31 July 2012 – Sonderborg
We came into Sonderborg yesterday morning, and found a mooring along the harbour wall, between the castle and the opening bridge. The (very loose) translation of the german pilot is one of the funniest: “Corpulent moorings in the old Holz- Bollwerk on the east side of the south haven unfortunately suffer the disadvantage of traffic noise from the Uferstrasse.” It’s like lying on the town quay at Weymouth – noisy, but not impossible. Here is the view from the mooring.
Sonderborg is a very pleasant town, and everyone is very helpful. The tourist info office came along with a barrow to hand out brochures in English, and when there was a need for advice on accessing jubilee clips for maintenance, the office in the Husgadetorvet gave us directions to an out of town retail park where there were do-it-yourself outlets. As ever in Denmark the quality of the maps wasn’t as good as they might have been – but the spirit was very willing! They offer a service of postcards, plus stamps – I took advantage to send a postcard to Auntie Dorothy in Penrith.
The weather can best be described as variable still – there was an amazing thunderstorm with big, fat drops of rain. But in the sun it’s warm and tee shirt weather again. A lot of people stop on the quay to look at the jellyfish – thick carpets of them everywhere since Svendboug. There are two types – smaller ones that are transparent, and then larger opaque one that have long trailing tendrils, are opaque and look like large fried eggs, white with a yellow/brown central yolk. These second are predators, absorbing the smaller transparent ones: and sting. Roger cleaned out the sea water filters and found them almost blocked with transparent think jelly. Yuk!
The cost is 165 DKr a night, including electricity and water. The bad news is – no internet! The harbourmaster gave me some garbage about risks of terrorists accessing the net , which was not at all persuasive. Four days without access! I’ve subscribed this morning to vodafone’s eurotraveller to get access to phone and email for £3 a day.
This morning I walked up to Fotex, the best supermarket yet found in Denmark. (prices probably similar to Waitrose, but I’m determinedly not doing price comparisons.) This afternoon we cycled up the Dybbol Bank to see the entrenchments and stories of the Schleswig Holstein war between Denmark and Prussia, which culminated in the defeat of the Danes at the Dybbol Bank on 18 April 1864, and the destruction of Sonderborg. The defeat is seen as a defining moment for the Danish psyche, making them the pacific and tolerant people they are today (albeit very distrustful of Germany.) It was all extremely interesting, especially the earthworks, trenches and pallisades with thick, pointed posts to discourage attack. As we cycled back down the bank there were a lot of engraved stones marking where Danish soldiers fell on the 18 April. This part of Schleswig was returned to Denmark after a plebiscite in 1920.
At the Schloss this evening there was an exhibition of horsemanship called “tilting the ring:” a team of horseman in mediaeval costume galloping down a track holding a spear and trying to pick off 2 rings of about 22cm down to 6cm in diameter that hang down.
The plan is to move on to Flensburg tomorrow, but there may be a night at anchor before we get there.