The Town of Trails: Esbjerg Denmark

I guess I don’t know too many people who would send their kids to a random school for the day in a foreign country, but that is precisely what I am about to do here in Denmark. If that’s not traumatizing enough, then how about taking them on a 7 mile hike in the afternoon? There are many ways to entertain oneself in Esbjerg, I suppose, and today is promising to not even be terribly expensive!  Ashlee has been here for 6 months and has learned the city trails in and out.  She is eager to give us a trails tour of her town.

Morning comes too soon on this day in Esbjerg as I wake up the twins for their day in Danish school. Annika carefully selects clothes for the occasion. Bjorn throws on whatever he finds at first glance, and I drop them off for the day. I know what you are thinking. It’s kind of dumb to put your kid in this unfamiliar environment in a country with a language they don’t speak. What can they possible gain from this experience? I don’t know. I think that maybe it will teach them boldness and self confidence? Maybe they will not fear the unknown and the unfamiliar as much if they are able to jump into this random situation with confidence? Oh well, they are eager and that’s what counts. Kristoff was not eager, so I am not forcing him to participate.

We have a good laugh at the end of the school day when I pick them up. During the English language lesson the teacher had written the words “woman” and “women” on the board. She was teaching the class about plural words. She asks Bjorn what the pleural to the word “woman” is. Bjorn drew a complete blank and was absolutely unable to answer the question, even though it was written right on the board in front of him. So much for being an expert on the English language! The teacher told us afterwards that it was a pleasure having the kids in class. And, guess what? The kids said they had a great time in school that day! Maybe when they are older they will tell me that they need counseling due to the trauma that going to a random school in Denmark caused them.

In the meantime, I am not worrying about traumatizing children. I pick them up at the end of the day and we head over to the cool old water tower in Esbjerg.

While we wait for Ashlee to get out of class we go to the kids’ favorite park.

Ashlee has plans to take us on a walking tour of the forest trails, and the hike is 7 miles long. Once again we pack a picnic lunch and off we go. The forest trails are beautiful and it’s hard to imagine that we are walking in the middle of one of the largest cities in Denmark.

It’s kind of random. Suddenly we come across some cows in a field. I guess the city of Esbjerg places them here for people in the park to enjoy.

Then we walk across an old garbage dump come city park. An interesting feature here is the rock moat surrounding the dump that presumably catches the rain water off the mounds of trash and sends it to a nearby water purification plant. I find myself wondering if we do this back home.

Not another bunker…..these doggone things are everywhere…..reminders…..I can’t think about it any more or I will go crazy!

The trail eventually brings us to the sea where we run into these huge statues! I swear they are taller than anything! The kids try to climb up on them, but the paint on the statues is far too slippery to get any traction. We note that if daddy was here right now he is so big and tall and strong he could easily give a kid a boost and help them get up on the statue’s knees. Not this time, kids! Mom is far too short and weak!

Another picnic. Just have to be cautious that at any moment a person might get a wood tick on themselves.

This forest here has some spooky looking trees.

We come across a deer park area that you can walk through, which is set up kind of like a drive through safari zoo. The deer are a little skittish, but Kristoff gets pretty close to this one.

We come across an obstacle course made out of wood. The kids and Ashlee have contests to see who can complete a round the quickest.

Kristoff plays jump over the electric fence….hopefully there are no bulls on the other side…..

Finally we are back at the apartment after a seven mile hike. My hip is aching, giving me an acute reminder that I am no spring chicken. Tomorrow is our last full day in Esbjerg. The next day we will be driving to Copenhagen with a late evening departure for Finland.

For tomorrow we have planned a cycling trip to Mandø Island, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Apparently the sea water is quite shallow in this area, making it a great nesting and breeding ground for many species of birds and fish. There is a bumpy gravel road that leads to the island, which can become flooded over with a a high tide. I don’t think much about the plans for the day, but rather spend the evening cleaning up a bit and doing some packing and laundry. As it ends up being, perhaps I would have been wise to spend some time checking out tide charts.