Århus in the Middle of the Street

I have no idea what I’m doing, and that’s kind of how I love it.

Kristen Stewart

Welcome back to my little nook of insanity!

I’ve just returned from spending three days in Western Denmark, and I am once again ill. I feel like this country is made of smallpox blankets (or I just have a pathetic immune system, which is much more likely).

Also, I’m currently writing this whilst on a bus that’s in the middle of nowhere because this cocky genius decided she could read Danish (shocking, I know). All the trains are closed for maintenance and I managed to get on the wrong replacement bus. So hello from Hillerød, I guess?

Because apparently Mercury is in retrograde/Gatorade, more fun shenanigans have occurred since I drafted this post: I was trapped under an overpass for an hour because of a freak hailstorm, was almost hit by lightning, bought a bike and subsequently fell off of it into traffic, and, finally, had to relearn how to drive stick-shift in the middle of Danish traffic. I stalled the car for four full light cycles, which is a feat in and of itself. Thank god I have the capacity to laugh at myself, or these last few days recreating the Three Stooges with all the people in my head would have been depressing.

But back to the more planned adventures I’ve been on: my western Denmark tour took me through a few little towns, and here’s my little excursions for you, in chronological order.

Jelling

The stop at this Unesco world heritage site was quite short. This Viking settlement possesses old Runic stones that bear the first recorded use of the word Denmark, as well as the burial mounds of the Viking king Gorm the Old and his wife, Tyre (too-rah). Gorm’s son, Harald Bluetooth, also built a church on the site and was the king who turned the country Christian.

Århus/Aarhus

Currently one of the European capitals of culture, Århus was easily my favorite stop.

ARoS museum

We began at ARoS, the modern art museum. Some of the exhibitions were wonderful, and others a bit too modern for my taste (I’m looking at you, circular pool of water). The architecture is impeccable, and the roof features Olafur Eliasson’s Rainbow Panorama, one of my favorite parts of this entire trip.

Casual selfie.

We walked along the Aarhus Å, the newly renovated harbor, on our way to the DOKK1 media space and library. This stop is conspicuously lacking photos because we were all so exhausted by this point that we spent most of our time there face down on a bench while charging our phones.

After dinner we sprinted to a geodesic dome that contained beautiful architecture and a bar, had a few drinks, and then tried to blend in with the locals at a college bar with a 3-for-1 deal.

We began the next day at the Aarhus Crematorium Chapel, which was significantly less depressing than expected. It was an absolutely beautiful space, and we spent a decent bit of time sketching all the portions of “total design” integrated into the building.

Godsbanen art district!

We spent the next few hours checking out Godsbanen, a beautiful workshop, and its adjacent arts district. The arts district it a lot of DIY structures that would be perfectly at home in Austin circa 1970, and I absolutely adored it there. I could easily spend half my life there. For lunch, we checked out the Aarhus street market and I topped off my lunch of Afro-Caribbean food with ice cream that sated my current salted licorice addiction.

White chocolate and salted licorice popsicle heaven.

 

Kolding

Responsive sun shades

Quite an uneventful little town, Kolding is the 7th largest “city” in Denmark, yet is still about half the population of the suburb I grew up in. We first took a look at the design school (which one of our tour guides designed– so cool!) before heading to dinner, where we created masterpieces on the paper tablecloths with our waiters.

We also got to explore Koldinghus, the castle in town that used to be the fortress against Germany’s encroaching border. They had handmade dresses (similar to what was worn by the royalty that lived there) available for dress-up, so you bet your buttons I went HAM on that.

Same, painting. Same.

Our final stop was the Trapholt museum on the edge of Kolding, which featured an odd mix of modern art and Danish furniture design. We were there a bit too long for my liking, but they had the ability to “curate” your own exhibition using pieces in the museum, so I wasted plenty of time doing that (my focus was on the shifts in design brought about by industrialization and mass production, if you cared).

But yeah, that’s what I’ve been up to this weekend. Now to go nurse the magically appearing bruises all over my body and hide until the astrological signs are back in my favor.

Hej Hej!

Phrase of the week:
Lorte vejr
(lore-tuh vay-uhr)
It means (pardon my French) “shitty weather,” which is surprisingly useful here. I never thought I’d see the day where there is a weatherman worse at his job than the ones in Texas.

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