Kirstinelyst

Last Saturday, some of our new Danish friends from the boys’ school asked if we’d like to join them at a local campsite called Kirstinelyst. It’s only about 10 minutes from Billund, on the outskirts of a heath (or moor) called Randboel Hede. We are all about new adventures, so of course we said yes, and after bundling up for a cold day outdoors, we caravanned out there around noon.

The campsite features an award-winning shelter that also houses a museum where you can learn about the area and its history (that part was closed though, so we didn’t go inside). The architecture was striking – very modern and clean.

The stark design was seemingly at odds with the landscape (especially on such a grey and gloomy day), until you went around the back and saw that it was all insulated with peat and turf. From that side, the building just disappears.

The cabins were equally as unique. Short little A-frame cabins raised off the ground. Too short to stand in but hey, you’re supposed to be hanging outside anyway! A portion of the floor raises up and locks in place to make a little table (you put your legs down inside the space revealed by the table surface).

First order of business was to gather firewood and build a fire. Luckily, the firewood is provided by the campsite, free of charge. In fact, the whole site is free – you just have to reserve it. Your tax dollars at work!

Our friends kindly provided the treats for the day – fresh-baked cinnamon rolls (the green icing is not a Danish thing, the kids just wanted the rolls to look like ‘camo’), coffee, drinks for the kids, and later, some s’mores for the fire. (Pro tip – get some chocolate-covered biscuits, i.e. cookies, and then all you need are the marshmallows! So good.)

After that, we just hung out for a couple of hours, tending the fire while the kids played in the woods and ran around. Our friends’ kids also each had their own knives, which is remarkable since they are the boys’ ages. Kids here are allowed to have them at this age so that they learn how to handle them respectfully. (I guess the same is true for parts of the US, but it certainly wasn’t common where I grew up!). After talking to M about basic knife safety and use, I let him try his hand at whittling for awhile. He gave himself a little cut but at least now he knows to be careful! B and I took turns as well, because it’s fun to make sharp sticks while sitting around a fire on a cold day.

Once the sticks were whittled and the marshmallows were roasted, it was time for a walk out on the heath. Almost all of Denmark is very flat, and this area of Jutland (the island we live on) is no exception – except for the giant sand dune on the horizon! The dune is called Stoltenbjerg, or ‘Proud Mountain’, and stands 17 meters over the surrounding moors. The sand blew all the way in from the west coast over the centuries! The soil here is very sandy and was eventually farmed by “potato Germans” in the late 1700s who tried to grow taters, precious, but apparently they weren’t very successful.

Of course, a giant sand dune is only good for one thing – climbing up and rolling down. So that’s what the boys did. (I just took in the view.)

Thanks again to our friends for inviting us out for such a relaxing and unexpected day! We’ll have to return in the summer.

 

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