but it is nearly time to come home.
04/10/2010 - 30/10/2010 10 °C
While I think we have seen our share of churches during our holiday, we did find a couple more which I thought may be of interest due to their historical significance.
While travelling into Aarhus on the bus one day, we chatted with an elderly lady who suggested we visit one of Aarhus’s churches, The Church of Our Lady. Originally known as St. Nicholas' Church, it was renamed after the Reformation in 1536 with the altarpiece and pulpit added in the mid 16thC. However our interest lay in the crypt church which was unveiled under the main building during restoration in the 1950s. Two graves were found - one of a child and one of an adult. This church is the oldest existing stone church in Scandinavia built in 1060. It was restored and reopened in 1957 and is still used for mass once a week. The crucifix above the altar is an exact copy of a Roman crucifix found in an old church in Aarhus, the original of which is now in the National Museum in Copenhagen. It is very unusual. The crypt church is lovely and well worth a visit.
After visiting Rikke’s family in Kolding one day we stopped to visit a lovely churchyard in Jelling south of Aarhus. The church dates from 1100 and the two large burial mounds and two massive carved rune stones from the 10th C.. The runic writings on the stones have been translated. The smaller and older one states that King Gorm the Old placed the stone in memory of his wife Thyra. The larger stone placed by King Gorm's son, Harald Bluetooth is in memory of his parents, and to celebrate his conquest of Denmark and Norway and his conversion of the Danes to Christianity. This stone has three sides and shows Christ with arms outstretched and a halo over his head. It is almost 2.5m tall and weighs 10ton!!
The body of King Gorm the Old was discovered under the church in 1978 and after extensive study was re-entombed in the church in 2000. How amazing is that!!
This is one of Denmark’s most important historical sites and is another UNESCO World Heritage Site. The inscription on the larger stone is considered to be the first written record in which the word ‘Denmark’ appears. They call it the ‘Danes Baptism Certificate’. A plaster cast of this stone has been made and a copy showing what are considered to be original colours lies outside the museum in Jelling.
One Sunday morning we decided to take a trip to Denmark’s Lake District. We set off but only five minutes later found ourselves unable to even read the signs on the motorway due to very heavy fog and light rain. However, we decided to continue (very carefully), and within a half hour the fog had lifted to a beautiful sunny, but cool day. Yeah!!
The ‘Lake District’ is an area around Silkeborg only 40km from Aarhus (has anyone watched Unit One on ABC TV which is set in Silkeborg??). This area is home to Denmark’s longest river (the Gudenå; 160km), Jutland’s biggest lake (Mossø) and Denmark’s highest point, Ejer Baunehøj (just under 171m!!). I counted 11 lakes (but I’m not sure – there may be more). A very picturesque area with a wonderful history.
As we had started our journey without breakfast we were on the lookout for somewhere to have lunch. Well, what did we find? A lovely restaurant with beautiful (vegan) food, in the most wonderful setting we could dream of. While it was too cold to eat our meal outside, we could not resist taking our coffee into the sunshine, with the odd canoe, small motor boats and a flock of ducks swimming by. Pure bliss.
Another definite ‘high’ was Himmelbjerget (The Sky Mountain) with a height of 147 meters. From 1839 open air meetings were held here where people came together to discuss the future of Denmark. On top of the hill is a 25 meter tall tower that was erected to honor King Frederik VII and his role in giving the Danish people a constitution in 1849. There are also a number of monuments several honouring Danish poets and one commemorating the women’s right to vote in 1915.
On the day we visited there were many people enjoying the last burst of 'summer'. Many Danish tourist attractions close for the winter period so they hold on to the idea of 'summer time' as long as they can. This is a very popular destination. It is a beautiful natural area with magnificent views. It was peaceful and relaxing as we enjoyed the view over Lake Julsø with boats gently moving across the still water, and the trees starting the change to their beautiful autumn colours. What a day!!
I have been enjoying the change of the season –daylight at 8am, watching the changing of the colours and the gradual loss of leaves from the trees, the cold days (currently max 7-10deg), and cosy evenings at home with the central heating!
We have continued to explore the local area seeking lovely restaurants to enjoy lunch. One of our favourite destinations has been the quaint Skovmøllen (The Mill in the Wood) which is part of Aarhus University’s Moesgård Museum. Now a restaurant, it used to be Moesgård manor's corn mill, located in the forest, ten minutes' walk from the museum. Moesgård museum specialises in archaeology and ethnography. It is so cool, and one of my favourite areas in Aarhus.
The museum has exhibitions in various places around their quite large complex and you find them as you walk around the area. For example we came across a reconstruction of what they consider the first churches in Denmark may have looked like (based on archaeological evidence).
We also came across two interesting sculptures that I think were made from willow, which caught Chas’s eye especially!!
Well everyone, this is my last post to the blog as we head home this weekend. I hope you have found it interesting and have enjoyed sharing our journey as much as I have enjoyed preparing it for you. A very rough calculation has shown that we will have travelled over 47,000 km (on our trips alone). We have so many wonderful memories to bring home with us.
I'll leave you with some pics of Aarhus. There are more pics in my public gallery for you to enjoy. If you click on 'Show as stream' you can also read my added comments and view them in medium or large sizes so the images are more clear.
Looking forward to seeing you soon. Hej hej fra Danmark.