Today we experienced what must be one of the worst excursions offered by Viking in their entire portfolio. To say it failed to match its description on their website would be being polite.
You’re promised to visit a lighthouse sinking in the sands, travelling through pretty villages. You also have free time in the “arty” community of Lønstrop. So how did this play out?
You travel on main roads for a while, moving on to country roads with nice enough fields, but barely a village in sight. On route you learn that during the pandemic, funds were raised to move the lighthouse from its precarious position to a new site about 80m inland and fully reveal it in all its splendour. This was a big TV event in Denmark, but kind of removes the point of the tour.
The TV coverage of moving the lighthouse made it a significant tourist attraction, so a car-park has been set up back from the site.
When you arrive, instead of having to walk to the lighthouse a local farmer has transport available (enterprising farmer!) You’re transported in a trailer pulled by a tractor for 15 minutes over extremely rough sandy soil, being shaken about to a degree that impacts anyone with back problems.
You’re dropped off at the foot of an enormous sand dune, which you approach on a foot-trodden path through buckthorn bushes. The only upside is that the farmer’s sheep come to greet you.
At the end of this alleged path, you’re faced with a steep inline on loose sand to reach the lighthouse; steep enough to induce a mild cardiac event in one of our group. It poured with rain, which whilst not Viking’s fault added to this joyous occasion.
You then had the opportunity to face the buckthorn, sheep and bone braking reverse journey back to the coach.
We stopped for pastries, not at the advertised art-deco theatre, but at a small hotel. The pastries and the coffee were outstandingly good.
Lønstrop itself was not the imagined arty community but a very small, largely sleepy township with one or two “galleries” better described as souvenir shops.
We’ve never been so glad to board the coach to return to the ship.
Viking describe the tour a “moderately challenging”. God help anyone going on a demanding tour if their scale is anywhere near accurate.