Hamburg, Germany: Miniatur Wunderland – train spotting

By Marina Aagaard, MFT

Model trains? What have they to do with fitness and wellness? Quite a lot. Even if you know nothing about model trains, you will be in high spirits at the Miniatur Wunderland: Germany’s most popular attraction ahead of Neuschwanstein castle!

I have been in Hamburg countless times, but until this year I had never heard about MiWuLa. On a recent trip to Hamburg, though, my husband and I went to Kehrwieder 2, Block D, in the port area.

Times and prices

It was a late afternoon out of season, but the place was busy: Visitors came and went. At the reception we were upon arrival immediately asked if we had booked. “No”. So we had to go in and reserve a slot for our visit; 1½ hour later, in the meantime we went for a walk.

Although it is the world’s largest model train layout, it is situated in a quite limited area, 6,800 sqm. over two floors, so there is no free access, you have to reserve an entry time. Visitors enter in slots every half hour. Tip: Book in advance via the website.

MiWuLa is open 365 days a year (check times). From pm. 9:30 or 8:00 pm to 18:00 or 21:00. Entry fee is 14 Euro. Cheap for such a special attraction.
You can see the sight in about 1½ hour, if you walk briskly through it. But I would recommend, that you devote 2-4 hours so you have time to see all the details and ‘push all the buttons’.

A model world for kids and adults

When I was little, I was sometimes with my parents or grandmother at Aarhus Central Station and saw the model railway in the waiting room, and I’ve always liked to go by train. On the other hand, I have never played with model trains and know no enthusiasts.

Anyway, I thought it would be fun to visit an attraction with the title “world’s largest” of something, but had no particular expectations (of course, then you won’t be disappointed).

You enter by going through the souvenir shop, ‘packed’ and popular. From here you walk into some old, rather ordinary white-painted warehouse-like facilities with harsh neon lights in the ceiling. But then the bleakness stops.


Whether you are interested in model trains or not, you have to be impressed by the enormous work that lies behind the design and building of the beautiful model-landscapes, mountains, forests, cities, roads and especially lots of railroad tracks, locomotives, trains, train stations and thousands of cars and trucks and even more miniature citizens, criminals, law enforcers etcetera.


Push the buttons

Everywhere trains run.Trains continuously start or stop or run. And as a unique attraction – you should take time to try it:

In almost all areas there is a button. When the button is pushed, a certain activity starts: e.g. the elevator to a ski lift starts, a prison escape breaks out or the doors of the music hall Elphi open, so that one can see into the concert hall. Brilliantly conceived and built.


The most active button pushers are probably the model train enthusiasts from all around the world. The sight is one of the best things of the place: Model train builders of all ages are mesmerized by the scenes and spend a long, long time in every area.

(Almost) every train and situation are photographed, filmed and discussed with an infectious enthusiasm. Your spirits are lifted by the special atmosphere.

The temperature all day and year is around 21 degrees. The day lasts 15 minutes in MiWuLA. Suddenly, the lights are dimmed and it’s night. A stunning detail. The landscapes glitters with the light from signal and traffic lights, houses, cars, trains and planes!


The airport. With aircrafts landing and taking off (with a little help). Impressive!


And what is that? A control room! Like a ‘real life’ traffic center. Four men are busy watching the screens and ensuring, that the trains run on time. Ordnung muss sein.

