I like Aarhus so far; it is wonderful when it snows, the old buildings are beautiful and here to stay without the looming possibility of earthquakes and aftershocks. But one thing that is not so great is the rain. With rain comes unhinged winds and chills that seep through your clothes, but the worst part is that it masks the sun. I thought I was getting used to not seeing so much sun, or maybe I was accidentally getting my dose of Vitamin D elsewhere. Whatever the reason, I was starting to think that the human relationship to sun I was used to might be exaggerated, but then the most beautiful thing happened a couple of days ago. The rain stopped, and the sun came out to say hi in all its glory and I jumped with joy in my head.
So long story short, my friend and I decided to make the most out of this unusual winter weather and went to the deer park in Marselisborg-Moesgaard forest. It took us well over an hour to get there, even with the help of several local runners (my hands were starting to freeze even with insulated mittens on but these people are made out of something stronger I swear) as neither of us have any sense of direction. We finally found the park and I sighed in relief…it was worth it.
It is an enclosed area, but the different deer species walk around freely, giving us a chance to get close to them. Tip if you plan on going to a deer park/petting park or zoo or any kind: BRING FOOD FOR THE ANIMALS. They are not interested in flirting with you unless you have something to offer, something like carrots perhaps.
There are many picnic benches scattered throughout the park, and I made a mental and verbal note to come back here many times. I’m curious and excited to see how the park looks in spring, and perhaps even on my birthday so that I can celebrate with two of the most wonderful things in this world: open nature and food.
On one hand there is all the smoking, drinking and consumption of pork that makes me genuinely concerned. On the other hand, there is all the running around in spandex in weather that is made for hot chocolate and movies while swaddled in blankets. It boggles my easily- boggleable (shhh) mind.
All the stories you have heard are (probably) true. A friend told me recently they saw an elderly, seemingly disoriented woman drinking a beer on the bus the other day and I was not surprised. The university bar at DMJX is called Friday bar and I think that is a common thing for universities across Denmark. They open on Fridays, and the drinking starts in the afternoon and lasts well into the night. Weirdly enough, despite this heavy drinking culture I have not encountered any annoying drunk behaviour (you know the kind of stuff I’m talking about…) outside of bars- I wish this was the case in New Zealand but, alas, I guess we can’t have everything. You can’t smoke inside public places, but many of the buildings contain multiple small, open courtyards (kinda like an atrium if you will) and it is very common to see people going to these areas or even outside in between classes and during breaks to get in some smoko time. I actually have no idea if some of these are designated smoking rooms or free for all as I tend to stay away from them- growing up with a pretty aggressive anti- smoking media culture can leave you with a deep sense of discomfort towards second- hand smoke.
Despite all this, every day that I’m outside in all my glorious layers and winter accessories I pass by those I call ‘unnaturals’. There are always a few of these fit specimens running on the foot path at all hours, in their thin, tight, layers making me reconsider the extent of human potential. Then I console myself by thinking about their Viking blood, go home and eat till I can’t anymore, then eat some more. I’ve been told by Danes that the obesity levels here are increasing but even with that, I’ve seen very few that could be categorised under problematically obese. So I sit here and wonder and wonder while eating Mister Choc (it’s German chocolate and it tastes like heaven), how do I categorize Danes? Ridiculously fit and made for the cold, or crazy unhealthy? I’ve come to the conclusion, that I can’t solve this mystery so if you’ve managed to read this far I’m so sorry that was kind of useless. But now you know what I’m thinking.