A Travellerspoint blog

And lastly ...

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We found a great house for rent in July as one of Rikke's colleagues was heading for six weeks in Greenland for the summer holiday. It was a lovely home in a complex of townhouses (similar to our own actually). However, together with the house we became 'guardians' of their special family member, Cosine. It took a while but she eventually came looking for snuggles on my lap.

Cosine exploring her back garden

Cosine exploring her back garden


'Cosine' ..  the cute cat that came with the house we rented

'Cosine' .. the cute cat that came with the house we rented

Danes have a special affinity with their national flag. It has pride of place whatever the celebration … tho' I'm not sure who or what was being celebrated with the last pic which Chas happened upon on a walk one day!! The mind boggles.

Danish flag

Danish flag


Flags displayed along the road means ...   there's a party this way!!

Flags displayed along the road means ... there's a party this way!!


Yes,  hmmm....   Definitely different!!

Yes, hmmm.... Definitely different!!

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One of the wonders of travel is experiencing and understanding some of the cultural differences. For example, in Denmark (and I think Scandinavia generally) it is customary to put babies and toddlers outside in the fresh air for their lunchtime nap. This occurs up to ~10degC, but the children are rugged up in special sleeping bags, so they are very snug against the cold. This was a little one in the apartment block where we were staying .. out under the trees enjoying the lovely day.

A little one sleeping soundly under the trees, all wrapped up snug and warm

A little one sleeping soundly under the trees, all wrapped up snug and warm

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Another interesting children's story is the 'dummy tree'. This is a tree on the banks of the Aarhus River not far from town where little ones can place their dummy .. a symbolic gesture when it's time to let go. Very cute.

The Dummy Tree

The Dummy Tree

The Dummy Tree

The Dummy Tree

This was a community project happening next to the dummy tree on the day we visited. Unfortunately, we didn't get to see how it turned out.

The beginnings of a  community project along the river

The beginnings of a community project along the river


We didn't know what it was about and  didn't get to see how it turned out

We didn't know what it was about and didn't get to see how it turned out


Part of the project

Part of the project

A lovely part of the town area is Møllestien, a quaint little street especially preserved in the traditional style.

A lovely street  -  Møllestien, with houses dating from the 17th, 18th and 19thC.

A lovely street - Møllestien, with houses dating from the 17th, 18th and 19thC.


Møllestien

Møllestien


DSC04431.jpg

Other points of interest:

  • I love the long summer daylight hours;

Long summer days  ..  this pic taken approx. 10.15pm

Long summer days .. this pic taken approx. 10.15pm

  • It's great fun to just wander down the walking street .. always something of interest to catch your eye

Aarhus walking street .. approximately 2kms through the centre of town

Aarhus walking street .. approximately 2kms through the centre of town

  • Bicycles - everyone cycles. Children start early to understand the culture of cycling. On this visit I noticed many parents guiding their very young children (5'ish) as they navigate the streets. The child stays next to kerb with the parent on the outside, and buses flying past. Vehicles must give way to cyclists, and cyclists to pedestrians. It works (mostly!!).

Bicycles are a big part of Danish culture. This is a very common sight everywhere in town.

Bicycles are a big part of Danish culture. This is a very common sight everywhere in town.


Bicycles, bicycles everywhere

Bicycles, bicycles everywhere

  • A sense of tradition and history everywhere.

A traditional half-timbered house in the middle of town

A traditional half-timbered house in the middle of town

  • Great restaurants and a lovely vibe ..

Aarhus's favourite meeting place with great restaurants by the canal

Aarhus's favourite meeting place with great restaurants by the canal


Lunch at another of our fav restaurants ..  Cafe Gaia organic and vegetarian

Lunch at another of our fav restaurants .. Cafe Gaia organic and vegetarian

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And something that can't be missed in Aarhus is the lovely street art. These are only a sample. They add interest and colour to ordinary structures.

