Bent and Vivi had sshown us a lot about Denmark and had taken us to some of the cities both near and far. What we discovered was that the town we liked best was their very own. Sonderborg.
They wanted an opportunity to show us some more of the local flavour so Bent took us on a guided tour of the town and the immediate surroundings. It was very personal and we found it enjoyable. We walked to the harbour in the morning to check out the shops on the plaza that went through the middle of the town.
The harbour was alive with activity. The Royal yacht was parked outside the palace and guards and onlookers were enngaged in conversation. We didn't see Mary anywhere but apparently she was on board or in the Castle.
Before long, Bent picked us up in his car and drove us around the town and its surroundings. Sonderborg is pretty close to the current border with Germany. There were a number of conflicts over the last few centuries and ther borders changed many times. The changes made languages taught at school, taxes and other issues very complicated. The latest changes were the result of a vote taken by the residents in the contested region. They were asked to nominate whether they wanted to be considered German or Danish. After the vote, the border was drawn up according to the statistical result of the vote. As a result the border zig-zags all over the place. Fairly recently, on the 14th of June, 1985, the Schengen agreement was signed. It removed border controls within the Euro-zone. Many markers still show where the border lies. The one pictured shows a right angle bend. I'm standing in Denmark but my finger is in Germany. Bent took great delight in showing us and explaining the history. It was enlightening as, in Australia, recent history hasn't brought any similar impacts on us.
After the tour, we went to dinner on the waterfront. The meal that most of the others chose was called, in Danish, "Prince Frederik's Favourite." It was ox, slow cooked
and smothered with a sause a bit like strogenoff but with less cream and more spices added to the paprika. It was served with new potatoes and other vegetables as well as a number of garnishes and other toppings. I tasted it even though I ordered the Salmon steak - which was excellent. I know why it was Frederik's favourite.
After dinner, since there were several hours of daylight left - I still can't get used to that - we went exploring and pulled up at the oldest church in Sonderborg. Actually, it was the oldest building that I had yet seen anywhere, ever!
It was reportedly build in 1206 or something and near it is a barn/stable that was build around the same time. The church is still used. Bent said the it is where his children were christened.