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Monday, 28 August 2017

Ystad - Rodvig, Denmark (27 August 2017)

We returned to Ystad after a brief visit to the UK for a wedding. This journey took some planning as we were bringing the car as we had quite a few items to bring out and would have other items to take home at the end of the season. We took the usual overnight ferry to the Hook of Holland and despite being much busier than we are used to we were through customs 15 minutes after docking. We then drove for seven hours to Burgstakken on Fehmarn Island in Germany as it is here that “Whileaway” will spend the winter. Having parked the car in one of the sheds where yachts are later stored we then stayed in Puttgarden on the N of the island for the night. Early the next morning we had a short 15 minute walk to the ferry that goes across to Rodby in S Denmark every 30 minutes and takes 45 minutes. This service is extremely popular with Danes, hence the existence in Puttgarden of a huge “Border Tax Free” shop. Of course not really tax free but taxed less in Germany than in Denmark particularly alcohol and cosmetics. By 0800 we were waiting for the train that took us to Copenhagen. There we changed to another train that took us over the Oresund Bridge to Hyllie just outside Malmo; where we changed again to the train to Ystad. All smooth, comfortable, on time journeys of course!
The weather forecast for the next morning was for a brisk wind from the NW. That would enable us to sail WSW initially along Sweden's S coast and we did so for the first three hours. However the wind then turned into mainly W, so right on the nose and we then ended up motoring. On the SE corner of Sweden is a large peninsular, Skanor, so at a narrow point the Falsterbokanal has been built. Less than 2nm long it saves a journey of about 15nm!
Approaching Falsterbokanal on a sunny afternoon 
The road on to the peninsular is at the N end of the canal and there we were forced to wait 45 minutes for the bridge to open on the hour. Just the other side of the bridge is the sailing club harbour of Hollviken and having done 36nm that day we decided to stay there for the night.
The following day we opted to head N up the Oresund to the island of Ven. A light N wind was forecast so again it was the motor doing the work, especially as we started off having to follow a buoyed channel for 7nm through shallows. We emerged to head under the Oresund Bridge (“The Bridge” for aficionados of Scandinavian thrillers!). As we headed N the wind strengthened and the sound became more choppy for a while. But just after 1500 we entered the main harbour of Kyrkbacken.
Alongside in Kyrkbacken
This was the third time we had been to this Swedish island – but the first on which we found space to stay! Our two previous visits had been in mid to late July the year before and both times the harbour was absolutely stuffed! Now the Season is nearing its end and there are fewer boats. Ven's attraction (apart from being a very pleasant island), is that it is in the middle of the Sound, about 3nm from Sweden and 5nm from the Danish coast. Thus ideally placed for day trips or short stop overs. On this bright sunny afternoon it had quite a few visitors but by the evening many had left.
Ven's main claim to fame is having been the home of  Swedish astronomer Tycho Brahe who built a castle and an underground observatory in the 16 century. The remains (and partially reconstructed) of the latter are much publicised.
In the afternoon we went for a short walk up to the medieval St Ibbs Church on the cliff top from where there are excellent views across to Denmark. The following morning we set off on our bicycles and went first to the centre of the island (about 1km) where there was a bakery. This was truly artisan, ran by an old lady in an old building! 

The bakery
The shop!
We then followed a few roads and cycle paths covering much of the island including Backviken which is where the ferry from Landskrona in Sweden arrives. When the ferry arrived there were many walkers and also those who went a short distance to the cycle hire centre. This is obviously the most popular way to tour the island as the enormous cycle parking area showed!    

Just a part of the cycle renting park!
 On Friday morning there was a brisk WSW wind as we set off for Copenhagen. We had a fast two hour sail until near the entrance when we dropped the sails and motored past a departing sea plane!
Unusual hazard to navigation
We then passed a cruise ship and the Little Mermaid, avoiding the numerous tripper boats and then turning to port immediately before the new harbour bridge and into the Trangraven Canal. The Trangraven pedestrian (and cycle) bridge opens on the hour and although it was 1110, disappointingly it was only just closing! But we were too late, so we tied up at the waiting pontoon. An hour later we turned into the Christianshavn Canal and then into Wilders Platz, a short offshoot, where we had booked a space for two nights. So we were close to the centre of Copenhagen.

Whileaway (centre right) alongside converted warehouses in Wilders Platz
We had a good visit to Copenhagen last year, our main purpose this year was to take the 25 minute train journey to Roskilde. We could have sailed there but the passage would have been some 80nm (in the wrong direction for subsequent plans) instead of 15nm to Copenhagen in the right direction!
Roskilde was once Denmark's capital. Our interest was in seeing the Viking Ship Museum (Andrea for a second time). The exhibition includes the remains of five unique Viking Ships excavated in 1962 from Roskilde Fjord.

Viking warship remains
At the end of the late 11th century a system of barriers was constructed in the fjord to protect the royal seat and the cathedral. The ships had been sunk across a sailing channel as part of the barrier. The boat builders have also built reconstructions of the five ships (and other Viking craft) based on original surviving ship finds. These ships are in the boatyard at the museum and all have been sailed one as far as the Shetlands, Britain and Dublin where it seems it was originally built! An excellently presented museum.
One of the reconstructed Viking ships
Later we visited Roskilde Cathedral, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The first Church on the site was built by Harold Bluetooth who died around 985. A couple of others followed until the present brick built Church was stated in the 1170s.
Cathedral interior
The Church is on the World Heritage List because it is an outstanding example of one of the earliest ecclesiastical buildings in brick (a new material in Europe in the 12th century). The Cathedral contains the burial places of many members of the Danish royal family. It includes a chapel intended to house the "future sepulchral monument for the present royal couple, Queen Margrethe II and the Prince Consort"!
On returning to Copenhagen after 1900, Saturday night activities in the city centre were well underway. But a revelation to us were three new style vehicles powered by pedal. The "cyclists" sit around a central bar from which they help themselves to beer and other drinks. They sit at stools which have pedals attached to propel the vehicle. It is steered by a (presumably) non-drinking driver who stands behind a wheel.
The bar cycle!
Presumably the vehicle gets slower as the evening wears on?
On Sunday morning we slipped our mooring in time for the 0900 bridge opening and were soon greeted with heavy rain (not forecast), the first in daytime since we had returned to Sweden since early August. After initial light winds (forecast for the day) the strength increased to F4/5 and we had an excellent sail SSE to Rodvig, 35 nm away. Arriving mid afternoon we tied up in the Fishing Harbour.
Fishing Harbour, Rodvig
We have visited Rodvig and round about before so apart from a wander round the village we stayed on the boat enjoying the warm afternoon and evening sunshine. As there is a fishmongers on the quayside it was fresh fish for dinner!

Swallows having a break from collecting breakfast
In the early morning the swallows were very active skimming across the water catching tiny midges and flies, a sad reminder that autumn is on its way and they will soon be off to warmer climes. 

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