June 30, 2016
If you are just tuning in, read this Great Scandinavian Adventure from the beginning here.
After our enchanting morning spent adoring Tivoli (read about that here), cousin Annelise and I decided to again wander the lovely streets of Copenhagen to our heart’s content. Although we had been in the general area just a day before, I began to realize that no matter how many times I walked it, I experienced new parts of this charming city each day.
This time we began at Københavns Rådhus (Copenhagen’s City Hall) just outside of Tivoli. There we strolled past Dragespringvandet (The Dragon Fountain), then through the beautiful Rådhuspladsen (City Hall Square). From there we started up Strøget, where centuries-old gorgeous architecture melds with stateside American chains, such as T.G.I. Friday’s and 7-Eleven. At a point during the trip I asked a friend of Annelise’s why Danes living in such a foodie-haven capital such as Copenhagen would (gasp!) choose fried chicken or burgers from an American chain over their ever-popular Nordic fare, his answer was pretty simple: “we eat Danish food all the time.” I guess everyone needs a break from the norm.
My neck aching from the visual smorgasbord (from the Swedish smörgåsbord) I was observing, we decided to turn up Nørregade. There we passed Vor Frue Kirke (The Church of Our Lady), National Cathedral of Denmark, and Københavns Universitet (Copenhagen University). Then we ambled down Krystalgade (Crystal Street) a bit farther to Rundetårn (the round tower). Built by Christian IV, it is the oldest functioning observatory in Europe. Next door sits Trinitatis Kirke (Trinitatis Church), which is part of the 17th century Trinitatis Complex, which includes the Rundetårn astronomical observatory tower and the Copenhagen University Library, where H.C. Andersen is said to have found inspiration.
Eventually, the road ended and the picturesque Kongens Have (King’s Gardens) at Rosenborg Castle began. Here I saw trees and birds that I never had before. It was as if I had fallen through Alice’s rabbit hole and ended up in a beautiful dream of my own. Only this one was the reality of a Danish King 400 years ago. (see a map of the garden grounds here)
In the 17th century, one of Denmark’s most popular kings, Christian IV, built Rosenborg Castle, one of his favorite castles (the other I would visit the following day). The garden we walked that day, I learned, was at one time his own private royal garden. Christian IV’s colorful personality left a strong mark on Danish history, as did his affinity for growth and progress. He commissioned the building of many structures and quarters in and around Copenhagen and Denmark that are still evident today. His vitality stretched the length of Scandinavia, where places such as Kristiania (now Oslo) and Kristiansand (in Norway); Kristianstad and Kristianopel (in what is now Sweden); Christianshavn (in Denmark); and Glückstadt (which was to compete with Hamburg) in Holstein all bear his influence.
Christian IV began his reign in 1588 when he was just a minor. When the crown was finally his in 1596, the celebrations were more lavish than anything seen before in Denmark, which may have set precedence for the King at a young age. As I would come to learn the following day on my castle trip in the Danish countryside, King Christian IV would go on to do a great many things for Denmark (and some not so great things), but a jovial celebration was always a must!
Tune in next week and hear more about my trip to the Danish countryside, an incredible trip to King Christian’s ‘Pleasure Palace’ and why the Swedes owe the Danes a fountain!