On arriving in Denmark, they spend a month at Hotel Ærø before moving into a small place in Troense on Tåsinge. They make the move to avoid Elvira’s brother, who would shortly be arriving in Svendborg with a different circus. And possibly also on account of their large and unpaid hotel bill. However, they did plan to return to Svendborg once her brother had moved on. Sixten Sparre had counted on receiving additional financial support from his family, but this never materialised for the heavily indebted 35-year-old dragoon lieutenant.
At a boarding house in Troense, they are given a packed lunch and a couple of beers. They take the simple meal with them to Nørreskov woods near Valdemars Slot (Castle). After lunch, Sixten Sparre shoots Elvira Madigan before turning the gun on himself. It was said at the time that they were found with peaceful expressions on their faces. The exact date is not known, but was around 20 July 1889. They are both buried in Landet Churchyard on Tåsinge.
The Mærsk family church
Our trip commences on Brogade, riding down the road past Hotel Ærø. Take time to admire the beautiful old buildings and the street itself, which features the gentle curves of the old fishing town.
The entire route to Faaborg follows the Baltic Sea Route, which is clearly signposted so I won’t waste time listing the names of every road and street.
A large part of the old harbour environment is to be found behind the houses on the left-hand side as you cycle out of the town. A little way outside the town, you will just be able to make out the old gateway to the ferry port for the ferry to Vindeby on Tåsinge. As the other bank is only 400 metres away the ferry connection soon became superfluous once the Svendborgsund Bridge to Tåsinge was opened in 1966.
The route continues along the banks of the Svendborg Sound and passes under the bridge, where we turn off towards St. Jørgens Church.
Detour: The Baltic Sea Route turns right before you reach the church, but I think you should make a detour here to take a look at the church in its delightful setting. Many members of the Mærsk-Møller family are buried here. Peter and Anna Mærsk-Møller founded the A.P.Møller shipping company here in Svendborg. Mærsk McKinney Møller was the grandchild of Peter and Anna Mærsk-Møller. Stroll through the well-kept churchyard and take in the beautiful view out over the Svendborg Sound.
Return to the route along Niels Hansen Vej. To the right, you will pass a park-like area near Kai Nielsens Vej. Here you can see Kai Nielsen’s charming sculpture “Svendborgpigen” (The Svendborg Girl).
Luxury hotel and narrow roads
We now continue along Kogtvedvej towards Rantzausminde. A fair way out from town is a sign to the luxury hotel Stella Maris. Once a mission hotel, it now provides top quality accommodation and has a wonderful restaurant with a fine view out over the countryside and Svendborg Sound.
Soon after leaving last traces of the town of Svendborg behind, we pass the beautifully located Rantzausminde Strand Camping before Rantzausmindevej turns into Lehnskov Strand. Here, there is a wonderful view out over the undulating landscapes that await us a little farther down the road.