Development with care. Quality of life, sustainability and the good life. Identity from history and from the landscape. New approaches and approaching the world. Commitment, dedication, and an insistence on quality. These are some of the key words for the ‘Cittaslow’ concept. In 2008, as the first town in Denmark, Svendborg was admitted as a member of the international network of ‘Cittaslow’ towns – because we insist on the good life with all that comes with it. Among other things, we want to focus on quality, sustainability and a stimulation of the senses. This will also be your focus on route no. 9. It will stimulate your palate, your nose, your eyes, your ears and your mind.
Vester Skerninge will give you food for thought and perhaps a tidbit for the palate too. Park your bike and enjoy a bit of Danish history near the old church and the Inn; the latter exhibits some of the most well preserved half-timbering village architecture in the country. It is a Royal Licence Inn, but its birth certifi cate has gone missing! However, historical sources tell us that King Frederik VI paid a visit here in 1788. The church dates back even longer, i.e. back to the twelfth century.
When you get to Vester Åby, it is time to please your sense of taste and your sense of smell. In this area you will find high quality chocolate, beer and cheese products. You should also treat yourself to a stop at one of the small roadside stalls where the locals tempt wayfarers with their fresh strawberries and new potatoes fresh from the fields.
Your senses will be stimulated by the stage that takes you through the lush forests and into the Alps of Funen, which were formed by the Ice Age glaciers. These glaciers also gave us the lake called Brændegårdssøen. With your back turned towards the home farm of the same name, you will be watching one of the biggest cormorant colonies in Denmark, which you may also observe from the path that runs around the lake. A variety of other birds also live and mate here. White-tailed eagle, golden eagle, and other big birds may reward your patience.
School can lead to the weirdest things. Among other things, it can result in the creation of the Filippa apple, which is the quintessence of apples from Funen. The fi rst source, the ancestor tree, still grows near the old school in Hundstrup wearing a bronze plaque with the date 27 August 1937 engraved on it, the date when it was offi cially declared a protected tree. The tree, though, is much older. The story goes that in 1877 schoolmaster Johanssen’s daughter, Filippa, was told in school that you could plant an apple pip in soil and get a tree out of it. She believed what she was told, and apparently, she succeeded. Recall the good story, the old tree and the tasty apples when you next bite a juicy Filippa.