Feeling the spring on Bornholm – Part 2

The place where the reality is more beautiful than imagination… We were in the car driving through a small forest road covered with a beautiful carpet of white and yellow anemone flowers, when I heard Hongyi very quietly, as if talking to herself, give voice to her inner thoughts. The reality is more beautiful than imagination! I heard the sentence come alive, I pondered it over in my mind and I asked her to repeat it again. I thought it was such a profound observation that it deserved to be articulated again.

Days later I remembered it again, and I asked Hongyi if I could quote it. It might as well become the new catch phrase for the island that knows how to enchant.

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My favourite shot of the trip. I love the play of colours and nature.

We were on our way to Gudhjem, which translated means God’s home. It is not hard to imagine why when you enter Gudhjem. A charming city of red roofs, picturesque views, sol over Gudhjem smoked herring dish and the world’s biggest ice cream. What else could you ask for?

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Sol over Gudhjem – the red city in all its glory

Reaching Gudhjem I took Hongyi to my favourite viewpoint, a small park behind the churchyard. It has become kind of a tradition to take people to that place. There is a wooden bench perched on the viewing hill, and I have grown so fond of sitting there and gazing out.

Recharging in Gudhjem with pretty views and savouring an obligatory soft ice, we continued our Tour-de-Bornholm to Sandvig, a town north of Gudhjem for a little hiking action.

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Beautiful patterns in nature are all over Bornholm!

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Hammershus, Northern Europe’s largest castle ruins.

There are many hiking trails criss-crossing the island. I love this one, Sandvig – Hammer Odde Fyr – Solomons Kapel – Sandvig, in particular. Water, rocks, blooming bushes and views to Hammershus castle ruins make for a very pleasant hike.

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The rocks of Bornholm.

The hike goes by surprisingly quickly. One moment we are at Sandvig on the eastern coast of Bornholm, the other we find ourselves at the western shores having crossed the island horizontally. It must have been the sun and the postcard views turning us into little Asterix-es and giving us wings.

We reached the Hammerhavn late in the afternoon, just when the last of the captains was getting ready to head out to the sea on his small fishermen boat for a sail tour. We hopped on one with a very witty and sweet captain and cruised the waters of the Baltic Sea looking at the northernmost tip of Bornholm and Hammershus ruins from the sea. A beautiful perspective!

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Hammershus standing tall and proud and pretty.

As we progressed through the day going from a city life to nature to sea, we left one final item on our agenda – the forests of Bornholm. We had a special quest – locate the bornholmer anemone, called blegblå anemone. And we did! Well largely thanks to Hanne’s sharp eye. Scouring the forest we found the cute tiny flowers that covered the entire patch of ground.

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We found them! The blegblå anemone of Bornholm.

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A carpet of flowers lies in front of us.

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Where the road leads to…

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Sunset walk by Gudhjem :)

Time flies when you are having fun. Having accomplished our last mission of the day we started slowly making our way back to Snogebæk. But it was too early to call it a day. The sun was just setting over Gudhjem. The beautiful, soft light was just irresistible. It resulted in a silent admiration of the nature and a fun little impromptu photoshoot.

Photos © Andreas Eriksen & Ani Movsisyan

Feeling the spring on Bornholm – Part 1

My admiration of the solskinsøen, aka Bornholm, is no secret. This small island in the midst of the Baltic Sea took my breath away from our very first encounter on the warm August day nearly 8 years ago as I descended from the ferry docked in Rønne, the capital. Since then Bornholm greeted me on many, many occasions, every time showing the prettiest of its smiles, beautiful as a shy princess, and fierce as a brave knight. There is something really special about this island that just goes to your heart right the moment you lay your eyes on it.

_MG_7981May was my first visit of the year to the island, and I didn’t go alone. Hongyi, my Chinese friend, accompanied me on the trip. May is the period when the rapeseed fields are painting the island yellow, when the trees are in full bloom, when the birds are singing, when the water is azure blue and when the sunsets are a work of art. I think you would say it is called spring. I would certainly agree and send you a smile. However I would also say that to truly experience the magic of spring, you should just once feel it on Bornholm. As it was Hongyi’s second time on the island, my sweet mother-in-law Hanne prepared a grand tour for her or as much as she could fit in the weekend that we were there. It started with getting a bird’s eye view of the island.

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Standing atop a high platform, the island unveiled itself layer by layer from dense forests to fields covered with rapeseed blooms, to windmills and pretty little towns, ending with the blue of the sea.

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One of my favourite roads on Bornholm. I love the curvy shape, I love how the road disappears into the forest, and I love how the view changes with the seasons.

On the way to Snogebæk we stopped at Lilleborg, ruins of an old fortress. Not much of it is left, yet I like going there for its picturesque view. Just standing there and taking in the warm sun, the perfect stillness of the water, the reflections of blooming trees, and the chirping of birds. Ahh I could just stand there for hours…

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Everything on Bornholm is just made for a postcard.

