Aarhus stood out as it wasn’t a capital and wasn’t a world class city like St. Petersburg, but we still saw some interesting things during our time there.
Unlike Copenhagen, which sits on an island in the Baltic Sea, Aarhus is connected to mainland Europe, towards the Northeastern section of Denmark. It was on our way back from Oslo before we passed Copenhagen on our voyage to Germany the following day.
We took a bus from the remote dock to a drop point at the edge of the main part of the city. There was a variety of shopping in this area, and many people stuffed the local McDonald’s trying to piggyback on the free Wi-Fi. Our original plan was to use the bikeshare to navigate the city, but we soon learned the the state of the system in Aarhus was far inferior to Copenhagen. Instead, we made our way around on foot.
Our goal was to visit Den Gamle By, which was a couple miles from our drop off point. The open air museum features preserved buildings from the 18th and 19th centuries arranged in a walkable cobblestone village. There were old shops, a brewery, a bakery, houses, old carnival rides and more all with descriptions written in both Danish and English. We saw a history of Danish toys and explored old postage artifacts. These older areas were very neat and beautiful.
In a new section of the museum, there is a preserved street featuring 1970s shops. The general store had retro food and products lifted straight from the era. There was also an electronics store with vintage equipment and records. For a fan of the decade, it would be a neat slice of life.
Lunch was Polser from a cart in this section.
After a few hours in the museum, we left and meandered back towards the shuttle buses to the port. We stepped into a bookstore in the aforementioned shopping section and inspected some recognizable titles in Danish. I was searching for a book of Hans Christian Andersen stories in the native language but came up empty. However, it was cool seeing what sorts of books made the transition into the local language. It was also notable that there was a dedicated room devoted to English language books, as well.
If Copenhagen was touristy, Aarhus was definitely Danish. The cultural ties between the two were unmistakable, like the omnipresent bicycles, but we seemed to glimpse normal life here, where in Denmark we missed it in our hunt for the key city sights. It was also a Monday, which probably contributed to that fact.
Next Stop: Rostock, Germany, our gateway to Berlin.