Miniatur Wunderland Facts

  • Opened in August 2001. The brothers Gerrit and Frederik Braun got the idea in 2000 in Zurich.
  • Guinness Book of Records 2016. Two sides. The world’s largest model railway.
  • 15.4 km funicular railway: half is visible, the rest in tunnels or railway stations.
  • 1,040 trains (locomotives)
  • 10,000+ waggons (waggons / freight)
  • Longest train: 14.51 meters
  • 1380 signal lights
  • 130,000 trees
  • 260.000 inhabitants
  • 385,000 lights / lamps
  • 9,250 cars (of which 280 are running)
  • Model Area: 1,490 sqm.
  • Highest peak: Matterhorn, 6 m
  • Largest sea: Nord Ostsee: 30,000 liters
  • Largest Area: Scandinavia: 300 sqm.
  • Most expensive area: Italy > 4 million. euro
  • 50 computers in the control area!
  • > 40 model makers and technicians keep MiWuLa going
  • 760,000 construction hours
  • 16 million Euro building costs
  • 15,273,549 visitors since opening (until end 2016):
  • Visitors come from all over the world. In 2016, 23.2% came from abroad. In first place comes Denmark with almost 45,662 visitors alone in 2016, closely followed by Switzerland, Austria, England, the US and China.


Year and territories

2001 Kuffingen (airport), Austria and Mid-Germany
2002 Hamburg
2003 America (metropolitan and West)
2005 Scandinavia
2007 Switzerland
2008 Special Exhibition; the divided city
2011 Airport
2012 Special Exhibition; Our civilization’s history
2013 and HafenCity Elbphilharmonie
2016 Italy

Venice opens in spring 2018 and you can already see parts of it and Monaco.

Read / see more:

Miniatur Wunderland

Streetview Miniatur Wunderland


Largest Model Train of the World

City Walk in 36.000 Steps: Amsterdam Sneaker Sightseeing

By Marina Aagaard, MFT

As seen on film! The scene in the reception might as well have been choreographed. It is going to be a good day!

06:30. I am heading full speed for the breakfast restaurant with map and papers in hand. But. What. I have forgotten my pen. I walk towards the reception desk. There are three men behind the tile-clad desk. One behind and one at each side. All three are well-dressed in dark suits.

They are in the middle of a conversation, but stop talking as I approach.

I ask the ‘middle man’ behind the desk “Do you have a pen, I may borrow”.
In a split second three arms shoot towards me, each with a pen in hand.
This event is perfectly synchronized and without any hesitation. Fantastic.

Sometimes small things or movements make the biggest difference.

The breakfast holds another surprise. Apart from a nice and colourful buffet with juice, fruit, muesli, nuts, bread, cold cuts, cheese, marmalade and more, you can order hot dishes. I can’t help it: I order a pancake (I think).

Then! I get a plate with four pancakes and fresh banana plus chocolate sauce and whipped cream. Surprising, naughty but nice, however, more than a morning pancake.

After breakfast my sneakers in Dutch colour are ready for walking.

At the KLM Amsterdam Sneaker page I have found the map Recreational Walk.

So my first move is to walk from the hotel to Vondelpark, the starting point.
I hit ‘Start’ on my Polar heart rate monitor (I am half Finnish).

Plant! You aren’t going anywhere!

Vondelpark. It is hard to tell from this photo, but the park is full of people and dogs.

Leaving the park and walking north-east I spot these amazing bronze reptiles.

The flower market is a surprise. Not only flowers, but bulbs in all sizes and shapes.
“We ship all over Europe”.

Across from the Central Station you find the Tourist Information in a separate building with a cafe, ticket counter and a toilet (loo) … decorated with a.o. Dutch houses.

The walk includes a ferry ride, but it is no problem: The ferries leave only minutes apart, a ferry ride only lasts 3 minutes and it is free. From the Central Station you go to the northern part of the city. More to see looking up and down and all around.

The walk goes through a residential area and ends at Nieuwendammerdijk. An idyllic area, where people relax in the sunshine outside a café.

I join in and take a short rest after this walk of 13.9 km, expected at 2 h 50 minutes: But it lasts longer due to more than a few photo-stops.

Then I head back. I walk for about one kilometer, but then jump on a bus back to the Central Station. I am (there) again …

From there I sail again and am ready for the Mighty Museums walk of 4.1 km, expected 50 minutes, from the EYE Film Museum to the Stedelijk Museum – or the other way around.

The EYE Film Museum is in an impressive, odd-shaped building, worth seeing (visiting).
In the building next to it, Lookout Amsterdam, at the top of the building you find two swings; you can have a swing with a view.

