[Denmark] We’re exploring the small island of Aro on hired bicycles, complete with baskets on the front, and the local vineyard is an early stop on our quest to soak up the culture, nature and food of South Jutland.
‘Seaweed wine is good with fish and oysters,’ says owner Jakob Lei. We both prefer wine that we can drink rather than swim in – this one tastes like the sea. ‘It would be good mixed into a seafood risotto,’ I reply diplomatically.
But what do I know? Jakob must be doing something right as he has turned his wine-making hobby into a business selling thousands of bottles. And we are just two of 20,000 visitors to the vineyard each year.
Fortunately, everything else in Denmark tastes a whole lot better.
Afterwards, our tastebuds are revived by Marianne Weimar, the owner of Brummers Gaard, the island’s shop and cafe. Using herbs and mushrooms we have foraged from the coastline, she cooks us a delicious lunch.
After catching the ferry back to the mainland, we follow a scenic route along the ancient Haervejen Road, a route that winds through the countryside from the German border.
The next morning, we take a guided Segway tour of the battlefield at Dybbol, where, in 1864, South Jutland came under German rule. The area was strategically important to the Danes and had been fought over for centuries.
Our guide, dressed in 19th Century military uniform, leads us along undulating roads and green fields of the preserved battlefield, which is full of trenches, old fortifications and memorials to the fallen.
We end up at the Dybbol Historical Centre, which tells the story of the battle – the subject of the Danish drama series 1864, screened on BBC4 last year.
The next day we drive to Tonder, Denmark’s oldest market town, and receive a crash course in cool, sleek Danish design.
Tonder, Denmark’s oldest market town
The prospect of a visit to a museum about chairs sounded as interesting as watching a cement mixer. But it turned out to be fascinating, especially as visitors can sit in the chairs and decide which is the most comfortable or the most stylish.
At dusk we head over to the west coast and join a coach tour called The Black Sun Experience to witness a natural phenomenon where half a million starlings try to locate a safe refuge for the night to avoid being attacked by birds of prey.
After our excursion, we head back to Tonder for dinner at the Schackenborg Castle Inn, built in 1687.
The following day it’s an early start for an oyster safari. At low tide, we pull on waders and set off for the oyster beds of the protected Wadden Sea.
It’s not easy to walk in such thick mud, but after we’ve collected our bounty, our guide cracks open some champagne.
It certainly goes down a lot better than seaweed wine.
View original article at: Something is rotten in the state of Denmark – and it’s called seaweed wine