Minutes ago I returned from a three-hour tour [1] of the tiny islands of Christiansø and Frederiksø. Christiansø is the name of the largest island of the group of islands called Ertholmene, and these islands are the easternmost point of Denmark.

I shared the “Ertholm” ferry with a busload of seniors visiting from the former East Berlin. Among the two rows of passengers I sat with, no one spoke any English, so I chatted with them in German for the 55-minute trip. I was able to break the ice when I asked them about East Berlin’s beloved pedestrian traffic signals, and the whole two rows of passengers broke out in laughter! (Thanks, John Chew, for showing me your book on the traffic signals!) They told me that they thought I was going to ask them about the Berlin Wall, and were quite surprised to find out that a foreigner was asking them about their traffic signals of all things.

Today about one hundred people live in Christiansø, making their living as fishermen or as artists. My first stop off the boat was the country’s easternmost post office (what else) and three of you will be receiving Bornholm postcards with a Christiansø postmark.

I walked around the two populated islands, Christiansø and Frederiksø. From the mid-seventeenth to mid-nineteenth century, these islands served as Denmark’s easternmost fortress in the Baltic Sea. Christiansø is ringed with a high wall, dotted with cannons around the perimeter. Imagine having a cannon in your backyard! Many Christiansø islanders do. Early May is the time to visit if you want to see the eider ducks and their newly-hatched ducklings. The island was teeming with ducks and sweet black baby birds. I could approach the nesting mothers quite closely yet everyone was warned not to get too close.

The two islands are connected by a narrow elevated foot-bridge and I crossed it to Frederiksø. From there one can see the two large rocky islands to the northwest, populated only by ducks and sea gulls [2].

It was a beautiful sunny day on the islands. It had been foggy and rainy yesterday and I’m glad I arrived in Gudhjem before the rain started. Tomorrow I leave for Boderne on the southern coast, where I’ll stay for three days, exploring Nexø and Dueodde. It will be a long ride there, but fortunately it will all be downhill. I am looking forward to riding through Denmark’s largest forest, Almindingen, located in the centre of the island. My first plans for Thursday are to cycle to Nylars to see the last of the four Rundkirker (Round Churches). I visited Østerlars kirke, the largest of the Round Churches, yesterday.

It’s time now to visit the tiny Gudhjem library. Whenever I visit a foreign library, I tell the staff about the Mississauga Central Library and its website address. Those cyberhits we’ve been getting recently from Denmark: these people are impressed!

Go Leafs Go Come On
Tie the series tonight

[1] A three-hour tour, a three-hour tour, on a little boat…hmm…where have I heard this tune before? The ferry departed Gudhjem at 10.00, arrived in Christiansø at 10.55 on the dot, then left the island at 14.00.

[2] Seagulls, OSPD3

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