After the surprisingly short flight we joined the crowds who gathered to enjoy the street entertainment at Ostergade and relax in the sun by the canal at Nyhaven.
There was a buzz to the weekend and I never seemed to be more that a few yards away from music.
We listened to a group with Peruvian pan pipes, an oriental guy making wonderful sounds with a one stringed Chinese fiddle, a couple with a musical saw and a complete school’s brass band resplendent with red uniforms.
We used The Copenhagen Card, a useful pass that gave free and unlimited travel by bus & rail and free admission to more than sixty attractions. It comes with an excellent guide. I used it first at the Rundtaarn, The Round Tower which was built as an observatory in 1642. You reach the top by a 680 foot spiral ramp.
They used to ride up by horse and carriage and as I puffed my way up I heard the clatter of tiny feet as children came running down. It must have seemed to them, like a giant helter skelter.
The ascent was worthwhile and I had a great view over the rooftops and the gilded tipped spires that rose above narrow streets with pavement cafes that fanned out below.
A good way to see the city is to take a canal boat tour. On the water you are far enough back from the buildings to really see them. Many have beautiful warm colours and the commentary helps you select bits you want to see more closely under your own steam.
You can also explore the streets using one of the ‘City Bikes.’ You can liberate one at many of the bike racks dotted about the city. Getting about is easy ands there are lots of cycle tracks
I took a free tour of the Carlsburg Brewery and was almost mesmerised by the vast production line. It rattled around as the golden liquid was scooshed into the bottles at a rate of eighteen thousand bottles an hour. A high point on the tour was the stables where the huge dray horses were lovingly cared for. Things have moved on from the days when they made all the deliveries, now road tankers take the beer to France and come back full of wine. The tours are at 11a.m. and 2 p.m.. (Take a No. 6 bus.)
Later being hungry we tracked down a place where they know a thing or two about Smorgasbord, the ‘Danish Open Sandwich' There were so many 'Smorgasbord’ dishes that the menu measured nearly five foot, almost as long as some of the folk who eat there.
One dish, was fashioned out of raw salmon, fresh peeled shrimp, crayfish tails and caviar. Not being keen on raw fish I settled for lobster and happily did the Danish thing and drank Schnapps with it, being advised that “a fish has to swim.” It seemed a good enough reason!
The Danes have one of the highest standards of living in the world, and you find everything from ‘way out fashion’ to the glitter of the shining steel that is so much a part of the Danish design.
Even the post boxes in the street are artistic objects.
Our walk bought us into a square where a talented flautist was playing close by the Stork Fountain.
Long beaked birds with outstretched wings adorned the base and we were told that the midwives danced around it when they pass their exams.
The architecture ranged from elegantly gabled renaissance buildings to ancient houses, half timbered with dark beams set effectively against bright terra cotta walls.
Copenhagen's world-famous Tivoli Gardens do a brisk business. and nearby and we wandered over to inspect the much photographed statue of Hans Christian Anderson.
It was back in 1952 that the colourful musical Hans Christian Anderson and the song sung by Danny Kaye helped to put ‘Wonderful Copenhagen’ on the world tourist map.
The statue sits, looking towards the gardens and a lake complete with swans. They might very well be descendants of his famous ‘ugly duckling.’
He wrote more than 150 stories for children and they included The Ugly Duckling and The Little Mermaid. Everyone who visits the city makes a pilgrimage to see the statue of The Little Mermaid.
We followed the signs for Der Lille Havfrue and found her patiently waiting down by the waterside.
The background might have been disappointingly industrial but a couple embracing beside her and lent a touch of romance to the scene.
To reach her by land you can use the city’s regular sightseeing busses. These run a ‘hop on hop off’ service on a circular route.
Going out the city we were soon in to lush green rolling farm land. Occasionally bright yellow fields of Oil Seed Rape contrasted with flower filled meadows and lavender grew by the hedgerows.
We drove north following the coast. The occasional yacht moved on the sheltered sea and the weak sun shone on the last of the golden leaves.
At Slettenhaven we pulled off the main road and zigzagged though mustard coloured houses.
The colour brightened the winter and even at the harbour ‘Danish Design’ was evident with one boat having the national flag worked into the contours of the fore deck.
Before Hans Christian Anderson, Denmark’s main publicist had been Shakespeare, his play Hamlet’s drawing many to Elsinore. We entered the cobbled court yard of
Kronborg Castle and strolling first past gate houses with flowers at the doors, walked the ramparts.
We didn’t see ghost of Hamlet’s father but looking out, beyond the business end of some cannon, we did see another country.
Close to hand lay Sweden, ferries scuttled backwards and forwards and the seeds of a plan for a car tour of Scandinavia were sewn in my mind.
We rounded off our sightseeing by gazing out across the sea towards Sweden in the gardens of the Lousiana Museum of Modern Art where sculptures by Henry Moore fitted well against a background of blue sea and sailing boats.
The Copenhagen Card. You are able to purchase four types all depending on the number of days you are in need of the card. http://www.copenhagencard.com/?ld=0¤cy=eur
The Carlsberg Brewery Tour http://www.visitcarlsberg.com/#the-flow/visit-carlsberg?open=gi-3272
The Copenhagen Hop on Hop off buses: http://www.stromma.dk/en/copenhagen/sightseeing/sightseeing-by-bus/hop-on-hop-off/
The Canal Boat Tours
The Copenhagen city bikes: Users are now able to pay for the usage via a touchscreen on the bicycle: One hour costs 25DKR
Copenhagen This Weekend online information :
Ferry sailing between Elsinore and Helsingborg in Sweden where travellers can bring their car on the journey. The route is operated by Scandlines. http://www.scandlines.com/
Alternatively it is also possible to travel between Copenhagen and Sweden via the Öresund Bridge. http://uk.oresundsbron.com/page/976
Allan Rogers tries out a short break in
“Wonderful, wonderful Copenhagen, salty old girl of the sea,” so the song goes
Well the city is certainly that with water that reaches in through a network of canals.
They lend character to the cosy bars and cafes. These are places where you can go native and tackle a smørrebrød topped with smoked fish and sup cold snchapps with a frosted glass of lager.
Add to this the attraction of the 19th century Tivoli amusement park, designer chic shops a walkable centre and good jazz clubs and you have a few of the things that make it stand out from other European cities.
It is also well served by the budget airlines. and we were keen to go.