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Copenhagen - Andrew - 2001
Roskilde, Copenhagen and Frederiksborg - Andrew - 2008

Map of Denmark showing places visited  Map of Denmark with flag

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For a small country Denmark has exerted a lot of influence over the life of Northern Europe.  For many years the rules of much of northern Britain came from Denmark and the Vikings, of course, pillaged and settled from Russia to America and well beyond.

In more recent times Denmark has become renowned as one of the richest countries in the World with one of the highest standards of living.  And yet it is mostly rural and unassuming.

The capital city, Copenhagen, is one of the great capitals of Europe and is the most lively city in Scandinavia.

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Copenhagen - Andrew - 2001

The opportunity to visit Copenhagen came about almost by accident.  I had been planning a long weekend in Wales for early June when I happened to come across an offer for Go airlines - £45 return flight to Copenhagen!  Well, I could scarcely refuse could I?

So on 2nd June 2001 I crawled out of bed at some ungodly hour in the morning (about 3:30 am I seem to recall) and drove up to Stansted airport.  The flight was remarkably swift and I arrived at Copenhagen's Kastrup Airport at around 11:00.  From the air Denmark had looked remarkably like England, a similarity I would notice on a few other occasions, but the windfarm off the coast and the distant spectacle of the Øresund Bridge made it quite clear this was not Britain.

I have to say getting from Copenhagen Airport to the City Centre was one of the easiest journeys of that kind I've yet to encounter, the trains leave from one end of the Terminal and take only about 10 minutes to get you to Central Station (confusingly this is signed as København H). From here it was only a very short walk to my Hotel, the Saga, on the slightly knocked about Colbjørnsengade.  It turned out this was just around the corner from the red light district of the City, although all I saw were numerous sex shops.  With my luggage dumped and cameras extracted I headed into town.

My intention had been to ignore everything else and head straight for The Little Mermaid which is right at the opposite end of the City Centre.  But Copenhagen turned out to be more distracting than that and it took me some while to get to the statue.

The Rådhus, CopenhagenHaving got my bearings the first "sight" I came across was the gates to the Tivoli Gardens, but I went past, I was planning to visit the Tivoli later on and knew if I went in there now I would be likely to stay there.  So instead I headed for a cafe for a well-needed coffee and cake before arriving at the Rådhuspladsen (Town Hall Square). This is dominated by the Rådhus itself, a massive building with a huge clock tower overlooking the Square.  The copper roof and architectural style (a kind of over-blown and chunky version of the more familiar Amsterdam architecture) would become familiar quite quickly.  By the side of the Rådhus is a statue to Hans Christian Andersen, someone else who would become familiar.

The first and longest pedestrianised shopping street in Europe ends at the Rådhuspladsen.  This is known as Strøget, but is in fact made up of three different roads and several squares. The shops it contains are very much the same as you might find in London's Oxford Street - a peculiar mixture of haute couture and tat but very useful for those souvenir hunters with only a short amount of time.

As you pass along Strøget you come across a number of things of interest amidst the continuous bustle (it was Saturday afternoon when I arrived!).  The first of these that I spotted was the curious statue on Gammeltorv ("Old Town Square") known as the Caritas Fountain. The Belgians think the Mannikenpis is risque, but on this Fountain the water spurts out of a woman's breasts and from a little boy by her feet relieving himself! It was the first indication I had of the Danish lack of sensure at all things pleasurable and even remotely rude.  Heading north out of Gammeltorv you come across Copenhagen's modern Cathedral, known as Vor Frue Kirke which, considering the number of attractive buildings in Copenhagen, is something of a disappointment.

Højbro Plads looking towards Christiansborg Palace, Copenhagen

A little further down Strøget you reach Højbro Plads, one of the most attractive cobbled square's in the central district (which is known as Indre By).  This square was, perversely, created for purely functional reasons - it was somewhere for the town's fire brigade to park their vehicles! At the Strøget end of the square is the Stork Fountain (which somewhat perversely is a statue of herons not storks!) and away to the right the square falls away to reveal a superb vista of Christianborg Palace (more of which a little later).

