I have just been informed there is a photo gallery from the Northside setup with a giant picture of me! Bit of a laugh, I’m now famous in Denmark! Ha.
This is a post about boobs. Fair warning.
I have recently just experienced my first ever “You know you’ve been in Europe too long when” moment. It came when I saw a particularly outrageous ad, and thought nothing of it. It wasn’t until I saw it twice more that I realised just how out of place it would be in most of the rest of the world.
That’s right, just about every bus in Aarhus is currently sporting a giant pair of tits! Only in Europe! Bad enough that there is a giant campaign for breast implants all over town (or “Nye Bryster”, as I can now add to my Danish vocabulary), but the buses actually show naked boobs. Not some subtle innuendo, or a covered but large breasted woman, or even a ‘pretending to be artful naked yet covered’ photo. Blatant boobs. Not even a head featured in the image!
I don’t know which is worse, the ad itself or my lack of shocked reaction (at first). It strikes me as particularly hilarious, that the Danes, who are notoriously modest, reserved and hard to break the ice with are so complacent about nudity, whereas the countries where people are instantly friendly and open are quite the opposite.
Then again maybe it has something to do with Denmark housing the woman with the world’s* (or maybe just Europe, I’m not entirely sure) largest [fake] breasts. Not only does she live here, but she also hosts a reality show, called Familien Fra Bryggen. I’ve seen it before, but I don’t know what anyone’s talking about, seeing as how it is all in Danish. I suspect the men of the nation view it in the same way.
*Linse Kessler, owner of (at least) Europe’s largest assets and sister of famous Danish boxer Mikkel Kessler. He refuses to have anything to do with her show. Can’t think why. You can thank me when you win the local pub quiz on that knowledge.
Just alongside the Canal on Aboulevarden in Aarhus is Mølleparken, a little, recently redeveloped park that is a total hidden gem, just off the main drag. It is just over the canal from the Centre for Contemporary art and very near to a bunch of nice cafes. A beautiful place to stroll on a sunny day!
This one is a recommendation for anyone looking for good value eating out in Aarhus. Hard to find in Denmark, but if you know the right places to go there are sneaky buffet’s everywhere with cheap prices. They often hook you be requiring an expensive drink purchase though.
Down a cheeky alleyway (actually it is on Frederiksgade) is an amazingly delicious all-you-can-eat Italian buffet for only 50kr – Den Bla Paraply (The Blue Umbrella) if I remember rightly. I expected it to be pretty poor quality for that price, but the food there was amazing, from the delicious breads, pasta and other dishes to the salad bar. The pizza was a definite highlight. A must-do, especially if you have had a sizeable night out the night before…
The Viking Museum, or more accurately, the Moesgaard Museum, is surrounded by one of the most amazing park’s I have ever seen. Largely because of all of the untouched Viking burial grounds, viking huts and other historical treasures spread throughout. Not to mention the glorious sandy beach at the end.
It was really nice to stroll through the 100ha park, see some great artefacts, Nordic farm animals, beautiful streams, an iron-age house, lush forests, swampy patches, stonehenge-type rock formations, old style milling houses and the favourite: one named ‘Cult House‘ – where religious sacrifices and rituals took place. As we walked past it, a bunch of people were having a BBQ there. Vegans might argue they were being highly culturally appropriate.
The park area was huge, and I didn’t get through all of it despite a different route from the musuem to the beach to the one we took back again. I definitely look forward to returning next time we get a sunny day in Aarhus!
One of the things I found most entertaining on arrival in Scandinavia, are the hot dog stands everywhere. And I mean everywhere! If you step out of the train station in Aarhus, you can see at least 4 hot dog vendors infront of you, not to mention the two immediately behind (the 7-11s) and the mall behind that. Everywhere, I tell you.
I have never really been a fan of hotdogs. I have sinced worked out that like many foods, NZ is doing it all wrong. In my previous experience, the options are either battered sausages on a stick at sports games and carnivals, or incredibly bland frankfurters with ketchup (also known as “The Food Ruiner”) or American mustard. The common theme is that they are far more American than european in influence.
I finally sacked up and decided I really ought to try this most Scandinavian of customs, and boy was I surprised! Everything from the bread to the sauce to the hotdog itself was a million times more delicious. They really have got this one right!
Initially I was fairly entertained to see you can buy a hotdog without even getting any bread, but the hotdogs themselves are truly delicous. They aren’t just sausage shaped meat offcuts like in NZ, but instead they are flavoursome deliciousness! You can even get them wrapped in bacon. Genius!
There is a ludicrous amount of ways the Danes serve their hotdogs, but the one that entertained me the most, and is actually quite clever, is the Fransk Hotdog (French hotdog). I could be wrong, but I’m fairly sure the name comes from the fact it is in a hollowed out baguette. So much more convenient to eat them that way. So for any travellers to Denmark/Scandinavia, it is a must to try a Fransk Hotdog at the very least! They are also one of the cheapest ways to eat in Denmark, which is notoriously expensive where food is concerned.
I’d been meaning to get to the viking museum for a very long time, but it kept getting put off given it is a bit of a bus ride out of town. Nonetheless, the day finally came. We would have been uber excited, unfortunately our heads were still in recovery from the Aalborg Carnival the night before, coupled with the Italian Pizza buffet we went to that morning. So useless, were we, that when we arrived we actually had to have a little lie down in the grass outside before entering the museum.
