Sunday in Copenhagen provided us with better weather than the day before, so after another excellent breakfast we set off on foot from the hotel. We passed a charming park with a pond, weeping willows, swans, etc (all of which seem pretty standard in northern Europe) and eventually arrived at the old fort where the Danish military is still headquartered. We walked around its embankment that overlooks the water and also visited the new memorial to fallen Danish soldiers, many of whom gave their lives recently in Iraq.
From the fort we continued towards the water. At the entrance to the waterside avenue, we saw a statue of the Norse goddess who supposedly created the landscapes of Scandinavia by dragging pieces of land behind her chariot. We also got a nice view of the royal yacht, which looks like it would be the ultimate way to travel.
A few hundred yards down from there, a crowd of tourists alerted us to the location of the famous statue of the Little Mermaid (the Hans Christian Anderson version). Carsten and Karen warned me that many people find it underwhelming and unimpressive; they don’t understand why it’s such a big deal. Undeterred, I made my way through the swarm of Asian tourists and managed to take a good number of photos of the statue, which I found to be intriguing and charming. Perhaps it helps that “the Little Mermaid” (the Disney version) is my favorite of the animated classics, and despite the fact that the two stories are quite different, I found it very cool to see a statue of any mermaid!
(The graffiti written underneath her reflects the view of most Danes and many tourists: “what’s so special about me?”)
From here we headed towards the courtyard formed by the four royal palaces. The queen wasn’t home, but the prince was. The buildings were lovely, and of course I enjoyed seeing the royal guards on duty in front. (they wear the same big black hats as the English royal guards.) The nearby cathedral has a beautiful green and gold dome, which complete the great scenery from this spot.
We walked on past the new theater and eventually turned onto one of the main canals, formerly home to hard-partying sailors in search of hard liquor and easy women. Beautiful wooden ships were moored along the sidewalk, and we sat down for a coffee to rest and admire the general atmosphere.
After this it was time for our canal tour, so we loaded into a long, low boat for a two-hour tour around the different canals. We saw some really awesome pieces of both original and new architecture, including a series of former ship factories that have been transformed into apartments that practically sit over the water.
We had a late lunch at a smaller restaurant owned by the same brothers as the place we’d had dinner the night before. Dad and I opted for the cured salmon, which was absolutely fabulous (although Carsten’s herring three ways looked pretty great too). And, finally, we had some Danish beer!
Our last stop of the day before it was time for the airport was the Round Tower, which was formerly used for astronomy and is now attached to a church. We walked up the wide, spiraling ramp and after about 10 minutes came out on the top to a wonderful 360-degree view of the city. The tower isn’t that tall, but Copenhagen is a bit like D.C. in that it doesn’t have many tall buildings.
After that it was time to go. Carsten and Karen drove us to the airport and walked us in, ever the attentive hosts. Thank you two so much for a wonderful weekend!!!