Opposite Højbro Plads across Strøget is the other main pedestrian street of Indre By, Købmagergade, which leads past the Erotica Museum to the Round Tower (Rundetårn) - more about both of these a little later.

Pretty old houses in Skindergade, Copenhagen

Eventually even Strøget comes to an end, at Kongens Nytorv (the New Royal Square) which is a large open space bounded by large impressive buildings such as the Opera House and the probably bank-balance-busting Hotel D'Angleterre on three sides.  The fourth side opens out into Copenhagen's most attractive "street" - Nyhavn.  In fact it isn't a street a such, but two streets going down either side of a dead-end canal.  This is where the pleasure boats set off for their extensive tours which I was about to undertake whilst the weather held out.

The "Sunny Side" of Nyhavn, CopenhagenOne side of Nyhavn is known as the "sunny side".  It contains brightly coloured buildings, most of which are now restaurants.  It was was here that the sailors used to hang out, it was once the roughest, toughest place in Denmark - now it is positively genteel, or would have been had I not arrived on a day when Denmark's national football team had just beaten the Czech's 2-1 at the Parken Stadium.  As a consequence Copenhagen was full to brimming with very cheerful but very loud drunken football fans. At first this was concerning, I was expecting the kind of "revelry" you might associate with English fans (i.e. virtual rioting) but there was nothing like this, the Danes were all very friendly, just very loud and very drunk.  What it would have been like had Denmark lost I'm not sure, but after a while I began to warm to the Danes.  It was starting to feel like I had returned to a cleaner and slightly grander Amsterdam.

The opposite side of Nyhavn, the south side, is made up of grander buildings and is most useful for taking photos of the much more attractive sunny side.  At the landward end of Nyhavn is the Amber Museum (and shop, of course) one of several in Copenhagen, but the oldest and best. Amber is the gold of the Baltic and some superb jewelry was on offer (I bought a charming penguin pendant for my mother which I had to hang on to until Christmas - six months hence!).

Danish Football Fans celebrating on a boat trip from Nyhavn

And so to the boat trip.  The boats are very large, open-top affairs.  I would recommend, unless it is very warm, to wrap up well as once out of Nyhavn and into the harbour it gets very cold and blustery indeed. The trip, though, was well worth it's money. It is probably the longest boat trip I've yet been on, longer even than Amsterdam.  You leave Nyhavn's shelter and go out into the massive harbour area. We headed firstly straight across to the banks of Christianshavn and toured around that part of the City (which stands on an artificial island across the harbour from Indre By), then we headed north past the massive ships waiting to travel to Oslo and Bornholm. Not far from these the Royal Yacht was pointed out to us (apparently Crown Prince Frederik was aboard as the standard was flying). More or less opposite this was the Royal Palace of Amalienborg which I would visit on foot a little later.  The main reason for the boats to trek all this way out of the City Centre was to visit (from the water) the symbol of Copenhagen - and indeed of Denmark - The Little Mermaid.  From the water you don't see her best side, but you do see the crowds queueing up to photograph her!

After a brief stop for photographs the boat moved off again, back into the Centre.  Just when you thought you were heading back for Nyhavn the boat went straight past and began to tour around the canals of Slotsholmen, the oldest part of Copenhagen which is dominated by the Christiansborg Palace.

Eventually the boat trip came to an end and I made a decision.  It had been bloody cold out there - I needed a sweatshirt (I was in T-shirt and coat and it wasn't going to be enough). I did have a sweatshirt - it was in my luggage back at the other end of Strøget.  I couldn't face walking all that way back through the shoppers and football fans, so I found the nearest souvenir shop and bought myself a spanking new Copenhagen sweatshirt.  The woman in the shop was slightly taken aback when I stripped it of it's packaging in the shop and put it straight on (she was probably thinking, 'bloody foreigners can't cope with a little bit of cold, huh! call this cold?!' or something along those lines).