Walking back through the city full of art and street art. The only way is up!

Art is everywhere. And beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

In the museum part of town you will find the famous and formidable Rijks Museum.

One should dedicate a full day for visiting and seeing the works of the many famous Dutch painters. Not only Rembrandt and Van Gogh. There are many more; my favorite is Emanuel de Witte (1617–1692), his (architecture) paintings are outstanding.

The legendary Iamsterdam sculpture is almost non-stop full of tourists photographing each other or taking selfies.

There were no room for me at the Iamsterdam letters, so I settle for a ‘selfie’ at the mirror-sculpture by the Stedelijk Museum.

After the museum route I am ready for the Design Stroll, which starts close by the Stedelijk museum. This is a walk of 5 km, expected 1.2 h.

Starting point is the super-shopping street Peter Cornelisz (PC) Hooftstraat: Prada, Hermes, Gucci, Chanel, Dior, Max Mara a.o. Excellent for shoppers or window shoppers.


Moving on I see more interesting items for those interested in jewellery, watches and art. You will find goods in all sizes and price ranges.

The most elegant pedestrian sign I have ever seen – in glittering blue and silver-white glass mosaics.

Amsterdam of course has a Tulip Museum and many, many tulips.

A balcony with a giant butterfly. Party is imminent. Below are more unusual facade decorations.

This walk ends – after plenty of designer-boutique-window-shopping – in Harlemmerstraat. It is late in the afternoon and time to head back.

Clogs in all sizes, colours and materials are expected.

Almost back at the hotel. A gallery window speaks: And at the end of the day your feet should be dirty, your hair messy and your eyes sparkling. A suitable quote.

With a full mind – and an empty stomach – I opt for the easy solution. As I am on my own, today I will skip solo dining at a town restaurant; I go to the hotel Restaurant Jansz.
And enjoy a delightful dinner at the candlelit table by the window.

My choice: Tuna tartar with wasabi (some like it hot), Morano spiced salmon with couscous and for dessert strawberry creme brûlée. Delicious. The wine, too:
White wine Touraine (sauvignon blanc), from Loire in France, and red wine, Baron De Ley (tempranillo), Rioja Reserva, Spain.


Trip by kind invitation of KLM.

Fitness and Wellness Travel: Adriatic and Aegean Cruise

By Marina Aagaard, MFE

Today cruise ships leaving Venice for the Mediterranean, Adriatic and Aegean Sea have sailed close by the city centre for the very last time. The waves from the daily passings of cruise ships have accelerated the erosion of Venice, so per 31.12.2014 it is over. Now the giants of the sea have to find another way out …


Cruising in the Adriatic and Aegean Sea
A cruise with late summer sun, relaxation, indoor and outdoor workouts as well as nature and cultural experiences of the most exhilarating kind. That is fitness and wellness … and at a bargain price if the cruise is with the popular (and disaster stricken) Costa company.


Day 1: Welcome onboard in Venice, Italy
If you go on a cruise leaving from Venice, go there a couple of days beforehand to see more of the city.

Web_Venice_leaning_bell_tower     web_Venice_street_art

Venice is one of the most amazing cities of the world; narrow alleyways – no cars in Venice – and beautiful squares, palaces and churches and exciting shops with glass, masks, clothes and everything for interior decoration.
And there is water, lots of water, in a web of canals with 400 little and large bridges.

web_Venice_bridge_of_sighs      web_Venice_canal_and_poles


According to the ‘Costa Today the daily programme’ found on the bed in the cabin:

3.00pm Welcome onboard meeting in Urbino theatre, deck 3,4 og 5
4.30pm All onboard!
5.00pm Costa sail for Bari

Dinner is arranged in two seatings, first seating is 1900 hours, the other is 2130 hours.
For health-conscious travellers there is only one option; eat early: 7pm (1900 hours).
The food is very good (better than other ships of the same class) and with attention to details. Only thing: How can you not serve tiramisu as dessert on an Italian ship?!