Reaching home to Snogebæk we walked to the beach for some sunset walking. And what a sunset it was! Out of this world! Standing there on a rock by the beach, I felt like I was stepping into a painting, careful even to draw a breath so as not to disperse the magical sight.
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Good night, Bornholm, you have been such a beauty today!

Photos © Andreas Eriksen & Ani Movsisyan

The magic trinity – summer, sun, Snogebæk

A postcard from beautiful fishing village Snogebæk

A postcard from beautiful fishing village Snogebæk

As the weekend comes to an end, I just wanted to share all the summer love and beauty it contained. We are on Bornholm again, back to enjoy some hygge time with our thesis writing. The postcard-perfect nature provides the best setting for focusing your mind, letting your thoughts flow onto your fingertips. In between the long hours of typing away, we also managed to steal a few moments away from the computer screen and enjoy the beautiful surroundings.

Kornblomst, the cornflower, is my favourite beauty of the island.

Kornblomst, the cornflower, is my favourite beauty of the island. So simple and graceful…

On the south-eastern coast of Bornholm, there is one very special place – the village of Snogebæk. This tiny pearl is a true paradise, but you shouldn’t take my word for it, as I might be a little biased, given it is my husband, Andreas’ homeplace. Rather, you should come and experience its mesmerizing beauty yourself. And trust me you will yearn to come back after that one single visit.

Snogebæk has beaches so white and pristine I feel like I am walking in a Robinson Crusoe dream every single time my feet touch the soft sand. If you think this is a picture from Maldives, think again!

This white sand beach of Snogebæk catches my breath every single time.

This white sand beach of Snogebæk catches my breath every single time.

On our previous visit to Bornholm in May, the island was all about an ocean of yellow flowers. A month later all the yellow prettiness disappeared as if Hermione was on the island waving her magic wand and casting some beautiful spells. Instead Bornholm was covered in the sea of white and pink flowers that were in perfect harmony with the rocky beaches.

The colours of Snogebæk in June

The colours of Snogebæk in June

Love the sight of these beauties!

Love the sight of these beauties!

The weekend was also about eating delicious smoked fish. And that is something Snogebæk knows how to smoke properly.

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Bøjsens is

Who can say no to a scoop of this deliciousness? Not us…

That was one beautiful weekend, that passed flew away way too quickly. Hope the sun was shining out there for you as well :)

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Greetings from Snogebæk. This place is just wonderful!

Photos © Andreas Eriksen & Ani Movsisyan

Bornholm – from moon landscapes to yellow-swept fields of rapeseed

Rapeseed fields adorn the island with a sea of yellow.

Rapeseed fields adorn the island with a sea of yellow.

Oh  you pretty little piece of paradise on Earth… This island never ceases to wow me with its postcard perfect nature, burst of colours oozing life, and the smiling sun working its magic on the sunshine island of Østersøen. It is a place you yearn to return to after the very first moment you step foot on its soil. And I do return, over and over again since that beautiful summer day seven years ago. The four siblings – spring, summer, autumn, winter, all cloth the island with their haute couture of the season, each doing their best to create a lingering magic. And the island succeeds in stealing a little piece of your heart every time.

Our first hello to Bornholm this year was just a few days ago in May and May is when the yellow rules in Denmark. It is an incredible sight – a green vastness suddenly turns into a yellow ocean with houses sailing like small ships in the ocean of flowers… That is Bornholm, May and rapeseed fields!

Soaking in yellowness.

Soaking in yellowness.

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Rape flower

Reaching for the sky

The rapeseed fields, as dazzling as they were, was not all that Bornholm had up its sleeve. Setting foot on a moon landscape, yes, you read it right, a real moon landscape, was just as dazzling an experience. No, Bornholm does not have a special alien alliance, or a moon shuttle, or a secret NASA base. It is quite simply that Bornholm has a tiny piece of the moon on its soil. That place is at Kultippen, literally translated, the coal tipping place.

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Kultippen – where the moon landed on Bornholm

For those of you who did not buy into the fantasy story of the moon shedding some of its skin on Bornholm, here comes the boring explanation. Near Kultippen, there was believed to be coal many many years ago, so people tried to dig it out, and by the “virtue” of their kind hearts, they transported all the leftovers from the coal mining, including sand, dust, ashes and garbage into Kultippen area and dump it off the edge of the cliff into the sea. The practice was stopped as there was not much coal to turn into a Forbes 500 venture, but the landscape that now resembles the moon, was left as a heritage from those entrepreneurial days.

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This place makes for a surreally beautiful walk.

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The wagons used to transport the coal trash from the nearby mine to the tip of the land. They are now left as rusting reminders.

The nature is gorgeous and secluded, apart from the occasional runners, the chances are you will be discovering the moon all by yourself.

This was May on Bornholm. Beautiful, as always!

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Soaking in the view.

Vi ses :)

Photos © Andreas Eriksen & Ani Movsisyan

Easter egg hunt on Bornholm!

Guess who we just met? The Easter bunny of course :-)

In my homeland, the highlight of our childhood memories around Easter is the egg fight with coloured eggs. We boil eggs in water filled with onion shells, which gives them a dark red colour. Then we hit the road to test the strength and durability of the eggs with kids from the block. The winner of course gets to take all the eggs home.

