Monday, May 19, 2014

By bike and bus

The kids are really, really jazzed about not having a car, and about having to get everywhere by bike or bus. As a professional worrier and plain old mom, I do not share this enthusiasm, particularly because the younger one is not a steady biker.  But, I do relish the thought of getting them out every day into the fresh air for exercise and exploration, and I know my anxieties are not necessarily what I'd wish to pass on to them. So out we went into the Danish sunshine.

Here's what we've managed to achieve so far with minimal injuries (mainly bikes falling over on the boys and scraping their legs) and minimal hair graying or loss (mine, of course).

For biking practice, we biked around and around Aarhus Universitet's beautiful campus lake today. We saw fish in the lake, mallard ducks on the water, and overheard a lot of English being spoken amongst students and teachers going to their various classes.  I declared victory when, by lunchtime, neither of our sons had a) fallen into the lake, b) demanded that he be allowed to swim in the lake, and/or c) collided his bike with the ride-on lawnmower that was careening around the grounds at a rather alarming clip.

While we were meandering around in search of a restroom after lunch, I saw a skeleton of a large rodent in one of the campus building windows and, thinking I might be able to strike up a conversation with the skeleton's owner, made a beeline for the entrance.  I'm sure that it's because I'm a former student of zoologist, geneticist, and developmental biologist Michael Akam of Cambridge that I can sniff out a zoological museum a mile away.  And, indeed, the building turned out to be the university's Natural History Museum.

Ah, home away from home. :)

Birds of fashion

My beloved sunfish

Rohan and the sperm whale skeleton

Biodiversity display of butterflies

An entire room full of avian eggs

Aditya wonders whether he is as large as a Komodo dragon

And by bus, we were able to see the Aarhus cathedral, tallest and longest church in all of Denmark:
The church organ, taken especially for Coleen James

A hushed request to see the bell tower got us entrance to a winding staircase of 131 steps ...

... which ended here, with the bells ...

... and a splendid view of Aarhus. Perhaps not having a car isn't so bad after all.


  1. Wow! What an organ, and what a tower! Thanks for taking the picture. I have taken pictures of church organs wherever I have gone to visit churches. In Orthodox countries one does not find many because most church music is done by unaccompanied choirs, which are amazing to hear. But Northern Europe was the home of Martin Luther and of J. S. Bach, who brought religious music to an amazing peak through their use of the organ. It has been interesting to notice which organs are in the back of the building. (Most are, but the altars are up front, along with the great art.) I hope you will take other organ pictures. Did the boys like climbing the tower? The view from the top always makes it worth it. I love the roof skylights. Our daughter Jan's attic apartment in York, England, was so low that in some areas the only place you could stand upright was right under the window, if you were more than about 5'3" tall.

    It looks like things are close together, so walking or a bike would not be terribly distressing except in a driving rain.

    Enjoy and keep on posting!

  2. Glad you saw the photos of the Domkirke, Mrs. James. We all thought of you when we saw such a breathtaking organ.

  3. The boys seem to be having fun. Rohan looks stunned with so many eggs around him. It is nice to be able to bike. i never learned it. So i am one person who can't ride a bike