Day 2: Memories of Copenhagen Past and Present
A buffet breakfast in Europe is a special treat and the one at the Copenhagen Strand did not disappoint. Typical in Scandinavia, offerings included fresh fruit, vegetables, cheese, meat, rolls, and even salad. I tried a delicious rice salad with finely chopped peppers, onions, parsley, and tomatoes.
After watching numerous canal boats glide past our hotel window, we bought tickets on a semi-open boat covered with glass. During our one hour tour we passed by several artificial islands once occupied by the Danish military and now home to local residents. Old warehouses have been converted to hotels or museums, and in one museum, statues peer out of the windows.
A small crowd had already gathered in the courtyard at the Amalienborg Palace by the time we arrived on foot. Precisely at noon, the royal guards appeared in formation at the entrance and marched in perfect cadence to exchanged places with the guards posted at the sentries. It was simple and devoid of pomp and circumstance, but fun. Inside the palace we saw rooms decorated with photographs, treasures from around the world, and old leather bound books. I love the look of old libraries and often imagine what it would be like to spend the day there. My thoughts were interrupted by a father speaking loudly to his college age daughter, "Someone should tell the king he can put all these books on one DVD." Sometimes comments about modern technology just don't fit.
Lunch was at Illum, a department store with two rooftop cafes. We bought a tiny Curious George book. Here he is known as Peter Pedals.
Hans Christian Andersen resided in Copenhagen, and in the harbor is a statue that is a tribute to his famous literary creation, the Little Mermaid. The Mermaid sits atop a boulder just offshore. Crowds of people surrounded it and several teenagers climbed up it to pose only to find it was too treacherous to come back down without help. Walking along the waterfront we passed a sand sculpture competition with amazing castles.
At the Museum of Danish Resistance, located not far from the Mermaid, we saw a display of artifacts from the German occupation. Videoclips showed old news footage and people who were actually here at the time sharing their experiences.
After a vegetarian buffet in the garden of Riz Raz, a buffet restaurant, we walked toward Tivoli Gardens. The old brick entrance was beautifully lit. We will go there on Saturday for a classical music concert. Right across the street is the tallest building in Copenhagen, the Radisson Blu. In 1963, my mother joined my father on a business trip to Europe and their first stop was Copenhagen. I still have the letter she hand wrote from the hotel which was known as The Royal Copenhagen at the time. The hotel was designed by Arne Jacobsen and the lobby still retains the character from that era. In her letter my mother said that she could see Sweden from her window and described the city as elegant, vibrant, and fun. I couldn't agree more!