The Plan

When sketching out the week I decided we should set up a couple of events of our own. Keen cachers do this when they visit new countries because it means you can claim a new icon type in a country without having to find someone else’s event. As it turns out, events are not exactly hard to find in Copenhagen, so we needn’t have bothered. But anyway, we decided to do our own ones, and chose to do one each at the cathedrals of Roskilde and Lund. Hosting your own event means you’re kind of obliged to go to a place on the day you planned, regardless of the weather or anything else. So this was our day in Roskilde.

The plan was to cache as much as possible and then fill time with a trip to the cathedral. Our event was set for 6pm. After the event we planned to have dinner in Roskilde before taking the train home, just for variety.

Getting There

So after breakfast it was time to test the Danish railway system. It wasn’t exactly much of a challenge, but it was our first time. The plan was a direct train from Copenhagen Airport to Roskilde. I had researched the Copenhagen City Pass and found we could go the Roskilde with a “City Pass – Large”, so I got them on my phone and off we went.

The metro journey from our nearest station (Kastrup) to the Airport must have taken 30 seconds. Then a walk along a couple of concourses before reaching the ticket hall for the main station. We didn’t really know what to do (mainly because we didn’t know which train to get on), so I asked an assistant and was told I need to get on a train for Slagelse. And if you run, there’s one in 4 minutes.
“Do you need a ticket sir?”
“No thanks, I have a City Pass”
Cue peculiar look.
“I have the Large City Pass.”
“Oh, OK, that covers it.”
So “Cheers, Big Ears” and off we hopped to Platform 2.

The direct train takes under 30 minutes, partly because it doesn’t go through Copenhagen Central Station. So cool, here we are then.

A Most Peculiar Raceway

Our first few caches were south of the station at the Roskilde Ring. This is an old motor racing circuit that hosted some Formula 1 races in the early sixties. Stirling Moss described it as peculiar because it was built inside an old gravel pit. It consisted of multiple steeply banked curves and no real straights, and had a total circuit length of under a mile.

Anyway, drivers didn’t like it, so “big” races didn’t last long there. New housing in the area meant residents didn’t like it either, and it was closed in 1969. It’s since been parkified, and hence suitable for hosting geocaches. There were a couple of “real” ones that required some bush-whacking to get to, and a set of labs. There’s a path around the outside at the top of the banking, and you can tell the race circuit must have been very steep on the corners.

Ziggy-Zaggy

After the Roskilde Ring, we headed back into town to begin the day’s “area clearance” exercise. That was the plan, anyway. As ever, it didn’t quite work out that way.

In between the station and the cathedral there are 2-3 streets running east-west. Our caches were laid out so we could zig-zag along those to clear most of the area south of the cathedral. It proved to be pretty fast going here. There wasn’t really a lot to see, and our speed over the ground was faster than yesterday, if only because it was about 10 degrees cooler and distinctly rainy-looking.

At the end of this zigging and zagging we were ready for a drink and a short rest. We’d missed a couple of caches due to inaccessibility or just not being able to find them, but we’d still reached a decent tally. We stopped at a local coffee shop for a 15 minute break.

Big, Innit

After coffee, our paths took us past the cathedral for the first time. This was very much of a walk-past though, as we were in the caching zone, and planned to come back later for a proper walk round later. Our path took us to the west edge of the inner ring-road for a couple, but we were finding we were missing a lot of the caches.

There was one particular series where we pretty much could only find half. That was disappointing, both because it means fewer finds and it means wasted time. It turned out eventually that we weren’t really short of time, but it makes the game feel slow if you walk for something and then ultimately don’t find it.

Moving on, our path took us downhill through Byparken and past a couple of old monastery sites. We were continuing to miss most of the cahes in the day’s “Moby Dick” series. By this stage, I was so irritated with that particular series that I just moved on if we didn’t find it in a minute or so. Better things to do.

