Oh, I do like to be beside the seaside

Aarhus’s old town in nestled against an industrial harbour. Although some housing is beginning to be built there, it isn’t exactly a ‘seaside’ as I would think of it. Further afield are some lovely beaches. One of which, Risskov, I have visited briefly. A Dane told my parents that she had thought Aarhus was hilly, until she moved to Wellington. I realised after I arrived I had misinterpreted that. Denmark is very flat. Aarhus undulates gently. Not really steep, but steep enough you notice pushing a pram uphill. I’m pleased, after flat, inland Canberra, to find myself living in this topography. My son has not spent enough time in Wellington. Walking through the park he exclaimed ‘big hill’. Not exactly sweetie, but the locals might agree.

We live near the Botanical Gardens; it is a lovely park, but I’m not sure where the garden part kicks in. They are constructing a tropical dome there. From the outside it looks like it will be well worth visiting once it finally opens. One of the lovely things about Aarhus is that there are little parks and playgrounds everywhere. Even the playgrounds at daycare centres are open to the public after-hours. There are also paths between the villages and city centre for both cycles and pedestrian. It is a great way to get into town and to enjoy watching birds, and picking flowers.

The reality is that Aarhus is a surprisingly ugly city. My husband put it best when he said ‘it was pretty ugly for somewhere that wasn’t destroyed in WWII’. Buildings in the old town are mostly brick, and about 5 floors high. Sometimes you get a change from the brick, like around where we live, with concrete instead. Despite the undulating street level, the buildings are tall enough that sea views are rare. If it wasn’t for the sea gulls, and the icy blasts of wind, you wouldn’t know it was there.

I suspect our view is partly our cultural upbringing. After spending so much of my life overseas, I find the arrival into Wellington, with the view of villas perched on hillsides, especially beautiful. Much of the rest of the world has a uniformity in their housing stock that I find vaguely depressing, be it terraced housing in the UK or apartment blocks here. I found the new build suburbs of Canberra creepy, in a dystopic-Stepford-housewife kind of way. Hopefully I’ll get a bit used to it and it won’t bother me so much. Until then, I’ll just have to keep hunting out the bits I do like.