Sunday 27 July 2014 – Copenhagen, Denmark.
It was another stunning day in Copenhagen! Our hotel, and it appears, most of the city as well had no air-conditioning so it was quite a hot and muggy night with not a lot of sleep – reminiscent of SE Asia!
Breakfast was included in the room and I will confess to an utter pig out on lovely smoky Danish streaky bacon – so good….
After a post breakfast recovery lie-down we waddled out the door for our days adventures – actually, it was just me that waddled, El was far more elegant than that. We had a plan for the day and our first stop was the National Gallery and its lovely garden filled with some excellent bronze work.
Once we got round to the front we discovered that the gallery didn’t open for another thirty minutes so rather than hang about we headed off to activity two, a hop-on/hop off canal boat tour. On the way we passed this interesting street sign, I have no idea what it means.
Plus a quite cool paste up.
As I mentioned in the “Whales” blog post from when I was in Australia recently, I have never really gone in for mass tourism activities, much preferring to find my own way around a city and see the things I want to see – how and when I want to see them. But with a large canal network and a very good price the canal tour just seemed like a very nice way to see the bits of the city we would not see on foot. Plus, it was stinking hot and the boat was likely to be a lot cooler than walking!
The boat is a large flat barge like vessel with about hundred passengers on board, it was pretty full, but we got good seats at the back so it was easy to snap away as we cruised. I loved the spiral spire, lovely.
We cruised up to what I am guessing is the main tourist eating area, a canal-side strip at Nyhavn. It was pretty packed and we pondered returning here for lunch tomorrow. The buildings are lovely and I am sure it is nice spot to chill, if a little busy.
This woman was really bugging me by the end of the trip – she would just not sit down, so I took to standing up when anything interesting was on our side of the boat. What I probably should have done was ask her politely to sit, but my English/Kiwi reticence shone through!
After Nyhavn we cruised up towards the open see, passing a lovely old sailing boat under full sail, some very new and quite stunning newly architected buildings.
And towards the end of the river, a horizon of wind farms.
The tour went out of the river mouth as far as Trekroner Fort, an artificial island created to defend Copenhagen’s harbour. Construction of the fort started in 1787 and it was used until the end of the first world war. We could have got off the boat for a walk around but it we still had a few things left to do on today’s list and there was not enough to see to kill the hour before the next boat arrived. It looked interesting, but not that interesting 🙂
One of the main reasons for taking the tour was to go and see The Little Mermaid statue, Copenhagen’s most famous tourist attraction and a reasonable distance from our hotel. We pondered getting off for a look but the sheer number of people there put us off. As we motored past on the boat I was so glad we didn’t stay, this would have driven me bonkers… Sometimes you just need to fence off these attractions and allow everyone an opportunity to see and photograph it without someone’s kids sitting on it.
The boat took us back up the river and into the canal heading up to Christianshavn, where we planned on stopping for lunch. The ride up the canal was quite nice.
Freetown Christiana is a small part of the area, it is partially self governing and is a bit of a hippytype commune. I was expecting it to be quite a chilled place, and certainly upon entering it looked the part, street art, cafes (closed at the time), sculptures amongst the trees and a small, Camden style market.
However as we got further in it just got sadder and sadder as the other side of Freetown Christiana is that it is place where cannabis is freely sold. No photos were allowed in this area obviously, but for somewhere that is supposed to be carefree and open there were a lot of masked men standing behind curtains selling dope to large numbers of, mainly, young people. It all looked a bit tragic to me. I guess we were there a bit early in the day, maybe it is more lively later on.
Anyway, we were disappointed by it.
We walked back across to the other side of the river across the Knippelsbro, I loved the towers in the middle of the bridge. I am a real sucker for this greening, aged metalwork and the more I saw, the more I liked it.
On the way to the gallery we walked pas tthe military history museum and its cool little jousting hobby horse outside.
And of course today’s token bicycle picture:) What really surprised is me was the fact that few of the bikes were locked to anything, a large number were not locked at all and most had very flimsy locks on them. In London this would have been stolen almost immediately… Another big yay for the people of Copenhagen.
The gallery was pretty cool, (especially where there was some much needed air-con !) in keeping with the rest of the city there was a lot of sculpture, like this roman style hall.
This rather creepy collection of statue heads,
And this awesome weeping angel.
They could film an excellent episode of Dr Who here 🙂
Though the main reason for me coming in here was the collection of French impressionist paintings, it was small, but very nice – and photography was allowed ! There were some lovely works by Monet – The lemon grove in Bordihhera,
And Van Gogh – Landscape from Saint-Remy,
And a really nice and large collection of Gaugin works. This is the Road to Rouen, and I loved the colour in this.
There was also a drinks cart on the roof of the gallery so we stopped for a refreshing drink and a rest to admire the view over the Copenhagen skyline – over the Christiansborg.
I found a couple more bits of street art on the walk back to the hotel, where we stopped for a rest before heading out again in the early evening.
Our evening was spent at the crazy Tivoli Gardens. The gardens are the second oldest amusement park in the world, opening in 1843 and we were surprised at the size and scale of some of the rides – and no, we did not do any, we are far to chicken for that sort of malarky.
The gardens also, surprisingly, have very nice gardens and that sort of cheesy amusement park side of ponds and castles and pagodas and a large Indian style building, all holding restaurants and bars. None of which sold any Indian or Asian food. The pagoda for instance had fish and chips next to it.
The balloon seller was not having the best of days.
Though we did get something to eat in the end, and just as we stopped for a final glass of wine, the skies closed in and a sudden, though short, downpour sent people scurrying in all directions. Which was a cue for us to leave.
Another great day out. Loving Copenhagen so far.