Having added a new sweatshirt to my collection I decided the time had come to head towards The Little Mermaid, before darkness fell (at the time I was expecting this to occur around 8:00 - forgetting I was halfway to the Arctic now and that daylight would stick around until about 10).

Christiansborg Palace, CopenhagenUnfortunately, I got lost almost immediately and found myself arriving at Christiansborg Palace which was just closing for the day. I wandered through the main courtyard, which is impressively bulky although not hugely attractive. At the time I didn't realise I was walking through the Danish Parliament buildings, there was little or no sign of any security.  There's actually a good deal more to the "Castle" complex on Slotsholmen; several museums, the National Library and some gardens included, but I didn't really have enough time to explore them all fully. Another time maybe.

Next to the Palace is the Børsen (the Stock Exchange) which is quite an attractive building, but is most famous for it's wonderful steeple which is made up of the inter-twining tails of three dragons.

The Børsen, Copenhagen with it's inter-twined dragon's tails spire

Time was moving on swiftly, so I made some effort to get back onto the right track. I arrived at Nyhavn again and then began to make my way along the harbour side, more or less following the route the boat had taken previously.

This meant that I encountered the Amalienborg Palace. Well, I thought, as I'm here I might as well have a look around it.  The Palace, which is in fact four identical palaces, forms a circle around a statue of Frederik V. The four palaces were built at different times, but all to the plans of the same architect.  I arrived as the guards were changing for the afternoon, which was nice timing. The Royal Guards here in Copenhagen look a bit like the British ones, complete with 'busby' hat.  After I took the photo below, the guard on duty turned to me and said something in Danish.  I looked bemused so he repeated it in English.  I had been leaning against the wall to take the photo - and apparently you have to keep 1.5 metres from the "walls of the castle" as he described it.  Ooops.  Still, at least I didn't get thrown into prison for treason or something. Somehow I can't imagine getting anything like as close as 1.5 metres to Buckingham Palace!

Changing of the Guards at Amalienborg Palace, Copenhagen (just before Andrew was told off for leaning on the Palace wall!)

Overlooking the Amalienborg Palace is Copenhagen's most impressive church, the massively domed Marmorkirken (Marble Church, so called because of it's interior furnishings), which strictly speaking is Frederikskirken, but isn't often referred to as such.  Up to road from here is the Alexander Nevsky Church which is Denmark's only Orthodox church.

The Marmorkirken, seen through a fountain, Copenhagen

At last there were no more distractions. I finally reached the part of the harbour around the old fortress of Kastellet which is known as the Langelinie. This is the home of Den Lille Havfrue, or as it is better known "The Little Mermaid". I'd finally got there.

Andrew and The Little Mermaid

I was really surprised. Before I'd gone to Copenhagen everyone had told me that The Little Mermaid was a disappointment, "it's sooo small" people would moan.  Well, of course it's little - it IS The Little Mermaid after all, not "The Whopping Great Big Mermaid". I actually thought the statue was superb, very evocative. It is perhaps typical of the Danes that their symbol is not some grand palace or building, but a charming statue of a character from a fairytale.

The Little Mermaid plus sailing ship

I also couldn't help but get swept up into the carnival atmosphere around the Mermaid, everyone was enjoying it; great sailing ships passed behind it, along with the massive Oslo Ferry; wedding parties were photographed by it and at one point she donned a Denmark Football shirt for a photograph with a couple of fans. In England they probably would have daubed her with paint or at the very least left the shirt on, here once the pictures were taken the shirt was dutifully removed and she was left in her natural state.

The Little Mermaid showing her support for the Danish National Team!

Mind you, this hasn't altered the long history of vandalism that the statue has suffered, her head has been cut off twice, one arm was once removed and way back in 1961 some wit painted knickers and a bra onto her!

The Little Mermaid (detail)spaceThe Little Mermaid (even more detailed detail)

Still, I was very satisfied with my visit to see The Little Mermaid and I headed back towards Indre By in a very good mood.

