A delightful day in Århus
Hans Christian Andersen said, “To travel is to live,” and boy am I living! We have traveled from Iceland to Amsterdam to Oslo and now Denmark.
The ship docked at 9:30 a.m. in the charming town of Århus, which has 300,000 residents on the northeastern side of Denmark. It was founded by the Vikings in the mid- eighth century. Sadly, we only had eight hours to explore it.
We hired a taxi to take us around rather than going on the ship’s expensive excursion. It turned out to be an excellent choice. The taxis were lined up at the dock and I went to the first in line and asked him directly, “Do you speak English?” and he honestly replied, “No, but my friend here does.”
After a little negotiation, we paid him $150 for a two-hour tour of the city. It turned out that Frank, our driver, born in Århus, had studied and played football for the University of Miami so there were no communication problems.
We began our adventure by the seeing the Queen’s summer residence and the nearby lavish park and gardens. Then we drove through the “Latin Quarter,” of charming sidewalk cafés and shops. We also traveled through the yellow buildings of the impressive Århus University. Over 60,000 students attend graduate and undergraduate programs on the campus. There is a medical school and university hospital. The Queen of Denmark, Margrethe had knee surgery there.
We continued our drive through the city and asked him to wait while we took a fast tour of the Aros Museum of Art, a look-alike to the Guggenheim.
They consider themselves a world-class museum but it disappointed me because the current exhibit, the Queen’s Tapestries, had all the captioned descriptions only in the Danish language.
We also visited the Den Gamle By (The Old Town). We took a horse and buggy ride around the cobblestoned streets with sixteenth century homes and shops lining the streets. (It is similar to Williamsburg, VA.) The people dressed in period costumes and sold trinkets, candy and food. It was quaint, charming and fun to experience how people lived then.
One house had a wood carver working in semi-darkness. When I asked him why he did not use a candle, he explained that at the end of the 16th century an average person used only 14 candles a year! Imagine all the long dark winter days back then!
Our next stop was the center of town close to the harbor where we visited the famous Århus Cathedral - built in 1201 it is the longest in Denmark at 93 meters - that seats 1,200 people. On our own we explored the recently restored, whitewashed-walled sanctuary with a gorgeous organ and ornate altar.
We stopped for lunch at the Carlton set in a small cobblestone square. The menu was available in English and we had a spicy and rich tomato gazpacho and sandwiches with drinks. For the four of us it was about a hundred dollars.
Separating after lunch, Mel and Claire Shulman returned to the ship and Stu and I continued down the narrow streets. To my amazement, on the backside of the Cathedral is a Women’s Museum - one of the only ones in the world dedicated to seeing “the world through women’s eyes and displaying things that women have accomplished.”
The museum has traced the Women’s Suffrage Movement in Europe through the 19th and 20th centuries. Amazingly, the right to vote did not come to most of the women until the 1950s.
There are also exhibits that reflect on women’s lives and careers. It was well worth the $6 entrance fee.
The Krone is the official money, but we were able to use American dollars and credit cards. I never exchanged any money since we were only in the town for the day and we did well.
Editor’s Note: Victoria Schneps-Yunis has returned to Queens, but will continue to chronicle her cruise in forthcoming editions of The Queens Courier.