Århus, Samsø and Skagen: exploring Denmark with the Leica Q

Posted on 12/10/2017 by Joe Sciacca
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Denmark Aarhus Samsoe Skagen

What is it about the Nordic way of life that attracts so many people? Can it be the weather? The clean minimalistic designs? The great landscapes? Probably all of it!

One of the southern Scandinavian countries, Denmark is neighbored by the United Kingdom to the West, Sweden to the East, Germany to the South, and Norway in the North. It has a lot more to offer than just its landmark, the beautiful, iconic mermaid by the sea in Copenhagen!

Denmark is the promise of a happy, healthy life. Relaxed, close to nature, living in cozy, comfy homes… The Danish have a word for all of this: “hyggelig“. It stands for something like “comfy” in a really Danish way.

Instead of visiting Copenhagen, the well-known, very touristic capital of Denmark, I opted for some me-time and explored the still lesser known Århus (Mid-Jutland) and surroundings, as well as the different beautiful North Sea scapes in and around Skagen (North-Jutland).

To document this trip, I took the compact Leica Q with me. It is a compact fixed lens full frame rangefinder digital camera with a fix-mount lens at 28mm field of view, similar to the one we know from Apple’s iPhone. It also offers an outstanding Bokeh (out of focus areas), which only a true Leica lens can deliver. 

Part 1: Aarhus, Festuge, Moesgard Musuem, AroS, Den Gamle By, Harbor

Aarhus is a very young, lively city. About 40’000 students are living there! It is also this year’s cultural capital of the EU and therefore featuring a lot of big and small events. Among them: Aarhus Festuge, Aarhus Streetart Festival, AroS Museum, Moesgard Museum, Den Gamleby, and many outdoor activities, of course.

Aarhus Festuge: We take a dive into “Århus Festuge“, which is the annual culture and music festival held in the city each end of summer. It is probably Northern Europe’s largest festival held in public areas. The festival offers plenty of live music and delights with numerous other events all over the city. This year’s edition featured an interesting Streetart Festival with paintings that are going far beyond just a standard graffiti. I think this kind of art could actually be the future of urban painting. In a couple of years, maybe street art is integrated into everyday life instead of being confined in a niche and considered as subculture.

AroS Museum: Well integrated into the Aarhus Festival settings, but actually there all year round the Aarhus Musem of Art features an exquisite collection of contemporary Art not limited to Danish contributions. The visit of “Your Rainbow Panorama” which is a sort of walkable rainbow halo on top of the museum’s building is a truly remarkable experience. You can enjoy a breathtaking view of the city through literally all colors of the rainbow.

Denmark Aarhus AroS Museum

Moesgard Museum: The Moesgard is an interesting excursion into our ethnographic past. Featuring extensive collections from the Stone Age, Viking Age, Middle Age, and Ice Age exhibits. A particular highlight is “The Journey”, a movie that explores what the common values are that we all share. A touching and enlightening experience, I found. You see a trailer for this movie here >>>

Denmark Aarhus Moesgard Museum

Den Gamle By: This is a living time machine. By the moment you pass the gate you are being transported in the 18th century and are enabled to experience what life in the city was like back then. From the bakery to the carpenters… everything is authentic and as it was in the good old days.

The Iceberg (Aarhus Ø Quartier): It feels like fast-forwarding yourself into the future, only that the future is NOW. Around the fishing port, Aarhus Ø, visionary architectural construction concepts have emerged. You can explore them by leisurely walking from Dok1 where you can leave your rental car in the automatic parking lot.

Harbor Magnets: At the same time as visiting the Aarhus Ø Quartier, you can also explore de Harbor Magnets by bicycle.

Here some accommodation recommendations in various price categories: Value for money, Designer Class, Individual.

Part 2: Day trip to the Island of Samsø and totally disconnecting in the countryside

From Aarhus to Samsoe: So you are enjoying your visit of Aarhus and wonder how you could top that experience? Look no further! A day trip to the island of Samsø will get you a real Danish weekend fix. Take the ferry from Hou (ca. 20 minutes drive from Aarhus) to Saelvig. The ferry ride takes about an hour and there is a Catering Service on board. In Saelvig you can rent a bike and then set out for Ballen. The 45 minutes ride is easy and takes you through beautiful countryside. Once arrived, you may want to head to the marina and take a nice meal at restaurant Skipperly. It offers local cuisine with international influences. Other than that, there are snack bars on every corner. After a delightful meal you will enjoy your bicycle ride back to the port of Saelvig even more.

Part 3: Skagen, more than just a Nordic jet set get together

Well, you’ve discovered the true Nordic beauty of the city of Aarhus, enjoyed the countryside in Samsø and are now wondering if there is more to Denmark than festivals and bicycle rides? Be assured: there is! There is a magic place that our Danish friends, quite understandably, want to keep for themselves and hidden from the masses of tourists. And who can blame them! Skagen, in the far north of Jutland, is stunningly beautiful with its spectacular seascapes. In the harbor, yachts of all sizes and origin are anchoring. It’s where Sweden’s, Norway’s and Denmark’s Jet Set get together.

Take a drive of only 10 minutes from the city center and you will enter a wild yet accessible world where the North Sea and the Baltic Sea unite: welcome to Grenen, the Top of Denmark.

Leave your car at the spacious parking site and either take a 30mins walk to the spot or get on one of the trucks that will drive you there. Whatever the weather, people make their way to the place where the two Seas meet, take off their shoes and dip their feet in the water. I did it, and it was veeeery cool!

Another cool thing to do is to visit the many lighthouses like Hirtshals Fyr, Rudbjerg Knude Fyr, Hvde Fyr or Skagen Fyr. Once important for navigation, in the era of GPS they may have lost their functional purpose, but certainly not their charm. They are unforgettable photo subjects that will forever remind you of your beautiful trip to the top of Denmark. Most of these lighthouses are accessible and offer a breathtaking panoramic view over the surrounding area, and beyond.

Special interest: the Bunker Museum displays relics of the Second World War and documents the dark times that this area has seen. Today, most of the bunkers can be visited free-of-charge.

No visit of Skagen would be complete without passing by Højen, where you can watch the most spectacular sunsets. A very popular site is Solnedgangskiosken.

Accommodation: Value for money, High Class, Individual

I hope you enjoyed my little documentary. If you have been to Denmark or you are planning to go, let’s exchange!

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