My wife and I took a trip for only the second time to a city in the center of Dänemark called Silkeborg. To me the area is unique for a number of positive reasons. First, it's one of the last holdouts for viewing Danish Forests in their natural state. Like most of Europe, most of Dänemark has been cleared of it's forest trees, with the odd exception of pockets of woods here and there and of course the wooded riparian habitats along all of it's waterways. Various forms of Agricultural Enterprizes for the most part have taken the place of the once beautiful forest woodlands.
Silkeborg on the other has an abundance of forests around it and a peaceful quietness about it despite the annual Riverboat Jazz Festival which we just happened to hit at just the right time --> both times we stayed. Actually, our first trip was spent outside of Silkeborg in the town of Bryrup at a Bed & Breakfast (Rum och Frukost) next to the old train station. Our next morning there, I got up early at around 5:00am and took a walk along the old railway tracks which run tourist steam train excursions through the forests then opening up running along side a large lake. The lake was like clear undisturbed glass and the only sound was that of a European Cookoo across the lake making it's presence known. Along with a pair of gliding Swans on the lake making a slight ripple in the water behind them, the scene was a restful & beautiful one. I could have sat in a chair by that spot on the lake and drank coffee all morning taking in & soaking up that whole experience for another 2 hours or so.
One of the first things you'll notice on the way traveling there are the dominent flower called Corn Poppy (Papaver rhoeas) in the large meadows and farm fields.
There were of course crowds there for the Riverboat Jazz Festival. I like the various Jazz Musics and such like, but so many people in and around those tents, it was hard to find a place to sit or stand. We heard one Latin Jazz Band and we wanted to listen, but again the crowds were overwhelming and when my wife had some woman spill wine on her shoe, so oh well it was time to move along.
Below are some pictures along the river walk pathway and the numerous private boats by which a great number of people choose to visit and participate in the traditional Jazz Festival. My wife also spent much of her growing up in Sweden with her family during every summer on these boats where one can travel the waterways meandering through various water courses along with hundreds of others and all living life on the water. Bar-B-Qs are everywhere. I don't think anyone hardly uses a conventional stove or range on their boats.
|Silkeborg's River Walk Pathway with private boats lining the banks|
A large number of folks without boats pay for the beautiful steam riverboat excursions which have a lot of food, drink and of course a live Jazz Band on board
Across the water looking towards old town city center were where the numerous tents and Jazz celebrations were going on. The private boats were lined up 5 -6 rows deep in various inlet harbours with folks having their own private family Bar-B-Qs or getting to know their new neighbours from places elsewhere.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~One of the highlights for me was in the old city center of town where there is a place so familiar to me that once inside, you'd think you were at Casa Guadalajara in old town San Diego California. Well, maybe not that clourful, but close. On our first trip there 5 years ago we were walking around the town looking for a place to place to eat. It was early and all we were really doing was just lookie-Looing around anyway. We walked along by these old quaint Danish buildings and I past by a window and for whatever reason just happened to look inside. To my surprise and pleasant astonishment, their interior decor I saw inside of this Danish Building below here looked authentically like being somewhere in Southwest or Mexico.
First of all I have to explain something here about Scandinavian restaurants in general. No matter what the theme of the restaurant (Greek, Spanish, whatever) , the decor (chairs, tables, etc) is almost always IKEA. Seriously, what's up with that ? I've never experienced such a generic lack of artistic character or imagination when it comes to most restaurant themes here in northern Europe (Scandinavia). So this was out of the typical norm and I didn't even have to look at the signage above my head to know what the theme of this restaurant was all about. For me personally, the idea of going to a restaurant is atmosphere and finding a potal to another place. For a brief moment leaving the insane world outside behind and experiencing an escape. That's why you don't mind paying a little more for the food. I don't care if there is good Mexican food, I can have good Mexican food at home. But I want good food with great atmosphere. Here are some more pics of the place and later a bit of history behind this place and it's owner who clearly has worked so hard to pull it all together.
|Front entrance to La Casita|
|Mexican Food with Cerveza Corona ?|
|Public Toilette with Mexican Theme|
|Owner Sanne Jensen|
I didn't have a chance to speak much with the owner Sanne Jensen as we could before because their business at that moment was so intense with numerous guests coming and going. But I remember the first time I visited 5 years ago & I was impressed by not only the decor choices and selection on the menu but also the authentic flavourings of the dish recipes themselves. This particular time they only had a shortened abbreviated menu for the crowd coming in from the Jazz Festival. Made perfect sense to me. Otherwise any other visit would have been the full Menu selection. My wife and I both had the all you could eat chicken & carne asada fajitas with all the rice, beans, guacamole, 2 kinds of salsa, sour cream, grated cheddar, etc you eat.
|Image from La Casita website|
|Image - haciendagrill|
Here is a link to the restaurant's website:
|Our Guest House|
We actually stayed at a private upstairs guest house loft which was very roomy and very comfortable. You could ask for a squeaky cleaner place that the one we rented. Around the neighbourhood there were a number of walking trails through the forests. We walked quite a bit and passed through what are some private garden summer houses on small lots. This is common in Scandinavia where land is scare and expensive where you find it. But I'll have more on that later in a comparison of several such communities in another future post.
Silkeborg has alot more to offer for those looking for a relaxed summer atmosphere. You can rent a room almost anywhere or even a complete house if you wish. But I would go there over the more well known Dänemark capitol of Copenhagen any day.