Denmark · Travel

Denmark Trip Day 8: Aarhus

It was the penultimate day of my time in Denmark, and Jacqueline’s second day of her weekend getaway. We awoke in our AirBnB in the small village of Ny Nørup. Now that it was properly light, we could get a glimpse of what there was to see around town. It was hardly large at all, with only a few houses, a hall and a service station to note.

We caught the relatively rare bus to the city of Vejle, where we walked straight into the train station. We grabbed some breakfast pastries from a shop in the train station, and boarded a train north to the city of Aarhus, the second largest city in Denmark.

When we arrived, things were still waking up, so we wandered through the old Latin Quarter, where the buildings were still hundreds of years old. But the most exciting attraction to see in Aarhus was Den Gamle By, an open air museum called The Old Town in English. A relatively short walk from the centre of town, it was something that the tourist reviews seemed to rave about, so we wandered over to see what it was all about.

In the end, we would spend several hours there. The museum had collected buildings from the last 500 years from all over Denmark, and had put them together to showcase how town and village life had evolved over the past few centuries. We visited the oldest buildings first, not by design, but by happenstance. Inside were displays of the various crafts and trades that were undertaken by various merchants and skilled workers in such towns. There were descriptions of timber workers, painters, jewellers, cobblers, hat makers and many more. We wandered through the exhibitions, each house yielding new architectural and historical interest.

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The largest buildings were the Coin Master’s mansion, and the old Aarhus Mayor’s house, each furnished with period furniture and displays on where the buildings came from. The former had been transported all the way from Copenhagen. Most of the buildings were of the Danish half timbered style, where a timber frame is infilled with bricks and painted. It really did feel, in part, that we had been transported back in time a few centuries.

The eastern side of the museum had a few buildings from firstly, the early years of the 20th century, and secondly from the 1970s. It was clear that the museum was trying to showcase to visitors in a century’s time what life was like in the relatively modern day. The 1970s apartment buildings were more interesting than I expected them to be. There was a definite focus on the life of immigrants and refugees arriving in Denmark, but there was also a mocked-up student shared apartment that still looked like it would fit today, save for the lack of smart phones.

Thoroughly impressed by the museum, we wandered out and back through the centre of town. We had read that there was a massive food festival on at Tangkrogen, a park just to the south of the city. We wandered over to find a park covered in large white tents. After paying the small entry fee, we wandered around. There were easily a hundred different stalls, with everything from cheeses to steaks to wine to garden produce. Most of the stalls had some kind of free sample, so we basically spent the rest of the afternoon wandering around and trying as much of the food as we could. So much of it was so good, especially the fruit sauces and the many varieties of meats.

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At one point, we passed a juice stall, and Jacqueline, being thirsty, purchased a bottle of what she thought was fruit juice, after trying a small sample. But it turned out to be a kind of cordial, that needed to be diluted five to one. Without another container, we would spend the next day and a half filling the neck of the bottle, not letting it mix too much, and drinking it slowly until it was sufficiently diluted.

We were enjoying the produce so much, we stayed until the festival closed, and we had to head back up into town. We sat for a while by the edge of the harbour watching the industrial port and ships in action. Before too long, it was time to head back to the railway station, and catch our train back to Vejle, and the onward bus back to Ny Nørup, where we would return to our AirBnB and head for bed.

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