There is also a buffet restaurant, but it is an area to avoid (unless you have many and hungry children). It was chaotic, crowded and unpleasant to watch overloaded plates and excessive food waste. Also the selection of food was limited and less healthy than at other similar buffet restaurants.

After dinner there is plenty of entertainment if you are in the mood:

08.55pm Fashion show
09.45pm Magic show in Urbino theatre
11.00pm Costa Magica Party
10.45pm Special Latino
12.00am Disco Candy

The entertainment and shows change every day, however the times and general activities are the same.

Day 2: Bari, Italy

Every day there is a multitude of activities onboard the ship from around 8-8.30am, fitness, dance and sport led by instructors. Also quizzes and displays.
However, there is no doubt: A cruise should be about getting ashore and seeing the amazing sights. You can take part in a trip organized by the cruise company, but they may be expensive or you can go on your own with one of the many sightseeing busses lining up on the pier, when the cruise ships arrive.

12.30pm Arrival Bari
06.00pm All onboard
06.30pm Costa Magica sails for Katakolon

web_Bari_cykeltaxier_paa_kaj  web_Bari_gyde_og_Vespa web_Bari_kirke       web_Bari_kirkeparti

Bari is often on the cruise ship itineraries. A cozy old (300 BC) port and university city – and an important economic centre of southern Italy.
There are ca. 1 mio. inhabitants in Bari metropolitan area (ca. 650.000 in Bari).

Some important sights are Basilica di Sant Nicola (1087), Bari Cathedral (1034) and Castello Svevo (Swabian Castle (1131).


The city has many small coffee shops, both old and modern. However, there is not that much to see, and if the weather is (very) bad, as on this trip, you may want to return to the ship sooner rather than later.


On a day like this there is an opportunity for more time on board the ship. Costa Magica has a large and popular fitness centre. The style is old-school with carpet. There is, however, lots of machines, free weights and all sorts of extra equipment like step benches, balls, BOSU’s etc.

web_Costa_Magica_Fitness_Center_1 web_Costa_Magica_Fitness_Center_3Costa_Magica_Fitness_Center

As a special and very nice feature there is a wellness centre with free admittance; steam room, sauna and jacuzzi indoors and outdoors. Super for recovery.

Day 3: Katakolon, Greece At sea

Katakolon is a small port on the west coast of Greece. It is not the destination of the cruise ships, though: The destination is the nearby legendary Olympia (ca. 1000 BC), where the Olympic Games started (776 BC). A must-see.

However not this time around … a major disappointment. Due to the weather, it was a bit windy, the captain was afraid to send the passengers into the small port by small life boats. At the cruise ship, though, it did not feel anywhere near critical conditions, so there was a gloomy air among a few of the passengers as the ship sailed past Katakolon … there was another day at sea.
Not that there was not a lot to do on the ship, but …

Day 4: Piraeus (Athens), Greece

7.00am Arrival Piraeus (Athens)
2.30pm All onboard!
3.00pm Costa Magica sails for Izmir

Greece has been in rough weather lately, politically and economically, so the greek are not too optimistic. As a tourist on a quick visit, though, you cannot but be awestricken by the impressive Greek temples and monuments of ancient times.

The trip of the day leaves the (Athens) port of Piraeus and goes to the city centre, Athens (2000 BC), today a modern metropolis with approx. 6 mio. inhabitants.

Greece_Athens_Graffiti    Greece_Athens_Acropolis_Shopping

The most famous sight is the area of Acropolis, a citadel situated on a hill top. The entire area is full of temples and buildings, the most important and well-known being the Parthenon temple (as seen of millions of tourist photos).


web_Greece_Athens_Acropolis_Marina    web_Greece_Athens_Acropolis_Temple

Still underway with restoration with cranes and scaffolding; no amazing photo opportunity this time.

