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Green greetings from Denmark
Why introduce a new way of exploring a city?
From travelling and guiding we experienced that guests want a lot more than the informations given in guidebooks or listed on the homepage of the city. Most visitors want to meet the locals and find out what´s behind the buildings and places shown. Tourists love to explore the soul of a city and find the hidden gems. But what they get on most tours offered in Aarhus (and other cities) is a fixed starting/ending point and photostops at the cathedral, the theatre, the music hall and the royal castle. Thousands of cruise guests visit those crowded places every day all going to the same small restrooms, standing among lots of noisy people and ending up in everlasting queues waiting to buy some souvenirs to take home.
We wanted to do things differently but we didn't know how... until the Innoguide course came along. We got the inspiration and the tools to turn a nonsustainable trip on a cruiseship into a sustainable visit. From the tourists point of view things could be done differently to assure a nice stay and make people want to come back another time. From the local point of view air pollution, waste and traffic jams also have to be taken into consideration and this calls for sustainable answers. Creating a hundred percent sustainable holiday is nearly impossible but we nevertheless try. The majority of tourists likes to travel on ships, on planes or in buses with airconditioning, which is often not the most sustainable way, but when they arrive at our destination we can offer/push them towards sustainable initiatives like walks, bicycle tours or public transport. We are able to customise their visit in order to minimise the damage done to our cultural heritage.
A walk on the wild side of Aarhus
According to the Innoguide project sustainability also includes local food, second hand shopping, local products, urban nature, art and culture... just to mention a few of the keywords. We decided to translate that theory into practice. We put on our ”sustainable glasses” and created a guided walk right through the middle of the city that would add sustainable value to any guided tour.
The tour starts next to the stream, Aarhus Aa, were the city was founded by the Vikings more than a thousand years ago. The ancient name of Aarhus is Aros which means ”the mouth of the stream”. Living in a viking city the citizens are influenced by the culture of their ancestors. Especially when it comes to democracy, women's rights, trading, hand craftsmanship and sailing. Next to the stream are some urban habitats with a high degree of biodiversity where the locals love to go on a picnic. The tourists are introduced to a variety of birds and flowers and even get to visit a project of urban gardening. The route passes an area with industrial heritage and finishes in a lively street (still unknown to the writers of guidebooks) with small shops selling local products: knitwear, embroidery, ceramic art, food and garments. The Danes have a long tradition of digging out clay and turning it into wonderful ceramics. They are indeed very skilled and creative people – the wellknown brand LEGO is Danish, and LEGO is short for ” leg godt” which means ”play well”. In addition it will be possible to taste an open sandwich made of ryebread and to buy honey produced on top of the roofs of Aarhus by a group of homeless people.
A little video about the company Urban Nature Walk and how we were inspired by the sustainability tourism workshop can be found on YouTube. It also contain nice details from the route. The company Urban Nature Walk is already on TripAdvisor. Feel free to sign up for a walk on the wild side of Aarhus at: Urban Nature Walk - Århus - Anmeldelser af Urban Nature Walk - TripAdvisor
Greetings Anne and IngaBACK