Next in my Best and Worst Holiday Series here on the blog, we have a bit of a disastrous surprise Christmas present in the form of a trip to Aalborg, which Frances from The Travelling Family booked for her hubby. However, it didn’t turn out to be the best of holidays. Over to Fran.
Worst Holiday ft. The Travelling Family – How our Aalborg trip happened
I responded to BattleMum’s request for a guest blogger full of optimism at working with another travel blogger – my first ever collaboration! This then morphed into despair. For around four weeks – I’ve sat here worrying….not that I can’t do it – but just dragging up the memories….
The trip to Aalborg began around November 2017 when I was having a massive love affair with Skyscanner. Every single Sunday morning I would grab a coffee, get the kids breakfast then ignore them as I drafted up imaginary holidays dreaming of drifting away. Amazed at just how cheap you can book things for.
Doing this resulted in a trip to Norway with the kids, which was magical, but expensive. (I’d made a cock up with Ryanair upon booking and somehow not booked the kids on the plane. As everyone knows there’s always a price for every cock up with Ryanair!)
My Aalborg booking began in a similar fashion, but it was booked secretly, as it was just for me and my husband as his main Christmas prezzie, with the participation of my next door neighbour. She would have the kids and we would have our first ever weekend away! It sounded cushdi!
Why Aalborg? Well it was the cheapest flight I could find (£84.64) – the hotel in Denmark (£55.95) was pretty near the airport and my husband had said after watching Rick Stein travel round Scandinavia he would love to go….we’ll we’d done Norway so why not Denmark?
The scene was set….I filled a box full of Danish stuff, Cookies, Carlsberg, Lego etc. I printed out three clues for his Christmas box, 1 with Michael O’Leary looking excited, 2 with an unmarked map of Aalborg, 3 with a photo off the Ryanair website of a couple selfieing on a plane – I labelled the couple Fran & Chris and put a big arrow below it – the kids are going next door!!!
Christmas day arrived – I was more excited than him. He opened it – thought it was cool – then gazed upon the flight times….6am Saturday morning from Stanstead Airport.
We live near Leeds. NO WORRIES I said – we’ll get a train (£128.30) down Friday night and stay in a hotel (£67.20). After googling the costs in brackets which weren’t included in his Christmas present he spent the rest of the day a little depressed unfortunately.
Wakefield to Stanstead
The departure day arrived and we made our way to Wakefield train station to begin our journey down south. We were both really buzzing at our mini break. We grabbed a load of snacks on the train (Beer and nuts mainly) and relaxed all the way down to the Hilton at Stanstead.
The hotel was impeccable. We spent all night in the bar with pilots around us having lovely drinks and snacks. The hotel was very new and smelt of lovely fresh new carpets. The bed was ace! Our room overlooked the runway so I got to peer at all those lovely planes! It was awesome!
Our spirits had sadly dispersed a little upon waking at around 4ish Saturday morning – but good news… Forget the Hilton brekkie….I’d already booked us one on board! Chris sighed.
I loved it. Chris was unfulfilled. I gave him a sausage. I will however moan a little at the coffee. It was filter coffee in a plastic cup with the coffee still in it – it was impossible to drink and utterly disgusting.
We flew as the sun rose. I love how beautiful it is above the clouds.
…and then we descended into darkness….not just any darkness….-10 degrees darkness….
Here my first pang of regret hit. I didn’t feel so good and it was utterly freezing….it went straight through to your bones….
The second bit of regret hit when Chris asked what time we could get into our hotel? “WELL” i replied, “its not actually a hotel, its a privately run appartment annnnnd we can’t get in until 4 o clock.”
“Brilliant” Chris said.
So, we got a taxi outside Aalborg airport and asked the taxi driver to take us to town. We wandered round to get a feel for the place.
Aalborg Town Centre
And to go back to why this piece has taken me a month to write.
I do not do negative and always try to find the good in things.
I really really do not have a clue what to put here except how depressed I felt.
We love history – there wasn’t a great deal – and I hate to say it most of the historical buildings were really depressing and ugly. Sorry 🙁
I found no indication of Danish culture as such – just closed Irish bars everywhere (it was early morning). And around the Fjord was massive industrial areas so nowhere gave a decent photo unfortunately.
We needed to get inside so we headed to the mall and got a coffee in Starbucks, I hate Starbucks. We assessed the situation. Well I did. Chris fell asleep. We’d been in Aalborg one hour. I felt awful and wanted some warmth and a sleep.
