Friday, August 21, 2020

Wonderful Copenhagen offers city sophistication, village charms

Denmark's lovely capital Copenhagen, offers spires, canals, fun food and a famed pedestrian paradise.

STORY By CHRISTENE MEYERS
PHOTOS By BRUCE KELLER
Danes loved to walk and bike, and tourists follow suit.

IMAGINE, if you will, Denmark's two most famous citizens stopping to share a coffee and a chat.
Although they were vastly different men, Hans Christian Andersen and Soren Kirekegaard might have bumped into one another while taking their morning constitutionals.
The year would have been around 1850, where both men frequented Copenhagen's waterfront district.
Both shared an abiding love for this lovely corner of the city.  Both would likely have carried books under their arms.
Anderson, Denmark's beloved fairy tale writer, and Kierkegaard, theologian and existentialism's progenitor, loved walking the streets of the largest of Denmark's 500 islands.  
St. Alban's is Copehnagen's finest example of Gothic
architecture, and not far from the Little Mermaid.

We followed their custom on a visit, before Covid gutted our travel plans.
Copenhagen remains high on our list of favorite cities, and we've booked a return for next spring -- fingers crossed.
Meanwhile, we're sharing commentary and favorite photos of Scandinavia's largest city. Those clever, fun-loving but stylish Danes have managed to combine urban sophistication and Continental charm with the laid back feel of a small village.
Pedestrians still rule in Copenhagen, where its famed walking street Strøget, remains the backbone of the city as it has for decades.
It's history dates back to 1960, when the city's old but beloved narrow streets were threatened by expanding shopping areas around central Copenhagen.
Book your tickets to Tivoli ahead.

"Sidewalks were becoming more and more crowded," our guide told us. "Pedestrians were bumping into each other, cars couldn't move."
So Copenhagen's City Council established a car free pedestrian zone from the westerly Town Hall Square to Kongens Nytorv (The Kings New Square) in the eastern part of the town called “Strøget.” It includes a maze of small streets and historical squares fanning out from “Strøget” and the mediaeval part of Copenhagen. It's nearly 3.2 kilometers and Danes consider it the oldest and longest pedestrian street system in the world, dating back to Roman times as it does.
Gefion Fountain, famous for its oxen and the famous goddess.
DANES ENJOY
a colorful reputation 
and have become expert at recreational pursuits.  More reserved, rural Scandinavians consider Copenhagen a den of sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll, "a Valhalla of vice," our guide jokingly offered. It's true that Denmark was the first country in the world to abolish restrictions on the sale of pornographic literature to adults.  Yet Copenhagen is also famous for its art and culture, including its world class Royal Danish Ballet, and of course the famous Little Mermaid statue, which rises green and sleek from the waterfront -- smaller than most people expect. She is immortalized in Andersen's tale of a mermaid who falls hard for a mortal prince who, alas, loves another.
Church of Our Savoir has a top stairway. 
AN ARCHITECTURAL delight is the Öresund Bridge which links the city to Malmo in southern Sweden. It supports a four-lane road carrying six million vehicles a year, with two train tracks on a lower deck, transporting eight million people a year. It was once possible to walk across the bridge, during "open bridge days," but that was curtailed a decade ago.
You'll want to spend part of a day in Tivoli Gardens, famous for its fun rides, lovely gardens and delicious albeit expensive food. If you're a fan of churches, Denmark's Church of Our Saviour is a beautiful baroque edifice famous for its helix spire and winding external staircase which offers fine views of the central City. It is also noted for its carillon, the largest in northern Europe, which plays melodies every hour from 8 a.m. to midnight. 
The city sits on the coastal islands of Zealand and Amager. Its historic center, contains Frederiksstaden, an 18th-century rococo district, home to the royal family’s Amalienborg Palace. Nearby is Christiansborg Palace and the Renaissance-era Rosenborg Castle, surrounded by gardens and home to the crown jewels. Freetown Christiania is a hangover from the hippy days of the 1960s and 1970s, a colorful commune of around 1,000 free-thinking residents, still thriving today.
Danes know how to relax and enjoy.
OUR FAVORITE haunt remains the city's colorful harbor area, Nyhavn, with its memorable character -- and lively characters, plus an array of sturdy fishing boats, hardy sailors, graceful yachts, tatoo parlors, beer joints and cheap smørrebrød, those famous open-faced sandwiches invented in Denmark.  If you're there early, you can also sample coffee and a warm Danish. Funny enough, the origin of the famous pastry is not Danish at all, but derives from a strike amongst bakery workers in Denmark in 1850. Bakery owners were forced to hire workers from abroad, including several Austrian bakers who brought along their traditional pastry recipes.
 
Keller and Cookie aboard a Stockholm ferry transiting the city's many islands.
UP NEXT: We're touring the colorful Scandinavian capitals. Up next: Stockholm, 14 islands and 50 bridges on the Baltic Sea archipelago. Come with us on the cobblestone streets to the old town Gamla Stan, visit a 13th-century cathedral, the Kungliga Slottet Royal Palace and the Nobel Museum. We also take time for a water taxi ride. Remember to explore, learn and live and catch us Fridays for a fresh look at travel, family, nature and the arts: whereiscookie.com

 



3 comments:

  1. Pensacola FollowersAugust 22, 2020 at 11:31 AM

    Beautiful-- thanks for encouragement to travel again.

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  2. Fun look at a fun town....we hope to return when Covid is controlled. Love the photos, too.

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  3. What a grand idea, to share your "pre-Covid" travels in the hopes that we'll all be back in the travel saddle again -- some day!

    ReplyDelete