Once we finally forced ouselves upright from our food-coma (it was a glorious sunny day, so you can’t blame us for wanting to enjoy one of Denmark’s few days of summer) we were greeted by what can only be the most appropriate staff member at a Viking Musuem. A huge guy with long blonde hair and an epic beard. Apparently I was the only one that found him hilariously appropriate.
The first part of museum itself was full of all kinds of interesting tales and information, covering everything from how they farmed and hunted, their causes of death (which were almost always violent and hardly ever diseases or natural causes) to how the land changed over time.
Part two was an exhibition about mystical bogs. The two kiwis found it most entertaining, with all kinds of bog jokes coming out. The Canadian eventually caught on to the fact that ‘bog’ is slang for toilet and joined in the fun. Part of the exhibition was a man who had been incredibly well preserved in a peat bog, which was both fascinating and kind of sickening at the same time. He had been brutally murdered and had a giant gash in his throat. Lucky for us useless hungover souls there was a seat to sit and have a gander, also known as a much needed break from all that standing around doing nothing much.
The next section was actually curtained off, and I think it was only meant to be used when school children visit. Obviously this was a signal something exciting was to be seen behind the curtain. And boy were we right. We didn’t wait to find out if we were allowed, but instead got dressed up in the viking costumes and climbed on the chunk of longboat sticking out of the wall. Epic.
After that we found a whole bunch of viking weapons and shields, and learned all kinds of interesting facts. My favourite, was that when one of the villages was attacked, they defeated their intruders and in a fit of rage destroyed all of the weapons, armour, jewels, and probably bodies of their attackers, and threw them into the lake (Skanderborg Lake, to be precise, very near where I live now). Archaeologists have found huge piles of bent swords and armour, with no other explanation than that they were deliberately destroyed. They were also too far out to have been thrown, so the conclusion is the vikings took them out in boats and dropped threw over the side. Even gold and jewels were thrown overboard, instead of kept. Not one skeric of a reminder of their attackers was to remain!
There were also some fascinating rune-stones on display at the museum, and plenty of other fun facts. All in all I thoroughly recommend a visit!
In a bizarre turn of events, Denmark got really warm over the weekend. Not one, but TWO beach excursions were had, and at the first opportunity I was frolicking around in the Baltic Sea. Amazingly, at 9pm it was still delightfully warm, and of course, being so far north the sun was still beaming.
The other odd thing was how little salt there was in the water. Supposedly that is why the Vasa (the ship that sunk under its own weight in Stockholm) was so well preserved. It almost felt like I was swimming in fresh water!
AKA the best idea ever. Take all of the top bakeries around town, put them in one room, presenting samples of their finest cakes. Give ticket holders an hour to eat as much as they want. Best $20 I ever spent! And no surprises tickets sold out in 10 minutes or something ridiculous.
I was so defeated by the end of it. Almost felt too sick to move and had the biggest sugar crash and fell asleep on the train. But it was totally worth it! So many amazing miniature cake creations…
In NZ, boat races are a relatively common drinking game (although international media at the moment would probably suggest it is New! and Outrageous!) where two teams race in a form of drinking relay to finish beers, with the second person not allowed to start there’s until the first is finished and so on. There’s usually some novel action that must be done before the next person can start, for example putting the empty bottle upside down on your head. I’m fairly sure students in many countries play it. It’s like a less skilled version of Flip Cup. Here’s an example, which I can only assume are a bunch of middle aged Australians at a gaming convention, so I don’t think this game will be making ODT headlines.
In Denmark, Boat Races are being taken to whole new extremes. Kapsjlads (“Boat Race” in Danish is an annual event at Aarhus University. This year 25,000 people turned up to watch, many of which arrived there six hours before the event officially started to get good spots. Some of my friends actually camped out overnight and most people arrived around 8am and had a little picnic breakfast to kick off the day. Local bars have tents set up selling beers (although everyone brings their own drinks), there’s music playing all day, famous comedians hosting the event, and most importantly it was a glorious sunny day.
The event itself features multiple heats of relay teams of four from each faculty who have to row across the lake in the middle of the University Park, drink a beer as fast as possible, spin around the bottle 10 times and then row back. For a better explanation, here’s a clip of the final:
The best part, however, was the theatrical performances each faculty puts on at the beginning of their heat. I didn’t know this was coming, and thought it was pretty hilarious there were some guys running around in stormtrooper costumes. As it turns out, they reanacted a 2 minute version of the starwars franchise, part on the shore, part on the water, with a giant deathstar raft featuring a lightsaber showdown between Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker. There was smoke and flames and all sorts. Other faculties had hilarious themes like Donald Duck, Aladdin (with a giant elephant and very well choreographed fight scene), some weird dance thing that I didn’t really get, Angry Birds (where a giant catapult was wheeled out and soccer balls were shot at people dressed as pigs on a raft), Titanic (where they even had the painting scene as an easel appeared and Rose somehow transformed in to a naked boy with a wig dancing to “I’m sexy and I know it”). Other surprises of the day involved a naked swim race across the (really filthy) lake to win festival tickets, including one brave girl, and a very enthusiastic strip tease to “Sandstorm.”
All in all a marvellous day, and it was great to see an event like that where the University got behind it (the Mayor even gave a speech), no-one damaged campus and the PC police were no-where to be seen. Otago could learn a few things.