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Fanø and the mystery of the little dogs

Staffordshire's Dog on the window

Sunday was an excursion to Fanø. A small island 16km long off the coast of Esbjerg.

City of Esbjerg Denmark

To get there you take a big barge that takes 15 minutes to cross the bay. You can get there by car, bike or on foot.

Once there, we visited the pretty town of Nordby, with its cobbled streets and thatched rouf houses.

Nordby mural

We had breakfast there on the Haven's pleasant terrace with croissants and a nice hot chocolate. Because since we've been in Denmark, we've missed French viennoiseries so much 😭.

Haven café in Sønderho

Haven café in Sønderho

In front of the harbour, a few seals were sunbathing under the eyes of tourists and amateur photographers. (On my picture they are the small dots in the background in front of the industrial port of Esbjerg in the distance 😂)


Next, go to the town of Sønderho. An ultra-charming little village with thatched houses, flea markets and friendly restaurants.

town of Sønderho Fanø

town of Sønderho Fanø

town of Sønderho Fanø

We finished with a swim on the large sandy beach of Fanø Strand

Here, cars can park on the beach. On our French beaches in Brittany, this would be impossible. "Oooo tide, and no more car, hahaha".
And yes, the water isn't warm, but frankly, it's quite comparable to our beaches in Brittany or the north of France.

Fanø Strand

Fanø Strand

The day was really superb and the island is magnificent. If you're visiting Denmark, it's well worth the trip.

Speaking of Sønderho, you can see pairs of little porcelain dogs all over the windows. Sometimes they are facing you. Other times, their backs are to you.

Porcelain Staffordshire Dogs

Porcelain Staffordshire Dogs

Porcelain Staffordshire Dogs

Souvenir Shops

While I was thinking that these dogs had a very English look, my daughter was coming up with all sorts of theories about their positions. She thought it meant something: a secret code, perhaps. 

A few internet searches later, we discovered that the trinkets were Staffordshire ceramics

They have been coming from England and Scotland since the 19th century. 

They were brought back as souvenirs by the island's sailors to their wives. They were placed on the window sill by their wives.

And yes, there is a meaning to their position: if they face the window, it means the sailor is at sea; from behind, the man has returned home.

Those Staffordshire little dogs that I LOVE inspired the two drawings below:

Staffordshire Dog inspired by cocoflower

If you like those Staffordshire Dog inspired designs. They are available in my shop in 2 sizes in postcard form. 💖


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