This is my favourite

This is my favourite


Street art

Street art


Street art

Street art


Street art (this one is on the side of our apartment building

Street art (this one is on the side of our apartment building


Streetart  -  Nuclear power, No thanks

Streetart - Nuclear power, No thanks


Street art

Street art


Streetart

Streetart

Posted by patsaunder 02:50 Archived in Denmark Comments (0)

Danish Lake Lands

sunny

Another of our favourite restaurants is Aalekronen on the banks of Lake Julsø. This area of Denmark, only 40km from Aarhus is known as the 'Danish Lake Lands' because of a series of large lakes which are interconnected by the Gudenå River (Denmark's longest at 160km). I've not found anything which gives me exactly the number of lakes, but I've counted eleven. It is a beautiful area with fantastic scenery.

After a delicious and relaxed lunch we caught the ferry for a short, but enjoyable trip on the lake to Himmelbjerget ("The Sky Mountain" or "The Mountain of Heaven"). With a height of 147 m (482 ft), Himmelbjerget is one of the highest natural points in the Danish landscape. It is also an area of great cultural significance. On top of the hill is a 25 meter tall tower that was erected to honor King Frederik VII and his role in giving the Danish people a constitution in 1849. There are also a number of monuments several honouring Danish poets and one commemorating the women’s right to vote in 1915.

We disembarked at Himmelbjerget, but chose not to walk up the hill on this occasion, happy to enjoy a coffee and ice-cream by the lake and wait for the return ferry to Aalekronen.

Another relaxed and lovely day together, in this special part of Denmark.

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Another favourite restuarant  -  Aalekronen

Another favourite restuarant - Aalekronen


Checking out the ducks .. looking for food

Checking out the ducks .. looking for food


I can dance anywhere …

I can dance anywhere …


Hjejlen paddle steamer, the world’s oldest operational coal-fired paddle steamer.  The company first started travelling the lakes in 1859

Hjejlen paddle steamer, the world’s oldest operational coal-fired paddle steamer. The company first started travelling the lakes in 1859


There are 7 ferries travelling the lakes, and 1 paddle steamer

There are 7 ferries travelling the lakes, and 1 paddle steamer


There's lots of water traffic on the lakes

There's lots of water traffic on the lakes

Himmelbjerget (Sky Mountain) - a popular cultural and recreational site.

Himmelbjerget (Sky Mountain) - a popular cultural and recreational site.


Sharing the day with Olivia

Sharing the day with Olivia


Lovely

Lovely


Looking across the lake

Looking across the lake


Enjoying the day

Enjoying the day


An idyllic (but very expensive) home by the lake

An idyllic (but very expensive) home by the lake

Posted by patsaunder 02:48 Archived in Denmark Comments (0)

Last visit to Moesgaard

semi-overcast

We'd planned another visit to Moesgaard, as there were still things we wanted to do ... finish the tour of the museum, a walk through the forest to the beach, and another visit to Skovmollen restaurant. This area is one of our favourite places in Aarhus ... it is very peaceful and relaxed, it is a pleasure just to be there.

The exhibition that I still had to see was 'The First Emperor - China's Terracotta Army'. Everyone knows of the discovery in 1974 of the 7000 life-size figures, buried with the emperor Qin Shi Huang in 210–209BC to protect him in his afterlife. It was Qin Shi Huang who united the Chinese empire and began constructing the Great Wall of China more than two thousand years ago.

This exhibition brought together 120 objects (selected from ten different museums), several of which had not been displayed outside China. I didn't want to miss this opportunity.

The size and intricate detail of the figures was amazing.

Full sized figures

Full sized figures


The General

The General


Calvary soldier

Calvary soldier


Calvary horse ..  beautiful

Calvary horse .. beautiful


Soldier

Soldier

Two bronze travelling chariots were found not far from the Emperor's grave. These are enclosed chariots with three rooms which allow the travellers to be concealed as they travel, but with sliding shutters so they can look out. Unlike the wooden chariots which were also found, these were only half-size models made up of 3500 individual components and weighing 1200kg. This chariot is a copy as the originals never leave China.

