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We could get to the other side of Europe for less than the price of a ticket across London. “Let’s pick a name and go”. It seemed the natural response to a £2 flight sale.
Aarhus won the lucky dip. We’d never heard of it, we pronounced it “arse” and were surprised to hear it was in Denmark. That was seven years ago. Peter, Bjorn and John’s The Young Folks was the song of the summer and we danced to it at a teachers’ graduation the night we landed in the city. It was one of those trips – a journey of unexpectedness filled with fleeting friends and anecdotes only we’d find funny. It’s the place where “Sting nearly killed Anna” because she laughed so hard she nearly choked. Aarhus became part of our story and a place we’d reminisce about for years to come.
Our trip there coincided with the Aarhus Festival, a 10-day celebration of arts and culture that turned the city into a festival ground of dancers, live music and song. Sting was the headliner and the whole city was booked out for the night of his show. We had to sleep in a tent in a neighbouring suburb. That’s where the choking happened.
We laughed for three days straight. There was something about Aarhus that made us smile. It wasn’t just the festival spirit – the city enchanted us with its cobbled streets, riverside setting and rosy-cheeked locals who plied us with a drink called fisk. The serendipity of our choice felt like a lucky prize. We had won the flight sale dip.
A chance to go again
So seven years later, when an email arrived in my inbox asking if I fancied a trip to a place I’d “probably never heard of” – a place called Aarhus – I, of course, said yes. I was invited by the Danish Tourism Board who couldn’t believe I’d already been there. Not many tourists go to Aarhus. It’s the second largest city in Denmark but most just head to the capital. This is often the fate of second cities, which makes them a great place to experience local life as opposed to tourism. Visit Denmark wanted Steve and I, along with three other bloggers, to visit Aarhus and experience what the city had to offer. We don’t go on many press trips, normally preferring to explore on our own, but this one was too coincidental to miss. How could I say no to another random trip to Aarhus?
So a few weeks ago, we went to Aarhus. As with any return to much-loved place, I was nervous it’d fall short of the memories. But this time round, even through the festival wasn’t on and the skies were stubbornly grey, it was another three days filled with laughter and fun. The company, of course, was part of this – thanks to Katherine, Brenna, Macca and Jen. But the city again played its part. It filled us with excellent food, it pleased our eyes with pretty scenes, and entertained us with world-class art. We even walked in a rainbow.
Win a trip to Aarhus
I’ll post some more on Aarhus next week, but in the meantime, if you fancy winning a trip to Aarhus yourself, Visit Denmark is currently running a competition to win a trip there. You can submit your entry here.