What We Saw in Copenhagen

  • Royal Library Gardens: It was very relaxing to sit in here. Surprisingly devoid of crowds, Gardenit had some pretty trees, a fountain, a statue of Kierkegaard, and a lot of benches. Worth it.
  • The Dome: There was a temporary art installation set up near the water, which looked like a transparent biodome. DomeIt was intended to convey a both public and private space, with a full 2-story ‘house’ inside, along with some plants and open space. When we stumbled on it, they were having an event for Science Week, which consisted of a man spinning electronic music while mostly-hipster 20-somethings drank beers and ate cake on chairs around the ‘room.’ It reminded us a bit of Audium, but less cacophonous and more relaxed. We had a pretty good time, especially once we moved from directly below a speaker. Because I’m old.
  • Stage Festival Performance – Psycho: Street CutThis was a day for stumbling, because we ran into this open-air performance completely by happenstance. Theater FestivalIt was a mostly-silent re-enactment of ‘Psycho,’ using only 4 actors, some rolling props, and 2 instruments. I thought it was done very well, from the acting to the props and the music; the ‘actor’ playing the instruments was B’s favorite. It was not lost on us that we, two Americans, were watching a play based on an American movie – and neither of us has seen the movie! Is there really a giant swordfish in the movie? Did I mention that the play was a tiny bit farcical? Unless there’s a swordfish, in which case, it was very true-to-film.
  • Tivoli: Imagine if Disney were in downtown Boston or DC, and you’d get Tivoli. It’s kind of weird to see a giant whirling thing next door to a big old-fashioned museum with a cupola, but it’s also fun. Except that I get sympathy pains for the poor upside-down, screaming people being whipped about under the guise of a dragon ride, and I start to feel ill. So, suffice it to say, we’re not paying the $50 to get in.
  • Glyptotek MuseumThis used to be the private collection of Carlsberg beer magnate Carl Jacobsen. Apparently, he had a thing for Greek, Roman, Egyptian, and Palmyrene sculptures. He also had some French impressionist works, and an unhealthy number of Gaugins. MedusaThere were a few pieces I liked from Berthe Morisot and an early pointillist guy, but I was not jumping for joy. Picky, I know, but impressionist art is some of my favorite, so I’ve seen more of it. I actually liked the contemporary Danish sculptures better. They were done in marble, as if in the Greek style and using ancient subjects, but very modern. There was a Perseus sculpture in which he’s cutting off Medusa’s head, and every ridge on her tongue and mouth palate was represented. Impressive, if mildly creepy.
  • TorvehallerneThis is a cool indoor/outdoor market, with fresh fruit, vegetables, meat, fish, bread, and anything else you can imagine. This market probably wins over any other I have been to – including SF’s Ferry Building and Philly’s Reading Terminal – because of the freshness of ingredients, variety, and atmosphere. B tried the fiskedeller, a local specialty which is like a fish cake. I tried ‘tapas,’ or various fishes on bread. Then, we bought cherries, which were so ridiculously-priced that I was glad it required a bunch of mental math to calculate the price. Ignorance is delicious.
  • The Round Tower: This used to be a university library, but is now a tourist attraction with a decent view of the city.  Its most notable elements are the small art gallery halfway up and the glass ‘floor’ in the middle of the tower – similar to the Sears Tower glass floor. Round Tower Glass FloorB and I tried to like the gallery, but the art was very fauvist, but with more precision; it looked a bit like it was done by a 12-year-old Picasso in his multi-color phase. There were some sculptures which were more to our liking, though I think we were entirely too harsh for two people with little artistic skill to speak of. Then, to reach the glass floor, you had to duck through a narrow arch built into the center of the tower. There was little light in there, and the view was just of the ground below, so not quite the same effect as Chicago. B was afraid it wouldn’t hold his weight, but it likely just felt that way. All the same, we decided not to test our theory that European weight limits are lower than American ones – though both of us jumping on the glass at once did sound appealing. B reminded me that the view at the top was also notable, what with it being the whole reason we went here. But, eh.
  • KastelletThis is an army base, which still appears to be in use. KastelletThere was a soldier marching around the yard with a large machine gun: we debated whether this was pageantry, punishment, or patrol for unruly tourists. Poor man. The grounds were fairly green, with a lake/river in which a little Russian boy was fishing and large barges of dirt were being pushed downstream. The area, has a number of interesting statues, and the park part of the base is a good place to run or sit on benches. But, maybe we missed the full splendor of this.
  • The Little Mermaid: As I wrote elsewhere, not worth it. Unless you enjoy large crowds for the sake of crowds, in which case… no, still not worth it. There is actually a Little Mermaid sculpture on the canal near the Royal Library and the Dome which had zero tourists, and was only a bit smaller than the famous one.
  • The Anglican Church of Denmark: The story of the church’s creation was interesting, though it’s a more recent tale. It seems to be very welcoming to various nationalities – and I don’t just mean tourists. The stained glass windows were pretty, and the altar area is fairly striking. But I actually think the outside was the most striking, especially from across the water.
  • The Design MuseumMuch of the museum is under renovation, so B proposed we ask for some of our ticket price back. What we did see was a very extensive exhibit on Wegner, Wegner's Peacock Chair a Danish craftsman and designer who primarily focused on chairs. We saw and sat in several hundred chairs, all in this man’s quest to create ‘just one perfect chair.’ Now, we both very much appreciate this kind of focus, dedication, and specialization, and I can’t say enough about my love of his form and function philosophy, because we saw plenty of ornate chairs that looked pokey and functioning chairs which were austere. But, I’m sad to report that I am not a connoisseur of chairs. I really tried to understand the differences among them. Certainly, they had different numbers of chair back ‘slats,’ differently-shaped arm rests, some different materials, and different chair supports. But, in a sad commentary on my lack of aesthetic and artistic vision, a lot of them didn’t seem particularly ground-breaking to me. Now, I know that the inventions of yesterday look normal to the people of today. This knowledge did not help me. I did enjoy his peacock chair, which I felt was well-described, visually-interesting, and functional. And B’s back side was reluctant to part with several of the chairs. My takeaway is that I need to make a chair at some point to better appreciate them. Oh, and we like Wegner.
  • Amalienborg and Castle Church: Pretty palace, church, fountain, and gardens. But I think we’re a little palaced-out. Also, those poor marching guards: only one of them had a buddy! Talk about a hot, tedious day.
  • Free Town ChristianiaReading about this place is best done after you’ve visited, or you will be unnecessarily scared off. Some sites mention that police presence is still not ‘allowed’ here, or that people have been attacked for simply having cameras anywhere in the vicinity. To set the record straight: this is a large park of hippies. They smoke some pot and wear unusual clothes and buy hot dogs and make cool sculptures or murals and drink beer and chill. So, it’s like the entire city of San Francisco. Signs inside politely ask you not to take photos because ‘hash is still illegal here.’ That’s it. We attended a very cool event here (link coming), and overall, just thought it was a fun place in the middle of a city. No alarm necessary.

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2 thoughts on “What We Saw in Copenhagen

  1. Pingback: A Big Impression | Novelty Buffs

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