I visited Aarhus, Denmark in May of 2018. This post will recap my trip, thoughts and experiences in Aarhus. Coming up, Copenhagen and all the food I ate on the trip!
I know you all were patiently awaiting my recap to Denmark! All three of you, ha. I finally got around to uploading all my pics and splitting up the posts in the way I want them. So without further adieu, let’s crack into it!
My parents approached me during Christmas and asked if I would want to come with them to Denmark. My Great-Grandmother migrated from Denmark to America in the 1920’s, and we still had existing family there. I grew up knowing that I had a lot of Danish blood, (mostly due to my blondie hair color!) and calling my grandmother bedstemor. I honestly had no desire to go to Denmark until they asked me if I would like to join them, and then I was really excited to go!
For someone that gets extreme flight anxiety (ok, not extreme but I don’t love it) I was really dreading the travel to Denmark. We flew to O’hare airport in the afternoon, around 3 pm. We boarded our flight to Copenhagen around 10 pm, and off we went! We flew on Scandinavian Airlines. The plane was huge, and we had great seats. One step below business class, we had tons of legroom and lots of fun treats in our seats.
The flight there was around 8 hours, and overnight. I baaaarely slept, maybe around 45 minutes. Most of the time was trying to sleep and getting up to go to the bathroom. I listened to music and white noise to pass the time. Once we got to Copenhagen, we had to catch ANOTHER plane to Aarhus. After a 30 minute flight on a puddle jumper, we were at our destination! A very long day of travel was finally over.
The Aarhus airport was very small, but once we gathered our luggage, we were met by some members of our extended family! They helped us load our luggage, and we went to meet my grandmothers cousin and her husband at their house. We shared coffee, tea and some small snacks (a tradition I experienced many times while in Denmark. Having a cup of tea with a small cookie or biscuit was the norm, daily. I did not complain).
After meeting everyone and chatting, we were off to our hotel. We stayed at the Helnan Marseilis Hotel right on the edge of the sea. I shared a room with my parents (taking me back to vacations of yore) on a pull out cot, right next to the door, so I could crack it and get the cool sea breeze every night. The cot wasn’t bad, and our hotel was old, but clean and nice. Plus you couldn’t beat the views.
The breakfast was also really great. They had a coffee machine where you could literally make any type of coffee you wanted, latte, flat white, and my favorite, the espresso chocolat. I’m still trying to recreate this with my Nespresso machine. I had at least two coffees each morning with freshly baked pastries and jammy eggs.
We were on a schedule with our family coming to pick us up every morning so I only had one really slow morning where I could explore the beach. It was GORGEOUS. The amazing thing about Denmark was the weather was perfect. All I needed was a light windbreaker. It was sunny and 60 degrees most days.
The city of Aarhus was relatively small, but very cool. Lots of shops and restaurants and cobblestone streets. We went into the city two of the four days, and then visited the countryside one day. The other day we visited Den Gambl By which was a replica of Denmark in the 1800’s, the 1920’s and the 1970’s. We also visited a mini Viking museum, ate at some wonderful restaurants and home cooked meals at the houses of our relatives. Like I said, I will detail everything I ate in another post :).
One thing I noticed was that everyone bikes everywhere! The city is just made for it. There are bike shares everywhere, and almost everyone owns a bike. There were even bikes at the hotel to rent. It really inspired me to get my bike together and make it ride-able. (just in time for the July heat, ugh)
It was great to have family time and learn what life in Denmark is truly like. I noticed everyone mentioned that it was very expensive to live in Denmark, and that about half of their paycheck when to taxes. On the flipside, they have universal healthcare, free college education, and lots of other benefits for being taxed so heavily. They wanted to know about American politics, and I had to apologize a lot for Tr*mp.
My younger cousins (my age) also wanted to know about American culture, and especially what Oklahoma was like. We compared rent numbers, talked about what we did for fun, and I told them about the greatness that is Chick-Fil-A (my problematic fav).
It’s very easy to get around Aarhus by bike, walking, or public transportation.
Almost everywhere took my card, but I also had some cash handy. The American dollar translates into the Danish Krone, and honestly, most things are expensive by American standards. I didn’t do a ton of shopping but did pick up some small souvenirs.
Most everyone I spoke to spoke to me in Danish first, but once I said I didn’t speak it, they spoke in English.
So that was my experience in Aarhus! If you have any questions, please leave them below, and look out for my post on Copenhagen and all the food I ate in Denmark!