Lynn and I have been east, west, and south of
here but we havent ventured north too much. Its cold way up there
near the polar icecaps. But we were approaching the summer solstice
so the days were long, very, very long, so this was a great time to
head north to Copenhagen. It gets dark in Copenhagen around 11 p.m.
and it starts getting light again about 3:30 a.m. That wreaks havoc
with ones sleep.
The center of Copenhagen is pretty small so its
very walkable. We wandered first past
which is the home of the Danish Parliament, the Supreme Court, and
the Prime Minister. Theres a large sandy area at the back (or the
front who can tell?) which is the
Riding Ground Complex and is available to the Royal Family. I
can just imagine seeing the Queen prancing by on a horse. Not being
an equestrian myself, it looked like a pretty small area to be
taking a horse out for a ride but apparently its used because we
did see some horses being groomed nearby.
Only a block or so away is
BÝrsen, the former Danish Stock Exchange. Its one of
Copenhagens oldest and most beautiful buildings. It was built by
King Christian IV in 1620 as a market place and in the 19th
century it became a financial center so that Copenhagen could
compete with Amsterdam. Today its no longer open to the public and
is only used for special occasions, more special, apparently, than
our visit to Copenhagen.
As we continued up the street a few more blocks,
we came to
Amalienborg which is the winter home of the Danish royal
family. It consists of four buildings, all identical and all facing
a central courtyard which is open to the public. At one time, all
four buildings were used as homes, but the kids must have moved out
because now two of them are museums. Its hard to tell which one of
the two homes is occupied by the queen. Theres statue in the center
of King Frederik V. From that point looking east across Inderhavnen,
the harbor, one sees the Opera House on the other side. In the other
direction is a large church, Frederikskirken, designed by Frederik
V. Frederikskirken is an impressive building having one of the
largest domes in Europe (inspired by St. Peters in Rome).
Construction began in 1749 and took 150 years to complete. That is
not an excessive amount of time to build a church in Europe as
Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, started in 1882 and still under
construction, will take longer than that.
We found a small statue built right next to that
water. This is the
Little Mermaid. The
story was written by
Hans Christian Andersen and was adapted into a movie by
statue has been there since about 1913 but theres a little
known secret that some time ago, she had a head and arm transplant.
It seems that some cad removed her head and arm for his own use but
the original specifications for the statue still existed so the head
and arm were replaced.
Right in the center of central Copenhagen is
something called Kongens Have which I think is Kings Park. Its
about 1,500 feet on all sides. On the grounds of the park is
Rosenborg Castle which was originally King Christian IVs
summer residence and is now a museum housing the crown jewels and
telling a whole lot about Danish history. According to our book,
castle was inspired by the Renaissance architecture in the
Netherlands. Looking at it, it does look kind of "Dutch" to me but
then again, with what I know of Renaissance Dutch architecture, Im
Theres a street called
Nyhaven that was a lot of fun to hang around and comes with a
lot of history. A canal was built down the center of this street
near the beginning of the 18th century to attract trade.
While it may have done that, it also attracted all the sailors and
for a long time it was a flourishing red-light district. In the
1970s a transformation occurred. There are brightly colored
townhouses, restaurants, bars, and shops on both sides. There are
three houses on this street where H.C. Andersen lived for a total of
25 years, at
alone for 19 years. This made me wonder. Since presumably he lived
there before the 1970s transformation, he lived there when it was a
red-light sailors paradise. What dont we know about this dude?
Finally, there is
Tivoli Gardens. When Tivoli opened in 1843, it was across from
City Hall which was at the edge of town. Tivoli was built out in
the boonies in a vacant area. Today, Copenhagen has grown up around
it and its right in the middle of everything. It has a few rides
like a roller coaster, a Ferris wheel and other things. But its a
beautiful area to stroll through, have dinner at, and even catch a
concert some of which are free with the price of admission to the
park. If you read the piece about Adelaide, you may remember that we
just missed Pat Metheny while we were there. In Copenhagen, we were
just ahead of him. One of these days, well get to see him.
There are some great pictures of Copenhagen
See my pictures of Copenhagen.
See videos from Copenhagen