The sun is shining and we are freewheeling along the coast of northern Denmark. Having spent the summer trekking and exploring in South America, I am now uncovering new treasures closer to home. This is the northern coast of Zealand, which backs onto the shores of southern Sweden, and it is only a short hop from Copenhagen. My friend and I are on our brand new bikes and we are also on a dual mission to keep fit and to uncover more of the region where we live. Today’s plan is to make our way down the coast to the renowned Louisiana Art Museum.
Getting here has proven to be an adventure in itself. Despite our enthusiasm we had never determined where to buy tickets nor were we quite sure where we would board the ferry. At the Scandlines counter in Knutpunkten (Helsingborg’s ferry, bus and train station) I get our tickets and inquire about boarding our bikes. As suspected, we have to find the vehicle entrance, a quest in itself. When we eventually reach the toll booth it transpires that we could have bought the tickets there directly (now noted for future reference).
Bikes and motorbikes board first for safety reasons, so we are soon on our way. Determined to take advantage of these potentially last rays of Scandinavian sunshine (it is fifty shades of grey here most of the year), we head straight to the upper decks. The twenty minute trip to Helsingor passes quickly and we are soon disembarking. Again, we cannot find the bicycle path until it dawns on us that this section of the road has no dedicated bicycle lane.
Nicknamed ‘Denmark’s Gold Coast’, the origin of the name becomes clear as we pass a succession of villas, pretty cottages and gardens teeming with colourful flowers. Snekkersten, a place I usually thought of as the first or last stop on the Copenhagen train, is a small coastal town with buildings painted in pastel shades that would not feel out of place on the French Riviera. Espergaerde similarly enchants us and we end up stopping for a long lazy coffee in a Mediterranean style jazz café. We make some more detours along the coast to visit small harbours and to admire the views. Entering an area of woodland, we know that we are close to Louisiana, our planned destination. On our arrival we find a large queue at the entrance and, after some debate, we decide to continue down the coast to Rungsted Kyst (the former home of Out of Africa author Karen Blixen).
The odours of the countryside mingle with the salty sea air as our journey continues. A redbrick Danish inn surrounded by red roses looks inviting, but we resist the temptation. Strandhuset, a garden centre with a shop selling antiques and furniture, proves irresistible and it is a gem. Room leads to room and each contains something new and fascinating, be it silk scarves, handmade women’s shoes, household items, scented candles or men’s clothing. This is a place where I could spend the day shopping and I probably will in the near future (Xmas is getting closer…)
By now we are hungry and Rungsted is still another five kilometres away, so we set off again. Within ten minutes we can see the masts of the yachts in the harbour. ‘The Rungsted skyline’, I shout back to my friend. The harbour is alive with people, shops, cafes and restaurants. Within no time we are tucking into delicious treats, temporarily forgetting that it is now eighteen kilometres back to Helsingor. Ouch!