Day 5: Izmir, Turkey

8.00am Arrival Izmir
2.00pm All onboard!
2.30pm Costa Magica sails for Dubrovnik


Destination of the day is Izmir (eller Smirne) a city with 3 mio. inhabitants and the second city of Turkey a.o. due to its status as a busy port.
The city was founded around 1000 BC and it is clear, when you walk around the city, that through the ages it has been under several rulers with different agendas.

web_Turkey_Izmir_Bell_Tower    web_Turkey_Izmir_mosque


You should take a guided tour (maybe with a sightseeing bus) of the city. And if there is time there is also a popular Archeological and Etnographical Museum. Many tourists however head straight for the very large bazar area with exciting shops and coffee shops. Or the extensive beach promenade with restaurants and bars and a large park with running and bike trails and a (weird) outdoor fitness area.

web_Turkey_Izmir_Bazar_Seed_Shop   web_Turkey_Izmir_Bazar_Tailor_Shopweb_Turkey_Izmir_Beach_Outdoor_Fitness_View   web_Turkey_Izmir_Beach_Outdoor_Fitness

Day 6: At sea

Sailing from Izmir to Dubrovnik takes time, so there is a full day at sea.
And even if the daily weather report from the captain throughout the trip has been “rough sea”, there was nothing to be afraid of. Even impressive waves do not ‘stir’ the colossal cruise ships; you (3000+ passengers) hardly feel a thing.

Day 7: Dubrovnik, Croatia

A Adriatic Sea cruise highlight is Dubrovnik (Ragusa), one of the most beautiful cities of the Adriatic Riviera and one of the Worlds 10 best preserved medieval walled cities, since 1979 on the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list.
Unfortunately the city suffered during the Balkan wars in the 1990’s, but has been carefully restored.

During the last few years Dubrovnik has been known for its ‘role’ in the tv-series Game of Thrones, in which it is called King’s Landing.

Croatia_Dubrovnik_citadel web_Croatia_Dubrovnik_stairs web_Croatia_Dubrovnik_square web_Croatia_Dubrovnik_small_harbour web_Croatia_Dubrovnik_port

The city centre is surrounded by a huge city wall, that you can walk on. This is highly recommended and the trip lasts at least around two hours including photo stops.

You should also walk around the entire city, as there are many beautiful squares and buildings as well as shops and og cafés.


A minus, when visiting Dubrovnik, is the enormous amount of tourists (ahmmm). Even out of season several cruise ships visit every day, which means that it can be difficult to get around and to get a full view of many of the beautiful buildings.
In spite of this Dubrovnik is a truly unique city, which is well worth visiting.


Day 8: Venice, Italy

9.00am Arrival Venice

Back in Venice.
Arrividerci the captain writes in the Daily programme!

Disembarkation is o.k., but could have goon smoother and faster. There is a wait for checking out and leaving the ship. Finally after a couple of hours you are back on the cruise terminal pier.

There you have three options, if you are bound for the airport. You can take the monorail or you can take a taxi or bus. Or you can take a water bus all the way through Canal Grande and to the airport (where you have a 7 min. walk to the terminal) – this is a fantastic chance to have a last slow (1½-2 hour), wonderful Venice sightseeing tour (photo: A water bus station).


Wellness adventure: Venice, Italy, a sight to see … a.s.a.p.

By Marina Aagaard, MFE

Recently I went to Venice for the fourth time (#1 business, #2 romance, #3 holiday, #4 business and pleasure). Even though I have visited more than 400 cities, Venice – without a doubt – is the most amazing and fairytale-like city I have ever seen. I can recommend visiting this special city as soon as possible.

Venedig kanal i Rialto broens skygge foto Marina Aagaard

Why the urgency to visit Venice, a city 1 metre above sea level (!) on 118 tiny islands separated by canals and joined by many, many bridges?
Well; with these conditions it should come as no surprise, that parts of the city are flooded occasionally, so the houses wither, along with their rotting foundations (wooden poles), and slowly sink into the sea.

Venedig forfald foto Marina Aagaard fitness blog

In 1987 Venice was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Venedig San Marco detaljer foto Marina Aagaard

If you go there and you are well off, there are plenty of Palace hotels to stay in, a.o. the Aman hotel, where George Clooney and Amal Alamuddin spent their wedding weekend (I am told …).

