Headed out to Copenhagen for a week with my family, a welcome break after excavating pretty solidly since April. We started off our first full day in Denmark’s cosy capital by climbing the church near our home for the week; Vor Frelsers Kirke which with its amazing spiral tower copying St Ivo’s in Rome and which has some spectacular views over the city:
After getting an idea of the lie of the land we headed towards the more central sites. Having wondered past the inter-twined dragon tails of the Borsen or national stock exchange, the old harbour with its rows of technicolour houses in Nyhavn and the monumental Marmorkirke, it was lunch-time by the time we’d reached the royal palace of the current queen and accidently coincided with the changing of the guards.
In the palace itself, the private rooms of many of the recent kings and queens of Denmark are recreated. Among one of my more niche hobbies is royal genealogy so it was fascinating being able to vaguely understand the personalities behind some of the royal individuals based on how the rooms where decorated, people who before where often little more than birth dates and death dates to me.
After this me and my brother headed to the Design Museum to witness some of Scandinavia’s famous furniture. The displays were enjoyably varied, ranging from the influence of Japanese culture on Danish design to fashion, print-making and chairs. All the chairs….
To end the day, my brother who’s an art student persuaded me out to the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art and although I prefer more traditional painting and sculpture, the surroundings of the museum, on the coast opposite Sweden were absolutely stunning. Aside from the usual splodges of coloured paint and blobby sculptures – my personal highlights were the exhibition of Picasso’s works before his more eponymous style had evolved as well as a display on who pre-Columbian pottery had influenced modern sculpture.For our next full day in Copenhagen we began by visiting the Botanic Gardens and its star attraction – the Palm House. Also in the grounds of the gardens is a small geological museum although this is only for hardcore rock fans – even my brother with his love of dinosaurs found the museum a bit of a textbook. We had planned to head to Denmark’s National Gallery however the Danish national museums which used to be free began charging from July due to budget cuts so the steep entrance fee was a bit of a put off.For lunch we headed to Copenhagen’s equivalent of Borough Market, the Torvenhalle KBH – a purveyor of luxury liquorice (key reason for me moving to Denmark), worryingly large flatfish and of course smorrebrod.
Fuelled up on quality fish sandwiches that looked like works of art (until we began to demolish them!), we spent the afternoon exploring the Danish monarchy’s 17th century home, complete with royal mannequins, heavily tiled toilets and mirrored halls. Whilst most of the palace’s rooms were relatively small, the top floor however is solely given over to the throne room with the thrones guarded by life-size silver lions. The basement is home to the castle’s treasury a.k.a all the shiny stuff including an amazing crown belonging to Christian IV, and as well as jewellery, intricate carvings of ivory and amber.
That evening I decided to head to the Tivoli amusement park for the Saturday evening fireworks. I headed here via Christiansborg, a royal palace now occupied by the country’s parliament featured in the surprisingly gripping political drama Borgen.
The Tivoli was stunning as the night drew in and had a much more cosy feel than it does during daylight hours (I revisited with my family the next day) – the pictures speaking for themselves. My family however didn’t appreciate the fireworks whilst they were tucked up in bed – comparing it to being under heavy gunfire! Anyway despite Copenhagen being a small walkable capital, there’s yet more photos but I’ll save them for part two.