Saturday, February 3, 2007

Århus... in the middle of our street

To get to London from Viborg, I had to pass through a town called Århus (pronounced Arhoos and alternatively spelled Aarhus). It's a town on the west coast of the Jutland region of Denmark, right on the water. It's got a fairly good sized University, and it was described to me this way, "It's the second largest city in Denmark... which means it's really small."

I decided to head down a couple of days ahead of schedule and check out the town. I was able to find lodging with a couple of people connected with the school. That's the biggest travel tip I can offer anyone... if you have an opportunity, stay with locals! True it saves you some hotel costs, but it also lets you get to know the place much much better, and avoid the touristy crap.

The first night I stayed with Emma and her boyfriend Flemming. Emma is Australian and teaches acting at the school in Viborg. Flemming is a freelance music producer and has set himself up a very nice little recording studio where they both live. The last shot here is the room I slept in.

We went out that night to a great little pub called Ris Ras. Probably my favorite place in Denmark to date for a beer, and it definitely has that "cozy" feeling the Danes like so much.

The next day was the coldest of my trip so far. Even the Danes shivered. Emma showed me around a bit and left me at a Cafe' where I ate a typically massive Danish brunch. I wandered the city center for a while, but it was just too damned cold to do much (pictured).

Still, I saw some of the city, and it's a beautiful place. Lots of walking streets with lots of shops and cafes and big beautiful churches. It also has a fairly big forested area right in the middle of town, but sadly, that was one of the places the weather kept me from.

That night I stayed with Anders, another associate of the school. He owns a small animation studio in Århus called Ja Film along with a friend named Rune. Rune (pic below) has some strange fascination with the recent film version of Miami Vice, so we spent the evening and Anders place screening it while drinking Mojitos. Can't complain... it kept us out of the cold for a while. We did head out late and check out some bad open mic music.
Ja Film is housed in an old building in the a central part of town known as the Latin Quarter. This building was once Chocolate Factory and still has the original sign out front. Their studio is in the top floor and is a beautiful space, perfect for the small group they have working there.

Anders' apartment was also in an attic-like space and also really great. He's built himself a little nest up above the entertainment center in his living room with a clever stair step shaped set of bookshelves leading up. The only thing I didn't like about either of these places was the 4 or 5 flights of stairs I had to tackle loaded down with my pack. If I had that many stairs to climb to get home, I'd be in a lot better shape.

I had a great time in Århus, despite the chill. I'd like to get back here in a warmer season. The waterfront was beautiful, but again, just too cold to enjoy this time of year.

By the way, every time I mentioned Århus to Simon and Leslie in London, they'd start right into "Our House" lyrics by Madness. So full credit to them for my clever title.

"Århus... in the middle of our street!"

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