As I began to leave the Langelinie, passing the rather over-the-top statue of a Boadicea-like figure known as The Gefion Fountain (which was switched off) and the Anglican Church of St. Alban (looking very much like an English country church), the rain started to come down. By the time I reached the centre of town it was raining quite heavily, but sadly my umbrella was with the sweatshirt I had brought from England - back at the hotel. So I was quite wet when I arrived at my chosen eatery, the slightly disappointing Veggie place called Den Grønne Kælder.

After I had eaten a generous but not overly-flavoursome meal I stopped off at the Erotica Museum on Købmagergade. I had been into the Sex Museum in Amsterdam the previous year and wanted to see what the Danes made of the subject. Actually they made a much better job of it than the Dutch who seemed to merely go in for sensationalism. This Museum did actually explore eroticism throughout history from the Ancient Egyptians, through Greece and Rome to the Medieval period and the era of Victorian repression (with tableaux representing both Fanny Hill and Lady Chatterley's Lover). There was an interesting section on "sex lives of the famous" and a section about prostitution in Copenhagen and how it was punished in times passed. It wasn't until you reached the 'modern' section that you slipped from "erotic" to "pornographic". Even the Dutch would probably blanch at the "video wall" - a bank of about 30 televisions showing constant loops of hardcore porn.  Once more I got the impression that when the Danes did something they did it thoroughly and without holding back.

Sorry, no photos of this bit!!  ;-)

I emerged blinking into a positively welcome downpour after this rather startling Museum and headed back up Strøget to my digs at the other end of town. It was about 11:45 when I arrived, drenched, tired but satisfied.

Next morning I awoke to a typical "cold cuts" type breakfast amidst the arguing Filipino staff of the hotel. I had opted today to take an excursion out of Copenhagen for the morning. The Danish train system seems to be very efficient and it is easy to get around the country, particularly Zealand (the island on which Copenhagen is situated). Whilst reading up I had discovered that in the nearby town of Helsingør stood Kronborg Castle, which is generally referred to as "Hamlet's Castle" because this was where Shakespeare set Hamlet.  For Elsinore read Helsingør.

Kronborg Castle, Helsingør - seen across the harbour

The town was probably about the only Danish place which Elizabethan Englishmen would have known of, due to it's position at the entry to the Øresund and thus the only way into the Baltic Sea (save the torturous route between the Danish islands). This is the reason for Kronborg Castle's existence - a similar (but less complete) Castle guards the entrance from the Swedish town of Helsingborg, only a spit away across the water.

The Castle dates back to the 14th Century when it was constructed by Erik of Pomerania. For six centuries the Danes charged tolls from all ships passing Kronborg into the Baltic, only stopping in the 19th Century. Around 1600 the Castle was rebuilt heavily only to be burnt to the ground and rebuilt to such a scale that it almost bankrupted the Danish state! Today the Castle is a very handsome structure with a magical blend of solid Castle architecture and fanciful late medieval buildings.

Inner Courtyard, Kronborg Castle, Helsingør, DenmarkIn the dark and wet casemates underneath the Castle sits the stone figure of Holger Danske - a kind of Danish King Arthur who will arise from his slumber should the Danish Nation ever need his help.  I spent quite a while wandering the various bits of Kronborg Castle, including a fascinating section on the real history of Hamlet - which it seems was an ancient Danish story, first written down by a man named Saxo Grammaticus in 1200, the tale of Amled a prince of the saga times.  Thomas Kyd produced a play in London about forty years before Shakespeare's version appeared - surprising where you pick up little snippets of English history!

One of the endearing things I saw at Kronborg was a sign which, amongst other prohibitions, informed the reader in several languages that there could be "No gutting or cleansing of fish on the premises as this attracts rats".

To read more about Kronborg Castle, see Castles of Europe pages.

