The land of three Straits
It was in Flensburg where, last year in May, we’d said our good-byes to the Baltic Sea finishing the Episode III of our odyssey. And now, after 12 months, we were there again glowed with the enthusiasm of a new adventure. It seemed like the trip ended a long time ago, but the Episode IV has just begun and we were heading off to the land of the Little Belt, the Great Belt and the Øresund - three straits which drain and connect the Baltic Sea to the Kattegat, which drains further west to the North Sea and Atlantic Ocean.

So, we started our trip in Flensburg and coursed alongside the Jutland peninsula up to Kolding, visiting Gråsten Palace - the summer residence of the Danish Royal Family, on the way. After Kolding we turned east, crossed the Little Belt Bridge, which leads to the island of Fyn, and when we arrived to Odense - the main city on the island and the birthplace of Hans Christian Andersen, the sky was almost dark and it was raining like hell. Fortunately the Hans Christian Andersen Museum and the Danish Railway Museum we stepped into compensated us a bad weather. The next day, as we continued rolling slowly by the small picturesque towns of Fåborg and Svendborg on the southern coast of Fyn, the sun emerged through a layer of clouds and burned brightly pretty much for the rest of our trip. Later on we drove to see jaw-dropping cliffs on the island of Møn, before heading off to Zealand - the largest island in Denmark. It’s hard not to get seduced by Copenhagen and its colourful façades along the Nyhavn canal or the Tivoli Gardens - a famous amusement park, so I made a mental note to come back there someday. From Zealend we cruised forward across the Øresund - a strait which forms the Danish-Swedish border. The road that links both countries tunnels under the strait for about 4km, then sails over it through the mighty Øresund Bridge for another 8km, and it’s one of the magnificent engineering marvels to be admired for its own sake. Our next destination was Malmö where we took a canal tour, relaxed at the Ribersborg beach, and saw the very hard-to-miss ‘Turning Torso’ - a neo-futurist residential skyscraper that pokes almost 200 metres above the ground. On the way to Ystad we took a break to enjoy a taste of sunny Sweden at the beach of Skanör, then grabbed lunch in Trelleborg, and explored a stone ship - mysterious 59 massive boulders called Ale's Stones at Kåseberga. We ended our trip on the island of Bornholm with ruins of Hammershus Castle being its trademark since the medieval times.

Within those days we traversed through a variety of terrain - the Jutland peninsula, the beautiful islands of Fyn, Zealand and Møn, and through part of the ‘Swedish Rivera’. In my experience only few cities in the world give such a buzz that one can wander the streets for hours - Copenhagen is definitely one of them, and we were lucky that our Taste of Baltic project created this opportunity for us to visit the capital of Denmark.

Now, a wave of nostalgia washes over me when I think about those days. But it’s a familiar sensation, a pleasant feeling, warmly fringed by the expectation that although the Episode IV is now over, the Episode V soon will begin.

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Here it is: the Baltic Sea. The place that had been in my memories since my early days. I’m closing my eyes and taking myself back to those days when as a young boy I used to spend the whole summers playing on its white beaches. It’s a small handful of experiences that made me feel happy.

Now, I’m coming back there after many years. I don’t know whether the area presents any interest at all for you, but if it does, let me take you with me and my family on our 6000 km long journey alongside its coastline.

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