Yesterday’s post made it seem as if the biggest part of my trip to Copenhagen was – once again – an endless parade of museums and castles and churches. But Copenhagen was definitely more than its museums. I dashed through the museums to see the highlights, but most of my time was spent wandering the streets, trying to get a glimpse of the locals’ lives, and basking in the wonderful sun beaming down from the clear blue sky. That last part was best achieved from the protection of a sunny cafe window, however, because Copenhagen was the windiest place I have been in my life. And since my life includes at least one afternoon spent on the edge of a major wind farm in Southern Alberta, that should tell you that it was really, truly windy.
I love the brightly painted buildings in Scandinavia, and Copenhagen is no exception.
The area of town called Slotsholm includes beautiful architecture. The twisted spire of the Borsen (old stock exchange) is enchanting. Far off in the background of this snapshot you can see the beautiful gold-rimmed spire of Vor Frelser Kirke (Our Saviour’s Church):
Part of the Amalienborg palace, with a lovely blue-tiled roof and sharply dressed guards patrolling:
The guard towers have heart-shaped cut-outs on the sides. Danish coins also have hearts on them. Cute!
The striking tower of Christiansborg Palace, the home of the Danish Parliament:
Inside the Royal Library, a fantastic modern building that is well-integrated with the historic library building.
Copenhagen seems to have a lot of this particular ochre colour. I’m not sure if the brick is actually this yellow-orange colour, or if it is paint over the bridge, but it looks great, especially along with the bright green copper spires.
I saw some truly odd cars, of makes that I haven’t seen before. This was the smallest. It looks like something made of Lego:
And speaking of Lego, Denmark is the home of Lego! It wasn’t the biggest Lego store I’ve seen (Disneyworld!), but it had a great selection and some awesome Lego structures at the entrance. Somehow, I managed to avoid buying anything.
I’m going to say that Danes have a serious sweet tooth. That, or they don’t do anything by halves. The public market was one of the best I’ve seen and was filled with delicious-looking baked goods, fish, meat, cheese, coffee and chocolate. This is a kind of coffee cake at Laura’s Bakery:
It was easily a 50/50 split between the cake part and the topping. I was excited about all that brown sugar, but even I couldn’t finish it. When I left, my scraps got lots of dirty looks from my table neighbours.
This is smorrebrod, a traditional lunch food – basically an open-faced sandwich. Rye bread, boiled egg and shrimp is a classic Scandinavian combination, and it is inspired. Mmm.
This is from the next day, at the Lagkagehuset bakery – a popular local chain. This is a pastry with whipped cream, or perhaps more accurately…about a cup of whip cream with a thin pastry shell. Again, the remnants on my plate earned a scowl or two.
Spring was arriving in Copenhagen. The park was filled with little flowers. Snowdrops?
This is Scandinavian design mecca. A store filled with thousands and thousands of beautiful things for the home, and I would buy almost every single one of them. Lamps, chairs, candlesticks, dishes, clocks, tables, cushions, rugs, on and on. Fantastic. And expensive. I just drooled, and managed to leave with my bank account unscathed.
One of the most famous sights in Copenhagen – The Little Mermaid statue. The key to enjoying it? Low expectations. My guidebook said it was not worth the hype, but I figured I should walk over to see it anyway. I had to fight the wind to get there, but at least I didn’t have to fight any crowds. There was just a small group of tourists, and I was able to enjoy the statue despite its small size.
A quote from the wall of one of the museums, in an exhibition of Danish paintings. I’m sure it is true of all nationalities to some degree, but I really felt that it was true of Canadians, too. And I liked that.
One thing that struck me in walking around Copenhagen was how it was set up to be so social. Lots of restaurants, cafes and bars were set up with huge long tables and in the evenings they seemed to fill up quickly with boisterous crowds. I felt it would be a shame to miss out, so a huge thanks goes out to our friend Leif (who Chris and I met on our tour in Peru in 2010 and who lives by Copenhagen). He joined me for dinner on Sunday evening, and then took me for a great walk around the city, and told me what all the wonderful buildings actually *were*. It was a great chance to find out about real Danish life and to pass a nice evening in great company. Skol! And apologies for leaving off all the special Danish characters in my terrible spelling of the names.