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bineba Randers - A travel report by Sabine
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Randers,  Denmark - flag Denmark -  Århus
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bineba's travel reports

Thirteen Roads Lead Into Randers

  19 votes
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13 ancient main roads lead into Randers, the market town north of Aarhus and Denmark’s 6th biggest city. Take any one of them and spend a day or longer in this lively town steeped in history.


On the river Gudena
On the river Gudena
Back in March my Danish friend sent an email to all her friends asking for somebody to house- and cat-sit while she went travelling in June/July. I had never been to that part of Denmark, so I jumped at the chance to see a bit more of this country. Randers is the capital of an area in Jutland called Kronjylland (Crown Jutland), and has been a town for over 700 years. It is situated approx. 40 km north of Aarhus, where the river Gudenaa und the Randers Fjord merge. Randers has been an important trading place since Viking times, with a harbour and one of the biggest horse markets in the country. It had to endure German occupation twice: once in the 1300s, when local hero Neil Ebbesen took matters in his own hands and chopped of Count Gert’s head and again in the 1940s when German troops occupied the town until the final days of WWII.

Today, Randers is a lively town with a lot to offer. Its old town has been beautifully preserved and it is a joy to wander its cobbled streets and squares. There’s a multitude of shops, cafes, pubs and restaurants. Nature is also an important part of Randers, with plenty of walking and cycling paths along the river and fjord or, if you after something more exotic, the Randers Rain Forest, a tropical zoo housed in 3 giant domes, with many of the animals roaming free. (www.randers-regnskov.dk) You want culture? Randers has some excellent museums and live music venues, festivals throughout the year, galleries and sculptures.

Take a drive outside of Randers to discover lakes, castles, beaches and much, much more. Mariager - town of the roses, 25km to the north, is a pretty little fishing town on the shore of Mariager Fjord. Take stroll by the harbour and visit Denmark’s Salt Centre. Mariager’s Abbey church is very picturesque and the town centre with its timber-framed houses is good for a pit stop. Have a coffee or drink at the Hotel Postgaarden, which has been an inn since the middle of the 19th century. www.postgaardenmaria

Favourite spots:
Tapestry in the Kultur Huset
Tapestry in the Kultur Huset
Randers museums are great and if you visit this year (2005) free! The Kultur Huset (House of Culture) houses the main library and two excellent museums.

On the second floor is the Randers Museum of Art, housing one of the biggest collections of Danish art from ca. 1800 onwards. I loved the amazing mirror installation ‘Cosmic Room’ by Trondur Parursson. The museum is light and not too big so you don’t get overwhelmed, because as you go down the stairs you’ll find the next museum on the 1st floor: the Kulturkistorisk Museum. Here you’ll find interesting and well presented exhibits about Randers from pre-history to modern times. I liked the Buhlske Stuer, a recreation of a an art collector’s home from the early 1900s, where the walls are covered with works of art, including 48 Rembrandt etchings.

The Craft Museum Kejsergaarden is housed in an old distillery warehouse and 23 traditional workshops, some of the manned by retired craftsmen, from a blacksmith to a printer.

What's really great:
Sct. Mortens Kirke
Sct. Mortens Kirke
My favourite pastime when visiting a new town is to wander, relatively aimlessly, around to soak up the atmosphere. If you need a bit of direction or don’t want to miss any of the major sights of Randers, take the self-guided Star Route through the town. You can pick up a brochure and map at the tourist office on Torvebryggen and just get walking. The whole route is 2,5km long, but it is difficult to put a time on it, as there are several museums on route you shouldn’t miss, as well as plenty of cafes and bars!
There are 15 cultural and historic sites, or ‘stars’, to visit and the big stars are linked by smaller stars, so you can never get lost and you can start the walk anywhere you want. Highlights include Cst. Morten’s Church (have a peek inside – it’s quite beautiful), Niels Ebbesens Hus (house), the House of Culture with its 2 museums, Radhustorvet – the central town square, Kejsergaarden Craft Museum, and the many beautiful timber-framed merchant houses along the route.

Sights:
Radhus (town hall)
Radhus (town hall)
Sct. Mortens Kirke, the Gothic church of Randers from the late 1400s, is massive and the interior is well worth a visit. Contrasting with its red brick exterior, the colours her are almost exclusively dark brown, white and gold. The altar piece is brand new, a painting called ‘Good Friday in the Garden of Gethsemane’ by the renowned Danish artist Per Kirkeby from 2004.

The Radhus (town hall) has an interesting history. When the town planners in the 1930s decided to widen the road next to it, they moved the building complete with all its contents by 3m to the north using massive iron rollers. Problem solved!

On Ostervold is a huge statue of a horse. This is Den Jyske Hingst or Jutland Stallion, a memorial to Randers horse markets and the working horses that were bred in the area.

