Stories from the Ancient Road: An escape from everyday life…
That was the theme for our summer holiday once again last year.
A mother and two very different sons – the oldest who lives in a special needs home due to a mental handicap and the youngest who is autistic – decided to spend an active holiday together at a steady pace far from the trivialities of a scheduled life.
We have previously enjoyed camping and bicycling holidays in Denmark, but this time we wanted to try something new.
We were each equipped with an advanced pedometer – fun with a little competitive edge
The stages of our hiking trip were planned so that we could find accommodation, hostels or a B&B every night.
This meant an average distance of 21 kilometres a day. It sounded like a lot – but how time flew when once you got going.
After a few weeks of planning and shopping for the most basic hiking equipment, we took the train and headed towards Vejle. Breakfast at Vejle Station was the start of our hike.
On a warm July morning we left Vejle on foot.
We had planned the first stage of the trip. We had packed our provision at the top of our backpacks and our water bottles were filled. Encircled by nature, and in the tranquillity of our own company, we headed off on foot.
The month of July is stunningly beautiful and the scenery offered one magnificent experience after another. The winding tarmac roads soon gave way to gravel roads and narrow paths as we headed north. We had plenty of time to talk and plenty of opportunity to share the experience of travelling in tranquillity.
We threw ourselves in the grassy waysides, as they do in romantic old movies, to rest and quench our thirst. We were torn out of our everyday lives and were now in a worry-free world. Independent of others and anything else we had everything to ourselves.
My sons noticed that the few people who passed all us greeted us with big smiles, and the boys thought that people in Jutland were definitely friendlier than those from Zealand;-)
We achieved our first goal and were much in need of a bath, a good meal and a game of cards before hitting the sack. It was a lovely end to our very first hiking day.
We kicked off the next morning with a good breakfast. We checked our feet for pressure sores and once we had applied plasters and sports tape we were ready for the next 20 km.
The weather was certainly not a disadvantage – high sunshine and clear skies.
That day we wandered through forests, golden fields, and a long stretch of marsh and wetlands. There were a crazy amount of flies so we grabbed every branch we could to wave the flies away, just like cows do with their tails.
It must have looked funny: three hot and sweaty people waving branches.
When we reached our shelter for the night we did the same things as the day before – and were ready to turn in.
The next day my youngest son’s feet were unfortunately quite sore, which he found very difficult to handle. I found a pharmacy and bought a little ankle support and additional plaster for him since we wanted to reach our 20 km goal.
Well patched-up we set out again. We had a little difficulty in finding the Ancient Road off the major roads, but after 8 km we succeeded. Wow, it was great to turn onto the gravel roads again – away from traffic and noise.
We passed a small eco-village. The local grocery store was kind enough to help us contact a B&B.
Located six kilometres outside town there was to be a large farm where we could spend the night. We wandered through a huge forest in the baking heat. Our water bottles were running low, and there was not a house in sight for miles around. We rationed the water so it would stretch till we reached our goal.
In the forest, down a gravel road, we finally saw it – the farm.
We were staying in a small annex hosted by an elderly couple.
What a welcome we received. They had prepared a table with coffee, juice and freshly baked buns. We enjoyed a two-course dinner, evening coffee and homemade cake – my kids thought we’d made it to heaven!
After a good night’s sleep and a huge breakfast we ventured out again. My youngest son’s feet were now so sore that we only planned to walk 10 km that day, and then jump on a bus for the rest of the way.
So that’s what we did. We reached the train station, bought our train tickets and took one last stroll around the area before boarding the train back home to Ringsted.
It was the end of our first hiking trip – but definitely the beginning of a whole new way to spend our holidays.
The family package list
Good maps of the route
A backpack – 25 to 30 litre
Belt case for things that must be accessible during the trip
Good hiking shoes
Short running tights (to avoid skin rashes on the inner thighs)
Two pairs of hiking socks (a little soap to wash socks)
One fleece jumper
One rain cover
Plasters (various sizes and qualities)
Zinc ointment for any skin irritation under the armpits or on the inside of the thighs
Dry food at the top of the backpack
Playing cards or the like for the evenings