Venedig hotel og gondol morgen      Venedig lampe farvet

If you are on a budget, however, there are also plenty of cheap hotels in Mestre, on the mainland next to Venice, and on the road from Venice to the airport.
For campers there are super facilities, e.g. the mega place Union Lido close by Lido di Jesolo or the Jesolo International Club Camping, Europe’s no. 1 camping site for the third year in a row. From Lido di Jesolo you can go by boat to Venice city centre.

Venedig Pierre Cardin butik  Venedig maskeshop aftenVenedig kostume butik    Venedig butik Dali ure

Even if Venice is a rather small city with just 270.843 (2010) inhabitants, you can easily spend weeks (or months) sightseeing … there is a multitude of beautiful buildings, Palazzos with art, small museums and shops with Murano glass, masks, clothes and everything for your home.

Alternatively, if you are fresh out of (lots of) free time, you can go there for an extended weekend stay, which is also highly recommended.

Venedig glas hjerte   Venedig glas skildpaddeVenice Murano chandeliers photo Marina Aagaard  Venedig maskebutik Venedig masker dyr Venedig masker  Venedig maskeshop aften

You don’t have to shop in Venice, window shopping, is almost as good. There is so much to see and so many places to go, often for free.

Venedig Palazzo loft guld  Venedig Palazzo loft Venedig Palazzo rum med engel Venedig Palazzo rum og loft      Venedig Palazzo trappe og loft

To see list:

  1. Piazza San Marco (Saint Mark’s Square)
  2. Basilica San Marco (stunning interior with golden mosaics).
  3. Doge’s Palace (Palazzo Ducale) – and the Bridge of Sighs.
  4. Campanile San Marco, 91 m bell tower.
  5. Canal Grande, 3 km, ‘main street’, take the Water bus.
  6. Rialto bridge over Canal Grande, seen a.o. from the Water bus.
  7. Ca’ d’Oro (Palazzo Santa Sofia) off Canal Grande.
  8. Ca’ Rezzonico museum of 18th Century Venice.
  9. Murano, a group of five islands with glass workshops and museum.
  10. Lido di Venezia, a tourist area with shopping, casino and cinema.

Alternatively just wander around the streets of Venice. But remember a map (not a must-have but a nice-to-have), because it is like a labyrinth of tiny alleyways.

Venedig menneskemængde og San Marco kirken foto Marina Aagaard

As with other fantastic cities, Venice is naturally flooded with tourists from all over the World (12 million every year) and especially so in the summertime. So a great tip is to see Venice in the spring or in the fall, in the “off-season” (sort of).

Venedig Markusplads foto Marina Aagaard

No matter what time of year, my favourite time is in the morning, where most other tourists have not gotten up yet. Then you can relax at a café and watch the city wake up or go for a stroll and see a lot of details, which are impossible to spot otherwise (e.g. the bug bitten pillar or the love locks below) … or maybe you can be the first in line to see the Basilica di San Marco, where you normally queue for hours.

Venedig cafe morgen   Venedig kirke morgen foto Marina AagaardVenedig søjle med myrer foto Marina AagaardVenedig Marcus plads tårn    Venedig trappe og portal foto Marina Aagaard

All sightseeing is by foot, because there are no cars in Venice city centre. Apart from walking you get around by water busses, water taxis or gondolas.

Venedig gondoler Venice gondols photo Marina AagaardVenedig kanal morgen     Venedig kanal og bro Venedig kanal og både Venedig kanal pæleRelaxing in Venice photo Marina Aagaard Relaxing life and wine in Venice photo Marina Aagaard

Lots of canals mean lots of bridges; below you see four bridges side by side.

Venedig fire broer side om side foto Marina Aagaard

It is not just in Pisa, that the towers are leaning. Venice is full of leaning buildings and Towers.

