Monday, October 18, 2010

Viborg — a delightfully picturesque place

The country through which we are just now passing has very little to recommend it, picturesquely considered. True, in the vicinity of the villages there are signs of cultivation and small pasture-lands; but grey rocks constantly cropping out bear unmistakable witness to the shallowness of the soil. Otherwise, for the most part, heathery moorland and dismal swamp predominate, with, here and there, belts and stretches of stunted, wind-bowed pine and birch. The method of construction of the fences which separate the fields is as curious as it is ingenious, and not easy, therefore, to describe. But, roughly speaking, it is this. At intervals of every ten feet or so two posts are planted side by side at something like the angle of 45°, and linked together by spaced-out rungs. On these rungs are laid slant-wise wooden battens, increasing in length as they ascend the 'ladder,' so that, while those at the bottom reach across to the next 'point d'appui' with but little to spare, their successors project through and beyond it with a progressively greater overlap, thus supplying in a raggedly effective way the upper half of the neighbouring division. The manufacture of haycocks is also carried out in this part of the world in a distinctly original way. A tall stake is driven into the ground, which, fitted promiscuously with nine or ten short arms, suggests nothing more exactly than a gigantic edition of the perch-holder in a parrot's cage. On to this quaintly-devised apparatus the hay is tossed; that portion of it which remains lodged on the arms forming the nucleus round which is gradually built up a compact little stack not dissimilar in shape to an overgrown beehive. At 2.30 we reach the historic old fortified town of Viborg — a delightfully picturesque place, even as seen from the railway; on the left, a busy harbour, guarded by an ancient castle of a somewhat ecclesiastical type of architecture; on the right, a broad, winding estuary, dotted with green-clad islands, which forms the sea-ward end of the canal that connects it with Lake Siama some forty miles to the north.

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