Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Travels to Europe - Part 2 - Denmark

When we were packing our bags for Europe, our friends warned us that Denmark would be cold. Coming off of a blistering hot Australian summer, we thought we were packing warm. Coat. Check. Gloves. Check. Hat. Check.  Good to go, right? No siree, mate, we've got kangaroos loose in the top paddock.

The temperatures hovered around freezing the whole time we were in Copenhagen. I ended up wearing five layers most days and having to borrow a down vest from my friend. The funny thing was that most Copenhagenites were taking full advantage of the sunny weather and we even spotted people in t-shirts!
Outdoor seating is popular, even in the winter.
The only concession to the cold was fleece blankets at every table.

Despite the cold, Denmark ended up being a highlight of our Europe trip. Our friends have a lovely home in Copenhagen within walking distance of the center of the city. It's a very pedestrian friendly town which was great for sightseeing.

Denmark is known for its design - both in furniture and architecture. The city is an eclectic mix of old and new buildings. For example, on a boat tour of the city, we started out by old shipping buildings along Nordhavnen Harbor and then meandered our way past a sleek Opera House built in 2005.

Nordhavnen Harbor
Copenhagen Opera House, known as "Operaen" by the Danes
We spent the bulk of our time in Denmark in Copenhagen; however, we did take one very exciting day trip to Helsingør. Known as Elsinore in English-speaking countries, the town and its castle inspired Shakespeare's Hamlet. Luckily, our friend L hadn't visited it yet so she was happy to accompany us.
Standing in front of Kronborg Castle, the setting for Shakespeare's Hamlet
The castle was practically empty when we toured through it, allowing us plenty of time to read the interpretive signs, all of which were in Danish and English. As soon as we were back in Australia, we watched the Royal Shakespeare Company's production of Hamlet starring David Tennant. Thanks to all we saw and learned in Kronborg Castle, I was totally immersed in the Danish setting and entranced by the political and economic intrigue of Helsingør.

Me, wearing my friend L's down vest. Even indoors, it's cold enough in Denmark for vests and scarves!
My favorite part about Kronborg Castle was a statue of a sleeping god tucked way below in the cellars. Legend has it that Holger the Dane was a king in Arthurian times who saved Denmark from invading foes. He now sleeps below the castle and will arise at a time when Denmark needs him most. I didn't know this but apparently several European countries have 'sleeping king' myths.

Statue of Holger the Dane at Kronborg Castle

And of course, no post about Denmark would be complete without danishes! We did try Danish danishes and Drew proclaimed them delicious indeed. 
Yum, Danish danishes.
The worst part about our Denmark trip was saying goodbye to our friends at the end. A big thank you to L&B (and C&R) for letting us tag along to France on their Easter holiday and for showing us a great time in Copenhagen!


More photos from our Denmark trip below...

The city center on a quiet weekday


I'm glad I'm not this guy! The scariest thing we had to fend off on our Europe trip was grumpy airline attendants.


Mural on a wall in Helsingør


Another view of Nordhavnen Harbor

Bikes are the most popular mode of transport and could be seen queuing up at every intersection.
Shop window of a popular bakery. We couldn't understand most of the labels but that didn't stop us from ordering (and devouring) a selection of sweets.

1 comment:

  1. Bummer to hear it was cold for you. But still looks like a lot of fun!

    ReplyDelete

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