Copenhagen, Denmark

Day 2 of the cruise stopped in Copenhagen.

Historical Notes

The Danes won every war they were in up to 400 years ago, then they’ve lost every war since. Therefore, they are thrilled to be involved in Afghanistan because they want to break the cycle. They are sending their elite soldiers.

Tycho Brahe died while dining with the king. Apparently, one couldn’t leave the table until the king permitted. Brahe had to use the bathroom, yet it wasn’t time to move, so he died when his bladder burst. I didn’t even know someone could die from that. Let that be a lesson, boys and girls. When one must go, then go. His bust is in front of a tower King Christian built as an astronomical observatory. It’s so wide because the king didn’t want to climb the stairs, he built it to allow his horse and carriage room to convey him to the top. It’s good to be the king.

Tycho Brahe's bust at the foot of the Round Tower

Tycho Brahe's bust at the foot of the Round Tower


The Round Tower of Astronomical Research

The Round Tower of Astronomical Research

Denmark became, at least nominally, Christian when Harald Bluetooth was approached by a missionary who said his God was tougher than the Danish gods. This, of course, was a challenge that could not go unmet. In an era when manly men wore fur pelts and carried weapons 1/3 their weight, it would be embarrassing to allow some scrawny cleric to throw-down. The missionary picked up a gauntlet that had been fire-heated, and walked over to Harald wearing it asking if his gods could do that. Harald, feeling he may need his hands at some point in the future, decided the missionary may have a point about this God’s toughness and entertained the new religion. Hey, another tough God on their side? Who could overlook the benefits of that? He united both Denmark and Norway, so it appears it worked out in his favor. Plus, he ended up having a spiffy little piece of tech named after him, I’d call that a historical win.

In Denmark, every other king is Christian or Frederick. The Christians left their marks in brick and mortar. They were builders of infrastructure and winners of wars. They have buildings, busts, and equestrian bronzes throughout the city. The Fredericks seemed to be constitution writers and paper pushers. There is little concrete evidence of them as a foreigner just strolling through the city.

A King Christian

A King Christian


Danes love tall, fancy cuppolas

Danes love tall, fancy cuppolas


Another fancy tower

Another fancy tower

I just had a traditional dish of three different types of pickled herring for lunch at Nyhavn 37, a café on the canal. I’m surrounded by strolling musicians, a rhythmic cacophony of languages from around Europe, color-washed buildings lining the canal like a muted rainbow striped with the masts and riggings from the boats therein. Ahhh, Europe! The flash of a gold-trimmed official building in the sun and the punctuation of Sunday bells calling the faithful to church make this experience complete.

A Trio of Pickled Herring

A Trio of Pickled Herring


View of the Canal

View of the Canal

We walked through Christiania, the local social experiment. A hippy-town, if you will. It’s a sprawling metropolis of self-built houses made from scavenged materials that reminded me of Whittaker and Country Faire back home. The streets were lined with adorable little structures surrounded by gardens, most of which sported pots of marijuana in the sun. There is a freedom there, a counter-culture made normal. It’s an artist’s haven where they live for the now and allow tomorrow to fend for itself. It sprouted out of squatters taking over the abandoned military base on the island. It’s now considered prime real estate and the city would love to turn it into an expensive waterfront complex. Somehow, the haven is saved from political machinations by a large influx of money from the wealthy drug barons who live simply there and use their money to preserve their culture.

Welcome to Christiania

Welcome to Christiania


Everything is art in Christiania

Everything is art in Christiania

There is a one-sided rivalry between the Danes and the Swedes. Sweden was part of Denmark at one time and they broke away. Now, the Swedes come over the border to drink in Denmark as it’s less expensive. The Danes always see the Swedes as drunk and disorderly and say softly disparaging remarks. The Swedes are blissfully ignorant about this. They are, after all, just here for the good drinks.

We had a private tour of Copenhagen by G’s university friend, Ulric. He picked us up at the pier and told us many of the stories here presented. It was a wonderful start to our cruise. Thanks, Ulric!

Copenhagen bikes

Copenhagen bikes


Agate church doors in Copenhagen

Agate church doors in Copenhagen


This church’s exterior is made of sliced agate. It’s gorgeous… and there are gargoyles at the top. And, if you don’t know this about me, I have a great love of European doors and windows.
Statue near the pier

Statue near the pier


There was so much great architecture and statuary, it was challenging to find the highlights. I just picked a few pictures that I thought were evocative and aesthetically arranged.
The Little Mermaid

The Little Mermaid


This is the famous Hans Christian Anderson Little Mermaid statue at the pier. Of the forty thousand pictures we have of her, I picked this one because the two little girls sitting on the rock in front of her are in almost exactly the same pose as the statue. Sublime, eh?
Thank goodness I wasn't on that ship!

Thank goodness I wasn't on that ship!

\
This looks like it’s being reconstructed as the entire site was littered with blocks that had been removed and new blocks to be erected. The bit of it that is already in place looks to be some kind of Viking raid gone awry.
Vision of the Seas from the Copenhagen pier

Vision of the Seas from the Copenhagen pier

Comments are closed.