Saturday, 21 August 2010

Fyn and Sjaelland

We spent yesterday crossing Denmark from west to east, starting with a pilgrimage to Tratholt, a shrine to Arne Jacobsen and with a chair museum. This turned out to be a bit of a disappointment, being expensive, not fully open (exhibition spaces cleared out between shows), and with few English explanations. The cafe space is glorious and the coffee and fruitslice with cream was delicious. We saw one very interesting show, the work of a Danish artist called Clausen, who trained in Weimar between the wars with a lovely passionate ability to draw the human figure, and some splendid shining portraits, before she moved on to flatter images, looking like Leger, and also making posters. She lived from 1899 to the age of 87, smoking a pipe and looking like trouble, according to her photos.

I also enjoyed a special temporary exhibition of white plastic buckets laid out on the floor of one salon, to catch the drips during this period of torrential rain. The buckets also were hung from the ceiling and if the staff had put a label up saying 'Rainy Season' or some such, people would have regarded it as art, I have no doubt.

The setting of the Tratholt museum is spectacular, on a calm sealoch, and on the lower road (which turns out not to be the way in, but a little satnav trick), there is a wonderful array of houses built by those who can afford it. These are a wonderful thing to see, and I wished I had a video camera to show them all, for there are dozens and dozens, reminiscent of the Belgian suburbs, but here an expression of affluence and satisfaction.

We crossed into Fyn, regretting the low grey light for it might take blue skies and sunshine to illuminate the real character of this flat gentle farmland. Every farm has its flagpole with the long Danish standard flying. We were able (with some help by phone from our friends) to locate Egeskov Castle, which was not shown on our map but is near a place called Kvaerndrup. This is a medieval brick and moated castle in private ownership and something of a Woburn.. opened to the public in the 60s, and with a gorgeous interior, a huge collection of cars and motorbikes, enormous gardens, and a museum dedicated to the Danish company Fahlk which offers firefighting and rescue services in many European countries. It has a terrific collection of ambulances etc and an interesting history during the Nazi period, when the company helped the resistance and did a fair amount of people-smuggling or rescuing on its own account, the water-tanks of the fire-engines actually containing secret compartments. There is also a very pretty windmill where we had a picnic lunch and regretted it was not open to the public as we are now out of the holiday period. I love the ancient granite hand-milling stones they have there, just like the ones we saw being worked at Nymandebag on Jutland.

Eventually we reached Copenhagen to meet with our friends, have a marvellous suppper, drink too much wine and fall into bed.

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