June 16, 2016
If you are just tuning in, this is the fourth installment recounting my Great Scandinavian Adventure to Denmark and Sweden this past spring. You can read the previous posts beginning here.
As I left off last week, if that first full day after my arrival in Copenhagen was any indication of what was to come, I was in for an amazing ride (hint: it was!). As if wandering the Storytelling Streets and Authentic Shops of Copenhagen, as well as my memorable visit to Perch’s Tea Room, wasn’t enough, we then walked up Strøget, past Det Kongelige Teater (Royal Danish Theater) and found ourselves at the gorgeous and picturesque Nyhavn (“New Harbor”).
Originally, a busy commercial port beginning in the 17th century where ships from all over the world would dock, today Nyhavn is a jewel to Copenhagen, literally. Its’ unmistakable brightly hued houses are now mostly quaint restaurants and businesses. However, the oldest, no. 9, dates back to 1681. Additionally, no. 20 was the brief home of Hans Christian Andersen and it was here he wrote Princess and the Pea. He also lived twenty years in no. 67 and two years in no. 18. It is easy to see why he would stay and be so inspired by this beautiful part of Copenhagen!
Annelise and I jumped aboard an hour-long canal tour that took us all throughout the harbor. We sailed past The Royal Danish Playhouse, a theatre building for the Royal Danish Theatre, Noma (#5 World’s Best Restaurant), Operaen (Copenhagen Opera House), and past the waste-to-power plant that also doubles as a ski slope in the winter (to be completed this year). Then there was Amalienborg, home of the Danish Royal Family. The flags indicated that Prince Frederik was home, however, Queen Margrethe II was not. At the northern end of the harbor we paused for a brief wave to Den Lille Havfrue (The Little Mermaid), perched on her rock.
Then it was on through to a more residential part of the canal. Surprisingly enough, some parts (the more modern architecture) reminded me of Chicago. We caught a glimpse of the stunning Vor Frelsers Kirke (Church of Our Saviour), a baroque church famous for its helix spire with external winding staircase that can be climbed.
Then it was on past Christian IV’s Bryghus, once a royal fortification and later a brewhouse constructed in 1608. We glided past the National Museum of Denmark, then Christiansborg Palace, once the home of kings and queens, but after one of several great fires, the royal family moved to Amalienborg Palace in the late 1800’s and never returned. Next came the imposing Børsen, a 17th-century building and former stock exchange with its striking dragontailed spire. Legend has it that spire guards the building against enemy attacks and fires. Surprisingly, it has many times been spared from damage when fires have broken out in neighboring buildings.
After our phenomenal canal tour we were feeling quite euphoric, so we chose a cozy perch next to the harbor where Annelise could give me a lesson in the art of hygge. After settling in with our warm blankets – a truly gracious gesture by merchants – and our cocktails to enjoy the view, we began to hear a lovely tune played gingerly by a man on a nearby park bench. With our day a success, the only thing left to do was “skål!” with one another and continue our hyggelig evening!
At this rate, this travelogue will take me until next summer to get through, but there is just so much beauty and culture to share with you. I hope you are enjoying it! Tune in next week for Day 2 and my trip to delightful Tivoli, and a stroll through the lovely King’s Garden at Rosenborg, where I meet H.C. Andersen!
Plan to spend a fun day (for all ages) at The Danish Home’s annual Summerfest on June 26th. Admission is free! This annual festival celebrates Danish culture and heritage with traditional smørrebrød (open face sandwiches), a Danish Bageri (bakery) Booth featuring brød og kager (breads and cakes) and søde ting (sweet things), entertainment, raffles and much more!
all photos: IVY Marketing Group