Excited to be on the last leg of the trip, we were on the road early. The relatively short 120-mile journey over to Sweden was going to be all about the bridges!
The Storebaelt Bridge links Funen to Zealand. It actually consists of two bridges and an artificial island that spans the 11 miles between the two largest islands in Denmark.
The bridge was opened in 1998 in what was the biggest construction project in Danish history. It took 12 years to complete the project, which transformed the lives of Danish people. Prior to its completion, the only way to travel between the islands was by air or sea ferry. The journey today takes only 10 minutes. The bridge is open 24 hours and costs about £30 each way for an average car.
The Eastern bridge, the Ostbro suspension bridge, is a spectacular 4.4-mile-long structure. Rows of 85-metre-long cables fall gracefully away from two 250-metre-high towers. A tunnel carries trains to Sprogo Island where the motorway and the train track meet. The Western bridge, the Vestbro is a 4.1-mile-long box girder bridge.
Image by By Henrik Sendelbach, CC BY-SA 3.0
The Oresund Bridge links Denmark to Sweden. A 2.5-mile-long tunnel runs from Amager, an island just southeast of Copenhagen, to the artificial island of Peberholm. From there, the bridge runs 5 miles to the Swedish coast. The bridge is also open 24 hours a day but costs around £50 each way for an average car.
The bridge is a key element of the EU’s vision for a Europe without borders. The creation of Oresund region aims to integrate the Skane area of Sweden with the area around Copenhagen. Combined with a cashless economy and multilingual, open-minded citizens on both sides, it allows people to travel between Denmark and Sweden without restrictions.
Image By Nick-D – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0
We reached Malmo around midday, where our son was waiting for us at the apartment he shares with his partner, in the Davidshall area. He was keen to show us round the town that he has made his new home and, after a quick freshen up, we set off on an extended romp around the main attractions.
Trailing in his enthusiastic 6-foot-four wake, taking two steps for every one of his, we took in the sights and sounds of Malmo.
It is a small but charming little town. Rumours of a crime-ridden society fuelled by excessive immigration and a right-wing reaction to this, were completely unfounded. We came across a welcoming ceremony in the town square where new citizens from all over the world were being welcomed with music, applause and open arms.
We had lunch at the Malmo Saluhall, an indoor food hall based in an old warehouse where you can graze on free-range, organic charcuterie, Swedish sushi, oysters, salads, sandwiches, pizzas, noodles, home-made ice-cream and chocolate. Honestly, it’s a foodie’s paradise that’s definitely not to be missed.
After lunch, in temperatures approaching 30ᵒ, we indulged in a spot of people watching at the Western Harbour where locals sunbathed on purpose built wooden decking under the gaze of the soaring Turning Torso tower.
We took a detour home via the glorious Kungsparken before taking some time out to attend to our blisters and re-hydrate before the evening’s entertainment.
That night we ate dinner at Bastard, the restaurant where our son works, where we were joined by his partners parents. We ate outside, managing to keep dry under a canopy as the heat of the day gave way to torrential rain and thunderstorms. The food was amazing. He arranged for a veritable smorgasbord of all their best dishes. Plate after plate arrived at the table; rabbit rillette, oysters and rhubarb, baby gem salad with walnuts and cherries, asparagus and duck egg, cod and sea aster, rhubarb semi-freddo, fig-leaf ice cream. It was all divine.
The kids gave up their bed for us that night and slept on their sofa, as we were heading up to Gothenburg the following day, to return when they both had more time off work.