My wife and I took a trip for only the second time to a city in the center of Dänemark called Silkeborg. To me the area is unique for a number of possitive reasons. First, it's one of the last holdouts for viewing Danish Forests in their natural state. Like most of Europe, most of Dänemark has been cleared of it's forest trees, with the odd exception of pockets of woods here and there and of course the wooded riparian habitats along all of it's waterways. Various forms of Agricultural Enterprizes for the most part have taken the place of the once beautiful forest woodlands.
Silkeborg on the other has an abundance of forests around it and a peaceful quietness about it despite the annual Riverboat Jazz Festival which we just happened to hit at just the right time --> both times we stayed. Actually, our first trip was spent outside of Silkeborg in the town of Bryrup at a Bed & Breakfast (Rum och Frukost) next to the old train station. Our next morning there, I got up early at around 5:00am and took a walk along the old railway tracks which run tourist steam train excursions through the forests then opening up running along side a large lake. The lake was like clear undisturbed glass and the only sound was that of a European Cookoo across the lake making it's presence known. Along with a pair of gliding Swans on the lake making a slight ripple in the water behind them, the scene was a restful & beautiful one. I could have sat in a chair by that spot on the lake and drank coffee all morning taking in & soaking up that whole experience for another 2 hours or so.
|One of the first things you'll notice on the way traveling there are the dominent flower called Corn Poppy (Papaver rhoeas) in the large meadows and farm fields.|
There were of course crowds there for the Riverboat Jazz Festival. I like the various Jazz Musics and such like, but so many people in and around those tents, it was hard to find a place to sit or stand. We heard one Latin Jazz Band and we wanted to listen, but again the crowds were overwhelming and when my wife had some woman spill wine on her shoe, so oh well it was time to move along.
Below are some pictures along the river walk pathway and the numerous private boats by which a great number of people choose to visit and participate in the traditional Jazz Festival. My wife also spent much of her growing up in Sweden with her family during every summer on these boats where one can travel the waterways meandering through various water courses along with hundreds of others and all living life on the water. Bar-B-Qs are everywhere. I don't think anyone hardly uses a conventional stove or range on their boats.
|Silkeborg's River Walk Pathway with private boats lining the banks|
|A large number of folks without boats pay for the beautiful steam riverboat excursions which have alot of food, drink and of course a live Jazz Band on board.|
|La Casita Mexican Restaurant in your basic old Danish Building|
It was early and all we were really doing was just lookie-Looing around anyway. We walked along by these old quaint Danish buildings and I past by a window and for whatever reason just happened to look inside. To my surprize and pleasant astonishment, this was the interior decor I saw inside of this Danish Building below here.
|La Casita Mexican Restaurant|
First of all I have to explain something here about Scandinavian restaurants in general. No matter what the theme of the restaurant (Greek, Spanish, whatever) , the decor is almost always IKEA. Seriously, what's up with that ? I've never experienced such a generic lack of artistic ability or imagination when it comes to most restaurant themes here in northern Europe (Scandinavia). So this was extremely out of the ordinary and I didn't even have to look at the signage above my head to know what he theme of this restaurant was all about. For me personally, the idea of going to a restaurant is atmosphere and for a brief moment leaving the world outside. I don't care if there is good food, I can have good food at home. But I want good food with great atmosphere. Here are some more pics of the place and later a bit of history behind this place and it's owner who clearly has worked so hard to pull it all together.
|Front entrance to La Casita Mexican Restaurant|
|And what would Mexican Food be without a Cerveza Corona ?|
|Public Toilette Wash Basin with Mexican Theme Decor|
The day before, we had recommended this restaurant to a large group of friends from Sweden who were with us at a convention there and they ALL gave it two thumbs up!!! They were also impressed by the bathrooms with their decor. This above picture is the communal wash basin. The his and her toilettes are behind this scene and have the similar abundant coloured theme and Mexican tiles you see here. The owner really thought of everthing when it came to decor for her place and guest's experience. The funny thing is that the Salsa was mild, but there was a hotter version (it actually wasn't to me) which most of our friends couldn't take, with the exception of one of them who was from India. Most northern Europeans burn their lips on Katsup, go figure!!!
The place has expanded from when I was there before. They have a back patio area and another indoor dining area. Below is that back dining room and the outdoor porch area and seating along with a Jazz Band playing for guest entertainment. Also one shot of the actual owner hard at work as always over the Bar-B-Q grill.
|Owner Sanne Jensen|
I didn't have a chance to speak much with the owner Sanne Jensen as we could before because their business at that moment was so intense with numerous guests coming and going. But I remember the first time I visited 5 years ago & I was impressed by not only the decor choices and selection on the menu but also the authentic flavourings of the dish recipes themselves. This particular time they only had a shortened abreviated menu for the crowd coming in from the Jazz Festival. Made perfect sense to me. Otherwise any other visit would have been the full Menu selection. My wife and I both had the all you could eat chicken & carne asada fajitas with all the rice, beans, guacamole, 2 kinds of salsa, sour cream, grated cheddar etc etc etc you wished.
Here is a link to the restaurant's website:
Velkommen til La Casita - (Welcome to La Casita)
|Our Guest House|
We actually stayed at a private upstairs guest house loft which was very roomy and very comfortable. You could ask for a squeaky cleaner place that the one we rented. Around the neighbourhood there were a number of walking trails through the forests. We walked quite a bit and passed through what are some private garden summer houses on small lots. This is common in Scandinavia where land is scare and expensive where you find it. But I'll have more on that later in a comparsion of several such communities in another future post.
Silkeborg has alot more to offer for those looking for a relaxed summer atmosphere. You can rent a room almost anywhere or even a complete house if you wish. But I would go there over the more well known Dänemark capitol of Copenhagen any day.