When SVV and I were but students at Danmarks Journalisthojskolen (try saying that five times fast) in early 2006, we traveled more often than not. (Most students at European universities would likely tell you the same.) But as opposed to Holland where we were often off frolicking in Spain or Morocco, Hungary or Romania, we kept most of our travel within the country. So when we were given a nice long break for weeks upon end, we found a few spots around Denmark that looked really appealing, packed up our bags, rented a car and left. Which is how we wound up on Møn after seeing a picture that looked something like this. Who wouldn’t want to go there—am I right? So on the last leg of our circumnavigation of Denmark, we detoured from Zealand to the island known for its famed cliffs, Møns Klint. What we found looked more like this:
But let’s rewind. The Danish countryside isn’t the easiest place to locate a selection of lodging. We had managed to find the only semi-budget accommodation on the island and booked it, which was a hostel-like version of the hotel in The Shining. I think there might have been two other guests staying in the entire sprawling manor, and we never saw the staff again after checking in the first night and receiving our key. Creepy, no? I remember our room was snug—in most parts of Denmark, hostel accommodation is private “suites,” not dorm rooms—and that we cooked macaroni and cheese with ham in the communal kitchen, a gourmet meal for budget travelers as ourselves. We stayed in this particular place for the steal of 35 euro a night a person (or the equivalent in kroner), which is the cheapest rate you’ll find in such an expensive country, and were told the cliffs were “a short stroll” away. Danes are an athletic, energetic bunch, and a “short stroll” for them turned into a “solid hike” for us.
An hour, some steep wooded passes and a few gushing streams later, we found ourselves down on the beach. Only the weather was crappy—it was cold and drizzly—and the scene was less than idyllic. The cliffs are made of limestone, and the run-off makes the murky ocean water look like spoiled milk. We took a short walk on the sand until I began to sink with each step. Deeper and deeper I sunk the further we strolled, until at once I dropped calf-deep into the seemingly bottomless mud—almost never to be seen again! OK, maybe that’s a bit dramatic but I did almost lose my shoe. Close call!
But you don’t get lucky twice, because a bit further down the beach, one of my Merrell mocassins disappeared entirely—this time truly never to be seen again!
But the most challenging part of this scenario was yet to come. By this point we had walked pretty far, through “fields” of quicksand, me wearing only one shoe, and couldn’t find another route up the cliffs—did I mention the hotel was located high above the sea?—until we encountered this:
Sane people would just turn around and brave the wide expanses of quicksand again, following their footsteps back to the beginning, right? All signs would indicate that we are not those sane people. No, INsane people decide this dilapidated, decrepit stairwell worthy of an attempt. And so, we climbed. Me, in one shoe.
(Sane people also don’t think it appropriate to bust out the camera during such times of peril and document their plights.)
Then, we encountered this scenario. Some might call it a fork in the road; others might view it as an obstacle. But the INsane travelers? They We saw it as an opportunity to exercise our acrobatic skills.
There was some jumping and dangling and a point where my life flashed before my eyes, but eventually we made it to the top, back through the treacherous woods, which were only made worse by my lack of footwear, and into the nearest town where I hobbled from store to store—barefoot, caked in mud—until I found a set of replacement shoes. Just one of many afternoons in Denmark I won’t be forgetting anytime soon.
*Back then we traveled with crappy Nikon Coolpix I could never, would never recommend (as evidenced by our grainy, blurry photos). Now, we use a Canon G11 as our pocket cam and a Canon T1i for the majority of our shooting (with a 17-85mm lens).