Aarhus, Denmark – July 9, 2015

Early in the morning, while still at sea, we could feel the ship rolling. The wind whistled through our balcony doors. The wooden hangers in the closet banged against the closet wall.

The Birgit Knutsen on a very choppy Baltic Sea.
The Birgit Knutsen on a very choppy Baltic Sea…view II.

When we awoke, we could tell the weather was not good. The ship approached the dock with two tugboats. That is unusual since the boat is ordinarily able to dock under its power. Over the intercom, the captain informed us that the tugboats were necessary since the winds were gale force (39-54 mph). Once we were off the ship, we felt the full power of those winds. It was uncomfortable to walk.

Detail of one of the tugboats.
Another tugboat assisting the cruise ship.
A tugboat pulling against the Regal Princess.

The ship docked in a cargo area of the port. I assume that was due to the draft of the vessel. To disembark, we had to get a bus ticket and wait in one of the dining rooms. When the crew called the range of numbers that included ours, we disembarked the ship and climbed onto a bus. A few minutes later, we got off the boat near a tourist information center.

Cargo cranes and two ships at the Aarhus port.

That is when we found out the sites we wanted to visit were each at least an hour out of town. We decided to take our chances in town.
We set out on foot from the tourist information center. We had zero ideas where we were going or what we would do in town. Following the crowd from our bus seemed an excellent place to start. At one point, the group began to follow the Aarhus River. We opted to take a side street. On that side street were several ancient buildings. There did not seem to be a straight or plumb line on any part of the buildings.

Following many shipmates along the Aarhus River into the town of Aarhus.
A family riding on the streets of Aarhus.
I am not sure of the age of the building, but it does seem to have some old-age sagging…
This older building seems to be a bit more plumb.

Within a couple of blocks, we found the Aarhus Cathedral in the Latin Quarter; so had nearly all our shipmates. It was very crowded. The cathedral construction began in 1190, with additional expansion work from the mid-1400s to the early 1500s. From quite a distance away, one could not help but see the main spire. The tower is roughly as tall as the cathedral is long, at just over 300 feet. Once inside, I found it hard to believe that the cathedral can accommodate about 1,200 people. It seemed too narrow. That narrowness made the vaulted ceilings look even higher. Surprisingly, nearly every item hung on the walls, or every tomb marker had either a skull or skeleton prominently displayed. That seems out of the ordinary for a cathedral.

The Aarhus Cathedral.
People walking along the street at the rear of the Aarhus Cathedral.
A side chapel in the Aarhus Cathedral.
The long, narrow main aisle of the Aarhus Cathedral.
This fresco dates between 1470 and 1520. It depicts St. George slaying the dragon.
A plaque commemorating a person who died in 1669. Note the skull in the center.
A model of the ship Unity hanging in the Aarhus Cathedral. The model dates from 1720. The Cathedral is named after St. Clement, the patron saint of sailors.
The altar of the Aarhus Cathedral.  The gold is real 24k gold.
The base of the altar of the Aarhus Cathedral.
Detail of the Aarhus Cathedral altar.
Detail of the altar in the Aarhus Cathedral.
This plaque commemorates a person who died in 1587.
An ancient fresco in the Aarhus Cathedral.
A tourist stopping for a photograph of the clock.
The clock above the entrance to the chapter house in the Aarhus Cathedral.  I am not quite certain how one tells the time with this clock…
Detail of the end of a pew.
Another of the ancient frescoes. This one is partially covered by a plaque commemorating a death from 1690.
This stone was laid on the floor, presumably to cover a burial. Note the full skeleton in this motif.
Another commemorative plaque from 1667. Note the skulls at the base.
The chapter house in the Aarhus Cathedral.
Some paintings and a commemorative plaque in the chapter house of the Aarhus Cathedral.

Leaving the cathedral, we wanted to find a refrigerator magnet from Aarhus. We only found run-of-the-mill shops and department stores. We ended up alongside a canal at the Ziggy Cafe. We sat outside, facing the channel so that we could watch the world.  Luckily, the buildings provided an excellent windbreak. Even still, Leslie was cold. The cafe was prepared.  Each outdoor seat had a fleece blanket folded on the back. Braced against the wind, we had a beer and shared some chicken nachos. The nachos were surprisingly good.

The Royal Hotel.
People in the plaza in front of the Aarhus Cathedral.
Pedestrians near the Aarhus Cathedral.
Some flowers near the Aarhus Cathedral.
The Aarhus River passes through the central business district.
A busy pedestrian street in Aarhus.
Kissing a gull…a mural on a building in the central business district of Aarhus.
Looking back toward the Aarhus Cathedral spire.
Tourists taking a group photo on a bridge over the Aarhus River.
Typical buildings facing the Aarhus River.
A very old building on the edge of the central business district.

Walking back to the drop-off/pick-up point, I saw a building that intrigued me; rather, it was the sculpture on the second-floor landing. We walked to the building that turned out to be the public library. We got off the elevator on the second floor. The eagle “sculpture” was part of a children’s play area. A young boy “rode” the eagle as we arrived. We left via the stairs and braved the wind back to the bus.

The play area at the library.
Coming down the steps of the library building.

Back on the ship, we found out our next port of call was not Warnemunde, Germany. The gale-force winds forced the closure of that port for boats the size of the Regal Princess. Our new port of call was Kiel, Germany, more on that in the next blog entry.

View from the cruise ship back toward Aarhus.
A ferry departing the port of Aarhus.

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