Aalborg Karneval / Tollund Man

I would be a failed blogger if I didn’t write about the Aalborg Karneval. It’s the largest Karneval in northern Europe and people weren’t lying when they said it would be crazy.

This past Saturday, Aalborg took to the streets in an array of costumes, smelly alcohol and reckless behavior. I have honestly never seen a larger group of shamelessly wasted individuals– romping about in a rainbow of polyester, spilling drinks, singing, laying in the street, etc. 200,000 people from all over the world packed in the street like sardines; 200,000 people with the worst hangover of their life on Sunday.

Karneval from a distance-- you can see the either hideous or beautiful Aalborg Music Hall (depending on preference)
The Karneval from a distance. Also pictured: the either hideous or beautiful music hall, depending on your preference.

I wasn’t going to go to Karneval, I was just going to go the grocery store. I was out of food back home, but as the music drifted up the hill where I live, amidst shouting and laughter, my curiosity got the best of me. With the accompaniment of another curious American, we trudged down the hill and into the insanity. It was honestly the wildest event I have ever witnessed with my own two eyes. We saw plenty of cultural appropriation (Native American costumes,  Middle Eastern garb), plenty of sexy nurse/sexy soldier/sexy police woman costumes (sexism isn’t just for American Halloween!), but also a lot of refreshingly creative and original  costumes, my favorite being a guy dressed as a box and his friend being a mail-man. Unfortunately we didn’t have costumes, but I felt like the experience would have been relatively the same if I had been dressed up. Creepy dudes, drunken debauchery, people literally peeing on the side of the street: things I would rather avoid.  But, hey, not all cultural experiences are pretty and I’m proud to say that, somehow, I survived Aalborg Karneval. Check it off the bucket list & probably never return.

Thanks to the guy who posed for my picture!
A very small swath of the insanity. Thanks to the guy who posed for my picture!

Enough of that nonsense– in comparison, the rest of my weekend was very tame. One of my Danish neighbors, Anne Therese and I decided to take a short road trip to the town of Silkeborg (close to Aarhus) and visit the museum there. I have always really wanted to see the Tollund Man, and he is housed at the Silkeborg museum, along with several other artifacts from the Bronze Age. The Tollund Man is one of the best preserved corpses (naturally mummified) from the era– he was hung as an offering to the Pagan gods, and his body was preserved in the swampy peat bog where he was laster found in 1950. Because there is little oxygen in the peat and the cold Nordic air, he was barely decomposed upon discovery. Seeing a bog body in real life, after reading about it as a child, was a wonderfully nerdy experience.

Me and AT!
Me and AT!
Tollund Man - Sorry if this freaks you out!
Tollund Man – Sorry if this freaks you out!

Following the museum, we went to visit Anne’s grandparents, called mor-mor (grandma) and mor-fa (grandpa) in Danish. They were the sweetest people, showed me pictures of their trip to Iceland (maybe a destination in the near future…) and served us cake, cookies and coffee. They spoke no English, but luckily Anne was there to translate conversation for us.

Coffee and cake with Mor-Mor and Mor-Fa
Coffee and cake with Mor-Mor and       Mor-Fa

I’m sorry if this post is a bit shorter than normal– I have been extremely busy finishing up my semester project and my brother, Caleb, is visiting for the next couple of weeks. We have a ton of travel planned and I really couldn’t be more excited to see parts of Europe that are near and far from good old Denmark.

My favorite brother / favorite coffee shop
My favorite brother / favorite coffee shop

One thought on “Aalborg Karneval / Tollund Man

  1. Tolland Man looks like he had a little too much fun at Karneval!

    So fantastic you and Caleb are on a journey together. He’s a pretty good guy as long as he has his morning coffee.


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