In peace-loving Denmark everything is centered around Easter bunnies – Påskehare. The bunny is a funny little creature that likes to hop around gardens and parks and leave chocolate eggs hidden under small bushes and stones for kids to find.

Our Easter bunny is a world-traveller, he has been following us in Berlin and in Paris and now on Bornholm. The only place he didn’t make it to was China, I guess he was having some concerns of being eaten down there. He can’t be blamed… This year we found him on snow-covered Bornholm. He has planted many eggs in the garden of Andreas’ grandfather’s summerhouse. Now it’s time to indulge in the chocolate bliss.

Happy Easter all!

55×15 – where latitude meets longitude…

Bornholm, Bornholm… Here we meet again – this time for our efterårsferie retreat :)

Bornholm has quite a few picturesque wonders up its sleeve. The thing I love most about it, is that the island never ceases to amaze me. Despite its small size, it is like a magician’s box, you are always in for some exciting show.

This time it is not about its pretty nature, colourful fairy towns, white sand beaches and beautiful castles, no it is a pure geographic matter, but something that Bornholmers are proud to showcase to the visitors. In the south of Bornholm, in Østre Sømark near Slusegaard, there is one special point, called “geografisk knudepunkt”, where 55 degree north meets with 15 degree east. The thing that makes it even more special is that Bornholm is the only place in Denmark where the longitude meets latitude.

This 15 degree longitude is used to calculate the Central European timezone, i.e. the sun is at its highest peek at 12:00. This line passes through the town of Gudhjem in the north of Bornholm, so the timezone ala Bornholmsk is also called “Gudhjem time”.

En route to the where longitude meets latitude

This is where the magic happens :)

The tech proof - for the modern non-believers of ancient wisdom

Just a few meters down the hill you will find this paradise beach – Østre Sømark

Østre Sømark - white sand beach

Bornholm has the most stunning sunsets

By the car park another narrow path leading right takes you to a small cluster of straw-thatched houses. It is an old watermill farm. Inside the main building there is a small pond, that was used for catching and breeding trout. In the season, when the trouts are breeding in the streams, a lot of water is pushed out to lure the trouts up the stream. They get captured in the water basin, where they are captured to breed.

Slusegaard Vandmølle

Hej fra Bornholm :)

Hej there!

This is an impromptu post, as I just published my first blog post on denmark.dk, I of course wanted to share the story here as well.

It is about a beautiful island tucked away in Ostersøen (Baltic Sea),

where the churches are round…

Østerlars Rundkirke, the biggest and oldest round church on Bornholm (there are four round churches in total)

the beaches are white…

Snogebæk beach - the sand is so white, it can easily compete with sought-after tropical beaches

the fields are golden…

Bornholm fields - the changing seasons paint them from beautiful yellow and green to golden and white.

the sunsets are amazing…

Sunset on Bornholm @ Rønne harbour

the cities are charming…

Charming Rønne - the world's smallest capital

the herrings are smoked…

Herrings drying out and getting ready to be smoked

and you always find yourself on a rock-solid ground

Hammershus Castle Ruins - Northern Europe's largest castle ruins

BORNHOLM!!! The pearl of the Baltic Sea and Denmark’s sunshine island! It’s the world’s most beautiful island, I am totally biased mind, as my husband comes from this island, but honestly it’s is such a charming paradise to be. If you ask the Danes, they will mostly have school memories associated with it, as it is a near-mandatory destination for school trips in 6th-8th grade. Probably you even heard this famous song about the island (which during summer season plays over the speakers in Bornholm ferry upon arrival in Rønne :) )

“Bornholm! Bornholm! Bornholm!

Du, min dejlige ferieø!

Bornholm! Bornholm! Bornholm!

Ved den herlige Østersø!”

It’s a place where we escape often to relax and be in the beautiful and serene nature. Our last trip was a few weeks ago, devoted largely to hiking around the island, a magical experience and highly recommended. Below is one of the hikes we did.

Hammerknuden Hike Route – 8 km can be done in 3-4 hours

Dubbed as one of the most scenic routes in Denmark it starts at Sandvig camping site

View to Sandvig Beach and Allinge

The route around Hammerknuden will take you straight past these highlights.

Hammer Odde Fyr - the "new" lighthouse from 1895

Solomons Kapel - when the fishermen don't want to come to the church, the church comes to the fishermen. The chapel was built here as it used to be a very active herring market.

The island's northernmost point - on clear days you can see as far away as Sweden

View to beautiful Hammershus

Hammer Fyr - ideal for a picnic, climb up the lighthouse for gorgeous views across the sea (free entrance)

Nordbornholms Røgeri - the best smokehouse on Bornholm, finish off your hike here

If this inspired you to head east, don’t hesitate to get in touch, I am happy to share our tips for Bornholm. Or if you have already been there, it would be lovely to hear about your adventures :)

Vi ses…

Photos © Andreas Eriksen & Ani Movsisyan