Today is Grundlovsdag in Denmark, where people “celebrate” the Danish constitution of 1849 that (sort of) brought Democracy to this little nordic country. As a result, much of the country is closed so that people can patriotically celebrate in typical fashion: flying flags and spending the day at home with their families. Heather and I are doing a bit of that this morning, then I’m going into work for the afternoon (the University is only partially closed) and Heather is going to Dance class. Thus, we’ll reconvene for dinner. With a little unanticipated free time, however, I thought I would put some photos of a really nice walk that Heather and I took yesterday along the sea.
As has probably become obviously from some of our previous posts, Aarhus is a major port that lies on the eastern edge of Jutland overlooking a rather picturesque body of water known as Aarhus Bugt. Though much of the port retains its industrial flavor, with large container shippings coming and going amidst factories, warehouses, and port cranes, parts of the shore are beautiful. Indeed, one part of the harbor area – called either “The New Harbor” or, in less internationally friendly terms “Aarhus Ø” – is transforming a former industrial site into a major residential and commercial center. We haven’t actually been to the Ø yet because it involves a walk across a huge barren swath of land that is itself relatively inaccessible at present. But, we spent much of last night in another part of Aarhus that has more attractive views of the sea.
Specifically, during the month of June, Aarhus is hosting a major sculpture exhibition, Sculpture by the Sea, which was apparently inspired by the Crown Princess’s visits to something analogous in Australia several years back. This year, there were more than 40 sculptures laid out from Tangkrogen (a large park and marina area southeast of downtown) for three kilometers. Below are some pictures.
The sculptures were overall quite interesting, though some were truly strange…I suppose that is to be expected. The curators were clearly thoughtful, however, positioning the sculptures in interesting ways both near and in the sea. Some of my favorites involved a crack in the ground covered with plexiglass, a mesh of zip-tied bottle caps made to look like coral, some large iron shapes washed ashore, and what might be described as a set of headstones made of shovels.
After visiting this rather interesting exhibit, we visited “America Festival”, which was apparently Aarhus’s way of celebrating American commercialism by serving beer on the street and keeping shops on Strøget open until midnight. We were hoping to be really impressed by the Danes’ take on American culture, but there didn’t seem to be anything that really screamed America other than a miniature Statue of Liberty covered in American flags and a beer garden serving only Budweiser. There was also a showcase of American cars, which were mostly late model Corvettes. Nice try, Aarhus, but better luck next year! We did, however, enjoy one distinctly American treat blended with a bit of Danish cafe culture. We visited one of our regular haunts along the Aarhus River and enjoyed burgers and fries while sitting outside until the still-sunny hour of 11pm.