Denmark: June 23 – 28 2019
The train from Hamburg (GR) to Aarhus (DM) was strange, as there were no services (wifi, coffee, water) as we rode through Germany. But an hour later the train stopped, the Danish police boarded, did a passport check (never happens), left, and the train departed. That’s called ‘Welcome to Denmark!’ we surmised. Immediately after, a conductor appeared with the coffee and water and presto – Wifi. Always interesting when a train crosses into another country.
An hour goes by and there is a surprise announcement (only in Danish) that I can decipher to be ‘if you are going to Copenhagen – you must get off next stop’ and half the train springs into action! Now, Joe has gone to another car in search of food and there is only minutes to get off the train. I pull our four bags down from the overhead with super human strength, and start pacing to the end of the car, looking for him. Should I get off and hope he makes it? Finally, Joe appears after being stuck behind everyone getting off the train. I am relieved; he is confused! ‘We are not going to Copenhagen today, we are going to Aarhus’ Joe reminds me. Doh! Feeling like an idiot, I assist with putting the bags back up in the overhead, and we carry on. For one stop. Now there is an announcement and we must switch trains immediately. None of this was supposed to happen and it sure made for a stressful train ride!
Aarhus is the second largest city in Denmark and is situated on the Jutland peninsula’s east coast. Aarhus was crowned the European Capital of Culture in 2017. The city is known for its musical history of jazz clubs in the ‘50’s and now has a huge rock (and more) music scene, making it Denmark’s centre for music. Some cool record stores too!
In 1979 the world’s first Jysk opened in Aarhus, where it still operates today. We were super impressed by the Jysk stores in Denmark – they have beautiful, high quality goods. I could have spent a fortune there. It seems JYSK Canada is a Franchisee of JYSK; no wonder there is such a difference in stores.
Aarhus Cathedral has some lovely restored 14 -16th century frescoes.
For dinner we ventured over to a fantastic place called Aarhus Streetfood. This street food mecca had food from all around the world, making a dinner decision, difficult. The European indoor food halls offer so much variety of delicious, reasonably priced food and are found in every city! They operate on the same principle as a mall food court but are SO much better AND feature alcohol kiosks as well! They are such social places where friends and extended families meet and stay for hours.
After the first day in Aarhus, we thought we had seen all there was to see but came across a picture of a building called ‘The Iceberg’, and set off to find it. It took us a long time to get to the harbour, but it was worth the hike as this district takes Aarhus to a whole new level. The port area is undergoing a huge redevelopment and we could not believe the number of towering condo buildings and funky, futuristic structures there.
It took us some time to find The Iceberg as it was right on the water, barricaded by bigger and taller buildings. The roof rises up and then appears to plunge down, creating the illusion of a real iceberg. It was so cool!
Aarhus was Joe’s perfect pick to visit and we are glad we went! The Dane’s are wonderful, friendly people and luckily most have English as their second language.
Copenhagen, Denmark’s capital, sits on the coastal islands of Zealand and Amager. The population of the city is just under 800,000. The Dane’s are another bicycle loving nation.
Our quaint hotel was a block from the train station and a very central location. Breakfast goodies where added to our fridge by housekeeping and at 7:30 am, warm pastries in a bag were placed on your door. Now, I am not much of a dessert or bread eater, but I became a convert in Copenhagen. So warm and delicious! Joe was in his glory.
Tivoli Gardens was around the corner from our hotel.Tivoli Gardens, the second oldest operating amusement park in the world, opened in August of 1843. With 4.6 million visitors in 2017, Tivoli is the second-most popular seasonal amusement park in the world after Europa-Park.
Walt Disney visited Tivoli several times in the early 1950’s as he was fascinated by the mood of the guests and the atmosphere. Disney was eager to recreate the ambience into his own amusement park. Disneyland opened 5 years later.
The Meatpacking District was just down the street and is a trendy area for nightlife and many incredible restaurants. We headed to this area for most meals and were never disappointed.
We saw a lot of Copenhagen by riding the Hop On Hop Off Bus. Watching the Changing of the Guard is always enjoyable.
Nyhavn is a 17th-century waterfront, canal and entertainment district. Nyhavn is lined with brightly coloured 17th and 18th century townhouses, restaurants, and cafes and many historical wooden ships. It was very busy here.
Christiansborg Palace is a palace and government building in central Copenhagen. It is home to the Danish Parliament, the Prime Minister, Danish Monarch and the Supreme Court.
The Little Mermaid is a bronze statue depicting a mermaid becoming human and is based on Danish author Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale. The small (4.1 ft) sculpture is a Copenhagen icon and has been a major tourist attraction since it was unveiled in 1913. The statue has been vandalized many times, including being decapitated twice, but continually repaired.
There are more than 13 undamaged copies of the statue around the world. In fact, a small version of the statue can be found inside the Glenbow Museum in Calgary. Vancouver was unable to get permission to reproduce the famed Copenhagen statue, so the city selected a modern version, with a female diver, ‘Girl in a Wetsuit’.
Kalvebod Brygge waterfront is where the Copenhagen people relax and have fun in the sun. The promenade rises to different levels and stretches out into the harbour. Lots of space to enjoy many water activities including kayaking. It was crammed with sunbathers on both sides the water. There is no beach, just concrete and very popular.
We loved Denmark and would certainly return there to explore more. We had good weather, great food and enjoyed the laid back attitude of the locals.
We hope you enjoyed our Europe tour. Stay tuned to see what we’ve been up to in Chilliwack and thanks for following along!