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  • Writer's pictureJeanne Marie

Are we in Norway? Day 3, June 10

Copenhagen is actually on an island of Zealand and we were biking from north to south. On the east is the Baltic Sea and on the west is the North Sea. Early this morning, 3 brave bicyclists and 4 leaders, including Mark, ran into the cold and frigid waters of the Baltic Sea. I chose not to participate, but to document it with photos. The water was ice cold as well as the air outside.

After a hearty Danish breakfast, we got ready for the day and brought our luggage out of our room. I knew it was going to be a fairly easy day (58 km/36 mi). With no headwind and perhaps a wind behind us, we could make good time to our next hotel.

We rode along the coastline and the Præstø Fjord for the first half of the day. Before we arrived in the town of Præstø, we stopped at the Nysø Manor. During the first half of the 19th century, many artists stayed there including Hans Christian Andersen. It became a home for painters, sculptors, musicians, and architects. As we passed through Præstø, we stopped to see the harbor. There many sail and power boats moored.

From Præstø, we headed south through some beautiful farms and woodlands. At one point, we passed six horse drawn carriages with Danish farmers in their dress clothes. As we got closer to the hotel, we looked down on the ground and there were our chalk arrows pointing left with the word, "look". We were at the Stone Age Burial Site at Rynkebjerg. There were the remains of two 5,000 year old megalithic graves. We stopped to take some pictures. Slightly to the left, we walked over to visit the peristalith or kerb of stones surround the hill. It was still well preserved.

From this stop, it was only 8 km to our hotel in Vordingborg and it was mostly downhill (yeah) on a nice bike path. Unfortunately, we made it before the van and our luggage. We only waited about 10 minutes before our guide, Anaïs arrived. Great - we could check in and get some showers in before we explored the town.

Vordingborg is an old ferry town with about 18,000 inhabitants. It has a very small town center and today is Whit Monday and most shops were closed. We did find a small cafe that was open and stopped for a coffee and beer. You can guess who had which drink. We met up with some fellow travelers and stayed to chat. At 4:45, we met back at the hotel for a tour of the Vordingborg Castle remains. The original castle was built by Valdemar the Great around 1100. It was not a stone castle, but a small wooden fortress. Over the years, a stronger fortress was built. The castle saw its eventual demise during the Swedish War of 1658-60. The Swedish king was able to seize the castle, but it was so damaged that it was never rebuilt. In 1671-73, a baroque palace was built for Prince Jørgen and Queen Anne of England, but they never resided there. In 1750, the empty palace was destroyed. We toured the Goose Tower which still stands today. It has been used as a prison over the years. We climbed the 114 steps (I counted) to see the town from the top of the tower. At the very top, there was a large golden goose. It was been re-made in 1871 when the original one was stolen and lost. The goose weighed 62.8 pounds and was covered in 5.5 pounds of gold. Dinner and early bedtime tonight, we have to at breakfast by 6:30 am. So between biking by a fjord and visiting stone age ruins and castles, I felt like I was in Norway for the day.

Pictures: into the Baltic, happy group, along the Præstø Fjord, Nysø Manor and snack break, Stone Age burial site, hotel for the night, Vordingborg, castle and golden goose, final route from Mark's watch (each segment represents about 6 miles).

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