Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Denmark - Jutlandia Cup - The trip

At last I have found some time to update the blog and give an account of our fantastic trip to Denmark. We have just had the most manic month ever with Lune Valley, Denmark and UKA Nationals week. We are both exhausted and although I'm sad not be going to DIN this year (only the third one we've missed), I am also relieved as I don't think I could cope with another full week of agility. I am officially agilitied-out! Hopefully I will find some enthusiasm for the soon to be upon us KC Festival. I have just finished designing my courses, talk about leave it to the last minute!

Back to our Denmark trip then; the one part of the trip that we weren't looking forward to was the drive from Calais to Vejle in Jutland which totalled about 1000 km. Jutland forms the mainland part of Denmark as well as the northern most part of Germany. Next year the show will held on the middle island and instead of the Jutlandia Cup will be the Fionia Cup. The week long show rotates between the three segments of Denmark.

We set off really early to catch our ferry from Calais at 6.00 am on the Thursday morning. We were there in plenty of time and had a calm crossing, even so I felt sea sick despite taking Sea Legs the night before. The dogs were absolutely fine during the 90 minute crossing and when we returned to the car they greeted us with yawns and stretches, a sure sign that they'd been fast asleep.

The obligatory photos you just have to take when you're on the sea!

The receding white cliffs of Dover

I elected to do most of the driving so that Andy could keep an eye on the map even though we had borrowed Michael's Tom Tom which he'd very kindly updated with European maps. We took the direct route via Bremen but with hindsight this was the wrong choice as once we got into Germany there were hundreds of miles of roadworks which cost us a lot of time. We also got stuck in traffic at the New Elbe tunnel in Hamburg as it was rush hour by the time we hit that part of Germany. We eventually arrived at our destination at 9.00 pm absolutely exhausted. The dogs had been fantastic and slept the whole journey with just one break for a little walk. They were so chilled it was amazing, we needn't have worried about them which of course we did! Tom Tom did us proud and took us right to the venue.

As Andy was judging at the show, the committee had booked us one of the cabins in the grounds of the venue. It was very small and shall we say cosy! At first we wondered how we would cope but once we got all our stuff sorted out we actually really enjoyed the cabin. The dogs soon settled in as you will see from the photos below!

Our little cabin with our make shift dog guard!

Inside the cabin where Kizzy has made herself at home - how unusual for her (not!)

We took along each of their soft toys for the journey/night time. Niamh has 'Prongo' her favourite toy in the whole wide world. She still hasn't realised she has two: one for the caravan and one indoors. She thinks he follows her everywhere! She spends most evenings suckling on this favourite toy which she has had since a puppy.

Kizzy and her best friend 'Wilson' who sleeps with her every night.

Zeki with her bedtime toy: 'Sleepy Duck'

The venue has lots of walking straight off site so we were very lucky on that score. You could walk for miles down the long cycle track or go beyond the football fields and out into a huge forest. The dogs picked up a few ticks along the way but we had taken our little tick removers with us. Don't know how we managed without those.

We had a lovely couple of days relaxing before the show was due to begin on Monday. Johanna arrived on the Friday and a group of us scoffed pizza outside the cabins with lots of red wine. Very pleasant!

I am going to write a separate posting about the competition itself, this posting is really just about the trip. So onto another fun event. Mid week during the competition they hold a big dinner in a huge function room. We went along and had a fantastic time. I even remembered how to do a quick step but it was very difficult because I was wearing crocks and anyone who dances knows how hard it is if you can't slide your feet across the floor. Andy kept leading everyone into a silly line dance, we couldn't get him off the floor. It was a great evening and all over too quickly. We had quite a bit to drink but made sure we also guzzled loads of water so didn't get a hangover - unlike some of our new friends!

During the evening we were treated to a freestyle routine from Johanna and Soda which was first class. Soda was brilliant especially as the floor was so slippery and right in the middle of the routine she was joined by a young child. She was amazing and just took it in her stride and got on with her job.

Here are some pictures from the party night:

The stupid line dance

New friends from Denmark and Germany

Jeanette and Annette with whom we spent loads of time and became great friends. We hope they will come on a trip to the UK sometime to try out agility UK style!

Johanna and Jeanette

During the week there was a day off competition and so we took the opportunity to do a bit of sightseeing. We found an amazing beach near Fredericia, the water seems so much clearer than anything we see at home. I guess that's because the population is so much smaller than here.

So that was our trip to Denmark apart from the agility of course! We had the most wonderful time and really look forward to going back hopefully next year.

We travelled home on the Sunday morning having had the dogs flea/tic treated the day before. Our ferry was booked for 11.00 pm so hopefully we had allowed ourselves plenty of time bearing in mind the very long outward journey.

We decided to pick a slightly different route home so as to avoid the roadworks. So instead of going via Bremen we took the slightly longer route via Hannover. We made a good choice because the route was much more pleasant with lovely views of the German country side and no roadworks. Most of the journey is through Germany where there is no speed limit on the motorways unless stated so I stuck my foot down and we flew back to Calais. The only scary thing is that you can look in your mirror to overtake (bearing in mind you're doing over 100 mph) and there's nothing to see, you look again before pulling back in and there's a car right up behind you. Some of the cars travel at immense speed but you soon get used to it. We had one little mis-communication with Tom Tom and came off the motorway and ended up driving through Brugge which was very beautiful but not quite what I wanted especially when I found myself on a tram track. Luckily we escaped without harm!

We arrived back at Calais in time to catch the 6.40 pm ferry so well ahead of schedule and luckily they put us on the earlier ferry with no surcharge. The dogs sailed through the pet passport check much to my relief and soon we were heading back to Dover.

The crossing took longer than expected as there was quite a brisk south westerly and the boat took a while to get out into the channel and a few times shot up in the air and banged down on to the sea. Quite scary. The only good thing was that because it was so choppy the captain engaged the stabilisers and that made a huge difference to my journey, I didn't feel half so travel sick as on the way out when the sea was actually dead calm! We took nearly an hour docking though, first of all we had to wait outside Dover harbour to be called in as the vessels were having a problem coming alongside but eventually it was our turn and it took over half an hour for our captain to get the ferry alongside so that we could disembark. The wind really was pretty strong and causing them lots of problems.

Andy did the last leg of the drive from Dover to home and I fell fast asleep in the car having driven solidly from 7.30 am until 5.30 pm with just one short stop. Once again the dogs were angels.

When we arrived home it was so lovely to be greeted by our other three who had been delivered home by their babysitters. All our dogs had a wonderful time whilst we were away including the three that stayed at home and we are so grateful to Dennis and Bernadette for looking after Burphy (as they became known) and Dan and Mac for cossettng my precious Poppy. Here she is lounging on their (new) sofa.

We have made some lovely new friends and had the best time. Thank you to Johanna who looked after us so well as always it was great to spend time with you!

1 comment:

  1. Wow, Denmark looks beautiful!! Not how I imagined it at all (although I don't know why!)

    Glad you had such a good trip. Definetely something I would like to try one day! :))

    Enjoy your little bit of time off before KC!! C u there :)