"Good friends, good books, and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life."
- Mark Twain
Close your eyes.
Imagine the lore of the Little Mermaid, this time in real life, plus Scandinavian chic and the enchantment that comes with coastal light in a land where the summer sun hardly sets at all.
You're with your family for eight days and seven nights on a bicycle tour that guarantees to sop the excess energies of offspring while you're sipping wine on an outdoor terrace at any of four towns accommodating you overnight after you've arrived on two wheels and by ferry boat on this trip through Denmark.
Here the summer sun barely sets below the horizon, adding a special quality to the country. The air has the full tonic of an Indian summer, and the sun angles off waters and beaches that are never far away, tempting swimmers to test its pleasant temperatures.
The countryside is never more than gently rolling. No wonder Danish island dwellers are cycling enthusiasts, cheerful too and rife with hospitality, good humor and charm. Entire Danish families choose to travel by bicycle during the summer months. The system of bike paths in the country ranks among the best and safest in the world.
There are two summer 2012 departures of Austin-Lehman Adventures' nearly all-inclusive itineraries: June 23-June 30 and July 28-Aug. 4. The per person double rate is $3,998 ($880 single supplement); Child rates (for age seven and older) begin at $3,198. The arrival and departure city is Copenhagen.
In addition to the thrill of seeing the real bronze Little Mermaid in Copenhagen, the town of Odense is the birthplace of her creator, Hans Christian Andersen. Here beautifully restored old houses recreate the Denmark that Andersen knew in his youth. His birth house has been turned into an exquisite museum expanding on his fairy tales and fun for young-at-heart and younger.
The Viking Ship Museum in Roskilde sheds light into the daily life and accomplishments of this legendary people who seemed seldom to stay at home in Denmark as they were so busy exploring distant shores. Other historic ruins include still-viable half-timbered houses, castles, thatch-roofed farmhouses and colorful fishing villages. These and the ghost of Hamlet at Elsinore help curious minds imagine what pre-modern life was like in the Danish Isles. Oh, try counting the 750 bottled ships in Aeroskobing and the 12,000 wooden poles supporting a castle.
The Danish queen and her family live at Amalienborg Palace in Copenhagen. Here visitors witness the at-noon-daily changing of the guard in the impressive courtyard. In Hellebaek is a 16th century water-powered hammer mill once used to produce guns, rifles and pistols.
A maximum daily ride is 42 miles, with options built in for shorter cycles. Bicycles are fitted to the rider. Accommodations and dining venues are selected to represent the culture and history of the town or region.
For more information please contact Austin-Lehman Adventures: 1.800.575.1540 (toll-free), 1.406.655.4591, www.austinlehman.com.