Most of my family lives around the Vejle area therefore most of my time in Denmark is spent in this region. It’s a beautiful region surrounded by hills and lush green forests. The Vejle Fjord is a spectacularly long one with small beaches and settlements all along it. The water is extremely clear and not too cold. Though there was one time we went swimming at Rosenvold beach along with dozens of jellyfish. Not the greatest swim experience.
It’s a nice city with lots of public space to sit by the river and enjoy the outdoors. The mighty Vejle Bro was built so that traffic could bypass the rather small centre of town. Although there’s still a lot of traffic through town, at least it’s not impossible to get around. There are wind socks at each end of the bridge so you can gauge how strong the wind is blowing. When it’s really windy, you need to have a good, tight grip on the steering wheel as you drive out onto the exposed bridge deck!
The Oldest Building- Sct. Nicolai Church
St. Nicolai Kirke is where the body of a well preserved Bronze age woman has, until recently been lying. Apparently someone decided that she wasn’t someone of importance and there fore her body should no longer lie in the church. Oddly though the coffin is still there but instead of her body, there is a shadow outlined on paper put in the box.
The outside of the church is cool because there are 14 skulls of bandits that have been embedded into the brick.
Jelling is a mere 1/2 hour away from Vejle. Take the old Jelling vej and weave through picturesque countryside, thick forests and winding roads.
Centre of the Viking Universe
Jelling isn’t very big but it has huge historical significance to Denmark and the Viking realm. It was here that Gorm the Old, the first Viking King and direct ancestor of the current Danish monarchy, held court. His court was akin to King Arthur’s mythical round table, only Gorm’s really existed. If you were a Viking of any note, you wanted to be in Gorm’s court.
Jelling Viking Museum
The Jelling Viking Museums is amazing with interactive displays on all aspects of Viking life. AND the museum is free.
The Jelling Churchwas built between Gorm’s and Thyra’s burial mounds by their son, Harald Bluetooth. Harald converted to Christianity and then felt it inappropriate that his parents remained buried as pagans. So, he dug them up, and buried them in a Christian style grave with huge stones over top.
In 2000, the old Jelling church was completely modernized, the stones from floor where changed. The church lost its charm for me but in a land where there’s lots of old churches, it didn’t matter if one was drastically updated. Queen Margrethe II, who is a direct descendent of King Gorm the Old, attended the re-opening of the renovated church. Gorm’s body was moved from under the great stone outside and interned under the remodeled church floor. The place is marked with a silver brick. I don’t know what happened to Thyra though.
World Heritage Site
Jelling Unesco Siteis a UNESCO world heritage site which encompasses Jelling church, Gorm’s and Thyra’s Stones burial mounds and stones. Recently the whole pagan burial site, a ship, is being outlined in white stones. When you stand on one of the burial mounds, you can see how grand the original burial site must have been.