Prowling my world, camera in hand

17 November 2023

Week 43: Copenhagen and Aarhus

Filed under: — Administrator @ 06:43

I spent the last few days of October in Denmark, as I do every year. My father died on November 1st 2004, and I try to visit his grave in Copenhagen at or close to that date. And of course I have my friends and my hometown Aarhus to visit.

I flew to Copenhagen Thursday afternoon, checked into my hotel, and met up with my childhood friend Beata. As always, we went for a beer or two in Nyhavn:

In particular, we went to a bar called McJoy’s, a place I used to visit with my father every time I visited him–this is my way of honouring his memory today:

I had not had dinner, so after our visit to McJoy’s we stopped at this traditional Danish sausage place. This was our fast food long before anybody had heard of Burger King and its ilk:

My dinner. In retrospect, it was not a great idea to eat this at 11 p.m. I had an upset stomach the next day:

I was going to take a train to Aarhus on Friday afternoon, so in the morning I went to visit the graves of my parents. While walking to the cemetery, I passed through this park with nice autumn colours:

I had my mother’s gravestone touched up last year, it looks very good now:

I then went on to the adjacent Jewish cemetery to visit my father’s grave. His stone needs the touching up too. The small white stone on the tombstone is one that I brought with me from my garden in Alicante:

On the way out, I stopped by the memorial to Polish Jews killed in the Holocaust. It was funded by the immigrants from Poland who arrived in Denmark in the late 1960s and early 1970s:

There is also a memorial to Danish Jews who died in the Theresienstadt concentration camp following their deportation in 1943. Of the more than 7,000 Jews living in Denmark, the vast majority escaped to Sweden in October 1943. A small number could not escape for a variety of reasons and ended up in German hands. Still, among the occupied countries Denmark is unique, with only about 50 Danish Jews perishing:

Having done my filial duties, I made my way to the main train station, had some lunch and took the train to Aarhus, about 3 hours away. Lars picked me up at the train station, and we drove to his daughter’s house for dinner. No photos except this one of one of her two cats:

On Saturday morning, Lars and I went for a walk in the centre of Aarhus. The oldest department store in the city, Salling, has a roof terrace from which there is a nice view of central Aarhus. There is a contrast between the medieval cathedral and the new apartment buildings on the waterfront. The population of Aarhus has risen from 250,000 when I lived there in the 1980s to 370,000 now, and all those people need a place to live:

We went inside the cathedral to look at the beautiful wall paintings. A choir was rehearsing:

Later in the day, I was going to have lunch with a couple of classmates from my primary school. On the way to the restaurant where we had agreed to meet, I photographed this baby waiting outside a shop. Leaving a baby in a stroller like this is normal in Denmark, not so in most other countries:

Every autumn, when the academic year begins, thousands of students descend on the two main cities in Denmark, Copenhagen and Aarhus. They often have trouble finding affordable accommodation, especially since everyone wants to live close to the university or close to the centre. Here is a poster protesting the situation. The text reads “affordable housing, or we fuck in the streets”:

I reached the restaurant and had lunch with Ole and Lone. We have known each other since 6th grade in 1972:

On Saturday evening, we had a reunion of my high school class. Lars and I attended high school together between 1976 and 1979. There were about 20 students in our class, of whom 17 are still alive. But of course not everybody could make it. We were 10 that evening, and spent a very nice 5 hours or so eating, drinking and talking. Always interesting to hear about how people’s lives turned out–in our group we have an environmental engineer, a social worker, an economist (me), a guy who engaged in a life of low-level crime until settling down as an owner of mobile fish trucks, and various other professions. The light in the restaurant was very poor, so not many photos.

Here I am together with Jonna who studied mathematics at university and works for a pharmaceutical company. She lives in Roskilde, near Copenhagen:

Lars talking to Sonja who lives in Aarhus and works for the social services department of the municipality:

On Sunday morning, Lars and I went for a bike ride, something we always do when I visit (I keep a bicycle at his place). It was raining but we are Vikings so we went out anyway:
Lars phone

We were planning a short ride of 20-25 km around the Brabrand Lake west of Aarhus, but as we progressed, the roads became more and more difficult. October was very wet in Aarhus, and there had been a lot of flooding. Shortly after this photo was taken, we came to a place where the road was under 1/2 meters of water, so we had no choice but to turn around:
Lars phone

After returning home, drying out and showering, we drove to the town of Horsens, about 40 km south of Aarhus, to visit the local art museum. One of its attractions is the museum restaurant which won the prize for the best burger in Denmark last year. So we rewarded ourselves for our valiant cycling in the rain:
Lars phone

Lars at the restaurant. The preceding 3 photos were taken by him using his smartphone. On the other hand, this photo was taken using the opposite end of the technology spectrum, with my Leica M2 and Ilford Delta 100 film:

The Horsens art museum is surprisingly nice for a town of its size (population 63,000):


I particularly enjoyed the museum’s large collection of works by Michael Kvium, a local artist whom it has supported throughout his career. He is now very well known in Denmark. This is a self-portrait from the mid-1980s:

We drove back to Aarhus and took a drive around the lake to see some more of the flooding. This should normally be a grassy field:

And a shortcut we were planning to take turned out to be closed:

We drove home, had dinner and some beer (as always) and turned in. On Monday morning I was going back to Copenhagen. More photos from Aarhus and Horsens can be seen here.

No Comments

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Powered by WordPress