For ten days at the end of August/beginning of September every year, Aarhus turns host to one of Scandinavia’s biggest cultural fests: the Aarhus Festuge or the Aarhus Festival. As a newbie to the city I had to check it out. Except I had one teeny problem – a busted foot that has been a hindrance to any social and most daily activities. With the last few days of the festival, I threw caution – and my temporary cast – to the wind to explore what the Aarhus Festuge was all about. I mean YOLO, right? [But also I only have one right foot 🙁 ]
I had scanned all the free events (don’t judge me, I am a student here!) and even hobbled up at one (a sailing event) only to find absolutely no one but the wind to keep me company. Defeated, I went back to nurse my poor ankle, consoling my far too adventurous and tortured self that there would be more festivals in Aarhus. But I was hell bent on taking one of the many solar-powered boat rides called Den Blå Bro (the Blue Bridge) down the canal. Well the only problem was the sun wasn’t shining – a normal in Denmark. But in my brief time here I have learnt that what the Danes promise, the Danes deliver.
So down I went to Mølleparken, one of the many spots in the city from where the boat rides were to start. Since it was a cold and rainy Friday, there were hardly any people in the park except for those setting up the stage and some members of a boy band.
When the boat finally arrived, I seemed to be the only one to want to board it. So for twenty DKK, I had the very silent “Agnete” and her captain for thirty minutes as I cruised from Mølleparken to Europaplads.
The river Aarhus, named very cleverly after its city, runs through Midbyten or Aarhus Center and empties at the harbour near DOKK 1 which is the public library and administrative offices of the municipality. In the 1930s, this river was covered over to construct a new road but half a century later, small canals were dug out and a trendy avenue was created.
Today most of Aarhus’s top restaurants, cafes and shops line the canal. At night, it is the most amazing site to behold with the lights of the storefronts bouncing off and twinkling on the soft waves of the river.
For perspective – the canal is narrower than the ones in Amsterdam but not as much as the ones in Venice. But there are spots where the bridges hang really low it is a wonder that boats can pass through at all. The “captain” jumped off his foldable seat and told me to duck. Well ducking almost resulted in my decapitation – I had to literally lie down!
The people on another boat however, didn’t arrive to that conclusion too soon.
Chuckling at the boat rider for this funny limbo, I realised we were already at DOKK 1 and my ride was over. One might have to wait a whole year to climb on “Agnete” and explore Aarhus through its canals and I am so glad I risked it. It was the best twenty krone I ever spent!