The Little Mermaid has gone for a big swim

Trip Start Jun 02, 2010
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Trip End Oct 03, 2010


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Flag of Denmark  , Zealand,
Sunday, July 25, 2010

As we all know, every city has certain things that it is known for.  In New York you have Times Square, 42nd Street, humongous pizza pies...you get the idea.  Well Copenhagen, among other things, is known for a statue of The Little Mermaid.  No, not Ariel.  It is a representation of HC Andersen's timeless faerytale about a young mermaid willing to give up her Utopian life in the sea for the love of the prince.  Turns out the prince loves and marries a princess.  The only way that the little mermaid has the chance of rejoining her family under the sea is if she slays the prince who has broken her heart.  But she cannot and so she throws herself into the sea and dissolves into sea foam.  But she does not die.  Instead she becomes a spirit who will earn back her soul by doing good deeds and thus be able to join God in the Kingdom of Heaven.  So, definitely not the Disney version.

ANNNNNNyway, people come from all over the world to see this sculpture.  So, naturally, I was excited to see it.  In all honesty it isn't that large or historically significant, but it means SOMETHING, so I wanted to see it.  Unfortunately, the Little Mermaid has taken a rather large swim over to Shanghai, where she is on display at the World's Exhibition.  WHAT?!  That was my reaction.  And then I realized that, while it would have been nice to take a picture of it just as the sun set...it is just a sculpture.  A beautiful sculpture to be sure, but there is more to Copenhagen that the Little Mermaid.  Tell that, however, to the mother who made a scene at the spot where the Little Mermaid statue was supposed to be.  The HOP ON HOP OFF bus had just pulled up and off walks this loud, and dare I say, American mother who continues to make a scene because the "only reason I came to this damn place was for this damn statue and it's not even here!"  I wish I were kidding, but sadly this happened.  I just wanted to grab the woman and shake her.  No one city is defined by one thing!  It's like saying that all there is to see in Paris is the Eiffel Tour!  Look around you, this city has so much to offer!

Take the main port, for example.  You have probably seen it if you've ever seen a photo of Copenhagen.  But no photo can fully grasp how gorgeous it is lit up at night with all of the boats casting shadows in the harbor.  And then you have to check out the gardens.  First of all, FREE public bathrooms, which is unheard of in Europe.  And they're clean!  And of course you must try Tivoli.  It is a world famous amusement park, and one of the oldest of its kind.  I went on my last day in Copenhagen.  I didn't ride any of the rides because I was already stretched for cash and it would have been an extra $40.  But I still had fun walking around the gardens, watching happy families as well as not so happy ones.  I also got to see a Pantomime show.  The Tivoli Pantomime has been going on for over a century and it is a must see.  I found myself grinning from ear to ear as I watched it.  One word of warning about Tivoli: if you think Disneyland food is expensive, you ain't seen nothing.  The cheapest thing I could find was $12.  So bring your own food.

Perhaps my favorite thing that I did in Copenhagen was visit the Botanical Gardens.  It is free and it is worth the trip.  It is divided into different sections, each featuring different types of flora.  There was even a cactus section!  The gardens were littered with different pathways and hidden benches.  Given that almost every bench was being used, I would have to say it is a popular place with locals and visitors alike.  In the center of the gardens there is a beautiful lake covered with lilly pads.  I was actually a bit confused by the lake at first because I kept seeing all of these big bowl-like things floating in it.  I came to find out that an artist had been commissioned to make these for the park.  They were spun glass that incorporated flowers from the gardens that had been dried and used to make beautiful designs.  It was fun to see how the light hit them at different angles to bring out all of the colors of the flowers.

So, if only that poor woman had known how much more there was to see in Copenhagen, perhaps she wouldn't have been so upset.  I guess it didn't help that they have placed a big screen right where the Little Mermaid statue used to be.  On this screen you can see a live stream video that shows the Little Mermaid statue in Shanghai.  It kind of adds insult to injury, because instead of seeing the statue live, you get to see others see the statue live.  But here is a little secret: there is a replica in Tivoli.  So, I still got a picture of it.  HA.
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