Danish Pilgrimage Denmark Hærvejen (Ox Road) Jylland (Jutland)

Day 26: Gudenåen to Jelling

Gudenåen is the nearest Denmark comes to having a river. It is ca. 160km long and ends in Randers Fjord, originally used to transport agricultural goods and peat.

It was another grey day, as my wife dropped me off at the spot I ended yesterday. Today would be fairly short, 24km, giving me time to see the exhibition at Jelling and the famous Jelling stone, erected by Harald Bluetooth in around 956 – but more about that later.

I continued along Hærvejen (the actual name of the road I walked along) and up the hill towards Øster Nykirke (East New Church) with its fantastic view over the rolling countryside, and on to small village of Kollemorten.

On several occasions whilst walking the pilgrimage routes and Hærvejen, I have passed benches people have put out so walkers can take a rest and honesty boxes where one can take drinks and/or sweets. Here the drinks were stored below ground level, to keep them cool.

The bench above was perfectly placed, halfway through today trip, with a beautiful view, and just as I needed a rest.

In the Viking age, Jelling served as the royal seat of the first monarchs of Denmark. Jelling is a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1994 and the historical sites include a large stone ship (shown by the white pillars in the pictures below), two large burial mounds and between the mounds two rune stones, the Jelling stones, next to Jelling Church.

Jelling Church was originally a timber church from 965, it was replaced  by two other wodden churches, all which burnt down, before being replaced by the current stone church around 1100. The original church was erected as a mausoleum for Gorm by his son Harald Bluetooth.

The museum in Jelling is also well worth a visit, with interactive exhibitions and objects found in the area.

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