As much as I love my everyday life in the city, I also prefer to visit the countryside during Summer. When the sun is out, it is time to go and explore … and get as many free experiences in nature as possible, finding free inspiration anywhere. However, this time I got a little more for free than expected.
My trip went to Fejø, which is a small island at the top of Kragenæs, Lolland in the Southern part of Denmark. Or as the local people like to call it “The Pearl of South Sea Island”.
I went with my family on the occasion of a 90th birthday in the family – and such a special day calls for celebration within new experiences. Our transport to get there was not exactly free (although the smiling ferryman promised that a return-ticket from the island is free, once you have paid one-way to visit!).
Boarding from the 15-minutes sail we are met by this stone, greeting “Welcome to Fejø”.
The big apples surrounding it are not random decoration. The island is known for its many orchards, and since the island only covers an area of 16 square kilometers, it is hard to go anywhere without coming across a fruit tree. The about 460 permanent inhabitants on Fejø are also proud to show (and sell) their food and beverages to tourist, especially during Summer when the number of visitors increase.
But no matter how proud they are of their orchards; it does not come close to the pride of the old village mill.
The mill is situated in the Eastern part of the island which means a great stroll across the landscape – or following the main road – when sailing in from West.
Since 1997 the local mill craft guild (Fejø Møllelaug) has been in charge of restoring the mill. And they have done a great job! In a little more than 20 years the mill has gone from a poor ruin to a full workable mill. With a small giftshop and café for tourists in the bottom, of course 🙂
Entering the garden of the mill for a rest on a hot Summer day in July we are up for a nice surprise.
It turns out that this weekend is the birthday of the Old Mill. The old lady is 114 years old … no need for us to be bragging about bringing a 90-year-old birthday boy, then.
The Old Mill’s birthday is a very special day to celebrate at Fejø.
Everyone on the island seems to gather in one common celebration of the village’s oldest inhabitant. And of course, the Danish flag is hoisted as it should be on a real birthday in Denmark.
Speaking of traditions … You cannot have a Danish birthday without the old-fashioned layer cake. Since this is the Old Mill’s birthday the layer cake and coffee are free for everyone who visits this afternoon (yeah!). The kind ladies in the booth are certainly busy, making sure that all guests are taken care of and bringing cake non-stop from the fridge.
Suddenly fun4free has earned it right to be. I know, this is only once a year, and unless you are one of the permanent inhabitants of Fejø, you also need to add expenses to get there. But free coffee and cake (which they will usually charge you 50,- DDK for) all served with a smile … just because we are here, together. Celebrating what we can do in small communities.
That deserves a BIG virtual pat on the back! Right here in the blog.
(As I said in the beginning; I am a citizen. Which means that my neighbourhood has a café on every corner. And they N-E-V-E-R hand out coffee and cake for free).
Another free, and much approved, fun place to be on a hot Summer day is in the shadows of a tree. In the case of Fejø, it must be fruit trees.
This is where we had our cake, and you can clearly see this year’s harvest getting closer.
In fact, on Fejø they will celebrate “Apple’s Day” the first Saturday in the children’s Autumn-break (week 41). This is a day of great fun and art with apples.
If you can’t wait that long or you don’t have any plans of travelling to the island, you can still have a taste of the Fejø fruits. From September the 7th til 15th a boat loaded with delicious fruit from Fejø will be at the quay of Nyhavn in Copenhagen. This is the annual “Pæreskuden” arriving (the Pear Ship) as it has done for 27 years now. About 70 volunteers are involved in the week-long Meet’n’Greet from Fejø to the rest of Denmark.
Now, that’s what I call good old-fashioned layer cake … as Grandma made it!
It was consumed in great company, and also in the company of local musicians. To keep it in style they played old Danish folk songs, which could just as well have been played in a dark pub late at night.
I do apologise for my non-Danish readers … you will not get this; “Himmelhunden” was a true hit this afternoon!
Before it was time to say our goodbyes, I popped into the gift shop and found these wonderful (very local) beer. Brewed by the mill craft guild.
This is Denmark – so of course you can get beer everywhere, also with your local pride on the label!
I wish you all a happy time in the (late) Summer of Denmark. Or wherever you read this blog from. As always it is my wish to inspire you to find your own fun for free, also on places where you least expect it to be. The saying of the blog is “free experiences, with a challenge for brain, body or both” … in this casual Summer case I get a little loose – and find the free cake (as an award, I guess).
However, all of us have been challenged with both brain (we learned about Fejø) and body (it is quite a walk to move from West to East at the island).
Next time we might rent the bicycles from the mill craft guild (yes, they do that kind of business too!) to make it easier to move along the small side roads from the main street.
Move along your side roads. And find more fun for free:
Read more about Fejø (unfortunately only in Danish text, but pictures are awesome).