The rain stopped just as we pulled into Skagen (pronounced, “skane”). We had no plans or reservations, but June is apparently still the shoulder season, so we had no trouble finding a hotel room right in the heart of town.
In Skagen, you immediately notice that the person with the yellow paint franchise is making a fortune.
Since the sun doesn’t set until after 11:00 p.m. now, we had plenty of time to walk around town.
Skagen has been a fishing village since the middle ages and you can see that fishing, in addition to tourism, is still a mainstay of the community.
The town received its charter to be a royal market borough in 1413, an oddity since, at the time, the town was a mere outpost at the far, northern end of the realm. There was no road to Skagen back then, nor were there streets within the “town” which was really just a couple buildings scattered among the dunes.
The town has grown considerably over the years (this year is the town’s 600th anniversary), in part because the area became a haven for artists in the late 1800s, a topic I’ll discuss in my next post, and in part because the road to Skagen got built, the harbor was improved, and the railroad was extended into nearby Frederikshavn.
After walking through the shopping district (all closed, due to the lateness of the hour), we wandered down to the harbor…
…to look at the old fishing boats…
…and the new.
Most of the fishing boats we saw looked like icebreakers. Notice the bulbous battering ram at the waterline on the bow of this one:
That would make sense, given that they most likely fish in the notoriously rough and cold North Sea.
Skagen’s harbor is very active and there are huge warehouses, fish processing buildings, shipyards and maintenance facilities supporting the fishing fleet. There were tractor-trailers coming and going at all hours, hauling the fish South.
And we can attest that the seafood that comes from this place is outstanding. We ducked inside a seafood restaurant along the harbor for a terrific meal of Halibut potato salad and fish chowder before calling it a night. Mmmm, mmmm, good.
P.S. Around midnight, we were roused by a party going on just outside our room on the patio we shared with our neighbors from the hotel room next door: several Norwegian women on holiday; I will call them the Viking Ladies.
I went to the half-door window, opened it and looked out to see what was going on. The Viking Ladies were gathered around a half-empty bottle of Jægermeister talking and laughing.
When they spotted me at the window, they came right over and started chattering away in Norwegian with a little broken English mixed in – until they saw Dale – then they made a hasty retreat, back into their room, muttering, “we no want trouble; no, no trouble.” The noise died down for a while, then started up again around 2:00 a.m.
We saw the Viking Ladies in the sand dunes the next morning, still having a good time. Those Norwegians are a hearty bunch.