Accommodations:
Nygade
Nygade
I, obviously, stayed at my friends house, but Randers has plenty of accommodation from hostels to B&B’s to historic hotels like the Hotel Randers, where several Danish kings and queens and Denmark’s most famous son the writer Hans Christian Andersen have stayed.
Check out the official tourist site www.visitranders.com

Nightlife:
Tante Olga
Tante Olga
Not really a club, but a very popular live music venue with a variety of blues, rock, jazz & country performances is Tante Olga. Check out their website for what’s happening on www.tanteolga.dk. Danes seem to love music and there are several other places up and down Sondergade.

This year’s Randers Week (Randers Ugen’s) is from August 12th to 20th, and apart from art, street theatre, funfairs and markets, there will be concerts with some of Denmark’s biggest bands and musicians.
Visit www.teltet.dk for info on the concerts and www.randersugen.dk for general information on Randers Week.

With over 400 events every year, ranging from opera, musicals, dance, classical and pop concerts to films, ‘Vaerkert’ on Mariagervej is the place to go in Randers if you are a culture vulture.

Hangouts:
Den Jyske Hingst
Den Jyske Hingst
Randers is home to the Danish beer brewers Thor and to make sure their beer reaches the customer really, really fresh, they have come up with a unique concept: Most of the pubs and restaurants are connected to the brewery by underground pipes just like a water supply. I’ll have to find out if there are many leakages!

There are plenty of bars in Randers’ old town centre, especially on Sondergade, but also on Broedegade and virtually every square in town.

You’ll also find plenty of hyggelig kros (cozy inns) in the countryside surrounding Randers, many not just offering a cold beer, but also a full menu and even accommodation.

Restaurants:
Niels Ebbesens Hus - note the open window at the top!
Niels Ebbesens Hus - note the open window at the top!
Denmark is probably not known for its cuisine, but there is more to it than herrings. The herrings are delicious, as are the other really fresh fish dishes, but there is plenty more to choose from. You must try Smoerrebroed, fantastic open sandwiches, usually on rye bread with a variety of cold cuts, cheeses and meats & imaginative garnishes.

The variety of breads available is great and don’t forget the pastries, but remember that what we would call a Danish pastry is here called wienerbroed (Viennese bread).

Randers also has several international restaurants, I saw Chinese, Turkish & Mexican places in town.

I liked Café R on Slotspladsen and Café Borgen on Houmeden.

A restaurant with a history is Niels Ebbesens Spisehus, the very house where the local hero killed the German Count Gert in 1340. Look out for the open window on the 2nd floor. That’s where it happened and it has to stay open to let Gert’s spirit out. If it every gets closed, bad luck will befall the town.

Other recommendations:
Sanktehansfest
Sanktehansfest
We arrived on the 23rd of June, an important date in every Danes calendar, because that is when they celebrate Sanktehansfest or midsummer night with bonfires, speeches and songs like the ‘Midsommervisen’ across the country on the eve of the actual saint’s day.
In medieval times healers used to collect the herbs they needed for the rest of the year but the tradition dates back to the Vikings, who had bonfires to ward off evil spirits.
Since the 1920s a witch made out of straw is placed on top of the pyre to remember the witch burnings witch took place in earlier centuries. This witch is lucky though, it doesn’t die a horrible death, but flies off to the Bloksbjerg, the mountain Brocken in the Harz region of Germany, where a witches gathering is taking place that very night.
It was a lovely night for it and in Randers the bonfire was inside the harbour making sure nobody could get too close to the fire and everybody having a good view.

Published on Friday July 22th, 2005


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Wed, Aug 03 2005 - 12:30 PM rating by britman

Beautifully written and some superb photos too

Tue, Aug 02 2005 - 03:09 PM rating by eirekay

Another wonderful report! You have quite the talent with photos!
Eire

Mon, Aug 01 2005 - 09:31 AM rating by magsalex

Informative with great pics too

Fri, Jul 22 2005 - 02:06 PM rating by davidx

Others have said it all. I'm looking forward to your next!

Fri, Jul 22 2005 - 11:54 AM rating by ravinderkumarsi

wonderful report

Fri, Jul 22 2005 - 11:45 AM rating by bear495

Sabine,

This is wonderful! I really enjoyed reading your thoughts about Denmark. Please continue submitting quality reports like this. We can all benefit.

Russ

Fri, Jul 22 2005 - 11:30 AM rating by whereisliz

Great report, I learned a lot about a place I had never heard of before. Excellent photos, and lots of practical details -- I feel like I could follow your advice and have a great visit there!

Fri, Jul 22 2005 - 11:24 AM rating by rangutan

Another excellent report, so glad to see a new one.

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