Having finished with the Castle, I went for a look around the town, which was rather quiet (it being a Sunday). It seems a pleasant enough town, without being spectacular, and I suspect it would not be much of a tourist draw without the Castle and it's Shakespearian connection. Indeed every year Helsingør has a "Hamlet Festival" which includes the play being performed at the Castle itself which must be quite something to see (such luminaries as Sir Derek Jacobi have performed Hamlet here).

Interior of Kronborg Castle (The Ballroom)

I did stumble upon an excellent Italian restaurant tucked down a little side alley in a courtyard where I had my only pasta of the entire trip (something quite remarkable for me!). Then I left Helsingør the same way I had arrived, on the train, which passed through some remarkably English looking countryside, all farms and beech woods, before pulling into Copenhagen's Nørreport Station where I had decided to get off and walk down through the town.

The Main Street in Helsingør, Denmark

It wasn't until I got home that I found a map of Helsingør that had written upon it, on the edge of town, the irksome small letters saying "Marienlyst Castle" - had I visited a place and missed a Castle? Fortunately, on closer checking over the Internet it looks like Marienlyst is more of a palace than a Castle - so I think I've got away with it!

The Rundetårn, CopenhagenGetting off at Nørreport Station meant I was at the very top of Købmagergade, and no it wasn't so I could visit the Erotica Museum again. Further up Købmagergade from that eye-opener is the Rundetårn (Round Tower). This is actually Europe's oldest observatory (that still stands) and was completed in 1642 to the orders of Christian IV. It is attached to the Trinity Church (which was built later rather than earlier as you might expect) and is a quite remarkable construction. One of it's most fascinating features is actually inside it's ornate exterior, for you don't walk up to the observation gallery on the usual endless flight of stairs, nor even in a modern lift, but on a massive spiral ramp which is 200 m long and 4¼ m wide. The reason for the ramp is two-fold, firstly it made it easier to transport heavy books up to the observatory but less esoterically it was also to allow Christian IV and his friends to ride their horses up to the top floor! Other important visitors include Peter the Great (in 1716) who processed to the top in an open carriage!

Each year there is an unicycle race up the spiral ramp!

From the top of the Tower there is an excellent view over Copenhagen (including the distant Øresund Bridge.

Andrew at the top of the Rundetårn, Copenhagen

Vor Frelsers Kirke, with it's exterior spiral ramp, CopenhagenOddly enough today would be a day of high views as my next port of call was Vor Frelsers Kirke ("the people's church" but more correctly the Church of Our Saviour) across the harbour on Christianshavn. Of all Copenhagen's many spires this is the most fascinating and unique, for up the exterior of the Church's spire runs a staircase! The brave visitor can climb up inside the tower to the base of the spire where there is a circular walk right around offering some more wonderful views across the City. The very brave visitor can then ascend the 150 steps of the exterior spiral staircase which runs up to the very pinnacle of the church, a stomach turning 90 metres above the ground. Legend says that the architect, Laurids de Thurah, threw himself from the top because the staircase goes around the spire to the right and not the left; this is not true as he died in bed seven years later a poor and forgotten man (a film was made of his life "Ladder to Heaven" in 1997).

I am not a very brave visitor - merely a brave one.  I only made it to the level walkway, that was quite enough for my ragged vertigo-suffering nerves and the view from there was still pretty amazing. It is one of the few times so far I have chickened out on the grounds of height - I must be getting old (or possibly wiser!).

Inside the Church is also superb, beautifully decorated in alabaster and wood, with a wonderful organ held up by two carved elephants (the Order of the Elephant is Denmark's highest and elephants feature often on Danish buildings - most famously the two full size ones outside the Carlsberg Brewery).

View from Vor Frelsers Kirke, Copenhagen

A stone's throw from Vor Freslers Kirke is another of Copenhagen's most remarkable places - The Free State of Christiania.