Venedig klokketårn skævt foto Marina Aagaard   Venedig tårne skæveVenedig Sukkenes bro foto Marina Aagaard fitness blog

Super sigh(t): The Bridge of Sighs (above) is a closed bridge of White limestone. It passes the Canal Rio di Palazzo, off the Canal Grande, from the old prison of Venice to the courtrooms of the Doge’s Palace.
The bridge was built in 1602 and is designed by Antoni Contino, a nephew of Antonio da Ponte, who constructed the Rialto bridge (below).

Venedig Rialto bro og Marina foto Henrik ElstrupEverywhere in Venice you see old architecture and old and modern art and street art.

Venedig gadekunstnerVenedig spejler sig i skur Venedig street art

A special air of adventure and romance from the early morning light to late in the night …

Venedig par foto  Venedig promenade trappe par Venedig bro og hængelåse   Venice love lock photo Marina Aagaard fitness wellness worldVenedig by night 1 Venedig by night 2


Wikipedia Venice

Wikipedia Venedig 

Lonely Planet Venice

Time Out in Venice

Time Out Aarhus: World’s Largest Ship Visit

By Marina Aagaard, MFE

Some would say sad, some would say super: Taking a day trip just to go to ones own hometown to see a ship.

Maybe it is the way it has to be, when you live by/in the second-largest city of one of the smaller countries of the world; Aarhus (population ~320,000), Denmark.
You have to make every little (odd) thing into an event or destination.
Fitness-wise it is a smart move, though, to move about at every chance!

Yesterday, the world’s biggest container ship, Maersk McKinney Moller, 400 metres long, 55,000 tonnes and a cost of 185 mio. USD, visited the port of Aarhus for the first time.

All day there were a ‘beach bar’ (event restaurant), boat tours around the massive ship and container displays at the city centre next to the port.

2013 Mærsk Containere

A ‘dusky’ yesteryear-smartphone photo of the theatre and cathedral square ‘contained’.

In the evening hundreds (thousands?) of people gathered all over the port and surrounding areas to watch the giant sail on … with drinks, snacks, ice creams and cameras at hand. This is how we party, have a good Time Out in Aarhus (read; events and sights are everywhere)!

2013 Mærsk McKinney Møller sejler ud 26 08 2013

Exit: A ship sailing out. Enter: Dreams of travelling to far corners of the world.

Are we, inhabitants of the tiny country of Denmark, home of Moeller-Maersk the World’s Largest Container Ship Company, just in desperate need of sights to see?
Or do you also enjoy watching/going to/being at ports, ships and the sea?

maersk-mckinney-ship-aug-2013MV Maersk McKinney Moller (International Business Times, August 16)

Cruise Holiday: A Baltic Cruise

By Marina Aagaard

In order to answer the critical question “A Baltic Cruise, how cool is that?”, I set out to test if it is too cold, clammy, contra-Caribbean-cruise-like to be cool … 

Baltic Cruise Day 1: Embarkation (Excursion) Day Kiel, Germany

After a surprisingly smooth embarkation procedure, The DAILY program in the cabin says ‘Welcome on BOARD’ and has a ‘Have a wonderful holiday’ greeting from Giuseppe Maresca, The Captain.

Baltic cruise Kiel cabinComfy, cozy cabin: Cruise quarters for this mission.

As embarkation is early, at 1300 hours (1 pm), this leaves time for lunch at the buffet and an afternoon in Kiel before taking of for a one hour sail through the Fjord of Kiel (unless one wants to stay on board for the Cruise Guide Information meeting about life on board).

Very importantly before taking off, always have an extra look at the program to check, when to be back on board (or better; bring the program with you):

All on board 17:30. Departure 18:00.

Kiel is the capital of the northern German state of Schleswig-Holstein, with a population of approx. 242,000. A nice reasonably sized city worth a visit.

Baltic cruise Kiel cranesPride of the Kiel port, mega cranes.

