It didn’t take much to shake off a bit of jet lag after traveling to Denmark. A good night’s sleep, some hotel coffee and a chunk of a pretty tasty gluten free bread we picked up on the way to the hotel the day before (more to come on the variety of gluten free products readily available in Scandinavia in another post), and I’m pretty much ready for a big day of exploring Copenhagen.
The morning starts easy enough with some wandering in the Nørrebro neighbourhood. Not on the beaten path of all visitors, this is a great location to get a feel for everyday life in the Danish capital. On a lovely 28°C day, I spent some time in Assistens Cemetary, unaware on entry that Hans Christian Andersen was buried here. Following a few directional signs, I came upon his final resting place:
The afternoon saw us take in a number of the tourist highlights of Copenhagen. We started with Christiansborg Palace. As luck would have it, we arrived just as an English tour was being conducted of the Royal Reception Rooms. We were led through magnificent rooms used by the Danish monarchy and by the Danish government for official state functions. The views of the city afforded from the palace were stunning, and each of the rooms was lavish in very different ways. One of the rooms had a strong “Arabian Nights” feel and it was explained that room was decorated as such to provide a feel of travel in a time when it wasn’t as easy as it is today. Throughout the tour, a strict no photography policy was enforced, however, once the tour broke up we saw a number of people taking pictures in what was our favourite room – The Great Hall – so we took one to remember the occasion as well. The room is covered with seventeen very detailed modern tapestries by Bjørn Nørgaard which tell the history of Denmark:
The hour long boat cruise gave an interesting perspective on Copenhagen. It has a very different feel from the water. We boated past people relaxing and living on their boats, a few neighbourhoods we wouldn’t have seen from land, and even a few groups of nude sunbathers. Here’s a picture of one of the many canals (I’ll save you the eye strain – no sunbathers here):
The tower is open to the public and you can climb to the very top. The first part of the climb is inside on progressively steeper stairs. Once you step outside, you can follow the corkscrew like stairs right to the top. The views from the outside are magnificent and having arrived later in the day, the tower wasn’t too busy:
After scaling the tower, we made a quick trip just down the street to visit Christiania. It’s a semi-autonomous city state within Copenhagen where there’s an open cannabis trade and very hippie commune feeling. It wasn’t really my style, but it was fun to have quickly experienced it…. the vibe, not the marijuana. That marked the end of our sightseeing for our first full day in Copenhagen. Here we are, high above the city, before heading back to our hotel neighbourhood for a late picnic supper: