Friend island vs the Mussel island experience…
Week two in Struer saw a week of adventures, mishaps and luck in equal measure. I unwittingly took on a five-hour straight walk with my partner through a wilderness trail. Watched a Danish dance showcase my partner is apart of and embarked on two lone escapades to two very different islands – I’ll let you be the judge of which island experience was most successful.
The glory of movement (and nature)
The dance showcase was a completely new experience for me. It was quite intimate, the hall filled with family and friends of the dancers and locals along to enjoy the show. Even though I could not understand the language, there seemed to be a lovely sense of comradery amongst everyone involved. The dancers where all from the local dance school and ranged from 4 year olds, to pensioners, to people in wheelchairs – which was great and interesting to see. The dances were wide-ranging genres too and it was great to see the look of accomplishment on all of the dance students faces at the end. My partner is not a native Dane and fully endorses taking on something like dancing if you are going to live in a new country.
The walk, we expected to be a couple of hours at the most, around the lake turned out to be a marvellous, beautiful and fully adventures 5 hours into nature (we did very much appreciate sitting down and a hot chocolate when we got back though!). I have to say it was one of my favourite nature walks I have ever done! We found lots of wildlife, beautiful views, steep hill tracks (I like to call “goats herding tracks”), a Wagtail that almost wacked us straight in the face in the woods and a herd of cows who refused our passage 4 hours into the walk for a good 20 minutes!
Island escapades: A tail of luck and misfortune
Entering the library and finding leaflets endorsing Jegindo, dubbing it the Mussel Island and Veno – meaning friend island. Both alluding to interesting wildlife being a stones throw away; my interest was caught. Jegindo, told a charming tale of a history of trolls frolicking on the island – how could I resist checking out this place? So off I went on the bus the next day. Lunch prepared and raring to go. The driver spoke no words of English and I no words of Danish. We were at an impasse but I still managed to get the ticket to where I wanted to go. I knew that once I got to the island I would see a little church on the approach that would signal when to get off. No church came…
We drove through a little place of lush green fields but not much else – no sign of an island thus far. We came to a small town and the bus docked for quite a while. There the driver was talking in his native tongue. After a short time I realised he was speaking the same phrase. I stood and noticed there was no one there. What I didn’t realise was he wanted me off the bus! I made a Danish bus driver very angry. Off I got apologetically and very confused. I knew I had the right bus, it was the only one that left from the stop. Perhaps the trolls had stolen it away? So I was stuck, in a little town that I had no idea existed. I checked the stop, buses didn’t seem to go back to where I came from… odd. I looked for tourist information. Inside was a room filled with leaflets but not one person. Happily I found a train station, but I needed a card to pay. Safe to say panic ensued and I did shed a few tears out dread of being stuck. Luckily, I did manage to make it back to Struer, by train in the end, but that was enough adventure for me that day!
My trip to Friend island was a completely different Kettle of fish. I got to the stop early in the morning and I was the only one there. This time the driver spoke stagnated English. He told me today the bus was free, which I found strange but I got on anyway. Five minutes later a crowd of school kids shoved their way onto the bus and realisation hit me like a wave – this was a school trip. Kindly though they all aloud me to stay on the bus for free. The journey wasn’t very long and the shortest ferry ride I have ever encountered; with a grand total of 2 minutes tops as apart of it. When I got onto the island the preschool teacher could speak English and showed me the way to the main beach. My faith in humanity restored with these kind people I made my way to the beach, finding pretty shells and making a turtle out of stones (I’m still proud of it). Veno (friend island) Isn’t very big and has a heart shaped lake in the northern quarter which can be seen on google maps. The island was beautiful, very much worth the visit and I got to see my first ever hare! Not just one in fact – but five! Which was incredible to see. If you do ever go to Veno I do suggest you bring your own lunch! There is only one shop on the whole island. There is a beach, woodland, harbour and lush green fields (were there is a high chance of seeing pheasants dashing to and from) to visit when you are there and Veno is also home to the smallest church in Denmark (as seen pictured below).