I loved Copenhagen—the city, the canals, the castles and the people. Everywhere the people we met were very helpful and friendly. We spent a lot of time on trains; the system was easy to figure out. The place we rented was 20 minutes outside of Copenhagen and seemed very rural, which had its challenges, but we managed. Paul got very good at preparing picnics of cheese, pate, blueberries, crackers, cookies and beer! And we loved our beautiful view of the Baltic from our second floor window.
Copenhagen Card—yes! for us it was great, as the train fare from outside of the city in Skodsborg where we stayed day was about RT $10 each day. Museums, castles, etc. were expensive, so we felt like we made out. We actually bought the card twice, two five day cards for a total of $300 ea. We didn’t pay a fee anywhere we went, inside and out of the city. It includes all public transportation and virtually all tourist sights.
Last year we arrived in Spain via a transatlantic cruise; what a difference it makes to fly from the US to Europe. Our Danish jet lag was rough and on our first full day in Denmark, I slept until 2:00 p.m. We grabbed the train, bought our Copenhagen card, walked the old town, and got dinner in Tivoli Food Court, a place with a lot of choices. I had my first smorebrod, literally a buttered bread open face sandwich. I enjoyed smoked salmon on rye bread with creamy scrambled eggs—so yummy I kept looking for a smorebrod to compete. The next day we started serious touring, the Rosenborg Palace and Gardens. The palace and gardens were nice, but not as impressive as the elaborate palaces we had seen in Spain. The crown jewels and the royal crowns are also exhibited there. We arrived in time to see the changing of the royal guards and begin playing marches. Each day they march through the outer courtyard and through the city streets. What a great way to celebrate the country every day.
Copenhagen contains a couple of castles, many art galleries, lots of historical museums, and when you look up—beautiful copper cupolas and spires. Our next castle was the Christiansborg Palace, certainly more elegant than the Rosenborg Castle. We enjoyed the The Royal Representation Rooms, The Royal Party Kitchen, Ruins under Christiansborg and The Tower. The Royal Stables was thankfully small, you all know how much I love horses…One of our favorite spots, where we picnicked a couple of times, is just outside the outer wall of Christiansborg, overlooking a bridge.
Of all of the museums and galleries we visited in the Copenhagen area, our favorites were the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art and Thorvaldsens Museum. The building that houses the Glyptotek is beautiful, with a lovely indoor winter garden and a small, beautifully curated collection of French Impressionist Masters. Thorvaldsens houses the sculptor’s work, both originals and copies (which I found a little confusing). The Louisiana is out of the city on several acres by the sea. It is a meandering building, with many doors leading outside to the spectacular sculpture garden.
Day Tripping near Copenhagen
Karen Blixen Museum
From Skodsborg, we made several day trips. Each was a success in his own right. Visiting Karen Blixen’s home and museum was awesome. A short train ride away, we walked through a beautiful nature trail to arrive at the museum. A thorough discussion of her life and her literary works including Out of Africa let us in to another century where Blixen was a trail blazer. Not only was she nominated for the Nobel prize for literature seven times, she was also an accomplished painter. We picnicked at the harbor across the street from the museum and returned back through the nature trail stopping by her grave.
In Helsingor, called Elsinore by Shakespeare, Kronborg Castle provides defense to the Danish coast separated from Sweden by only a mile. An elegant Renaissance castle, Kronborg was the home of Frederik II, a warrior king and quite a builder. Shakespeare placed his play Hamlet in this castle. We also visited the award-winning Maritime Museum of Denmark. The building has won achitectural prizes and praises, but as a museum for adults, we both found it to be a dud.
The Open Air Museum—Old Denmark
When we arrived at the Ourdoor Museum, we knew that Rufus would love it and wondered if we should have rented a grandson for the adventure. The museum houses more than 50 farms, mills and houses from the period 1650 to 1940. Located in Lyngby, the buildings were all transported to the park and rebuilt to their original state. It was interesting to wander through the buildings, observe the details of daily life and marvel at how hard the ancients had to work to survive.
Frederiksborg Castle at Hillerod
Although we had a dreary, chilly day, the castle was a great experience. This impressive Renaissance Castle, built by Christian 4 houses the Museum of National History, as it has since 1878. After a fire destroyed with old castle, J.C. Jacobsen the founder of the Carlsberg Brewery, donated the funds for rebuilding and established the Museum. Beautiful treasures document 4+ centuries of Danish history. The chapel is breathtaking. We also checked out a first communion class exiting the chapel. All the girls in their white dresses wearing brand new white workout shoes!
Viking Ship Museum and More
The Viking Ship Museum in Roskilde focuses on the Viking maritime shipbuilding and sailing skill. We enjoyed the movie and seeing the excavated ships that have been rebuilt. The master builders at the museum are also copying and recreating new ships in order to understand history. Roskilde has also preserved the Cathedral and a charming old town. It was a great afternoon.
Copenhagen offered great views of palaces, canals, bridges, draw bridges, Tivoli Gardens and more. This gallery offers a few of our favorite sites around the city, many as viewed from the water. Check out the boat of bachelorettes, with the bride to be in pink.
We left by train for Sweden, saying goodbye to our great view of the sea!