There was a definite chill in the air this morning as we stepped out onto the balcony. The temperature was in the mid-forties but the forecast has the temperature rising to 58° by afternoon.
We ate a quick breakfast, bundled ourselves in warm jackets and made our way down to the pier to take part in a walking tour of Copenhagen. We were excited to learn that Don and Rae were on this tour too.
We walked along Langelinje Promenade and came across one of the most famous tourist attractions of Copenhagen; the sculpture of the Little Mermaid. This small but beautiful sculpture turned 100 years old in August 2013.
The bronze and granite sculpture was a gift to the city of Copenhagen by Danish brewer Carl Jacobsen in August 1913. The sculpture was inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale about a mermaid who gives up everything to be united with a young, handsome prince on land.
Many of us in the group were surprised at how small the sculpture was. But no matter what the size, people clambered to get close and have their picture taken with this lovely piece of artwork that has become a symbol of Denmark.
We continued our walk and entered according to our guide, “One of the best preserved star fortresses in Northern Europe”. The fort of Kastellet is constructed in the form of a pentagram with bastions at its corners. Some of the buildings continue to be used for various military activities but it mainly serves as a public park and a historic site.
Exiting the fort we stopped for a moment at the statue of the WWII Memorial Soldier.
As we continued our walk we saw in the distance a beautiful church. We learned that the church was St. Albans Church built in 1885. We continued our walk and stopped for a few moments. Our guide said the locals refer to the church as the English Church. It is an Anglican church built in the Gothic Revival style.
Just beyond the church is the largest monument in Copenhagen; the beautiful Gefion Fountain. We were told that the fountain is used by many as a wishing well.
We continued our walk along harbor and passed the Copenhagen Opera House. Our guide told us that the opera house was donated to Denmark by the Maersk shipping company. One interesting fact about the opera house is that in recent years there have been organized events allowing competitors to ‘cliff dive’ off the roof into the canal.
We made our way to the Amalienborg Palace and stood in the center of a large courtyard. If you stood at the center of the courtyard you could see a view of the opera house at one end and the Marble Church at the other end.
The courtyard is in the shape of an octagon and consists of four identical palaces and an equestrian statue of Amalienborg’s founder, King Frederick V. The Amalienborg is the winter home of the Danish royal family. There were several guards walking up and down the grounds but, unfortunately, we were too early to watch the changing of the guard.
Our guide then took us down a crowded street to the Odd Fellow Palace where we were to stop for a bit and enjoy refreshments. Our refreshments were to consist of tea, coffee and a Danish pastry. However, when we arrived there was only water, soda and beer and no Danish. Oh, well, it was good to have a brief break. Randy enjoyed a local favorite, Tuborg Pilsner.
As we made our way through the city we were amazed at the amount of bicycles there were in the city. It seemed as though everyone rode a bike. You had to be careful not to step off the curb for fear of colliding with a cyclist. According to what I have read, Copenhagen is world famous for its biking culture and many other countries are looking for ways to emulate this cycling culture.
Oh, my, our next stop was eye candy as we emerged at Nyhavn. Everywhere you looked there were beautiful boats on either side of the canal with beautiful, colorful buildings along the shore. This beautiful spot was originally a commercial port where ships from all over the world would dock. Over time the beautiful old houses were renovated and now shops and restaurants dominate the port.
According to our guide, No. 9, Nyhavn is the oldest house in this area dating back to 1681. He also told us that Hans Christian Andersen lived, for a time, in No. 20.
I would have loved to stop at a sidewalk café but alas, there was no time. After a brief photo stop we moved on to the downtown area to make our way to Gammel Strand and board a canal boat for the next phase of our tour. As we made our way downtown we passed the Memorial Anchor at Nyhavn. The anchor “Commemorates the nearly 1700 Danish officers and sailors in service for the navy – merchant fleet or Allied forces, who offered their lives during WWII”.
As we slowly cruised through the canals of Christianshavn, our guide pointed out many beautiful sights along the shore. We passed beautiful old buildings, modern apartment complexes, house boats, Our Saviour’s Church, the Royal Library and other landmarks. The tour was coming to an end so the boat made its way back to the Little Mermaid and our ship.
Everything we saw was both beautiful and colorful. But, I must say though, we had an unexpected sight as we slowly cruised through the canals. As our guide was bringing our focus to various points of interest, we noticed a gentleman on the shore with a towel wrapped around his waist. A short distance away was another person swimming in the canal. From our vantage point it looked like a woman.
That thought faded quickly as ‘he’ started to climb out of the water and we noticed that he was in the buff. Oh, my, skinny dipping in the canal caused different and funny reactions from many in the boat. There were gasps, muffled laughs, giggles and some applause. The swimmer made his way to a towel lying on the shore and instead of wrapping it around himself while his back was turned he turned and gave the Full Monty for everyone to see. This was truly a very funny sight to be sure.
Shortly after returning to the ship it was time to prepare for cocktails and dinner. As usual we had a great time talking with Steve and LuAnn and our tablemates. I was a bit tired so ordered a light dinner of Fried Camembert, Chilled Pina Colada Soup and a delicious dessert called Wimbledon. The dessert consisting of fresh strawberries, Champagne jelly and a soft lime cheesecake was light, refreshing and just the perfect ending to a perfect day.
Many have asked me over the years why I love cruising. For me, it is so simple. First, I have come to love the sea. Second, I love the idea that I can unpack once visiting many cities getting a glimpse of what a city has to offer and then decide which city I would love to return to. Copenhagen has definitely made the list of some of the beautiful cities I would love to visit again.
Tomorrow we will be at sea all day as we head to Tallinn, Estonia.