Wonderful, wonderful Copenhagen
Friendly old girl of a town
‘Neath her tavern light
On this merry night
Let us clink and drink one down
To wonderful, wonderful Copenhagen
Well, we didn’t spend much time in taverns, but we certainly had a full and fun day in wonderful Copenhagen. We had planned a full itinerary for the day and we were off the ship as soon as the gangplank was in place, heading downtown to buy our Copenhagen card. We love these all inclusive cards that give you access to public transport and most of the sights without having to worry about finding cash or figuring out how to purchase tickets.
The National Museum of Denmark was first on our list, and frankly we could easily have spent the whole day there. It’s a very well curated museum with excellent signs in English as well as Danish, and a truly fascinating collection. We only attempted the ground floor, which focusses on Danish prehistory – eye-opening artefacts from ancient reindeer hunters, Vikings, and civilisations long gone.
An Aurochs is an extinct large wild ox. This one is dated to 8600 BCE
Iron Age (around 150 BCE). the largest known example of European Iron Age silver work
The helmets from Viksø are from the Bronze Age and were made in the early part of the first millennium BC. They were probably used at religious ceremonies. Later on they were deposited in the bog as offerings.
These helmets were never worn by Vikings, but were ceremonial headgear for priests in a much earlier period.
A woman around 40 years old and a 3-year-old child. Red ochre had been sprinkled over the skeletons in the grave, and the dead had been given amulet beads from red and roe deer, wild boar, elk, bear and aurochs. They were buried around 5000 BCE
In the late Bronze Age, bodies were cremated and buried in urns. There was no room for weapons, so miniatures were created to be placed in the grave. These are 2-3 inches long .
Dates from 3700-3300 BCE
The Sun Chariot was made in the Early Bronze Age around 1400 BCE. The Sun Chariot illustrates the idea that the sun was drawn on its eternal journey by a divine horse.
Rosenborg Castle is a 400 year old Renaissance Castle built by King Christian IV, who was king of Denmark & Norway from 1588 to 1648. It was used as a royal residence until 1710, and thereafter used as a place to display the royals’ favourite collections. It was opened to the public as a museum in 1838. Our carefully planned itinerary almost got unstuck when we discovered that despite having free entry with our Copenhagen cards, we still needed to get timed tickets. We did some rapid rearranging and spent our waiting time fruitfully by having lunch at the castle’s pleasant garden cafe.
There are certainly grander castles in Europe, but Rosenborg Castle is packed full of things of interest – whether beautiful, quirky, or mind-bogglingly over the top. Here are a very few of the many photos we took to give you a taste of what it was like.
Gilt silver figurine of Christian IV. Made by the goldsmith Heinrich Beust in Brunswick in 1598, commissioned by the King and paid for with the prizes he had won at tilting at the ring during the coronation celebrations.
Incredibly ornate and expensive crown – one of many on display.
Two of the 3 silver lions guarding the throne. Made l665-1670 in Copenhagen. Thought to be inspired by the stories of King Solomon from The Old Testament, in whose court there were 12 golden lions protecting the throne.
The kings throne is made of “unicorn horn” – actually narwhal horns from Greenland. Believed to bring protection from evil, narwhal tusk was the most precious material in its day. ‘
Rich tapestries line the walls.
War game “Romans and Africans”. A total of 250 gilt silver figures made for Frederik V. c.1700.
The so-called Coronation Cup of Frederik III. The cup was made by H.C. Brechtel in The Hague, 1653. It is possible that it was to have been used, in a planned but never realised, swearing of allegience to Frederik III in Hamburg, 1654.
Part of the huge porcelain collection on display
Selfie of the day
No idea what this is, but it is made of carved ivory. I’ve never seen ivory carving quite so finely detailed.
Some of the ivory was frankly pornographic, even by today’s standards. This was the mildest. Described as “Shepherd’s pipe with amorous couple.”
Set of emeralds and brilliants with diadem, necklace, brooch and earrings. Made in 1840. The emeralds themselves were originally a present from Christian VI to Sophie Magdalene in 1723.
An amber chandelier
We walked through the extensive gardens, once the exclusive domain of kings and queens, now a lovely park enjoyed by ‘commoners’, till we reached the canal for a 1-hour canal cruise. It was another unseasonably warm and sunny day and we spent a delightful hour cruising past royal palaces, the opera house and other culture centres, boats of all kinds, cafes and bars (it seemed like everyone was out enjoying the sun), and the hippie commune of Christiania.
Brand new architecture centre
Now this is the life!!
The Royal Yacht
The boats just make it around some tight corners!
Copenhagen Opera House
Shanty-town at Christiania
This incinerator burns trash to create energy. They actually import trash from other countries to keep it fed.
An old lighthouse boat. There are too many islands to build a lighthouse on each one so these boats used to patrol the waters.
Copenhageners enjoying the day
Bungee jumping from a crane! No thanks!!
The little mermaid. The photo speaks for itself.
We couldn’t leave Copenhagen without visiting Tivoli Gardens. The second oldest amusement park in the world (the oldest one is also in Denmark) Tivoli was founded in 1843, allegedly because “when the people are amusing themselves, they do not think about politics”. With lovely lakes and gardens, and fun themed rides it’s not surprising that it retains its popularity 175 years later.
We made our way back to the ship, past Nyhavn (“New Harbour”), the 17th century waterfront canal lined by colourful townhouses, the Amalienborg Palaces, where the Danish royal family lives (including “our” Mary) and of course, the Little Mermaid. You can’t visit wonderful Copenhagen without a photo of the Little Mermaid now, can you?
…because, what else would you expect to find in Copenhagen?
Very popular on a sunny Sunday in spring