The Weekend’s Adventures: Festuge, Furniture Building, and TV Shopping

Weekend Adventures

This weekend was the last weekend of Festuge (literally “party week”) here in Aarhus. It’s a week and a half filled with events, entertainment, and alcohol, and it’s a pretty big deal in Aarhus. It’s been going on forever, and many many people descend on the city to participate, especially for the last weekend.

Brian and I couldn’t participate this past weekend because we were moving, so we made sure to get out this week and enjoy the festivities. Friday night we headed to the Latin Kvartet where we had some drinks, ate some hotdogs, saw some jugglers and parades, and generally wandered around along with everyone else in a 100 km radius.

Sights of the Festuge

Sights of the Festuge

Just to give you an idea of the typical Festuge happenings: In the Store Torv (literally “big square”) in the Latin Quarter, students from the Aarhus School of Architecture built a giant structure called the “Little Big Thing.” Bands played at the bottom, and you could climb up to the second level to watch from above. Also, a block of a street called Frederiks Allé by the ARoS art museum was covered with sod, making a temporary new park in the middle of the city with platforms for picnicking and a bridge for pedestrians to cross over the bike lanes they left in. (Which, thank goodness because the diverted traffic was bad enough without also diverting all the bikers around this street.)

There were a lot of bands playing all over the city this week, which was lots of fun. You’d be out for a coffee on a normal Thursday afternoon, and next thing you knew a band would set up next to you and start jamming. There were also pleanty of street performers, including one of those guys who sits yoga style 3 feet above the ground (This guy totally blew my mind. How did he do that?!) and a one-man-band playing crazy-fast pop music à la Weird Al Yankovich.

 

Saturday morning, Brian and I put together most (but not all) of our recently acquired IKEA furniture. We now have a desk and a dining room table, and our apartment is looking more and more livable with every day.

That afternoon, we went to another Festuge event, the Aarhus Food Festival.

Food Festival

 

It’s only its 3rd year, but already the Food Festival is a big hit. It was filled with booths containing cooking demonstrations and samples of some delicious food. Among other things, Brian and I ate a giant blackberry; sampled some cabbage from an old, previously extinct Danish variety; went on a tour of gourmet honeys; and tried to see if we could taste the difference between beef and horse meat. We also ate probably our most Danish meal yet in Denmark: a giant plate of mashed potatoes covered with bacon bits and garnished with beets, parsley, and chives. Mmmmm, it was so good.

Walking through the fair, Brian and I turned the corner and saw what had to be the longest line in the entire fair. And guess what booth it was for.

The Lakrids Line

The Lakrids Line

That’s right, it was for the licorice booth. Look at all those people lined up to get some free licorice! Brian and I felt like we had to try as well. We tasted gourmet liquid salty and sweet licorice and licorice powder. And oh my god it was the worst.

 

Sunday, we decided that it was time we finally got ourselves a Danish television. So we got on a bus heading North towards Bilka, a Danish big box store. There, after many hours of debate and some chicken nuggets and french fries to keep up our spirits, we finally settled on a 47″ (they do them in inches even in Europe for some reason) LG, which I must say looks very handsome set up on our TV console. Its features include 3D capability, and apparently it can somehow turn normal 2D shows and movies into 3D. I’m not sure how that can possibly work, but it does. A little bit. We tested it out. It’s also probably the most useless feature for a TV to have.

Our new TV

Our new TV

The best part of the whole day? Carrying the ginormous box home on the bus. Don’t worry, though. People do it all the time here. You should see the bus back from IKEA! It’s filled to the brim of students carrying home giant furniture.

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Lakrids

While we’re on the subject of shopping, let’s discuss another culture shock.

Culture Shock PicMonkey

#4:

Danes are gaga for licorice.

When we first got here, Brian and I saw this section in the grocery store where you can choose and bag your own Haribo candy:

Candy Aisle

omg so much candy nom nom nom

We thought it was interesting that it was inside a grocery store – in the US, these types of things are found in independent candy stores, typically in malls – but we didn’t really think anything of it.

Until we started seeing similar displays everywhere. Literally, EVERYWHERE.

In every grocery store. In gas stations. In stores that are more like Targets than grocery stores. And they’re super popular, especially on Friday afternoons, when apparently everyone gets their weekly candy fix.

And next to this giant bag-it-yourself display of candy are other displays full of premixed candies.

Toms candy display

Toms candy display

You might think that this sounds awesome. Constant access to candy! But what you don’t know is that 90% of the candy in these displays is licorice of some kind. Seriously, 90%. (And I’m only exaggerating a tiny bit!)

To Americans, licorice is a very specific, very unique, very strong flavor. It is used sparingly and eaten rarely. In fact, our licorice candy is usually not even really licorice flavored.

But the Danes are very serious about their licorice and apparently need a multitude of ways in which to consume it.

And some of this licorice… wait for it… is salty. SALTY!

Salte Fisk

And it’s literally the saltiest thing I’ve ever eaten. I couldn’t believe what I was tasting the first – and only! – time I tried one. It boggles the mind that this is an acceptable flavor, one that people like and seek out. Who first thought to put salt and licorice flavor together?

This may be one thing that I will never be able to adapt to. Rugbrød is one thing. That’s more like coffee, an acquired taste. But salty licorice? I’m pretty sure that if you haven’t grown up eating it, this is a taste that can never be acquired.