Copenhagen - a day on the town

Trip Start Jun 29, 2005
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Trip End Nov 30, 2009


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Monday, January 30, 2006

The fog was still pretty thick when I stepped off the train in Copenhagen an hour or so after departing Skurup in Sweden. It wasn't a pea-souper, like the type you get in London that has people walking into lamp-posts on a regular basis, but made cross-canal viewing in the capital just a little tricky.

Still, fog means that it's relatively warm (around 0C) and once you were in the vacinity of an attraction it was definitely appreciable, so my day in Kobenhaven was certainly not lost.

Off I trotted with city map and recollections of last year's visit fresh in my mind, heading along Christian's Brygge with the Little Mermaid as the first major goal.



Emerging from the gloom, the Nyhavn was the first site to behold. This is a string of canal-front properties dating back to at least the 17th century, all colourfully painted and most housing restaurants and cafes that make this a bustling central dining area during the summer months. There wasn't a great deal happening there early Monday morning (probably fair enough) but it was good to see the boats in the ice and the striking decoration cutting through the grey day



Continuing on past various street delights took me to the Amalienborg Plads - a large rounded square (was never good at geometry) flanked by palatial properties that I think featured heavily in the recent marriage of the Crown Prince of Denmark and Australia's favourite princess, the delightful Princess Mary. Nothing that exciting was going on, but I timed my wander well with a whistle that sent all of the guards around the place into a flurry of pomp and partial ceremony. Ahh the memories - onya Mary!



Eventually up north I found the mermaid in question. Like Pissing Pete in Brussels, the Little Mermaid is an institution in Copenhagen and should be on the itinerary if here for short or long periods of time. She sits there quietly on the seashore (not selling seashells), gazing out over the water in an adoring manner, looking like she's about to wave her fishy tail and plunge in to the deep. The's cute so I'd follow her, and which would be as close as I'd get to picking up my own Danish princess. Sigh.

In the general vicinity there are a number of other monuments and statues. I liked the angel on a pedestal whose base is ringed by cannon and cannon balls, interesting message there. Also the right honourable Winston Churchill is featured and commemorated for some reason, I assume for services rendered on behalf of the Danes during WW2. A striking and beautifully constructed church tops it all off at this end of the city, the colours of the brickwork particularly attractive to a lover of grey tones like me.



Once you're on the fringe of the city like this you are probably tired and hungry, so off I went back to town in search of food. However, more sights that I somehow bypassed last time around came into view, requiring their own detour and appreciation. These included a massive church, the Marmorkirken that looks nothing special on the map but has a heavy, marble-pillared facade and a team of statues playing tip footy (or some other heavenly past-time no doubt ;-) at its base. The ornate Theater on Kongens Nytorv was also worth a look.



It's nice but I didn't bother with the main pedestrian shopping strip (the Ostergade, amongst other names) in the end, heading directly to the central Radhauspladsen. There I caught up with Mr (Hans Christian) Anderson himself along with some of the large buildings that surround it. The Tivoli (amusement park), the Glyptotek(?) and Dantes Plads are all worth a peek here, although the Tivoli doesn't open for festivities again until mid April. Boo.



Whilst I like being outside, the continued fog was getting a little depressing, so I changed tack and went somewhere I don't usually bother with - a random museum. The Danish Design Centre's mandate is to showcase fresh Danish design a look really funky from the outside to boot. Being a bit of a stylemaster myself I headed in, paid my $10 and then found out that this month they were showcasing Norwegian design instead.

Oh well, it still looked pretty groovy, so I took in the varied assortment of new advances in products like Wellington boots, lights, snow gear, prams, fishing lures, oil suits, bus shelters and ski bikes. There was even a gigantic industrial bolt and screw, measuring a metre long and probably 15cm in diametre - probably used on oil rigs or something (the explanative captions were in Danish).



Upstairs featured a thought provoking artistic display called 'Flow'. Essentially a mock supermarket, it is filled with empty packaging that's labelled in a variety of manners to challenge our consumerist society and its impacts on individuals, the collective society and the wider environment that must sustain it.



The generic labels and the size and type of packaging used cleverly enhance the parody of our working world - a society bent on progress and life improvement that is continually undermined by various competing forces that often results in a reduction in quality of life that many of us experience today. Three 'Did you know?' boards quoted facts and statistics that make for pretty lamentable reading hung overhead to complete the picture.

And that, in a nutshell, was one day in Copenhagen. I'm now off to Egypt for about a month to dive, relax and see some of the most awesome sights on the planet, so I suggest you keep reading and you'll see them too.

Keep trekkin',
TT

Next entry -> Pros and cons of long-term travel in winter. Brrrr.

Did you know?

1) it is estimated that by 2010 consumers will be introduced to approximately 500 million new products each year.

2) the average knowledge worker spends more than 40% of their work time filtering information.

From the Flow exhibition - Danish Design Centre
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