The journey to Scandinavia started with research and aided by Joyce Mariner, a travel specialist and friend, settled on the same tour company I used last year for Croatia.
Call it happenstance, but when I saw the Globus tour representative in Copenhagen Airport, Denmark, any reservations about my choice just melted away. Helena Kukurba, who was the tour director in my 2016 Croatian voyage was the 2017 Scandinavian tour director. Helena became my friend after Croatia, and every now and then, we renewed acquaintanceship through the ubiquitious FaceBook.
Radison Blu Sandinavia was a welcome respite from the long journey, New York, through Heathrow Airport, London to Denmark. A hotel right in the center of town where travelling companions met for a welcome dinner with wine to chase the travel aches away.
A View of Copenhagen Rooftops and Architecture
The next morning, as with all the mornings of this tour, a fabulous buffet breakfast spread was laid out.
After the hearty breakfast, with a lively local guide, our Copenhagen tour started, passing by the Church of Our Savior, the Danish Stock Exchange
a visit to the Christiansborg Palace with its elegant rooms and fixtures
Donning on shoe socks (required to enter this palace), the ornate scrolls and furniture produced ohhs and ahhs. The Danes we were told are a frugal people and when one palace is renovated, parts are reassembled into other forms and reused, as in this long table that seats 62, repurposed from a staircase of another palace. The legs of this long table are from the former balustrades of the staircase and the tabletop are from the stairs.
Tapestries were commissioned by the Danish Queen Margarethe II, beloved sovereign of her people. In their eyes she can do no wrong. 77 years old as of this writing, fluent in five languages, well educated, artist in her own right, and has been published. The tapestries on the palace walls were commissioned to reflect the history of the world and Denmark and were ten years in the making. Below are pictures of two of the many wall hangings. Look closely at the people of note during this period who at one point or another made their mark on the world.
The eccentric artist asked to produce a design for the tapestries was famous (infamous?) for chopping the heads of chickens and photographing them clucking their last, running around headless. Today, people would be squawking animal cruelty.
More Notable Sights of Copenhagen
The favorite mode of transportation of the Danes is by bicycle. Parents take and pick up their children from school on bikes; some people bike to the train station to work, leave their bikes in the station, and have another bike at the other end to take them to their workplace. Some bikes are just parked or leaned, rarely would you see a locked bike. There are bike lanes everywhere and if one steps off the sidewalk to the bike lane and just lollygag, the Danish equivalent of “What the heck @#$%!” will be heard as bicyclists believe they have right of way.
Young, fit Danish men of a certain age group are required to sign up for Conscription which includes serving as palace guards. This mandatory requirement last from 4-12 months. There is a changing of the guards ceremony every two hours and yes, the guards carry real firearms. And, when the marching guards come by, stay out of the way, as guards have right of way and you might end up marching in tandem with them. If you come too close to one, they will holler in a deep, loud voice that will cause one to startle and jump back (it did happen!!).
More young guards from other palaces —
On the way to say hello to a childhood friend — The Little Mermaid, we passed by the Copenhagen Opera House.
The oft told fairy tale story of The Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Andersen. This world renowned statue has been battered, decapitated and abused over time, but The Little Mermaid remains perched, calmly watching the waves swish by.
A Canal cruise presented sights and sounds of a busy, bustling city from a different perspective.
Onward to the Rosenborg Palace with another noteworthy spire, and more precious mementos of the Royals.
Three of these huge, lifesize, silver lions guard the thrones. The lions are brought out when a monarch passes and guards the coffin until burial.
A visit to Copenhagen would not be complete without a visit to Tivoli Gardens, a world famous amusement park. The Gardens are right in the city center and an inspiration for other amusement parks all over the world and possibly to Walt Disney who visited it several times in his lifetime.
Opened in 1843, Tivoli Gardens is still functioning and people from all over the world come to enjoy the gardens, the rides and the amusement it offers.
Tired from traipsing all over Tivoli Gardens, we took a break before dinner at a Kroc, typical old time Danish inn for a Christmas in June dinner.
Denmark (and perhaps Illinois, with China in the running) claim to be the pork capital of the world. A typical Danish Christmas eve dinner would be roast pork with crispy rind. Our Christmas in June dinner was served by wait staff dressed in holiday attire, with sparklers.
I have never had this type of roast pork with rind intact in each slice, crispy, crackling with barely a touch of fat. The rice pudding, we could not have enough of. Delicious, not at all the rice pudding we were dreading and the sweet homemade cherry sauce was to die for. With two glasses of wine under our belt, we went to bed happy for the next excursion.