The First Emperor's travelling Chariot

The First Emperor's travelling Chariot


Drawn by four beautifully sculptured horses

Drawn by four beautifully sculptured horses

Two other half-sized bronze chariots were also found near the Emperor's grave, along with 130 wooden chariots found in the pits with the terracotta army. These bronze chariots are exact replicas of the wooden chariots down to every small detail. As much of the wood has decayed, these are the only complete examples of the chariots. Again, this chariot is a copy.

Bronze Chariot

Bronze Chariot


...  drawn by four beautiful horses

... drawn by four beautiful horses

All of the horses are beautiful with intricate detail. The cavalry horses are especially interesting in their detail. Their teeth were accurately modelled so their age could be determined as around 6 years, the idea age for a cavalry horse. Amazing. I would have loved to have had the opportunity to inspect them carefully.

Other wonderful objects were the musicians, several lovely full-sized animals, and the amazing stone armour and helmet designed to protect the Emperor in the afterlife. I don't think he would be going anywhere with that weight on him!!

Musicians

Musicians


A musician getting ready to play an instrument similar to a sitar.  The instrument, made of organic materials, decayed long ago.

A musician getting ready to play an instrument similar to a sitar. The instrument, made of organic materials, decayed long ago.


Bronze duck ..  it was quite large.  I thought it was lovely.

Bronze duck .. it was quite large. I thought it was lovely.


Ceramic animals

Ceramic animals


Stone helmet.

Stone helmet.


Stone vest

Stone vest

As usual with the Danes, the presentation of the exhibition was first-class, setting the scene with lavish colour and subtle detail, and again with the use of technology and multi-media.

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The plan was to enjoy the exhibition, then take a leisurely walk through the forest to the beach, returning in a circuit to Skovmollen for lunch, then home. Unfortunately we visited on a Monday and found neither the museum, nor the restaurant, open. (Note to self: if you want to visit something on a Monday, ALWAYS check the website for details before heading off!! We actually got caught a second time with the art gallery).

However, we did enjoy our walk to the beach, but got a little lost when we took a wrong turn back, and consequently ended up walking a lot further than we needed. (Note to self: get a smart phone with GPS when you get home!!).

Looking towards the manor house

Looking towards the manor house


I couldn't find details, but assume this is the family cemetery of the family from the manor house as it was just a little further along from the bridge in the previous picture.

I couldn't find details, but assume this is the family cemetery of the family from the manor house as it was just a little further along from the bridge in the previous picture.


One of Moesgård's buildings, built 1798

One of Moesgård's buildings, built 1798


One of the manor buildings ..  built 1869

One of the manor buildings .. built 1869

Giber River

Giber River


Giber River

Giber River


The forest

The forest


Fungi growing on a tree.

Fungi growing on a tree.


We came across this structure as we strolled through the fields.  It is one of the museum's ancient structures which are dotted throughout the park.

We came across this structure as we strolled through the fields. It is one of the museum's ancient structures which are dotted throughout the park.


Where the Giber River meets the sea

Where the Giber River meets the sea

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It was a cool day but there were still determined Danes swimming. I was surprised to see the flags indicating a patrolled beach. Obviously quite different to our Aussie view beach, but very enjoyable nonetheless.

Moesgaard Beach

Moesgaard Beach


Looking towards the flagged area of the beach

Looking towards the flagged area of the beach


The lovely traditional fisherman's cottage

The lovely traditional fisherman's cottage


A lovely pic with the fisherman's hut in background

A lovely pic with the fisherman's hut in background


Enjoying the view

Enjoying the view


We were slightly off course ..  it was a long way back to the museum

We were slightly off course .. it was a long way back to the museum


The mill and the restaurant by the river

The mill and the restaurant by the river

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I also walked up the roof of the museum to enjoy the view from the top.

View from the rooftop

View from the rooftop


Looking towards the traditional church and the manor house  ...  times past.

Looking towards the traditional church and the manor house ... times past.


View from the roof of the museum to the sea.   I could see a number of sailing boats on the water.

View from the roof of the museum to the sea. I could see a number of sailing boats on the water.

