Thursday, August 22, 2013

Monday, July 29, 2013 – Copenhagen, Denmark – Partly Cloudy – 72F

Tallinn to Copenhagen: 751 Nautical Miles

Local Information:  Copenhagen is the capital of Denmark and located on the Eastern Coast of Zealand.  Almost 2 million people live in the Copenhagen Metro Area.  The Øresund Bridge connects the city of Copenhagen to Malmo, a large city in Sweden.

A very nice day in Copenhagen, Denmark

We are both up early because we have all day tours today.  Our tour day starts in the Celebrity Theater waiting for passengers to get their tickets and bus stickers.

 20130729_waiting for tours (Small)

Ellen at Tour Central – Celebrity Theater

I am on the “Copenhagen City Highlights and Castles of North Zealand” tour (my tour guide is Sofia, who speaks perfect English and is very pleasant).

The bus is comfortable and soon we are on our way out of Copenhagen and into the beautiful Danish countryside.  There are many different types of homes in the suburbs but the ones that I found most interesting were those with the thatched roofs (they only need to be replaced every 60 years).  Roofing companies would never allow that in the States.

20130729_thatched roof (Small) 

Thatched Roof Home

Our route takes us along the the Øresund, (Sound) which separates Denmark and Sweden.  At one point (below), the Sound narrows to the point where Sweden is clearly visible on the opposite shore.

IMG_20130729_Sweden across the way (Small)

Our first stop is Kronborg Castle located along the the Øresund, in Helsingør (Elsinore).  The Renaissance Castle was built between From 1574 to 1585.  The Castle was fortified and played a role in the levying of “Sound Dues” by Danish Kings on ships entering the waterway between the two countries (the other side then controlled by Denmark as well).  In the late 18th Century, Kronborg was no longer a Royal Residence and in 1938, it was opened to the public.  It’s major claim to fame is that it is the Elsinore Castle in Shakespeare’s Hamlet. 

The town is replete with beautiful gardens and statues and, as might be expected,the site of the Annual Hamlet Festival.

20130729_Flower garden near Kronborg Castle (Small)

Park near Kronborg Castle

20130729_ Kronborg Castle 4 (Small) 

Approaching Kronborg Castle

Our tour is not scheduled to go into the Castle so we are given time to wander the grounds and take photos.

 20130729_ Kronborg Castle 2 (Small)

Another View of the Castle and Wall

20130729_ Kronborg Castle swan (Small) 

Town of Helsingør and a Danish Swan

20130729_ Kronborg Castle 1 (Small) 

Entrance to the Castle

20130729_Kronborg Castle (Small) 

Cannons Guarding the Øresund

IMG_20130729_Poor Yorick (Small)

Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio”.

Even though the Castles of North Zealand likely have majestic arches, the Golden Arches are also a familiar sight in this region.

20130729_McDs near Frederiksborg Castle-1 (Small)

We left the farthest tip of North Zealand for out next stop, the magnificent Frederiksborg Castle

Frederiksborg Castle was built by its namesake, Frederik II in 1560 but the Castle owes it’s architectural style to King Christian IV, who oversaw the construction of the present castle between 1602 and 1620.  It is the largest Renaissance Castle in Scandinavia.  After the death of Christian IV, the Castle was used for coronations (Note:  It seems that Danish Kings were either named Christian or Frederik).  The Castle is now a Museum of National History.

The Castle sits on three small islands in the middle of Castle Lake in the town of Hillerod.

20130729_ Frederiksborg Castle 4 (Small)

Entering the Castle Courtyard

20130729_ Frederiksborg Castle moat (Small) 

Water Separating the Islands of the Castle

20130729_ Frederiksborg Castle bridge (Small)

Bridge to the Courtyard

20130729_ Frederiksborg Castle 3 (Small)  20130729_ Frederiksborg Castle 1 (Small)

Neptune’s Fountain (two above)

20130729_ Frederiksborg Castle courtyard 1 (Small) 20130729_ Frederiksborg Castle courtyard (Small)

Above – the Central Courtyard of the Castle

20130729_Sofia the guide (Small) 

Sofia – the Guide – Guiding

20130729_ Frederiksborg Castle entrance hall (Small)

Entrance Room

The Castle Chapel has been the site of Royal Coronations of all Danish Absolute Monarchs between 1671 and 1840 (with one exception).

20130729_ Frederiksborg Castle chapel 1 (Small) 20130729_ Frederiksborg Castle chapel (Small)

Royal Chapel – Frederiksborg Castle

Sofia describes the life and times of the most famous of  Danish Kings, Christian IV (below).  Christian IV is shown in the painting.

20130729_King Christian IV (Small) 20130729_ Frederiksborg Castle grounds (Small)

Baroque Gardens

20130729_ Frederiksborg Castle great hall (Small)

Knights Hall

20130729_ Frederiksborg Castle great hall fireplac (Small) 

Great Hall and Fireplace

The Castle is a Museum and one of the rooms had portraits of some famous Danes.  Couldn’t help but take a picture of one of the most famous Danes, Hans Christian Andersen.

20130729_HC Andersen (Small)

Many in the group were curious as to the current Danish Monarch.  She is Queen Margrethe II.  She was the first female Danish Monarch crowned under the new Laws of Succession.

20130729_Queen Marguerite II and Sofia (Small)

Queen Margrethe II

One of the rooms in the Castle was the Marriage Bedroom – but this room was just for show and not used as a bedroom.

