12th and 13th September 2017
We had escaped the wind but not the rain by going to Copenhagen. Our two day tour of the sights picked up most if not all of the main tourist attractions, which included the first baths since Amsterdam! We also scouted out some great places to moor up in the city if we have time to come back in our 2018 cruise.
The Royal Yacht
So where did we go? Straight off the train and into our first sight to hide from the rain……..
1. The Tivoli, this had the garish feel of a 1960’s Bond movie, with Russian spys chasing us round every corner! It consisted of a strange mixture of gardens, funfairs and absolutely terrifying rides. Walt Disney visited the place many times and was said to have got his inspiration for Disneyland from here! Of course we had to have a go on a ride and went for Odin’s Train, which seemed to be quite tame………but oh no! The flaming thing rattled you out towards the road at breakneck speed not just once but three times. I could hear screaming and begging for it to stop. Later Anne told me that was me! To recover I had to go to the very smart liquorice shop and had a superb liquorice ice cream and their equivalent of a Skipper’s Pipe!
2. We then walked round to the Nyhavn, the new harbour which was actually built by Swedish prisoners in the 1660s. It is a very trendy place to drink, watch people and stay dry from the rain showers.
3. The Little Mermaid was a spectacular disappointment and I almost missed it as it is so small, perched on the edge of the harbour! I had always wanted to visit Copenhagen because of The Little Mermaid. As a child that broke everything I touched, my Grandmother would only let me play with a stone and brass Little Mermaid souvenir that she had got when she went to Copenhagen in the 1950s. It all felt very risqué to a 6 year old as the mermaid had breasts and no clothes on! I was able to buy the exact same one for just 5 Euros! It was paid for by a brewer, who obviously was nowhere near as successful as the other Copenhagen brewer – Carlsberg who build and stocked a huge art gallery in the city.
My Little Mermaid!
4. Street food in the old Meat Packers Quarter. It was all a bit basic, especially the urinal in a container but the food itself was excellent if rather alarming prepared! We were clearly hipsters and the oldest people there by about 25 years.
5. Our visit to the National Museum was amazing, especially the Iron Age to Viking era stuff on the ground floor. Early Danes seemed to have a penchant for throwing stuff in to the nearest bog. This was good news from an archaeological perspective as everything was beautifully preserved from shoes to clothes. They were also big into stone axes and clung onto the technology long after the Bronze Age had arrived elsewhere. In fact they loved stone axe heads so much they actually carved mould lines into the heads so they looked like bronze ones!
Stuff from the bog!
The golden horns
More stuff from the bog!
6. Georg Jensen and Royal Copenhagen stores, where we bought a rather stylish barometer for Grace with the collection that work gave me when I left and a present for my Aunt’s birthday.
7. The Raunturn was built by Christian 4th as an observatory. He clearly could not be bothered with stairs so he had it built with a spiral roadway running up to the telescope on the top of the tower. Great for our sore feet and it was at least dry. The centre of the tower was taken as the centre of Danish empire and the point from which all distances were measured.
8. The Christianborg, which is the official Royal State Palace, the Parliament Building and the Central Court. The building only dates from 1907 and was Denmark’s first building to use reinforced concrete. It is the 5th palace on the site as the last 3 burnt down with suspicious regularity. All a bit dodgy and someone should check the insurance!
The foundations of the previous Christianborgs dating back to 1000 AD
We had completely free reign of the building and could wonder around at will and explore some of the really interesting things they have. One room has a floor made from the salvaged timbers of the Mars, a Danish warship sunk by the Royal Navy at the siege of Copenhagen in 1807. They have a room with a remarkable wall sized painting of the royal families of Denmark, Great Britain, Russia, Greece and Prussia plus a few more minor royals when they were visiting for their annual summer holidays!
The place to ourselves!
The throne room
The Mars floor
A typical Danish family portrait
Some great descriptions of the palace!
They also have a room with paintings of the kings of Sweden dating from the time when they were at war with them. The artist gave them all double chins and squinty eyes!
The kitchens were also interesting as the Chef responsible for the royal functions said that they were really easy to cater for as everyone had the same thing at the same time….. so much easier than running a restaurant!
9. The Christianborg Tower, compared with the complete absence of security anywhere else required full airport style belts and shoes off security! The tower was just a resturant and a store room for spare statues but it does have very interesting lifts and great views from the top including of the Oresund Bridge.
Less posh lift
The security in the tower took so long that we had to rush for our train and we ended up sitting opposite a drunk who woke up suddenly in a panic as we crossed the Great Belt Bridge, he was convinced that he was on the Oresund Bridge and heading toward Sweden!