Kiel is an important port (formerly the main German marine base) with ferries to Norway, Sweden and Lithuania – and cruise ships for Baltic and Atlantic cruises – and is known for the annual Kieler Woche, the worlds largest sailing sports event – every school kid in Kiel learns how to sail!

Baltic Cruise Kiel cobblestonesCreative and organic cobblestone use in central Kiel.

Baltic Cruise Kiel water

Alternative fountain at a Kieler square.

Baltic Cruise Kiel linen shop

‘Window shopping’ – alternative cushion display – at a Kiel home textiles shop.

Baltic Cruise Kiel wcWhen you gotta go, you gotta go: Free-lounge-party-at-the-park-toilet.

Baltic cruise park sculpture

Heavy art: Massive iron and granite sculpture in a Kiel park.

Summary: In spite of the weather forecast this august day was bright and sunny and warm, approximately 30 º F Celsius, 86 º F.
As a nice Kiel surprise there was a summer event by the harbour with a live rock performance. In addition there was a great afternoon lounge music and dance event at the park. You could have stayed on for a little longer.

After a couple of hours of sightseeing it is back on board to get ready for dinner, though. On embarkation day the “suggested dress tonight” is: Casual … until first-time cruisers get the hang of it.

Program of the afternoon (for those who stay on board) and evening: Aerobics, Pilates, Mambo and Merengue Dance Lesson,
Plus welcome cocktails, fashion shows, activities with the entertainment team and Welcome Disco from 23:30 o’clock.

It’s cruise time!

Cruise Compulsory: In the Footsteps of Cristoforo Colombo

By Marina Aagaard, MFT

Mediterranean Cruise Day 2: Excursion Day Genoa

According to the DAILY program of today, it is not necessary to leave the ship at all: Daytime: Sunbathing, sports, gaming, fitness, wellness, spa treatments and more.
More than plenty to see, do and eat. But port of today is a must-see; on your feet!

Arrival 08:00 Genoa.
All on board 16:30. Departure 17:00.

A must visit for any serious traveller: The birthplace of Cristofo Colombo aka Christopher Columbus, 1451-1506, a somewhat possessive and ‘lost-at-sea’ italian super-traveller completing four voyages across the Atlantic Ocean.

Genova viewFrom the rooftops of the Palazzo Rosso and Palazzo Bianco, Via Garibaldi,
looking to the left and looking to the right – an soothing sight.

Genoa, population of 612.000, European Capital of Culture 2004 and a UNESCO World Heritage site, boasts Italy’s biggest port and Europe’s largest aquarium, so it is an awesome area for architecture and aqua aficionados. Off we go for a splendid ‘show’. 

Option 1: Buy cruise ship excursion: City bus tour and ticket for the Aquarium: 39 EUR.
Option 2: Step off the ship (moored at port), walk 5 minutes to city centre, walk around on your own. Start at the port, visit the Acquario di Genova first, when it opens (at 9:00 am), before everyone else shows up: Ticket: 19 EUR.

Cruise Genova Aqua 4a

Great Barrier Reef not on your budget? Go daydream at the aquarium.

Cruise Genova Aqua 1

Mesmerizing flourescent sea creatures. The wonders of nature.

A city with a wow view: One of Europe’s largest medieval quarters with narrow alleys contrasted by grand boulevards of yesteryears. 
An abundance of beautiful exteriors, renaissance palaces and baroque churches, and interiors, fantastic art and elaborate decorations and furniture. A day is not enough …

Cruise Genova Art Oldschool

 Old-school Art around Genova.

Cruise Genova Art close

New-school Art around Genova.

Summary: Genova trip is worth every penny. A must must-see for everyone interested in nature, history, architecture, art and sizzling (university) city life.
With experiences like this, maybe the cruise way is not so bad after all?

Late afternoon: On board again, waving bye-bye to Genova, enjoying a mega-meal (informal dress) and a stroll around the lounges listening to easy listening music.
Program of this evening: Circus Show, Sail Away party, Mega Bingo, Disco Dance Lesson, Glory Generation and Welcome Night at Disco.
Being on a cruise could become quite hectic …