Roskilde Fjord

The harbour at Roskilde is on the banks of the Roskilde Fjord. In my mind, the word “fjord” conjures images of deep glacial valleys with waterfalls. I guess my mind is pre-occupied with Slartibartfast. In any case, Roskilde Fjord is not at all like that. There’s no waterfalls or cliffs or rocky outcrops. It’s kind of a bay. So clearly the word has a meaning that is broader than the average English person would imagine. It’s still quite pretty though.

The harbour had a cafe, and Ami was done with walking for a bit. It was only about 2pm, so she was happy to sit there with a drink and read her book while I continued caching. There was a series of labs in the harbour and then another to the west at the site of the old pyschiatric hospital. It was 2-3km round but I figured we had plenty of time. All was well aside from (again) that there were two physical caches I couldn’t find. That slowed me down a bit but we weren’t short of time, so I wasn’t too bothered. The walk gained me 11 finds in an hour, so not too bad.

Ami was where I left her, which is always good. So I say with an ice cream for 10 minutes and then we started to walk back into town. It looked like we’d have plenty of time for a nosey round the cathedral.

Roskilde Cathedral

We arrived at just after 4pm and they closed at 6. Convenient, because our event was right outside and started at 6. So anyway, if you’re used to the medieval cathedrals of England, then Roskilde Cathedral is a surprise. It has a similar shape, although the spires are particularly pointy, but the very obvious difference it that it’s entirely made of bricks. The style is apparently known a Brick Gothic. The fact that it was mainly built in the 13th and 14th centuries makes you wonder what levels of diligence were applied and what tools were available to build such a massive structure out of bricks without having things off level or off vertical. They did a decent job.

The inside is also brick, but it’s mainly painted white, with decoration at the topes of the pillars. This contrasts well with the wooden furniture and interior fittings. I guess big windows and white walls make it feel light even in the depths of a Scandinavian winter.

Last Resting Place of the Danish Kings and Queens

The cathedral is home to many of the tombs of Danish royalty. Most of them since Harald Bluetooth (who invented wi-fi more than a thousand years before mobile phones were invented) are in Roskilde somewhere. The actual presence of Harald is debated though. If he is there, they don’t quite know where.

Every nook and cranny in this rather large structure is occupied by ceremonial tombs. Where most cathedrals would have private chapels and other religious functions in all the knobbly bits off the nave, Roskilde has tombs. They are generaly grouped with the wife and immediate descendants of the king in the same space. Note none of them are buried. Most are housed in their own very ornate stone sarcophagus. There are underground crypts containing more royals, as well as a few prominent none-royals. I wondered whether they would at some point have to add extensions to the cathedral to accomodate more tombs. A quick read of wikipedia confirmed that’s exactly what they do. The latest addition was made in the 1920’s, although they have also already set aside some space for former Queen Margrethe II, ready for when she needs it.

Upstairs at Frederick’s

Another strange feature is that there’s an upper gallery made of wood than can be accessed. So you get to see the inside from the normal floor level but can also from the different perspective of being halfway up.

We spent maybe 75 minutes inside the cathedral, and it was most welcome as the first bit of tourism rather than caching that we’d done. It’s well worth a visit.

An Uneventful Event

At 6pm we had to dash outside for our caching event. When I checked the phone we’d only actually got a promise from one other cacher. She duly arrived not long after 6. She explained that rather unfortunately a caching group from about 20km away had released their own event on the same day and at 5pm, which meant they couldn’t do both even if they wanted to. Well, bum to them then. It was a quiet event and we eventually just gave up at 6:20, because it was clear nobody else was coming.

And so to Dinner

We didn’t stray far from the central square for dinner. We found a nice-looking and friendly restaurant where we grabbed a quick meal before heading back to the railway station.

It was past 8pm when we got to the station and that meant it was nearing 9pm when we eventually made it back to the hotel. It had been a decent day of caching, with a good interlude for one of Denmark’s most popular tourist locations.