The Jewish Chronicle



lar restaurant MeMu, the only place in town to boast a Michelin star. In keeping with Vejle’s modern trends, the walls are bare and white, decoration­s are kept to a minimum, tables are spaced well apart and diners limited to no more than a few dozen per night — all to contain any possible distractio­ns from the true art on display, the food.

Forgive me for using a phrase that sounds rather hackneyed, but this was truly a gastronomi­cal journey. Over four hours we had a wondrous 17 kosher-friendly courses placed in front of us, from sea foam served on driftwood (creamy and surprising­ly satisfying) to the single brie with potato and freshly-picked local truffle.

There were three (yes, three) dessert courses at the end, including a single, stunning mirabelle plum in whipped cream with a macaron, and each of the 17 was deliciousl­y complement­ed with a splash of wine selected by our friendly sommelier.

Gourmet dining can so often be a delight for the eye yet leave one feeling peckish not too long afterwards, but this was an exception that truly tested that notion. Our short walk to take in the night air around Vejle’s canals and the pedestrian­ised, winding streets was definitely necessary before the ride back to our lodgings.

The grand Hotel Vejlefjord, a short drive out of town, gives you enough reasons to spend the entire weekend in a dressing gown and slippers — and many of the guests do. This grand spa hotel is hidden among a tall forest on the slopes of the fjord’s northern shore and it’s striking how quickly you become accustomed to seeing people wandering out of the woods wearing just white robes.

This place has a century-old tradition of recovery and recuperati­on: it opened in 1900 as Denmark’s first state-owned tuberculos­is sanatorium, with patients encouraged to use the

FLIGHTS from Heathrow to Billund cost from £98 return with British Airways.

Doubles at Hotel Vejlefjord start from £165, B&B. en.hotelvejle­

tranquil setting and fresh air to heal. Other facilities cropped up around the fjord in later decades; all have since followed the Vejlefjord’s example and turned into luxury hotels.

The hotel’s spa is truly something special, with saunas, steam rooms and seven different thermal baths. Some had good novelty value — it’s difficult not to yelp aloud as you scuttle between the 8°C ice bath and the fire bath at 42 degrees — but the outdoor, heated forest pool was a true delight. I honestly can’t say how long I spent,

For more informatio­n on Denmark go to visitdenma­ EDITED BY CATHY WINSTON

warm and content in the fresh air, because it was so easy to doze off.

Easy though it would have been to spend our waking hours in the spa, or exploring the hotel’s pristine private forests, other attraction­s prised us away. First there was the commune of Jelling, famous for its huge,

carved rune-stones planted nearly a millennium ago to celebrate Denmark’s conquest of Norway and the nation’s conversion to Christiani­ty.

This Unesco World Heritage site is a prime example of how Scandinavi­ans buried their kings under large mounds, surrounded by rocks that form the shape of a ship. It’s a quick walk to the top to take in the view over the ship outline at Jelling and beyond.

Next we were off to Kolding, a halfhour drive on the main road south from Vejle, where a 13th century castle forms a distinctiv­e part of the skyline. Koldinghus is Denmark’s answer to the Tower of London: a one-time royal residence that now houses the crown jewels — although some had been temporaril­y replaced with a polite sign ahead our visit so that Queen Margrethe could impress Emmanuel Macron. Then on to the 12-hectare Geografisk Have botanical garden, to wander in the sun among an eclectic collection of rose gardens, trees and plants from as far afield as Chile and Japan.

Despite the convenient flights, it seems this is a part of the world yet to be truly discovered by most outsiders. The guests at our hotel were almost all from big nearby cities like Copenhagen and Odense, and at breakfast Danish voices tended to dominate around the buffet tables.

I never thought it was possible to travel so little to escape so far.

 ?? PHOTOS: VISIT DENMARK ?? Discoverin­g Denmark with a difference, just an hour from the UK, with spa and culture in peaceful Vejle
PHOTOS: VISIT DENMARK Discoverin­g Denmark with a difference, just an hour from the UK, with spa and culture in peaceful Vejle
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