20130729_ Frederiksborg Castle bedroom (Small)

The Marriage Bedroom  

Guarding one of the alcoves of the Castle was a knight (at least the armor) in full regalia (below)

20130729_ Frederiksborg Castle armor (Small)

The Castle Tour was very interesting.  It was a challenge keeping everyone together and, because of the number of visitors and the ambient temperature, it was a bit warm in the Castle.  Otherwise, very picturesque and informative.  Bonus:  Everyone was accounted for when we got back on the bus.

Our next stop was lunch.  The Lunch venue was a restaurant in a condominium complex (more like a country club complex complete with golf course).

20130729_view from lunch venue (Small)  

The Grounds at the Lunch Venue

Lunch consisted of a buffet containing a wide variety of food items.  Although I was unable to identify the breaded fish by its description, I tried some of it with homemade tartar sauce.   I also had two types of herring – one in standard wine sauce and one in a yellow sauce.  They were both very good.  Also available – along with various types of meats and cheeses – was a red cabbage salad (very good) and bread.  Various drinks – sodas, beer, and wine – along with a very good cake completed the menu.  All in all, a very good lunch.

20130729_herring and more herring (Small) 

Lunch Buffet

After lunch, the tour proceeded back to Copenhagen.  On the way, we only caught a glimpse through the window of the bus of the Fredensborg Palace.  The Palace, which is the Royal Family’s Spring and Fall Residence, is the most used of the Royal Palaces.  When we visited this Palace in 2001, we got as far as the front gate – this time, only the parking lot.  

20130729_Fredensborg Castle (Small)

Fredensborg Palace

The ride to Copenhagen was relatively short.  The architecture of Copenhagen is always interesting as seen below.

20130729_Copenhagen Centrum (Small)

The route took us by a recreational lake, that can be used for ice skating when everything freezes over in the Winter.

20130729_city center lake (Small) 

At the far end of the lake, there was an interesting building, that, according to Sofia, was used as a place to warm up and drink hot chocolate after a skate.  That was back in the day – now it is a Disco,

20130729_hot cocoa to disco (Small)

Hot Chocolate to Saturday Night Fever

We only caught the gate of famed Tivoli Gardens.  The Amusement Park, opened in 1843, supposedly served as a partial inspiration for Disneyland (Walt Disney visited here before he opened his park).  The two parks are quite different nowadays.

20130729_Tivoli Gardens (Small)

Tivoli Gardens

20130729_Copenhagen City Hall (Small)

Copenhagen City Hall

Copenhagen’s most congested (people-wise) area has to be the Nyhavn (“New Harbor”).  Wall to wall restaurants and wall to wall people make this the go to destination in the city.  When we walked this area last, the food looked good but the fare was pricey.  Still the views and people watching would be worth it.

20130729_Nyhaven 1 (Small) 20130729_Nyhaven (Small)


Our next stop was the Amalienborg Palace, located near the Harbor.  This Palace, completed in 1760, is the Winter Home of the Royal Family.  Before heading over to the Palace, we got a nice look at the Royal Opera House (below).

20130729_Royal Opera House (Small) 

The photos below are all of the Amalienborg Palace.  There were no flags flying on the buildings indicating that members of the Royal Family were not at home.

20130729_Queen not at home no flag (Small)

The building below is the “Royal Kindergarten” – where all of the Royal cousins, etc. start their education.

20130729_Royal Kindergarten Amalienborg Palace (Small) 20130729_palace guard (Small)

Royal Guard

King Frederik V was responsible for the development of the district now home to the Amalienborg Palace.  A statue of the monarch on his horse recognizes this contribution.

20130729_Frederik V (Small) 

King Frederick V

Physical evidence that I was really at the Palace is shown below.

 20130729_Frederik V and me (Small)

After the Palace, I went back to the harbor.  I thought the pillar below was interesting in a techno-art kind of way.

 20130729_column art harbor (Small)

The gnome guarding the Gift Shop looked kind of familiar – we had seen his cousin when we cruised the Arctic Circle last year.

 20130729_troll looks familiar (Small)

Moving through the harbor area, we passed the Gefion Fountain.  Gefion is the Norse Goddess of Agriculture and Fertility, and usually associated with the plow.  The mythological basis for the statue is related to a bet that Gefion made with the King of Sweden.  The King said Gefion could have all the land she could plow in one night.  Being a goddess, Gefion turned her four sons into bulls and they plowed the land that is now Zealand.  Never mess with a goddess.

20130729_Norse goddess Geschwind (Small)

The Gefion Fountain

Our final stop would be the statue of the Little Mermaid found in Copenhagen Harbor. The Little Mermaid, an iconic figure since 1913 and based on the story by Hans Christian Andersen, sits quietly on a rock in the Harbor.  The most amazing thing about this picture is the lack of people all over this poor little mermaid.  Got lucky, I guess.

20130729_Little Mermaid (Small) 

The Little Mermaid

There is another statue in the harbor area I like to call the Big Mermaid.  She is shown below.  She doesn’t get the publicity of her little sister perhaps due to her less than optimal location.

20130729_Big Mermaid (Small)

The Big Mermaid

It was then back to the ship.  Bottom Line: A great tour.

Tonight is the last Formal Night so we are dressed up so we can get our Formal Night Photo.  This may be the only picture of us together on this cruise.

20130729_Formal Night (Small)

Forman Night 3

The sail away was a bit dreary but the sunset later on was terrific.

20130729_Copenhahen sailaway (Small) 

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Tonight’s Showtime was “The Land of Make Believe”, the third Production Show and a combination of Wicked and Alice in Wonderland.  We have seen it before so we are spending this evening in the Library reading and relaxing.

Final Sea Day tomorrow…

Pedometer: 6840 steps; 3.2 miles; 377 calories; 1:13


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