Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Return to Copenhagen (Part 2)

Oh God, I am really behind in updating about Copenhagen, right? I suppose I've been especially lax because it didn't feel like a holiday: it felt like a weekend trip home. I wandered around places I knew with people I knew. Even the new places I visited were safely within the realm of a people and culture I am learning to understand more and more, as I am studying the language and reading about the country every chance I get.

I am turning in to a real Danish otaku.

So, I woke up Friday morning, and took myself sightseeing. Iason had class, so I hopped on the metro at Sydhavn (pronounced close to "sue-how-en", not the equally Nordic-sounding "sid-har-ven" - so you see what I mean about Danish being insane?) and went into town. I visited my favourite ramshackle record shop near the Town Hall Square (Raadhuspladsen), had lunch in the Living Room, one of Copenhagen's delightfully cosy (hygge) cafes, revisited the National Museum (Nationalmuseet), which is
one of the best museums I've encountered, and the Royal Library (Den Kongelige Bibliotek), stuffed myself with pastries on Christianshavn and made my way to the Carslberg Brewery. I've seen a lot of breweries in my recent trips and, as enjoyable as they were (especially the samples at the end), I'll excluse them from future itineraries: I feel I've learned all I can about beer at the basic tourism level. From there, I made my way home to Iason's on foot with nothing more than a gut feeling. That's one thing I love about Copenhagen: although it sprawls, it's quite ordered, and I can now usually navigate without maps. Cheryl came over for dinner. I say "dinner", but it was really a large helping of dessert: rice pudding served with a big knob of butter and cinammon and sugar. Now we're talking.

Saturday involved more sightseeing: the Round Tower (Rundetaarn), which has views over the city, the shopping street of Stroeget, the colourful canal of Nyhavn, and the King's New Square (Kongens Nytorv), which is currently being heavily renovated. I then wandered along the harbour to Amalienborg Slot, the palace where Princess Mary lives, and the Little Mermaid (Den Lille Halvfrue) statue. The Little Mermaid is one of Copenhagen's most iconic tourist attractions. This is a little outrageous. The statue is small, boring and of little artistic importance. The despondent titular fishwoman looks sadly over her shoulder as she perches on a rock. It's quite a walk to get there (a pretty one, at that) but it's a pretty paltry little sculpture, especially considering the enormous Gefionspringvandet (Gefion Fountain), which depicts the goddess Gefion driving a team of bulls through a waterfall, is just around the corner. But I'm glad I went to see the statue: after feeling a little bad for ridiculing the tourists who go to visit it, I can now do it with no feelings of guilt!

That night, Iason cooked up a big dish of creamy meat and amazing mashed potatoes to feed a horde of Americans, Danes, as well as a lonely Brit and a Spaniard. I'd unfortunately exhausted my camera's battery that day and so, once again, neglected to take photos of my dear Danish friends, but it was so wonderful to see them again. Charming, funny, intelligent people. I'd love Copenhagen without them there, but their presence makes the city even better. Once again, I wussed out of a night out, and got a restful sleep for a day spent at the Glyptotek. This art gallery slash museum has relics from all over the world and replicas of ancient artworks. It also houses an enormous indoor tropical garden, which felt out of place in wintry Copenhagen, to say the least. I wandered around the last few streets and churches I wanted to revisit, before heading back to Iason's. We made cake - dream cake! spongey vanilla cake! topped with coconutty toffee! - to take over to his friends' place, where much vegetating was done. An excellent end to the weekend!

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