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La Sportiva and Upendo Vibes, second stop: Denmark... and its Desert.
Did you know that in Denmark there is a real desert? We have discovered it thanks to Sandra and Jamie of Upendo Vibes, that with their Van bring us around Europe reaching some incredible and unconventional corners of outdoor's paradise
Denmark is small. I have heard this said many times, almost belittling the country. But there is a lot to see and do there, especially if you are nature lovers. This great, little country offers national parks, lakes, islands, beaches, cliffs and forests. Being not too vast means that it is possible to visit everything in little time. And why not venture north? Skagen is the northernmost town in the country, where we were able to admire a characteristic stretch of sand that extends to the northeast to where the Skagerrak and Kattegat seas meet, generating turbulence. It is the meeting point of air and water both moving in opposite directions, colliding and slapping into each other. We were catapulted into a scenario that looked like it came straight out of a fairy-tale book, or the mind of an eccentric screenwriter. Further afield it is possible to see the ripples of the waves that attempt prevail over each other, in an eternal push towards the direction chosen by the wind that supports them, shouting words of encouragement that are lost in the din.
To enhance this scenery of contrasts were the endless fir trees that surrounded us. If we had been in Italy we would have had to climb to an altitude of 1000m before seeing such dense evergreen vegetation. And then the frozen sand, so hardened by the cold that in some places we could not even pick it up.
If you decide to go north, you can reach the northernmost part of the beach by walking along the shore for about half an hour. Probably it would take less time if don’t not stop to look for strange shells, coloured stones and to take pictures of everything you see. Proceeding in this direction, the beach becomes increasingly colder, and in some innermost sections it is completely covered by a thick layer of ice. On the seashore, however, all the stones are arranged in long lines that end up in the sea, pushed by the wind and trapped by ice in a perennial pose dictated by nature.
As Shakespeare sayd in his Hamlet, maybe “Something is rotten in the state of Denmark”, but they have a desert.
Heading back south, not far away and still on that stretch of land, we find "Råbjerg Mile": a desert to all effects. From the sea we are catapulted in a moment onto a giant coastal dune formed by the movement of the sand through the phenomenon of migrating dunes. The sandbanks are transported by the wind from the coast to the hinterland, forming dunes that can reach a height of 40 metres.
As soon as we found ourselves in front of this sand giant we could not resist the temptation, we started to run as fast as we could, racing to the top the dune. We walked all over it, encountering areas of completely frozen ice and others parts where the sand was piled so high that the heaps were as tall as us. We ran, jumped, rolled, walked, and slid on the frozen sand, struggled against a strong wind that sometimes knocked us over. We spent an unforgettable day enjoying the warm February sun, with sand slipping in everywhere as we rolled and jumped from one dune to another, but who cares. At times like this you become a child again, and nothing seems to matter.
I would recommend all of Denmark from April /May. Both for the cities, that are far too cold to fully enjoy them without dreaming of a bar after just 2 hours, but especially this dune. Go in May and take off your shoes.
Gear: Quake Primaloft. Thanks to the combination of lightweight and thermal capacity, this jacket adapted perfectly to all the day’s activities, from running, jumping and “rolling” on the dunes to the slower and colder walks along the shore. It protected me from the cold without being cumbersome and it defended me from the sharp wind, typical of the North sea.