Day 17: Thursday, July 18 ~ Exploring the South of Bornholm

Our trip to the south. Blue is the bus route, red is our 5 km of walking.

Today, we decided to explore the southern part of Bornholm, which is quite different from the Northeast, where we are, although it turned out that the description we had read was a little misleading in a good way! After a leisurely breakfast we got on a bus around 9:45 that took us along the coast to a stop near the most spectacular of the southern beaches, Dueodde, which is at the very southeastern tip corner of the island. Based on Peter’s and the guidebook’s description, I expected miles and miles of Florida-style beach with nothing else, and–also Florida-like–quite a lot of tourists bathing or at least sunbathing. Instead, we found a gorgeous wide swath of sandhills–a coastal landscape that Andrea and I LOVE and associate with the Atlantic–covered with grasses and wild roses and little rain ponds, and then an almost empty, wide stretch of beach with occasional access points that were at most used by a dozen people. The weather was gorgeous, so I don’t think this is atypical–what counts here as the busy tourist season is just a very calm and quiet time. We loved it, and it was such a delight to find out that Bornholm had yet another lovely side to it that we had never seen.

The dunes by Dueodde
Andrea and Peter in their happy place (and ours)
Antje’s happy place
More happiness (I do not remember what cracked us up)
A big empty beach for our bare feet
A little rest
Andrea insisting on another version of “Mark and Antje at the beach” photo (the first taken in 2012)

We walked back from Dueodde about 3 miles / 5 km north along the beach, the first 3/4 barefoot on lovely white sand (and with our routine sandwich break along the way), until we got to a little harbor town called Snørebaek. We had some coffee and looked at the sailboat harbor (which surprisingly also had a small sauna with a huge big picture window to the sea!), and milled around in a couple of tourist knick-knack stores, but the idea was to catch the bus within a half an hour and continue on. But the bus didn’t show, and since they only come every one and a half hours, that became a problem rather quickly. Peter eventually found an app that actually sent live delay updates, and found out the bus was running 45 minutes late. We were pretty crabby and very bored with Snørebaek when it finally showed up after an hour (later, we learned the bus had had a flat tire and that this was the substitute bus). The remaining 45 minutes of the bus ride were mostly inland, with occasional glimpses of the sea, and then we were in Rønne, the harbor town and “capital” of Bornholm where we arrived. We walked around the city center and the sailboat harbor for a little bit, and bought some snacks, but the city struck us as not very distinctive or interesting (it looks very much like any other small coastal town in Germany or Denmark), and then took a bus that took us PUNCTUALLY and ON THE MOST DIRECT PATH back home in 40 minutes, across the middle of the island.

When we got home, we rested up for just a little bit and then took off to have rather mediocre slices of pizza at a pizza place with an 80s theme (my goat cheese pizza was called “Hungry Like the Wolf”) and some ice cream at Gudhjem harbor, and thenclamber around just a little bit more on the granite formations by the harbor , which were dotted with visitors with their picnics, wine bottles, and pizza boxes. We walked up to the church where we had watched the sunset the other day, and noticed for the first time that the little cemetery next to it had the ruins of the 13th-century church that was replaced by the modern church that is there now. Even Gudhjem still has some surprises after nearly a week of having walked all around its many winding paths. We came home around 8 and hung out, always still blown away by looking out our big French windows in the living room at the Baltic as it slowly gets darker and the lighthouse at Christiansø starts sending its nighttime signal.

St. Anne Chapel ruins in Gudhjem (13th century)
The little self-serve farmers’ garden booth on the way home to our rental (I’ve bought 8 kroners’ worth of white and red onions).