This place was once a military barracks area, but it was closed in the Spring of 1971. It was almost immediately invaded by young and homeless people who set up here and declared the area a free state that Autumn to allow them to continue their "alternative" lifestyle. This, remember, is in the very heart of the capital city. Today, thirty years later Christiania is still there and now has a population of around 1,000. Controversy still rages with the more conservative Danes insisting that the open selling of hashish in the confines of the free state is filling the rest of Copenhagen with drug addicts and pushers and petty crime. However, no "hard" drugs are allowed in Christiania and the people who live there have become legendary for their charitable acts - every Christmas, for instance, a massive free dinner is thrown for anyone to come along to.

Wall Murals in the "Free State" of Christiania, Denmark

I actually entered Christiania by the "back door" so to speak, rather than the main entrance. This meant I could get a few photographs of the outlying buildings before having to put my camera away - photography is not encouraged in Christiania particularly around the main areas where the no photographs signs are pretty much everywhere. If you must take photos, do as I did, only take them of buildings, make sure no people are in shot, and only take them on the very edges of the free state.

I quickly arrived at "Pusherstreet" (which used to be called "Carl Madsen Plads") here is the largest open market for cannabis anywhere in Northern Europe - Amsterdam included. In Holland the drugs are available in "coffee shops", discreetly. Here they are sold from market stalls in huge great big slabs of resin. I've never seen so many drugs in one place - and I've been to a lot of rock concerts!

"Pusher Street" in Christiania - a rather sanitised "postcard" version

I have to admit I didn't find Christiania that pleasant, it was pretty filthy and I did get the feeling that if I took my camera out of my bag, even to just rearrange stuff, that I would be very forcibly made to leave (heaven knows what reaction a video might have got!). So all in all I think Christiania is fine if you want to go and smoke some pot and sit in a hazy daze, but for the regular tourist I would say don't bother - there's quite enough in Copenhagen to keep you occupied otherwise.

Somehow it was appropriate that having seen the real underbelly of Copenhagen I should now head for the very epitome of family entertainment - the Tivoli Gardens.

I had decided to save the Tivoli until last. I had expected it to be expensive to go into - I was wrong, it was only about £4.50. Tivoli is actually the World's second amusement park, not the first as most people think. The first is Bakken, on the outskirts of Copenhagen (where I didn't get time to visit). So the Danes - true to their "anything if it's fun" attitude - invented the Theme Park. Without the Tivoli there would be no Disneyland, no Alton Towers, no Parc Asterix ... I shall leave that to you to decide whether this is a good thing or not.

The Main Entrance to the Tivoli Gardens, CopenhagenHowever, compared to these modern places, Tivoli which opened in 1843 and was apparently inspired by London's Vauxhall Gardens (hmm, can't quite see the similarities there) is positively antique.

When I reached Tivoli the heaven's decided to impart today's downpour and out came a hundred umbrellas (the bane of any photographer's life). Still spirits weren't dampened that much and everyone was determined to have a very good time. The Tivoli, despite being a bit old fashioned, is an excellent place to do just that. It struck me that it was the only Theme Park I'd ever been to that catered for absolutely everyone. For the very young there were children's rides, for the teens and younger adults there was an assortment of white knuckle rides, none of which would compete with the "Space Mountain"s of this World, but most of which were sufficient to elicit screams, for the older adults there were a large number of very good restaurants, and for the elderly some beautiful walks amongst trees, lakes and fountains.

Alas, I am at that age when I'm not sure which category I fit into - do I scream with the youths or wander with the adults? As I was on my own I opted for the wandering option.

The Chinese Pagoda Restaurant, Tivoli, CopenhagenThe Tivoli has some fascinating buildings, the great triple-arched entrance is one, the historic "Chinese" Theatre is another. The largest building which is just stunning at night is the Taj Mahal look-a-like Nimb restaurant building - see picture at the end of this section to see it lit up.

Further along and you reach "The Alley" a collection of shops and stalls leading to one of the exits, further around still and you are in a kind of Chinese section, dominated by the Pagoda which houses a restaurant and also looks stunning at night reflecting in the Lake (which, incidentally, is part of the old City Moat). I walked around the Lake and was surprised to find a heron happily sitting amidst the screams and candy floss carrying crowds. Further down the Lake was a large sailing ship replica which turned out to be another restaurant. This reminded me of something that had been niggling at the back of my mind ... I was hungry.

