03.07.2012 - 16.08.2012 22 °C
We've had some lovely times just enjoying being 'out and about' around Aarhus, and checking out some of the local landmarks.
One of our earlier trips was to Brabrand Sø (Sø = lake), quite a large lake only 10mins from the city. The Aarhus River runs through the lake which is a important habitat for many bird species. A 10km path runs around the lake which is popular for cycling, skating and jogging.
Beside Brabrand another artificial lake (Årslev Engsø) has been developed as a way of reducing the nutrient flow into Brabrand which not only affects the conditions for the flora and fauna, but also impacts the Aarhus River and the bay. There is also a nature trail around this lake which has two bird hides to observe the difference species of birds. Unfortunately it was quite a chilly day and close to midday when we visited and no birds at all could we find - they must have been having their midday nap!! However I was very impressed with the quality of the hide - very solid. A lovely tranquil place so close to town.
Even small villages in Denmark have their own church, most are from the 'Church of Denmark', and most with a similar design to this lovely one at Brabrand. Check out the caption on the pic of the books.
The Deer Park is worth a visit and only 4km from town!!! This is a large forested area with beautiful beech trees, and sika and fallow deer. They are very friendly as visitors are allow to feed them and they come to you looking for food. A relaxed and peaceful walk through the forest.
Aarhus is the second largest city in Denmark with approx. 300,000 population. It is very easy to find your way and to get around. It has a pedestrian mall through its centre, though you may still have to negotiate the many cyclists. Most people cycle and there are cycle paths on most large roads. Cyclists even have their own street lights on some intersections. Chas and I have had to remember to check for bikes as well as cars when crossing the road.
Aarhus Domkirke (Cathedral: kirke = church) is the focal point of the city. Built in 1201, it was destroyed by fire in 14thC and rebuilt in the late 15C in its current style. Quite impressive.
The Aarhus Town Hall is another impressive structure. Designed by one of Denmark's most famous architects and designer (Arne Jacobsen) it is an example of Danish Modernism with the outside of the structure covered with Norwegian marble. Unfortunately, it is not one of my favourite buildings (but don't tell the Danes!!).
Aarhus has a very cosmopolitan feel. It is a university city which brings lots of young people and is very modern and lively. It has a strong cultural energy with many restaurants and cafes, and several large music festivals during the year.
For some reason I have a soft spot for this lovely old wooden windmill which sits proudly on the hill above the botanical gardens.
Our second home exchange is a lovely spacious home in the beautiful Danish Lakes District in a little place called Ry along the along the Gudenå (River Guden) the longest river in Denmark. It is a beautiful part of Denmark and we have enjoyed being part of the community for a short time and to have Aaron, Rikke and Olivia for lunch in our 'home'. We had visited the lakes on our last visit and wanted to return to a lovely restaurant we found. So we went searching, and found - Aalekroen - on the banks of Julsø. A beautiful spot for a quiet relax.
Many Danes have an affinity with the water, and this is especially so here in the lake district. We had a lovely picnic with 'the kids' on a beautiful Danish summer day at Mossø, not only the largest lake in Denmark but also the deepest (22m).
On our journey around Mossø we also visited Gammel Rye (Old Rye), with its lovely mill and clog museum, which used to be an important town but has been outgrown by the new town of Ry. I think I will buy myself a pair of clogs before I come home.
Ry sits between knudsø and Birksø and has a lovely little harbour where tourist boats leave to travel the short distance to Himmelbjerget - The Sky Mountain.
With a height of 147 meters Himmelbjerget is one of the highest points in Denmark, the highest being only 172 metres!! It is a popular destination for its beautiful nature and magnificent views. One can sail to Himmelbjerget from Ry, which is what I did today. Chas and I went our separate ways - he for another round of golf at the beautiful Skanderborg Golf Club (which runs beside Sandkerborg Sø - lakes everywhere!!), and I for a trip ON the lakes and not just beside them in one of the boats you can see in the harbour pic above.
Quite shallow and narrow in parts, the lake was busy with kayaks, canoes and private motor boats. The trip was lovely with little communities on its shores, and cattle on the hillside. Quite idyllic!!
One thing about visiting a 'mountain' - there's only one way and that is 'up'. So I had to climb the steep 1km path to the top, and I hadn't even had lunch!! In the pic looking down on Julsø (above) the white speck in the centre is the boat returning to Ry. I had already 'scaled the heights' in time to see it leave.
My plan was to enjoy a lovely meal in the restaurant and reflect on the three other occasions on which I had come to Himmelbjerget, the first of which was in 2003. I remember taking a photo of Braden not far from the one I took of the Himmelbjerget Hotel today. Unfortunately only the cafeteria was open - not many vegan options. However, while not very imaginative (and definitely not low fat!!, the chef offered to prepare a meal for me - a vegie stir-fry of sorts, cooked in oil. Surprisingly it was tasty especially with a glass of wine. A lovely day.
Himmelbjerget is a significant site for Danes. On top of the hill is a 25.1 meter tall tower that was erected to honor King Frederik VII and his role in giving the Danish people a constitution in 1849. Close to the top are more monuments, most honoring individuals, but also one to commemorate women's right to vote in 1915.
Considering the expanse of water, the reeds and natural habitat for the birds I have actually been surprised at the low number of birds we have seen. HOWEVER, I had a wonderful surprise this morning when Chas noticed a beautiful red squirrel playing in a tree in the garden. So cute. BUT, I still haven't seem my hedgehog!!
Tomorrow is our last day in Ry. We have had a lovely and relaxed time here in the lake district, but it is now off to Scotland and Ireland, returning to Denmark on 1 October for the last part of our holiday. Stay tuned ...