Day 8: Danish Days

Saturday morning we went over to the two Danish Villages, Elk Horn and Kimballton. The former became world-famous in Denmark after a TV program about the town called “Denmark on the Prairie” about the descendants of the Danish immigrants who settled here and who are still called Hansen, Larsen, Petersen etc. Later a couple of very popular Danish TV chefs went to Elk Horn to teach the people here how to cook Danish Christmas food and made two more TV programmes about that.

Both Elk Horn and Kimballton are proud of their Danish roots. We started our visit in Kimballton, whose main tourist attraction is a copy of the Little Mermaid statue in Copenhagen’s harbour. It’s surrounded by 8 smaller statues showing other Hans Christian Andersen fairy tales.

In Elk Horn the main attraction is an old wind mill from Nørre Snede in Denmark which the town bought and brought here and rebuilt. Next to the mill is a shop selling all sorts of Danish goodies from red cabbage to Royal Copenhagen Christmas plates.

In Elk Horn we also visited their Museum of Danish America which told stories of various Danish immigrants among others a great little film where an old man talked about his Danish father and his hard life on the prairie.

Then it was time for lunch but the Danish Inn was closed (and for sale through realtor Hansen!) and the other restaurant in town had oven problems and couldn’t cook anything, so we ended up at the gas station. And actually that wasn’t half bad! I had a nice fish burger and there was the new edition of the Omaha World Herald to read while we waited for our food.

After lunch a quick visit to Bedstemors Hus, (grandma’s house) which was furnished like it was 150 years ago, and then on the road again northwards. This part of Iowa was just as flat and covered by corn fields as yesterday and we had seen rather a lot of those, so today we didn’t mind driving on Interstate 80.

After a while however we decided to leave it and crossed the Missouri, USA’s longest river, into Nebraska, and immediately the landscape changed and became more hilly with fantastic views down to the river and across it to Iowa on the other side of it.

Late afternoon we reached South Dakota and our Airbnb accommodation which turned out to be a very cosy little cottage on a farm far out among the corn fields where we got a very warm welcome from the cat, the dog and all the chicken – the goats Charlie and Lars were less impressed by the Danish visitors. We were just going to unload our suitcases but when we saw the delicious cupcakes waiting for us from our hostess we decided to have a quick cup of coffee before setting off for the small neighboring town of Viborg and their Danish Days festival. This turned out to be the kind of small town festival you might find in the Danish countryside – a few sports games, a few sausages, a few beers and some music from the back of a truck. We tried the local version of Danish medisterpølse in a hotdog and did some people watching round town before returning to our little cottage among the corn fields.

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