Denmark

Aalborg – Vikings and Captain America

Hello Dear Readers

Our first full day in Aalborg began underground, as we checked out the ruins of an 800-year-old Franciscan monastery which was paved over several hundred years ago, only to be re-discovered during a construction project in the 90’s. This discovery led to the builders doing a careful excavation, and a small museum was built under the new building, showing and describing the monastery. I wonder how much of Europe and Asia sits atop amazing old ruins? Most of it, I reckon.

The most interesting thing in this micro-museum was a warrior’s skull that was on display. 20140424-105842.jpgThis guy had apparently been buried at the monastery (there were many bones found there). This guy had taken an axe, or perhaps a sword, to the face and to the top of the head. The face, ya’ll. Ouchee.

Like the people of America, the people of Denmark are committed consumers. They shop. We were working our way through vast landscapes of shopping opportunity, looking for a couple of indie record stores which we had seen the night before, when we encountered an old gothic cathedral named Budolfi Domkirke. It’s a striking building, constructed in the 1300’s. We snuck in the back door, poked around, and heard a vocalist and organist practicing. Bex captured a little clandestine video and audio.

20140424-105933.jpgCathedral crept into, monastery museum visited, record stores browsed, coffee in hand, we jumped on a city bus and headed north. Destination: Lindholm Høje, the largest viking burial ground in northern Europe. 20140424-110022.jpgThere are over 700 graves at this site, and I learned that the oval-shaped arrangement of stones around each grave is meant to represent a viking longboat, conveying the deceased into the afterlife. We enjoyed sunny, gusty weather while we browsed around this multi-acre site. 20140424-110109.jpg20140424-110122.jpg20140424-110140.jpg20140424-110147.jpgEventually, we settled in for a picnic lunch here at this beautiful spot amongst the graves. While we were lunching, we were joined by a herd of Danish goats, who had been grazing downwind of our location. They liked the smell of what we were cookin’. Like the Norsemen of old, these goats were swift, silent, and aggressive…nay, rapacious in their desire for our ham and cheese sandwiches.

Oh, if only I had the presence of mind to have captured some of this encounter, for it is the most amusing thing BY FAR that has happened on this trip. Becci ran away from the herd, sandwich held high, saying “No! No! No!” These goats, being Danish, did not understand, and they chased her and her ham and cheese anyway as she attempted to flee. The cries continued, but the pack was not moved. Eventually, half a sandwich was sacrificed to buy some time.

The picture shown here is post attack, once all of the remaining foodstuffs had been sorted and secured. This photo really doesn’t do the event justice, as there truly was an air of menace about the whole thing. It was quite an encounter.20140424-110257.jpgBack to the city, where we encountered an odd Friends-themed restaurant. Having learned our lesson about Danish food and did not eat there.20140424-110340.jpgThe evening was Capped off with an expensive trip to the movies to see Captain America in 3D. BTW, in Denmark (and perhaps all of Europe), one has reserved seats in movie theaters. Advantage, Europe. This is our second try on this film, following the time when we were sitting in a theater and the power went out to half of Scotland. For two weeks I’ve been wondering how this movie would end, and now I know. It did not disappoint. Really great Cap action scenes. Scarlett Johansson and Chris Evans are perfectly cast as their characters, and this movie has an interesting and timely plot. 4 stars, 2 thumbs up. Go see this movie immediately if not sooner.

John Out!

p.s. I took a morning run alongside a fjord.

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