Aarhus, Denmark_ Rachael O’Toole
A normal person would spend there last few hours before they leave for 6 months exchange making a list and checking it twice. However leaving the 30 – 40 degree temperatures of Australia to the Scandinavian average of -5 to 5 degrees, the most logical thing to do two hours before you have to be at the airport is go to beach for one last swim right?? Soak up the Australian sand, sun and water… This irrational behavior is a clear indication that I have lived in Australia my whole life and I was yet to experience what it means to “be cold”.
Arriving in Aarhus, Denmark was a big cold smack on the face leaving me bright eyed and bushy tailed. It still amazes me to sit inside and watch snowflakes the size of a 20 cent piece drift through the air. After the initial excitement of being in a new city had finally sunk in, the first few weeks were consumed with the reality of establishing a new everything. A new route to uni, a new currency, coffee shop, bunch of friends, language, a new bank account, house, new places to buy different type of food, understanding the weather and all the other elements you expect but never really understand just HOW different it will be.
Every week that passes I discover a new part of this city that makes me fall in love with it just a little more. As spring creeps up and the days get longer and the sun becomes more apparent. This city really comes alive when the sun is out. Shopping streets are taken over by cafe tables and people. As they occupy the streets, the people of Aarhus greet the sun like a long lost friend. I have witnessed more times then not people standing with their eyes closed outside grinning as the sun meets their face. What I find most amusing is that apparently if the sun is out, and it’s around 5 degrees, that is perfect weather for icecream… I still stand by the rule that if you icecream can last a few hours outside without melting, its not quite warm enough for a cold treat like icecream…
But what I love the most is what I came here for. The danes really know how to design. Danish furniture, textiles, fashion, architecture and galleries. I have seen alot of galleries in the last few years – but ARoS really took me by surprise. The art exhibited is of such a range with massive names such as Klein, Byars, Kapoor and Mueck to name a few. This along with what has been shown at Aarhus School of Architecture such as our day trip to see a few galleries, Arne Jacobsens Summer House, and an old danish castle that have been cleverly restored on the interior by Danish architects to become a multi use exhibition space of history, art and theatre.
We are almost halfway through our 6 month exchange, and as expected there isn’t enough time in the day to see and do everything. But so far this has been a lifetime experience where I have learnt invaluable lessons not only about myself and architecture but myself as a designer as well. I can’t wait for the second half to come… but I would appreciate if time would slow down a little!