This was our last visit to Moesgaard for this trip, but we will certainly be back on our next visit. .

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Posted by patsaunder 02:48 Archived in Denmark Comments (0)

The Monastery at Mont Sainte-Odile

I have to admit that I am a culture and history buff ... a visit to another magnificent structure filled with beautiful artworks and interesting history in a most peaceful setting.

Aerial view of the monastery showing its amazing position on the top of Mont St-Odiel

Aerial view of the monastery showing its amazing position on the top of Mont St-Odiel

The Monastery at Mont Sainte-Odile, also known as Hohenburg Abbey, was founded about 690 by Saint Odile, who was its first abbess. Set on the 760 m peak of the Vosges Mountains, the mountain is named for Saint Odile. The monastery is still used as a place of pilgrimage, but it is also a popular tourist attraction where you can wander, look or pray. It also offers accommodation for retreats or conferences.

We chose to wander and look, and it is very impressive, and a relaxed place to visit. The monastery has its own church, but when we visited a service was being held so I was unable to take photographs.

The building itself is impressive, with lovely peaceful surroundings.

St Odiel

St Odiel


Large paved courtyard, with ancient lime trees and a 12th century fountain.

Large paved courtyard, with ancient lime trees and a 12th century fountain.


Another beautiful courtyard area

Another beautiful courtyard area


Literally sitting on top of the mountain

Literally sitting on top of the mountain


Solid foundations

Solid foundations

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Two small chapels, external to the main building, are beautiful and impressive. Firstly the Chapel of Tears:

Chapel of Tears

Chapel of Tears


Chapel of Tears

Chapel of Tears


Detail, Chapel of Tears

Detail, Chapel of Tears


Detail, Chapel of Tears

Detail, Chapel of Tears

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... and also the Chapel of Angels, with its amazing mosaic ceiling.

Chapel of Angels, beautiful mosaic ceiling

Chapel of Angels, beautiful mosaic ceiling


Magnificent mosaic detail

Magnificent mosaic detail


Detail of mosaic ceiling

Detail of mosaic ceiling

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Interesting artwork on the wall, I assume depicting the first congregation of nuns

Interesting artwork on the wall, I assume depicting the first congregation of nuns


Fresco on monastery wall

Fresco on monastery wall

This sun dial was amazing .. looking somewhat nondescript, I almost missed seeing it!!

Amazing sun dial

Amazing sun dial


The sun dial of Mont Sainte-Odiel

The sun dial of Mont Sainte-Odiel

Built into the rocky walls below the monastery is a series of ceramic artworks, depicting the 'Way of the Cross' . They can be seen from the pathway around the monastery. Made from 1933 to 1935 by the ceramist Elchinger Leon (1871-1942). Beautiful. Unfortunately, we didn't get to see these.

The Way of the Cross

The Way of the Cross


The Way of the Cross

The Way of the Cross

Another draw to the monastery is the beautiful panoramic view across the plains below. One can even see the Rhine River in the distance.

Beautiful view of plains looking towards Rhine River

Beautiful view of plains looking towards Rhine River


Aaron and I

Aaron and I


Aaron and Olivia

Aaron and Olivia

Again, there was much we missed. Never enough time!! but a lovely visit nontheless.

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Posted by patsaunder 01:24 Comments (0)

Strasbourg

sunny 30 °C

Strasbourg is the capital and principal city of the Alsace region. As it lies on the border with Germany, the German and French cultural influences are very evident. It is also the seat of several European institutions, such as the European Parliament and the International Institute of Human Rights.

Our visit was one of our last adventures for the holiday. After a 40 minute train trip, and a short walk, we were in the historic city centre, the Grande Île (Grand Island). This is a small area ... my rough calculation is 1km x 700m.

We only had one day, so we planned to visit the main tourist area, and use the open-air river boats to see as much as possible. As we walked into the main area of the island I felt excited. I don't know why, but I knew I would love Strasbourg. When it was classified a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1988 (the first time such an honour was placed on an entire city centre) it was stated that it is "an old quarter that exemplifies medieval cities". Maybe that is it .. it just has a lovely 'feel' to it.

