Okay, I’m going to make a few embarrassing confessions: 1. I’m a baby boomer 2. Alan and I are now “senior citizens,” and he usually wants to take the guided tours rather than zipping around on our own where we don’t know the language and haven’t much clue about where we’re really supposed to be going 3. Even though I was a history major in college, I’ve really never studied “Aarhus” in my entire life. Have you? Aarhus is Denmark’s second largest city, but it’s actually the largest port. It’s roughly the geographic center of the country: on the east coast, midway north on the Jutland Peninsula (in red). In addition to its commercial importance to Denmark, Aarhus is a lively cultural center, and hosts “Aarhus Festuge,” Scandinavia’s largest themed festival, at the end of each summer. However, we came when spring was just bursting into bloom, and that’s a perfectly wonderful time to visit too! 🙂 Our tour guide took us first to visit Aarhus Cathedral, which is so large that I couldn’t get a good picture with my camera of the real thing! It’s the tallest church in Denmark (96 meters high) as well as the longest (93 meters) and seats 1,200 people. It was built between 1190-1300 but renovated with Gothic vaulting in the 1500’s. We were able to spend some time appreciating this majestic place of worship, & the tour was perfectly timed so we could also enjoy a magnificent organ recital! After a guided bus tour of the city generally, we stopped briefly at the ARoS Aarhus Art Museum, which is brand new, one of the largest museums in Northern Europe, and still planning finishing touches. It has a circular “your rainbow panorama” at the top from which people can view the city through rainbow-colored glasses. If you come to Aarhus, the ARoS is definitely worth a visit! However, my favorite stop was our last: to “Den Gamle By,” which takes you back in time from the 21st century to the 16th century. If you’ve ever enjoyed a visit to Greenfield Village in Michigan, you’d probably love the Den Gamle By outdoor museum! It premiered in 1914 and is the oldest outdoor museum as such in the world. Seventy-five historic structures were collected from all over Denmark and transported to this site. Most of the buildings are from the 15-18th centuries, and they’ve been arranged into street scenes to give you the feel for life during the different time periods. Also like Greenfield Village, it is a living, active community where friendly souls in period dress carry on with life just as they would have 300-500 years ago! Luckily for us, pastries have apparently been around for many centuries. “And as ’twas a June day, and just about noon day” (well, maybe May afternoon), “they wanted to eat—like the best of us!” (What? You’ve never heard “The Embarrassing Episode of Little Miss Muffet” ??) No hideous spiders, but we sat near the city well and sure enjoyed our pastries! All told, our day in Aarhus was just splendid from beginning to end. Many things were delightfully unique, and many things were comfortingly familiar. Travel is like that! It expands our horizons and helps us grow…makes the world seem smaller because of how much we humans share in common, and then it makes the world seem bigger because of how different we are too, and how much more there is to learn! 🙂
Have you ever considered taking a trip to heaven? You may have never even heard of it, the way I’d not heard of Aarhus, but it’s a real place, even though neither of us has ever been there yet. Did you know that “heaven” is mentioned 550 times in the Bible? Jesus tells us that “no man has ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven” (John 3:13). That same person (Jesus) tells us that he can take us to heaven when we die if we repent of our sins and trust Him to take us there, surrendering our lives to him as our Lord and Savior. Are you interested? Are you on your way? I am, and it’s been the trip of a lifetime…even more exciting than the best ports of Northern Europe! I hope to meet you…either on the way down here…or up there someday! Blessings—
“I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world” (John 11:25).
(Aerial view of Aarhus, Denmark from Wiki Commons)