Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Scandinavia #2

Copenhagen, Denmark

          We spent five days in Copenhagen, a wonderful city, and friendly people. The weather was cold, damp but sunny most of the time we were there. It misted once, poured once.

          Their idea of "a full breakfast" is a Smorrebrod (smorgasbord). The service people at the hotel were attentive and provided breakfast each morning consisting of tables and tables of food. Janet got hooked on lox, Bill seemed addicted to herring. We discovered the breads of Denmark are scrumptious, very hardy and flavorful. And the choice of berries was never-ending. Janet is gluten-free but they had many gluten-free options available plus a special bun that was full of nuts and seeds.

Sight seeing
          Our first full day of sightseeing was amazing. We took the Hop on, Hop off bus tour that allowed us to stop and get off at sites along the route. The route took us around the capital, a most beautiful city, clean and full of fresh flowers. The architecture was fascinating. One can see why Hans Christian Anderson was so inspired by the city.
          We strolled over the Nyhavn Bridge (Danish for Heavenly Bridge) We saw padlocks on the railing. They were Love locks. That means sweethearts lock to a bridge to symbolize their love. The sweethearts' names or initials are carved on the padlock, and the key is thrown into the canal to symbolize unbreakable love.

          A walk down ancient Magstrede Street, one of the first communities built in the late 1500s. I could imagine horses trotting down the narrow cobblestone streets, men in long coats, hats, and lace, women in big skirts as in the Rembrandt paintings.

          On our walk through town, suddenly the traffic stopped. Not sure what happened we waited by the curb. We heard marching thinking it was another parade. It was the changing of the guards marching from one castle to another. This happens several times a day and the traffic stops and patiently waits.

Iron Man Contest/Gay Pride Parade
          We had caught the bus early the next day to continue our sightseeing. The bus had to change its route several times. Then we found out the Gay Pride Parade was that afternoon and took up the entire main square. Of course, the buses had to be re-routed. That was Saturday, then Sunday morning we woke up to the Iron Man Contest which began and ended in front of our hotel! It made sense since there were lots of strong men in the hotel carrying bikes on their shoulders. The feeling was similar to the Olympics held in Los Angeles, you couldn't help but get caught up in the excitement. We met families from around the world cheering on the contestants.

Rosenborg Castle
          We did manage to visit the Rosenborg Castle built in 1606 by King Christian IV as his country summerhouse. The main castle is now used as a beautiful museum.  The dungeon was about two stories below the castle where the crown jewels are kept under heavy security. The pieces were beautiful, I'd never see such intricate work in gold and precious stones on crowns and ceremonial swords. Queen Margrethe II has been incumbent since 1972.

          As we walked around the city, we noticed that the parking signs read PARKERING vs. PARKING. We also noticed local people riding their bikes everywhere. Bikes are lined up along "Parkering for Bike". The locals also ride their bikes to work dressed in business clothes, i.e., suits, hats, wool coats, and heels!

Romantic good-by to Copenhagen
          Our last night we went for a walk down the canal at 9:30pm with an almost full moon. The city was well lit with many of the cafes open along the canals. It was cold (52°) so we bundled up. Bill noticed that many of the cafes had heavy blankets draped over the chairs. So we stopped for hot chocolate at a cafe on the canal cuddled up under our individual blankets. Small boats sailed by, the water rippled in the moonlight and the light from the businesses across the canal eliminated the water. It was terribly romantic, right out of a romance novel.

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