One the great beauties of budget airlines is their ability to take you places you never thought of. Alas one of the great downfalls of budget airlines is to take you places you never thought of!!
So began my xmas present from my wife. I had complained of never getting a good Christmas present anymore and so she decided to surprise me with a trip to Denmark. Not only did she get me trip to Denmark but she filled a box with the delights of Denmark, Beer, Food, A guide to Denmark and some Lego :). I was to say the least in 7th heaven. I had always wanted to visit Copenhagen.
But this isn’t Copenhagen she said its Aalborg. No problem I thought, it will all look the same.
Pic courtesy of copenhagen.dk
My first hint this was not going to be the trip of a lifetime was when I realised Frances had bought just the flights and from Stansted. I then saw I needed to be at Stansted for 5am. This meant I travelled through the night from Leeds with no sleep or got down there Friday and booked a hotel. Two return tickets to the Airport on the train turned out to be £190. 3 days parking was £165 so the train although slightly dear won because of ease. The hotel was another £60. Combined with drink and food just getting to the flight had cost £300 for my cheap flights. Now as you know I can get a little grumpy but not this time, A night away from the kids, our FIRST night away from the kids ever was probably worth the expense.
We stayed in The Hamptons by Hilton literally next door to the airport and walked around in less than 5 mins. A late night ensued. Too late a night for a 4am alarm call was the realisation at 4am.
As we blurry eyed made our way downstairs, I could hear the jingle of breakfast being served in the restaurant. Now I don’t know a lot about Hilton cuisine but I do know they do a cracking full English. “Don’t be daft I have booked a full English on Ryan Air for us”” said Fran. “Oh really, have you now” I murmured. I’m not the happiest of people in the morning I must add, but in fairness I was trying my best.
I looked at my phone and checked out Ryanair breakfasts. This did not look good……….
£10 for two anemic sausages, a slice of roadkill, a little tomato and 2 hash frowns. Are you taking the pi&$ Michael O’Leary. Only £10 you claim as if the fact its reheated in a cardboard box makes it more appetising. Fortunately I was able to take away the taste with a very bitter cup of filtered coffee where they don’t filter it for you. It seems that’s what the gaps in my teeth were for. After all these years I never knew.
I particularly like the two slices of duck feed you provided. Unfortunately when I did get the chance to throw it in the duck pond the ducks didn’t seem hungry or something, so I can’t add a review for them. (Lawyers note : Amend to bread, not duck feed)
And it was with this backdrop we arrived in Aalborg. I don’t know if you have ever seen the film 28 days later but if visiting Aalborg I would suggest you give it a try.
My guide book told me some fun things to do.
1 visit the fjord. It’s a river for gods sake. Its -10, there are grey skies and the walls by the river are decorated in street art.
2 there is a field that was once a burial ground. I gave that a miss but if you do visit you will know when your there as it is a small hillock.
3 The architect of the Sydney Opera House is from Aalborg and was commissioned to design a building on Aalborg front by the local council. Now the Sydney Opera House is one of the great monumental buildings on the planet so I can only presume the commission wasn’t that welcome. Maybe he owed money on his council tax or something similar because it seems he downgraded a bit on the design. Anyway after 4 minutes I went away.
4 Drink a viking beer made with heather, honey, bog myrtle. Bog Myrtle shouldn’t be an ingredient in anything.
After the days sight viewing it was 9.37am. Only 24 hours to go and the time was flying by. If the rest of the day was going to go like the first 37 minutes it was going to be one hell of a party.
Shall we go to the hotel I offered. “Not til 4 pm, we can’t check in til then”. “Of course we can’t” I thought or said aloud as I got a funny sideways look from my lovely wife.
Lets have a walk around the old town I suggested. Ahhh the old town, the saviour of many a place.
There was a good range of shops available and many were offering similar things. I never did find out what it means.
2 1/2 hours later of walking and sitting in Starbucks we decided to go for some food.
This was good. We found a place called Cafe Vi2. I decided on a popular Danish dish whilst Fran had Thai soup. The soup was delish. I had Parisen bof on rye bread with capers, beetroot and horseradish.
It was very similar to a steak tartar with an egg yolk. The difference being they slightly cook the meat,just seared, leaving it very pink in the middle. It was incredible. I would highly recommend should you find yourself in Aalborg, you visit this cafe. The meal seemed to transform our mood and as luck would have it we were informed we could check in early.
We decided to walk the lunch off by crossing over the enormous bridge across the fjord (river). It was -10 again.
The room booked again through Airbnb was simple but delightful. Minimalist in the way the Scandinavians do best. Are the Danish Scandinavian?
Head straight down to sleep, we had the rarity of an afternoon doze with no kids. The trip was becoming good 🙂
We slept til 6.30pm before deciding on going into town. One of the main points all the guide books give is Aalborg is a great party town at night.
We headed to John Bull pub which had a mixture of Brits, Norwegians and Danish in watching the footy from England. It was a great pub with a very English feel.
We wanted something more authentic though so crossed the road to an Irish bar. It was like stepping into the back room of a tavern in Dublin. Great wooden bar with pulpits and wooden priests chairs scattered about.
A few more in here and we’re off to sample Danish nightlife on the main strip. -12 now. The real Denmark. First bar on the strip was O’Learys so having already experienced Ireland we went next door, a gentlemen’s club. I did think about it but one look from Fran was enough to not bother. Luckily next door was an authentic Danish rock bar.
The door proudly stated “welcome, now fuck off !!! your 23 get a job”. I didn’t know what that meant so moved on.
The live band sang Danish classics by Take That and Sam Smith. They were very popular. We crossed the road to another bar where they were playing popular games such as hit a nail with an hammer into a log and how smokey can we all make the bar if everyone smokes. Feeling blessed by our Danish night out we went for traditional Aalborg food made by Sam’s Kebab shop.
Feeling drained from our day in Denmark we returned to our room and slept like babies until the morning.
One of the best features of Aalborg is it is only 15 minutes to the airport. – 9
We took full advantage of this by getting there quickly so we could have a breakfast in the Airport. O’Leary wont get me twice.
It seems Heinekens “Gastro” pubs idea of breakfast is a little different to mine but I enjoyed the duck food and cheese all the same.
All in all for the £700 quid not a great place to visit but I had a great time laughing about it with my best friend and wife. I wouldn’t have took anyone else. Next year I will surprise her with a flight away and a night off from the kids.