luck, judging by the number dotted around the various parking areas either spread across car slots, masquerading as buses, or not in a space at all.)

(*technically this is likely not the case, but the first recorded king was based in Jelling.)

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