My Danish friend Maria blogs as http://mariaholm51.com about travel, history, culture, baby care, and her life in Denmark. Her Day 14: Recreate a single day, describes, along with photos, the trip that she and her husband, Henry, took from Jutland to the lovely village of Stenstrup; birthplace of my father, Hans Pederson who lived from 1864-1933.
Here is her story. It brought me tranquility.
“Would we manage to find the big estate Løjtved where Hans Pedersen’s grandfather had worked and where Hans had played as a child and probably also helped in the fields and in the garden?
The village looked much nicer than many Danish villages today. Many are more or less abandoned. The Church was a typical Danish white church and the church yard was very well-kept. The graves are divided by low rows of bow trees and the ravel paths are tidily raked.
At this church Hans was baptized and confirmed and from the tower you could easily see the estate where his grandfather was working as a day worker. Hans’s own father has not played any role, but just disappeared from the scene. Hans only got his surname after him. His mother had to find work ten kilometers away so at that time it meant that Hans grew up with his grandparents. There are a few old houses along the country road close to the estate “Løjtved” we found the house Hans Pedersen lived in by comparing our picture with a picture in a book on Hans Pedersen.
We had breakfast very early so I was so hungry at twelve o’clock so among the few shops in the village there was a lovely bakery with fresh bread. We got some whole grain rolls and had our own coffee at a bench in front of the church. Beside the bakery was a flower shop and it was really a fine shop with very fresh flowers. We bought two different kinds of flowers for gifts. In the bigger cities prices are higher. I asked the girl in the shop:
If she knew anything about the famous Dane who came from this little spot? No she was sorry about that and she came from a different town nearby.
We drove to our next destination twelve kilometers away to a church called “Bregninge” where Hans, as a school child, had been on a school excursion. We drove to the island of Taasinge via a bridge, but at that time the schoolchildren had taken a ferry. The church is famous for the view from the tower as you can see 65 other churches on a clear day !
Even on the day we went up other tourists were there as well, families with young children. So it’s still considered an attraction. The area is one of the most charming places in Denmark with water around, woods and small half-timbered houses.
I now make my story about Hans. He wanted to show his good grandparents, who took him in as their son, that he could make a living and he emigrated to America at the age of eighteen and he really did well in life. He started as a gold digger [in the Klondike Gold Rush] and learnt to build in Seattle, Washington and then took the next step to become a builder himself.”