Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Back from Copenhagen

Well, I am back from Copenhagen, Denmark. You have already read about a bit of my experience there so I decided to give you a couple of pics to look at. During my stay there of 7 days (8 days including travel time) I took 239 pictures. My colleague that travelled with me took about 1,500 pics. He likes to "go crazy" as he puts it himself.

We arrived there the morning of Sunday, April 30, 2006 and after checking in we went for a walk to check out a little bit of the city.

We both like historical buildings and it seems, so do advertisers. As you can see, these poor buildings are utilized "well!"

The city abounds in sculptures of all sorts. There are so many that it would really be impossible for one person to take one picture of each one found there in the short time we spent there. However, this one of a bull and a dragon fighting is a very good example.

The day we arrived there it was pretty cold by South African standards. Both my colleague and I live in the Gauteng province of South Africa, and even in winter we have some pretty nice days. Mornings might be chilly (down to around 3 deg C - 37.4F), but it could easily warm up to around 20C (68F)! So, when we arrived in Copenhagen (in their spring time), and the high for the day was around 8C (46F), we thought it to be a bit cold! You can see this by how they dressed that day.

We kept on walking till we got to the water front called Nyhavn. It is very pretty there. You can see me standing there all smug thinking the place belongs to me!

Down the main road that most tourists walk on (I think it is called Frederiksgade) one can find all kinds of things. One day there would be a violinist playing the most beautiful music. Another day a guy with his wine glasses filled with different levels of water can be quite entertaining. On this day (Monday May 01) we saw this trio that played some well known classical pieces. They really sounded good!

Of course, Copenhagen is the city that Hans Christian Andersen (HCA) lived in. There are streets named after him and he also has a statue of himself in the city. If you do not know who he is, then I have one question for you: "Under which rock have you been living?" Maybe you will recognise him if I mention some of the stories he has written: Thumbelina, The Little Mermaid, The Ugly Duckling, and The Princess and the Pea. We also got to see the statue of The Little Mermaid. HCA wrote 168 tales and you can find most of them here.

We lived in quite an odd hotel. After we checked in on the Sunday we arrived, we wanted to catch the elevator up to our rooms on the third floor. However, we had to climb half a floor before we could get to the elevator. The fascinating thing is that the elevator is situated between floors. Once on the elevator we pressed the button for the third floor. When we arrived there we had to walk half a floor down to get to our floor. On the pic I provided, you will see that I am standing inside the elevator taking a pic of what is on the outside. From the elevator you can either go up or down the stairs to your floor.

In Danish architecture, it is interesting to see so many dragons. You will find dragons on statues to buildings. As you have seen the bull and the dragon fighting above, here is a pic of the old Scandinavian Stock Exchange. It depicts the tails of three dragons (Denmark, Sweden and Norway) making up the spire of the building.

At 6pm Friday (May 05) we went on an hour boat ride through the canals of Copenhagen. It was a very nice trip and showed us some of Copenhagen we would not have seen otherwise. This trip was so cheap (30 DKR - R30 - $4.90) that we were really taken with the price since eveything else is so very expensive. This boat ride definitely was the best value for money. On this trip we also passed the apartments where Hans Christian Andersen lived. He lived in the white building in the middle of this picture on the right.

On Saturday we also visited the Royal Palace which is freely accessible. Here you can see one of the buildings of the Palace. It just amazes me that the Palace has such an open architecture and that people walk through there all the time! I guess that here in Africa the Palace would have been sacked long ago! The Palace is made up of 4 of these identical Rococo buildings. The royal family still occupies the palace.

From the Palace we went to visit the great Marble Church, also known as Frederik's Church. The picture here is taken from behind King Frederick V within the Palace grounds. This church remained unfinished from 1770 until 1874. It was finally finished in 1894. This church is indeed beautiful and there is amazing detail on the inside. Truly a place to visit in Copenhagen. The foundation stone for this church was laid on October 30, 1749. Outside the church one can find statues of men like Martin Luther, Moses, the apostles Paul and Peter, Elijah and Jan Hus.

Next we took a walk over to the Church of our Savior. You can climb to the top (very top!) of the steeple of this church. You first start inside the church and climb the stairs until finally it is time to climb out and continue the climb on the outside. This steeple is 90m (98.4yds - 295ft) high. So, I guess there could have been about 450 steps to climb. This was truly an amazing experience. Climbing on the outside to the top and seeing the city from up there was truly breathtaking. From the outside the church itself did not seem like much, but on the inside the decor was absolutely stunning.

In my opinion, I think the statues are actually overdone. Everything from baby angels to adult angels (Michael, Gabriel, Raphael?) and more. Especially the baptismal font, which is covered with little babies and it even has a baby encrusted crown above it.

We finally visited the Danish parliament buildings. Here they grow trees just to cut them square. I would not know what the reason for it is, but it is a bit odd. On the other hand, it is unusual and not quite expected! With this picture of parliament you can see King Christian IX hiding behind the fountain spray. What I learnt there that was really interesting is that firstborn sons (heirs of the throne) are either named Christian or Frederik. If the current king's name is Christian, he will name his son Frederik and vice versa.

We finally had to exit the parliament grounds and make our way back to the hotel to pick up our baggage to start the way back home!

We caught the train to Copenhagen's international Kaastrup airport late afternoon on May 06. We flew out of Copenhagen and had a stop-over in Zurich
for the night. Originally we were supposed to land in Zurich and immediately fly out back to South Africa, but that flight was delayed (we were told three days before the time) until the next morning at 8am. So, we ended up staying over in Zurich and at least we could get a couple of hours sleep.

The funny thing is that the guy that checked our bags in at Kaastrup airport
checked our bags straight through to South Africa. So, we had to just use the clothes we already had, again the next day. Luckily I had a tracksuit in my backpack that I could use on the flight back. All I had to do was wash my underwear that night for the last leg of the trip the next day. Unfortunately, I had to wear the same t-shirt again. Fortunately I had a can of deodorant in my backpack too.

It was amazing on the trip back, since we flew over the Swiss Alps. It is so beautiful! God's creation showing the Glory of God! I took a couple of pics through the window of the Airbus we were flying in. It is breathtaking over the Alps!

But, in the end it was absolutely wonderful to be back with my family in South Africa. When I walked through customs both kids ran to me and flung themselves at me. It always gives me this warm feeling in my heart when they come running to me after a trip like this. I truly love my family!

Well, next it is off to Botswana, but hopefully only for a day!

Before the trip to Copenhagen I was also in Guinea on the west coast of Africa. You can read about it here and here.

Just thinking...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi, I was going crazy trying to remember the spiral with the dragons and what it represented. I kept referencing churches but then just searched dragons and spires and found your site. I arrived at Kaastrup the day you left and was blessed with great weather the 4 days there. What a beautiful country. I'm footsore and butt sore from walking and riding bikes but well worth it. Your narrative and photos were interesting. thx

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