I emailed the apartment owner to let us go early – the replied we could get in at 3…..only five hours to kill….
So we left Starbucks and wandered and wandered – this graffiti encapsulated my mood – I assume from another Ryanair customer who tried to beat the system and book the cheapest destination.
We had already decided we wanted to go into Travel blogging just before this trip – so we did try and look at Aalborg in a more professional instagrammy sense. The streetart was great.
There were a few lovely shops on the main high street.
And this is another reason I have pondered my Aalborg opinion. Was it awful or was it me that was just feeling awful?
We needed heat again and life always seems a little brighter with a full tum. We found a fantastic place. Cafe Vi.2 that served food and beer, there were lots of restaurants dotted about, but we wanted authentic Danish food.
I picked the delicious homemade Thai Soup (I was getting poorly, I did know this before we went but I didn’t want to ruin Chris’s Christmas present so I just kept chugging on painkillers the soup made me feel better).
Chris’s lunch was out of this world – Parisian Steak! We’ve actually made this again at home it was that good.
I aren’t sure if Thai soup and Parisian steak are authentically Danish, but they were blinking good – really enjoyed.
Our lack of sleep was catching up with us and thankfully we could get into our apartment. We walked 30 minutes in utterly freezing cold temperatures and retired to our apartment for a long afternoon nap.
We awoke feeling much better – the cold had left our bodies and we felt a lot happier. Had a good freshen up and got a taxi back into town as we had already walked enough.
First stop was the John Bull Pub – it was really lively – full of Norweigan men and Scousers enjoying watching the football. Good place. Then onto some Irish Bars. I mean who doesn’t like an Irish bar? I’m not complaining. Was good!
And we were starving again so we got an authentic Danish Kebab – I wont lie – it was better than I get at home. Delicious.
We then ended up on the famous party street of Aalborg, Jomfru Ana Garde, just as everyone had come out to party. It was good fun. We ended up in a place with live music on playing Danish Classics, such as Robin Thickes “Blurred Lines”.
Bleary eyed we decided once again to retire to our apartment. Flight was at 10am in the morning so we needed to be leaving by 8ish.
The journey home wasn’t great. The flight was lovely – was so nice to see light again – and I do love Ryanair. Their staff are always lovely and they do get me here there and everywhere in once piece.
Sadly I’d booked the train about three hours after our plane landed so we had a long wait for it.
And as mentioned I was getting really poorly and the ignoring it had caught up with me so I slept all the way home waking only to swap trains three times. I ended up in hospital just days after and then on and off for around a month – continuously blaming Aalborg for my illness.
So, BattleMum asked for worst holidays. Aalborg was my worst holiday. But is Aalborg a bad place? Well I don’t think it is actually.
I think the circumstances in which we went made it the worst holiday.
The temperature, the times of the flights, the availability of the apartment, me being ill…snowballed and made a huge mess of our first weekend away together – and moreover our first weekend as proper travel bloggers.
I believe Aalborg is a great party town. Aalborg Carnival held in May is huge. Its the biggest in Europe with more than 100,000 participants.
The week after we were there Aalborg was holding a deciding concert for Eurovision (I love Eurovision) with Conchita Wurst presenting it – so gutted I missed this!
And I believe the Fjord probably is gorgeous when the sun is out and the weather is better. Also worth noting the huge investment into attractive apartments being built all around the Fjord so I believe this city will rapidly get more appealing to travellers.
So would I go back? Yes I probably would! I love to party – I love Irish bars – I love food from all around the world! And I certainly love Carlsberg.
The whole trauma arose from me I think and unfortunately Aalborg got the bad name for it. However the next time I book something secretly, I think it will be definitely somewhere a little warmer.
Thanks so much to Frances for sharing their rather disastrous trip to Aalborg with us. We’ve only ever been to Copenhagen in Denmark and quite liked it so might stick with there in the future.
Frances Stoner is the Mum of two kids and two dogs from The Travelling Family Blog. From Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, the family like to make the most of weekends and school holidays in their motorhome and with budget breaks around Europe. Frances is the leader of the blog and presents some blogs and vlogs in a comical Yorkshire style. Chris writes his blogs being a typically grumpy dad. Plenty facts, sightseeing and fun involved in every blog. They can be found on Instagram, YouTube and Facebook.
And if you would like to feature in my Best and Worst Holidays series on the blog, please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.