a weekend trip to Aalborg and Viborg

Emma, Marissa and I had an extra long weekend because of Aarhus winter break. We only had classes on Monday and decided to take advantage of our extra time and plan some trips through Denmark. A simple google search helped us decide on some cities to visit. We chose Aalborg and Viborg because they seemed to be the most talked about cities other than Copenhagen and Aarhus. We sat down one night and planned the trip. After our newfound success with trains, we decided to book some tickets to Aalborg and spend the night. The next day we would head to Viborg and return to Aarhus late in the day. We were all very excited for our little impromptu weekend trip, and I was looking forward to gaining more experience with the train system.

We arrived in Aalborg early Thursday morning but couldn’t check in to our Airbnb until later that evening, so we spent the day exploring the city. The weather was great, and the sun was out all day, which I was incredibly thankful for. Some of the highlights on our list of sights to see included a park full of different sculptures and statues, a museum underneath the city and a beautiful church. We ended up coming across some other fun places too.

Before I left to study abroad, I pictured myself exploring Denmark, walking around the cities and taking in everything there was to see. Surprisingly, how I pictured it and how I felt actually doing it were very similar. I was intrigued by the things I would come across simply by walking down different roads or paths in the city.

Walking through a park, we came across a small area called the Park of Music where each of the 94 trees that were planted there were associated with a different song. Each of the songs symbolized a different artist and their connection to Aalborg. There was a small stand in front of each tree where we could press a button and hear songs play. We spent a while going from tree to tree hearing the music associated with them. Each one was incredibly different from the next and featured all genres of music from ZZ Top to Shakira.

The underground museum focused on the ruins of a Franciscan monastery during the medieval era. We only had to pay for the lift that would take us underground in order to access it, and when we entered the museum, we quickly found that we were the only people in it. There were no other visitors or employees, and the exhibits were dimly lit. Although it was a small museum, it had artifacts from the 1300s and intact skeletons that were uncovered when archeologists found the monastery. The museum was definitely eerie, but it was so interesting to see everything that had been preserved from so long ago.

Next, we went to the church just down the road. The architecture was so intricate, and the inside was even more beautiful and full of color. Each piece of artwork was so detailed and unique.

After, we decided to find a place to sit down and have a drink for a bit. I googled a place that was nearby, and we headed that way. When we entered the bar, we found out that it was primarily a board game bar, which was a new concept for all of us. People would visit to play the various boardgames that were offered while having a drink with friends. The atmosphere was so cozy and quiet, and the owner of the bar gave us some drink recommendations and other places to see in Aalborg. Although we didn’t play any of the boardgames, we stayed for much longer than we planned. We spent most of the day on our feet and it felt nice to take a long break in a cute little bar. If you ever have the chance to experience Aalborg, make sure the bar called Dice ‘n Drinks is at the top of your list.

After that much needed break, we picked up some groceries for the night and took a taxi to our Airbnb. This was my first time staying in an Airbnb and I was a little nervous, especially because this one was pretty much in the middle of nowhere. The owner used part of the house as his office during the day and rented out the other half as an Airbnb. I had a bunch of irrational fears that I can now see were pretty comical. There was one point I even asked Marissa to look inside a closet just to see what was in it because I was too scared to look myself. It wasn’t the nicest, but it was a cheap place to sleep for the night, so it served its purpose. We made pizza and nachos, but unfortunately burned the nachos to a crisp because we completely forgot about them. Oops.

The next day we were up early and out of the Airbnb for our train ride to Viborg. Everything went smoothly and we got there quickly. We were excited to see what Viborg had to offer after having such a great day in Aalborg, but if I’m being honest, there isn’t much to do in Viborg. We found a cute little café for lunch where the food was incredible, and then went into a few shops and walked the streets of the city. We had trouble finding places that seemed like a good fit for us, as it seemed like everything in the city was geared toward older generations. We finally decided on a bar where we were easily the youngest people and spent some time there before our train back to Aarhus that night. The time passed quickly, and the bartenders were very nice and informative.

When it was time for our train, we waited on the platform, only to find out that when it arrived, something was wrong with it and we would have to wait for the next train in another hour. Emma, Marissa and I weren’t too excited when this happened. We were looking forward to getting back to Aarhus and spending the night in.

Something to know about train stations in Denmark: they are very different in every city. Our train station in Aarhus is connected to a large mall and located in the city center close to anything you could need. Taxis are lined up outside ready to take you to your destination and the Letbanen, another form of transportation, also has a stop there.

In Viborg, this was not the case. The train station was dirty, smelly and gross. Sitting inside was almost worse than standing in the cold outside. But, we had little else to do but try to pass the time while waiting for the next train.

When we arrived at the platform, many other people were there as well. We continued to wait, and soon a half hour went by and there was still no sign of the train that was supposed to take us back to Aarhus. Everyone was confused, and nobody had any information as to what was going on. Danish people were asking us questions, and that’s when we knew we weren’t the only ones getting worried. The Danes actually thought we might know more than them about their own train system, which was kind of compliment but also far from the truth. So, we all waited because there wasn’t much else to do and finally our train rounded the corner and we boarded.

So, not the best experience with the train from Viborg to Aarhus, but that situation was out of our control and we were still able to be in the right place at the right time, which proved that we were getting better at navigating the trains.

Because of the delay, we got back to Aarhus two hours later than we originally planned, and we were all exhausted.

Although everything didn’t go according to plan, and Viborg was not as we expected, I’m still glad that we planned our little weekend trip to nearby towns in Denmark. It was the perfect first trip before we started traveling out of the country to larger cities. I was able to enjoy the outdoors and see a bit more of the country that would be my home for the next six months, and I’m incredibly thankful for that.