Thursday, 5 October 2017

PHOTO DIARY: Aalborg, Denmark, June 2017


We spent less than 24 hours in Aalborg, and it rained most of the time, but the drive there was one of the loveliest on our road trip. I wasn't expecting much from the city, but even with the rain, it surpassed my expectations.

DAY TWELEVE

































When we left Silkeborg, we had the option of driving for 90 minutes through the centre of Denmark, or driving four hours along the western coast of the country. Guess which way we went? It sounds like I'm complaining about the huge detour to Aalborg, but I'm really not because it was a stunning drive with lots of charming stops.

En route to the coast we drove via the sweet harbour side town Morsø. There's not much going on here but we needed to stop at the tourist office to pick up a one day Copenhagen card for the last day of our holiday. We were meant to do this in Copenhagen, but forgot, oops.

Once we reached the coast we drove through Thy National Park. The parks spam 55km along the north-western coast and its unique landscape consists of fairly unspoiled dunes, dune heaths and more than 200 lakes. Our first stop was Stenbjerg Landing, an old fishing village, where we visited the picturesque, whitewashed fisherman huts, next to the glorious white sand beach, which stretched for a far as the eye could see. The sheds were built around 1900 and were used to store nets and fishing equipment.

A short drive away brought us to Vorupør, another small fishing community that's famous for it's unspoiled beaches covered in colourful, fishing boats. And the town of Klitmøller, also known as Cold Hawaii due to it's excellent surfing conditions. 

At the end of the national park we reached the fishing town of Hanstholm, which boasts the largest industrial harbour in Denmark, and the largest Nazi WWII fortress. Unfortunately I didn't know about the fortress during our visit, which is a shame as I would have loved to have taken a look around it. The reason we stopped here was to visit the tiny little fish restaurant Det Gamle Røgeri. Found hidden away in the harbour, their speciality stjerneskud aka shooting star, is a traditional Danish open sandwich packed high with different types of fish. Had Steve and I been aware of the size we would have definitely ordered one to share as neither of us could finish a portion. This is a meal for fish lovers, with layers of smoked salmon, fried fish, prawns, and more this was utterly delicious and some of the freshest fish I've had the pleasure of tasting. After our epic lunch we drove over to Hanstholm Lighthouse, which was unfortunately closed. The lighthouse was built in 1843 and was the first lens-based lighthouse in Denmark. It is the strongest lighthouse in Denmark in terms of light intensity, and at one stage in it's history, it was the strongest lighthouse in the world.

En route to our final stop of the day, Google Maps took us to the completely wrong place and we somehow ended up in the Frøstrup Minilandsby, a miniature town. Nevertheless, it was quite a sweet sight in a rather nondescript place.

Our final stop along the coast was Bulbjerg, a limestone cliff, Denmark's only bird cliff, and the only breeding place of black-legged kittiwake birds. The views from the top of the cliff are absolutely stunning and you can see far across Thy National Park. During WWII, the Nazis used Bulbjerg as a lookout point and built a small concrete fortification which you can still visit today.

We headed to Aalborg, checked into our lovely Airbnb, and decided to spend the evening indoors thanks to a heavy storm. An early night was just what we needed after a long day on the road.

DAY THIRTEEN















































Our day begun with breakfast at Abbey Road Café. This cosy little cafe serves up a big selection of sandwiches and other baked goods making it a good stop for some hygge. We spent the morning in Aalborg, checking out a few locals sights. We has a nosy around the Musikkens Hus, Aalborg's futurist looking concert hall, and the cultural centre Nordkraft, which is located next door.

We also visited the Utzon Center, the last building designed by famous Danish architect Jørn Utzon, who was born in the city. The centre puts on exhibitions but also features sketches and designs from Utzon himself. It's an impressive building and a must see for fans of architecture and design. Across the road you can visit Aalborghus, a 16th century castle, where you can have a look around the casemates. Unfortunately the rest of the castle is closed to the public.

Walking back through the town centre there are some historic landmarks you can visit, including Jens Bang's House, one of Denmark's best examples of 17th-century domestic architecture. The four-story sandstone building is noted for its rising gables and sculpted auricular window decorations. Jørgen Olufsen's House, built in 1616, is Denmark's best preserved merchant's mansion in the Renaissance style. Aalborg's old city hall, built in 1762, is a fine example of Late Baroque style.

Behag Din Smag is a nice little coffee shop in the city centre, and Kalejdoskop is an excellent shop to visit if you're interested in Danish furniture design.

Just before leaving the city we visited KUNSTEN, a museum of modern art located in the city suburbs, designed by world famous Finnish architect Alvar Aalto. The museum has an impressive collection for 20th century Danish and international art, as well as a lovely sculpture garden.

Nearby you'll find the Aalborg tårnet, a 55m tall observation tower built of lattice steel in 1933. Whilst I'm not afraid of heights, it was a pretty scary experience getting the lift to the top and I'm pretty sure I could feel the structure shaking in the wind. We didn't stay up for long but the views over the city were worth it.

A short drive north of the city will bring you to Lindholm Høje, a major Viking burial site. 682 graves and 150 stone ships from both the Germanic Iron age and Viking Age have been found on the site. The small museum explains the findings and tells the story of a major fire that struck a nearby farm more than 2000 years ago. Sheep have been left to roam the land which makes for an interesting walk.

Skagen, our next stop, was only a 90 minute drive from Aalborg. We stopped at Voergaard Castle, a 16th century moated manor house, which was unfortunately closed but it did look nice from the outside. We also drove through the cute little harbour town of Sæby to catch a glimpse of the impressive Lady From The Sea statue. The statue is based on Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen's play of the same name, about a summer he spent in the town.

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