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Sunday, 12 June 2016

Odense, Denmark

My Hans Christian Andersen pilgrimage


I've been an avid reader since childhood and one of the things I like to do when travelling is to explore the areas my favourite authors had lived in. Usually there's a museum attached to the area or house relating to the author and their books. I've been to Hilltop, Beatrice Potter's House in the Lake District, the Chihiro Iwasaki Art Museum in Tokyo (a Japanese friend tracked that one down for me as not many non Japanese visit! Her picture books had been published in English and I loved the water coloured illustrations) May Gibbs' house Nutcote in Sydney, Green Gables on Prince Edward Island in Canada and these were just the children's book pilgrimages! Wuthering Heights is a favourite from my angsty teen years so have been to Haworth, the home of the Bronte sisters as well!

Now that I've established my credentials as the nerdy bibliophile, it naturally follows that on a visit to Denmark I would want to visit Odense, simply as it's the birthplace of Hans Christian Andersen and as a child I loved the story of Thumbelina. 

First thing I learnt about the town of Odense is the name of the town isn't pronounced the way it looks in English, it's not Oh-dens. The 'O' isn't an o sound as its got a line through it, to my ears it sounds more like a 'errrr' sound, so the town is called Err-en- seh.

Second thing I learnt about the town, it's a very, very quiet town on a Sunday! I caught the train there on a Sunday, the town streets were empty! I stayed the night in Odense and then caught a bus to the regional airport at Billund to fly out.





There is a Hans Christian Andersen museum based around the house where he was born, very nice nowadays, but at the time he was born, it was a very poor part of Odense.



Restored cottages with cobblestone street in the area H.C. Andersen grew up.



The house at the end of the street with the yellow walls is said to be the house where Hans Christian Andersen was born and it's now the museum dedicated to him. There's another house in Odense where he grew up and lived in up to the age of 14. The museum was lovely and lively and there were quite a few people there which was nice to experience after not seeing anyone in the streets of the town!

Odense is a pretty little town and easy to explore on foot.

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