Sometimes, walking is the best way to get around. Yes it might be easier to jump in the car to get from A to B, but the rush deprives you from truly experiencing the environment around you in human speed. Walking is important to our physical and mental health – it is said that 30 minutes of walking each day keeps you healthy. The very act of putting one leg in front of the other can bring you to a mental place of peace, especially if you are able to practice mindfulness as you amble along.
Our family in Næstved had a plan for walking. Næstved, on the south coast of Sjælland, was established as a trade centre in 1140 and became an important religious centre when both the Franciscan, Dominican and Benedictine orders established monestaries and churches here in those early days of converting the Vikings to Christianity. For the rowdy Danes worshipping the White Christ was probably mostly an insurance policy, just another god among the many Asa gods in Norse mythology.
Our first walk was out to Karrebæksminde at the entry to Karrebæk Fjord, where the Grasshopper Bridge connects Sjælland to Enø. This small town was once an important harbour for Næstved, though since the canal was dug deep enough in the first half of the 20th century, this function is no longer relevent. Now residents of Karrebæksminde commute for work or sustain themselves through fishing or tourism. During summer the population grows significantly with holiday visitors. The walk from Næstved is about 12 km.
For the second walk, we drove to Store Heddinge to walk Trampestien on top of Stevns Klint, a 41 km long world-heritage listed formation that provides evidence of the largest incidence of mass extinction on earth about 67 million years ago. When the Chixulub meteorite hit earth offshore the Ycatan peninsula at the end of the Cretaceous Period, it generated an ash cloud and the sediment of the ash and the life that came after the event can be seen as seams in the chalk exposed by the Baltic Sea. The fossil record exposed is outstanding and the flint stone amply available has been crucial to the Northward migration of humans after the last ice age. Similarly, limestone became an important building material in the medival and Bishop Absalon build his fort where Copenhagen later grew up out of building blocks from Stevns Klint. Harvesting of limestone for building materials did not cease until the 1940s and the scars can still be seen, for example near Højerup Gamle Kirke.
Between 1250 and 1300 a church (Højerup) was built close to the sea high up on the Klint. But the sea encroaches on the land by about 15 cm per year in this spot and in 1928 the outermost part of the church tumbled into the sea. A new church has since been built in safe distance to the sea, and the old church has been secured and heritage listed.
Our walk along Trampestien was about 15 km and we caught the train from Rødvig back to Store Heddinge.