The Romance of Northern Europe (7): Aarhus—Come See with Me!

IMG_0150Okay, I’m going to make a few embarrassing confessions: 1. I’m a baby boomer Aarhaus:Emerald Princess 5.14.13 copy 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 IMG_0242 3. Even though I was a history major in college, I’ve really never studied “Aarhus” in my entire life. Have you? Aerial view wikiAarhus is Denmark’s second largest city, but it’s actually the largest port. IMG_5424It’s roughly the geographic center of the country: on the east coast, midway north on the Jutland Peninsula (in red). IMG_0099In addition to its commercial importance to Denmark, IMG_0114Aarhus is a lively cultural center, and hosts “Aarhus Festuge,” IMG_0155Scandinavia’s largest themed festival, at the end of each summer. IMG_0159 However, we came when spring was just bursting into bloom, IMG_0154and that’s a perfectly wonderful time to visit too! 🙂 IMG_0105Our tour guide took us first to visit Aarhus Cathedral, which is so large thatDSCN8894  I couldn’t get a good picture with my camera of the real thing! IMG_0119It’s  the tallest church in Denmark (96 meters high) IMG_0104as well as the longest (93 meters) and seats 1,200 people.IMG_0108 It was built between 1190-1300 but renovated with Gothic vaulting in the 1500’s. DSCN8888We were able to spend some time appreciating this majestic place of worship, DSCN8884& the tour was perfectly timed so we could also enjoy a magnificent organ recital! IMG_0116After a guided bus tour of the city generally, we stopped briefly at the  IMG_0146 ARoS Aarhus Art Museum, which is brand new, one of the largest museums IMG_0151 in Northern Europe, and still planning finishing touches. IMG_0149 It has a circular “your rainbow  panorama” at the topIMG_0144 from which people can view the city through rainbow-colored glasses. IMG_0142If you come to Aarhus, the ARoS is definitely worth a visit! IMG_0166However, my favorite stop was our last: to “Den Gamle By,” IMG_0179which takes you back in time from the 21st century to the 16th century. IMG_0173If you’ve ever enjoyed a visit to Greenfield Village in Michigan, IMG_0174you’d probably love the Den Gamle By outdoor museum! IMG_0182It premiered in 1914 and is the oldest outdoor museum as such in the world. Water Mill 5.14.13 copySeventy-five historic structures were collected from all over Denmark Aarhus 5.14.13 copyand transported to this site. IMG_0171Most of the buildings are from the 15-18th centuries, IMG_0175and they’ve been arranged into street scenes to give you the feel for life Windmill 3 5.14.13  copyduring the different time periods. IMG_0177Also like Greenfield Village, Aarhaus Garden 5.14.13 copyit is a living, active community  IMG_0228where friendly souls in period dress carry on with life IMG_0172just as they would have 300-500 years ago! IMG_0190Luckily for us, IMG_0191pastries have apparently been around for many centuries. IMG_0193“And as ’twas a June day, and just about noon day” (well, maybe May afternoon), Bakery 5.14.13  copy 2“they wanted to eat—IMG_0195like the best of us!” IMG_0197 (What? You’ve never heard “The Embarrassing Episode of Little Miss Muffet” ??) IMG_0199No hideous spiders, but we sat near the city well and sure enjoyed our pastries! IMG_0198All told, our day in Aarhus was just splendid from beginning to end. IMG_0209Many things were delightfully unique, 5.14.13 copyand many things were comfortingly familiar. Aarhaus 5.14.13  copyTravel 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)

The Romance of Northern Europe (1): A Brief Overview of our Cruise

IMG_1157Alan and I just returned from a couple of weeks cruising the Baltic Sea on the Emerald Princess, Alan and Kathi on Cruiseinvestigating all the fascinating ports on their Northern European itinerary.  IMG_1859 We visited 8 ports, & I took thousands of pictures of our incredible tours, a few IMG_1931of which I hope to share with you each upcoming Tuesday during my next  IMG_0214“Travel Tuesday” series. We visited the Den Gamle By in Aarhaus, Denmark, Tallinthe gorgeous medieval city of Tallin, Estonia…that I knew virtually nothing about Oslo Ski Jump…but then places like Holmenkollen, the ski jump in Oslo, which I recognized Oslofrom Disney’s Norway movie, along with this ship from the Viking Museum! 🙂 BerlinBerlin is a vibrant city and especially precious to us because of our German IMG_1427 daughter-in-law, but I think for sheer opulence, we were most amazed by St. IMG_1291Petersberg, the cultural capital of Russia and home to some of the world’s  IMG_2317grandest palaces, most exotic cathedrals, Rembrandt Abraham's Sacrifice 1635and world class museums such as the Hermitage, with its gallery of Rembrandts. HelsinkiBecause of our “Finnish” connection, we visited a lake cottage when we were in  Finland  Helsinki and enjoyed a quiet respite, getting to know a sweet Finnish family. Vasa MuseumIn Sweden we visited Stockholm’s Vasa Museum and their famous  city hall,Stockholm City Hallwhere the Nobel prizes are awarded every year. After the cruise ended, we spent Cope Harbora little extra time in Copenhagen and enjoyed some of its special charms, The Little Mermaidincluding the famed “Little Mermaid” statue in the harbor Tivoliand the splendid Tivoli Gardens, which I’ve heard about “forever”…but also some Cope Botanical Gardenslesser known (to me) attractions such as the world’s oldest glass house in their Russia Caviarbotanical gardens. All told, we tasted a lot of new dishes, enjoyed many new Vigeland Sculpture Parkexperiences, read several books together and on our own, learned a lot, DSCN8904and in general had a royal time! Best of all, we came home deeply refreshed St. Issac's Cathedral (albeit with bad colds) and with expanded spiritual vision. IMG_2433 Plus, we have renewed courage for the work before us! DessertIf this sounds as appealing to you as it was to us, I hope you join us for my IMG_1093upcoming “Tuesday Travel” reminiscences and reflections on the cruise!IMG_2354“Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits” (Psalm 103:2)   “What shall I render unto the LORD for all his benefits toward me?” (Psalm 116:12)