A Perfect Day in Copenhagen

Danish design is impressive. My mother and father told me this when they visited in 1963 and with this being our second visit to Copenhagen, we couldn't agree more.  Copenhagen is elegant with its foot in the past, but always looking forward to the future with sleek clean lines in its modern architecture.

We walked down the waterfront this morning to Amalienborg Palace with its fountain down on the water's edge. We learned that if the flag is hoisted above the palace, the crown prince is in residence and today the flag was flying much to everyone's pleasure.

Young royal guards dressed in outfits fit for royalty walked back and forth and stood motionless with their arms folded.  On their heads was a 12 pound hat made of Canadian bear fur that they can only take off if it's above 30 Celsius. There's something about palace guards that makes people want to pose. Tourists jumped happily beside them for a grip and grin photo, but if they leaned in too close, they were nudged aside with the guard's gloved hand.

These guards were more than decorative. They may have been wearing the same uniform for over 100 years, but in their hands was a very 21st century weapon.  Suddenly the royal doors to the garage swung open. All cameras were aimed ready to see who was leaving.  I pictured a slick black Mercedes or BMW with tinted windows, but instead it was a smart looking BMW electric sports car with men in suits inside.  A second car that pulled out was a BMW electric car with a woman driving it.

A short metro ride took us to Our Savior's Church. It was beautiful inside with an old pipe organ that took up an entire upper wall and was from the 17th century.

The main attraction of the church is the wooden tower with a sweeping panoramic view of the city and an opportunity to climb further to the top on stairs that wrap around the outside of the church.  Climbing the stairs was a bit of a challenge. What started out as a wooden staircase, turned quickly into a series of steep narrow steps with twists and turns. Toward the top people huddled in corners or clung to the center wooden pole to allow people to pass. I found it a bit scary going down, but when asked by a tourist going up if it was all worth it, I gave an enthusiastic yes.  From the top of the church we could see Tivoli and the SAS building which is a hotel where my parents stayed designed by Arne Jacobsen.

Illums Bolighus is an amazing Danish store with beautiful Danish designed items.  It's a store that was created by appointment to Her Majesty the Queen of Denmark.  There is something for every price range from a small wooden soldier to a handsomely carved animal selling for hundreds of dollars plus furniture which I am sure was incredible. I smiled to myself when I found a wooden bear my mother had bought in 1963. It still looked stylish today. While admiring some stylish Eco water bottles, my thoughts were interrupted with, "Those bottles are the perfect Danish design created with no glue." Apparently we were too enthusiastic about the bottles because suddenly the salesman was giving us a tour of fine glass tea and coffee pots with a unique "Danish twist" as he put it. We had to politely say thank you to get away and with that we were informed that we shouldn't bother with the upper two floors because they were more expensive.  We chose some great items and left pleased with our purchases.  For David's mother, we chose a beautiful hand carved wooden dog, and for ourselves some beautiful art prints,  and a handmade beaver.

One cannot come to Copenhagen without taking a canal boat ride. Our guide pointed out all the modern buildings and told us their story. One glass building called the Black Diamond building which is the Copenhagen library is shaped like a diamond so that when the sun reflects off the sea, the windows will   glitter like diamonds. We passed the royal yacht and saw two cruise ships head out to see.

Before heading back in, we stopped by the Little Mermaid statue which was surrounded by tourists. She sits on a rock just offshore, but has been vandalized several times. "The Little Mermaid has had her head chopped off twice," said our guide,"and the first person to do it was an artist who threw the head in a lake and wrote a book about it."

Tonight we went to Tivoli. It is a magical place at night with tiny ponds, fountains, retro games, and thousands of tiny lights. Once again it's an example of how Copenhagen has one foot in the past, but looks forward to the future. There are sleek roller coasters and an airplane ride that looks positively terrifying just to watch as it tosses and turns its screaming passengers about.  Yet there are rides that are probably from the 40s and children are enjoying them just as much today.  There are wooden boats, small Ferris wheels that look like a hot air balloon is over each seat, and merry-go-rounds with giraffes and elephants.

We played an old horse racing game where the horses move depending on which slot you throw balls into. Dave is very good at it and won a tiny teddy bear. Walking back to our hotel we both agreed, Copenhagen is a great city and we hope to return again soon.


Susan Erickson said…
Copenhagen does look

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