In the Tivoli, unlike places such as Alton Towers, you are spoilt for choice food-wise. You can, if you so wish, eat typical Theme Park junk food - the burgers, fries etc. However, if your tastes require something a little better there are real restaurants of pretty much any persuasion you can think of, Italian, Chinese, Indian, Danish traditional foods, the lot really. Eventually I decided upon one of the poshest looking places called Perlen. Here I was seated on a comfy sofa by a waitress dressed in the traditional black and white attire and given a menu of superb variety, even for a veggie.  As a non-purest veggie I picked the salmon with vegetables and lime sauce. It was absolutely lovely and very filling, I sat trying desparately to digest it so I could have a sweet, but it wasn't to be.  My stomach, despite it's alarmingly increasing girth, just wasn't big enough.

Instead I had a lovely coffee and sat around a while waiting for the sun to go down so I could take some illuminated photos. I sat reading my Rough Guide and getting annoyed that they were saying the Tivoli was a "park of many bland amusements" which was "overrated and overpriced" - utter crap - the Tivoli is great and missing it out from a trip to Copenhagen is a criminal oversight. The rain had even stopped.

The Nimb Restaurant at Night, Tivoli, Copenhagen

Eventually the sun goes down, even in Denmark, and the lights all came on. The Tivoli is even more enchanting at night. The Chinese Pagoda and the bridge in front of it look just magical with the lights on.

Perhaps even more impressive though, and very much the symbol of Tivoli, is the Nimb restaurant building when lit by it's hundreds of multi-coloured bulbs. I left Tivoli at about 11:30 just before it closed and arrived back at my hotel at around midnight for the second night running.

The following day I got up early (it turned out not quite early enough) and headed straight for the docks from which the hydrofoils to Malmö in Sweden depart. This was a Bank Holiday (or at least the Danish equivalent) and it meant that instead of one ferry an hour it was one every other hour - so I ended up waiting in the ferry terminal building for over an hour amidst drunks (who all spoke English) and impatient people wanting to cross the Øresund to sample another Scandinavian county.

To read more about my trip to Malmö, go to the Sweden page.

In the early evening the train back from Malmö pulled into Copenhagen's Central Station and I headed for my digs for a rest and a wash and brush up.  That evening (my last in Denmark) I had decided I would do my "floodlit walk" - something I try to do in most cities I visit.

The Fountain outside the Amalienborg Palace at Night, Copenhagen

So I found myself up on The Langelinie once more waiting for the sun (such as it was) to go down and the lighting to come up on The Little Mermaid.  It did this at something like 10:45 pm bathing the statue in a gentle light. Even now a few tourists were making the effort to come out here to see her. This turned out to be the last 'magic moment' of my trip to Copenhagen, sitting quietly listening to the lapping of the water and watching the occasional ferry boat pass by bound for other places as I would be very soon.

I retraced my steps back into town, disappointed that the Marmorkirken and Amalienborg Palace were completely unlit, so too was Nyhavn, only the dim lights of the restaurants in the buildings showed. Even more disappointing the fountains along Strøget were also unlit, as was the Christiansborg Palace. It wasn't until I reached the end of my journey back at the Rådhuspladsen that any more floodlighting was in evidence - one last thing that this City has in common with Amsterdam!

The Little Mermaid, Floodlit at Night

The neon signs on the buildings around the Rådhuspladsen were quite spectacular, but not a patch on Piccadilly Circus.  Very slightly disappointed by the lighting (or lack of it) I arrived back at my digs just after midnight, making it a 100% hit rate of late nights during my stay in Copenhagen, which is probably quite notable in itself.

The following morning's trip back to the Airport and then back to England was pretty unremarkable, and I arrived home very pleased to have visited a City and country I'd very much like to return to sometime soon.

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2009


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