Early morning coffee at Petite France before 'hitting the pavement'

Early morning coffee at Petite France before 'hitting the pavement'


Another amazing shop front display

Another amazing shop front display

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The attraction which we did not want to miss was the impressive Strasbourg Cathedral (Cathedral of Our Lady of Strasbourg). (1176–1439). Visible from across the plains of Alsace, it is impressive. The intricate details of the cathedral, sculptured from sandstone (which give the pink hue), are astounding. The cathedral looks unbalanced with only one spire (142m high). Apparently originally planned to have two spires, the second was never built. However, the single spire does give the cathedral a unique look.

There is so much to be impressed with, I think one would need a full day to explore and appreciate the many wonders of the cathedral ... for example, the astronomical clock which, at 18m high, is one of the largest in the world. The clock shows the official time, indicates solar time, the day of the week, the month, the year, the sign of the zodiac, the phase of the moon and the position of several planets. It also has animated characters which move at different times of the day.

An amazing structure

An amazing structure


Rising up 142 metres

Rising up 142 metres


Awesome detail

Awesome detail


Beautiful intricate detail on facade

Beautiful intricate detail on facade


Detail of the entrance to Strasbourg Cathedral

Detail of the entrance to Strasbourg Cathedral


Beautiful

Beautiful


Rose window

Rose window


Stained glass inside cathedral

Stained glass inside cathedral


Stained glass window

Stained glass window


Side view of the cathedral

Side view of the cathedral


18-metre astronomical clock

18-metre astronomical clock

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Our 1-hour long boat tour, commenced just after lunch (on a very hot day) took us around the island, and then continued up the canals to the area which houses the European Parliament, the headquarters of the Council of Europe, and the International Institute of Human Rights. Obviously there are many bridges to navigate which are, in themselves, a symbol of Strasbourg. The area of Petite France is very picturesque, as is the beautiful architecture of the houses along the canal.

Ready for a great tour on the water on a very hot day

Ready for a great tour on the water on a very hot day


Covered bridge

Covered bridge


One of the many bridges crossing the canal

One of the many bridges crossing the canal


Tour boat negotiating the loch to raise the water to allow the boat to proceed to the next level

Tour boat negotiating the loch to raise the water to allow the boat to proceed to the next level


St Paul's Church

St Paul's Church


European Parliament building

European Parliament building


European Parliament Building

European Parliament Building


Petite France .. where we had our morning coffee

Petite France .. where we had our morning coffee


Vibrant floral display

Vibrant floral display


Beautiful

Beautiful


Beautiful architecture along the canal

Beautiful architecture along the canal


Look Daddy!!

Look Daddy!!

This view provides an excellent image of the beauty of Strasbourg
Strasbourg_-_Ponts_Couverts_vus_de_la_terrasse_panoramique

Strasbourg_-_Ponts_Couverts_vus_de_la_terrasse_panoramique

(Attribution: By Didier B (Sam67fr) (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) or CC BY 2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5)], via Wikimedia Commons)

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One can while away the time ambling through the many narrow streets, checking out the souvenir shops, french bakeries, and the different stores offering enticing goods which are unaffordable, but fun to look at.

Fun checking out the souvenir shops

Fun checking out the souvenir shops

The Statue of Johannes Gutenberg, who invented the printing press around 1440, was of interested to me as, I studied at uni a little about the impact his invention had on the dissemination of knowledge by the mass production of books.

Statue of Johannes Gutenberg

Statue of Johannes Gutenberg


Enjoying a ride on this lovely carousel

Enjoying a ride on this lovely carousel

It was a long, but interesting day, topped off with a lovely relaxed dins in Petite France, and a well deserved dessert.

Dinner before heading home

Dinner before heading home


Dessert after a big day ..

Dessert after a big day ..

I think I will have to organise a home exchange in Strasbourg sometime soon so I can return to explore this interesting city more thoroughly.

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Posted by patsaunder 11:58 Archived in France Comments (0)

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