Hammershus

Hammershus, situated on the northern tip of Bornholm (called Hammeren), is Northern Europe’s largest medieval castle/fortification. The ruins are situated 74 meters (243 ft) above the Baltic Sea. Historians think the castle was built at the beginning of the 13th century as a royal residence for Vlademar II of Denmark and a base for the Danish crusades.

The fortification consists of the base castle residence and accompanying Mantel Tower, and includes a great stonewall stretching 750 metres (2,460 ft) around the castle grounds.

 Hammershus has a long history of power struggles, taken by Lübeck in 1521, Sweden in 1648, and recaptured by Denmark that same year. In addition to power struggles, Hammershus also served as a prison on several occasions. Hammeren, one of the highest points on Bornholm, offers stunning views of the Baltic Sea.

After your tour, stop in the cafe for locally made Bornholm soft ice! Also, entry into Hammershus is free.

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Bornholm, Denmark

Bornholm is a small Danish island located off the southern coast of Sweden. Called  “Solskins Øen” in Danish (the sunny island) Bornholm is a popular tourist spot for Danes, Germans, and Swedes. The island is accessible by ferry and plane, although since Cimber Airlines went bankrupt most people opt for the ferry. Find information about train and ferry travel here.

We caught the train from Copenhagen central station to Ystad, Sweden, about a five minute walk from the train is the ferry terminal. The whole trip takes about 3 hours, and it’s a beautiful journey through the southern Swedish countryside and then onto the ferry bound for Rønne, Bornholm. After docking in Rønne, most people travel to the smaller villages of Svaneke, Gudhjem, Allinge and Nexø.

In addition to beaches and bicycling, Bornholm is known for high quality seafood and smokehouses, called røgeri in Danish. Every village has at least one røgeri, which are easy to spot with their tall chimney’s and the smokehouse scent drifting through the air. The photos above are show the village of Allinge and Allinge Røgeri.

Ekkodalen or Echo Valley, is Denmark’s longest rift, stretching 12 kilometers from Vallensgård Mose to Salutana on the Northeast coast of Bornholm. Cows have grazed here since the royal edict of 1658, which gave peasants permission to use the land free of charge.

Stay tuned for another post about Bornholm’s historic round churches and the 13th century castle Hammershus!

Roadside Stands

I grew up in Nashville, TN, home to a great farmers market and not far from the countryside. As a child my mother used to take us to a roadside farm stand on highway 100, where we bought seasonal, local produce. Not sure if it’s still there, but I hope so!

Here in Denmark, farming is still a big part of life, and roadside stands are very common. The stands come in all shapes and sizes, and in the summer you will find, potatoes, strawberries, peas, flowers, honey and handmade crafts. However, one quality sets these roadside stands apart from their American counterparts – Trust – no one works the stands, just drop your payment in the locked metal box. It’s refreshing to see honesty and trust still exist, and hopefully no one takes advantage of it.



Stylish Ways to Carry Booze on Your Bike

Copenhagen is the city of bicycling, but sometimes you run into problems with transporting certain things on your bicycle. Of course we ladies have our baskets, but most of the guys won’t be caught dead on a bicycle with a basket. Summer in Copenhagen means enjoying the lovely weather outside at the park or beach, but just how do you transport your 6 pack or bottle of wine on your bicycle?

Walnut Architecture & Design Studio has the perfect solution: beautiful, functional hand tooled leather accessories so you can carry booze on your bike. Just remember, don’t bike and booze!

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New Nordic Carrot Cake

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As I child I always loved carrot cake, with the cream cheese frosting, cinnamon spiced interior, and cute frosted carrots adorning the top of the cake. I will always love the classic American carrot cake, but it’s quite indulgent, so I’ve been searching for a healthy alternative, which I found in one of my favorite Danish cookbooks Aarstidernes Livretter.

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Thirty minutes north of Copenhagen, is Aarstiderne at Krogerup, an organic farm with accompanying farm boutique where you can buy fresh, seasonal, organic produce. The Farm boutique is a recent addition; Aarstiderne started out delivering weekly fruit and vegetable boxes to your front door. Today they deliver to around 40,000 households in Denmark and 5,000 in Sweden. The weekly boxes come with exciting recipes, which they have compiled into the cookbook Aarstidernes Livretter.

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New Nordic Carrot Cake Recipe

  • 500g carrots, peeled and grated
  • 150g raw sugar
  • 200ml taste free oil (I used sunflower oil)
  • 4 eggs
  • 150g white flour
  • 115g wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla sugar
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 100g raisins
  • 50g hazelnuts or walnuts (I used hazelnuts)
  • Preheat oven to 185 celsius/365 fahrenheit
  1. In a medium bowl whisk sugar and oil until combined, then whisk in eggs
  2. To the sugar mixture add vanilla sugar and cinnamon.
  3. In a large bowl combine flour, salt, and baking powder, then whisk in the sugar mixture until smooth.
  4. Gently fold in the carrots (it seems like a lot of carrots but this is what makes the cake so moist) and lastly, fold in the hazelnuts and raisins
  5. Pour the batter into two greased loaf pans and bake for 50-70 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean

For information about Aarstiderne visit their English blog