Destination: Copenhagen, Denmark
Date: May 2013
I couldn’t have been anymore pleased arriving at the port of Copenhagen! At this port we had the extraordinary experience of meeting up with family!! Okay not my family but one of our group. “J”, has family still in Denmark and they were our tour guides for the day. It turned out to be a fantastic experience. No guide is as good as a willing family member and even better, “J”s cousin, “C” and his wife “S” are actual tour guides in Copenhagen. Double jackpot!!
At the time of our trip 30% of the population of Denmark commutes on bicycle. Their goal is to have 50% within the next five years. Which of course if everyone is traveling by bike it is a relatively small area to navigate for us tourists. Though we were going to take bikes at one point our group of twelve decided to walk. Another factor was that two of “J”s cousins had babies with them and so instead of bikes we had big beautiful pram strollers with us. It was a lot of fun.
As stated on the Royal Caribbean port explorer, “Copenhagen, the capital city of Denmark, is situated on the east coast of the Danish island of Zealand, the largest of Denmark’s approximately 500 islands. The entire country is in size, one half the area of Maine. The name Copenhagen means ‘Merchant Harbor’ and it is believed that the city was founded in 1167 by Bishop Absalon, at the spot where fishermen and merchants gathered to market their goods.”
We started our walking tour at this beautiful port, Copenhagen, and walked all over the city. One of the most siginifcant sights we saw was the statue of the Little Mermaid, which is located right next to where our shipped docked. The Little Mermaid the statue was commissioned in 1909 by Carl Jacobsen, son of the founder of Carlsburg, who had been fascinated by a ballet fairytale in Copenhagen’s Royal Theatre and asked a ballerina to model for the statue. The sculptor Edvard Eriksen created the bronze statue, which was unveiled on 23 August 1913. Some of the other beautiful sights we saw were the Langeline Promenade which is near the English Church and the Gefion Fountain, Copenhagen most spectacular fountain.
We walked by the Resistance Museum but it had recently burned down within the past few months so there wasn’t much to see there. Onward we walked over to the Amalienborg Palace. This is where the Danish royal family, the oldest in Europe, still lives to this day. There is a changing of the guards daily which resemble that of the London Bobby but not quite as stoic. At one point Trent went to pose for a picture with a guard and got too close so he was pushed away. It gave us all quite a laugh.
The best part of the day was watching the Palace gates open and out came Princess Mary with three of her children Isabella, and twins Vincent, and Josephine, riding bikes with a Danish Secret Service agent right on their heels. It was such a treat since even our family tour guides from Denmark said they had never seen them in person and this was a rare experience.
From the Amalienborg Palace our walking tour continued past the Rosenborg Castle, the new Copenhagen Opera House built with the private funds of Mærsk McKinney-Møller, a Dane, and the owner of Mersk Shipping. Not far from the Opera house in what was once known as the ‘Red Light District’ but has been renovated into a tourist area was where we caught a boat on the Canal Tours of Copenhagen. These tours run for about forty-five minutes and give an excellent overview to the tourist of what they are seeing from the water in the canals of Copenhagen. It reminded me a lot of the riverboat tours we have down in San Antonio, Texas! This tour also gave us great shots for us to take plenty of pictures.
Once back on the cobble-stone streets of Copenhagen our walking tour continued on through Stroget Street or Stroller Street as we called it. It is a lot like the Miracle Mile in Chicago full of shopping and fun for tourists and locals. Since I had recently run out of herbal tea and the cruise ship didn’t offer any, our friendly family tour guides took us to A.C. Perch’s Thehandel tea shop which has been at the same location and was establishedin 1835. Relatively new by European standards but of course ancient to us Americans. It blows my favorite tea shop back in the states, Teavana, out of the water. The selection, antiquity, and the Harry Potter, Diagon Alley feel, made it an experience I’ll never forget.
By this time of the day we were all ready to sit down for a good meal. Our lunch stop was to the rooftop restaurant called, Cafe Hovedtelegrafen. Try remembering that name next time you’re in Copenhagen. Since we were with the best kind of tour guides “J”s cousin “M” called ahead and put our order in after having us all look at an English version of the menu on her cell phone. With this forethought we were able to walk in, get seated right away, and served our meal within five minutes time. The best part of it all was sitting out on the porch in the rooftop establishment and look over the red roofs of Denmark. With so much heritage we had old statues, towers, and monuments to gaze on while we enjoyed a great meal with friends and our new Danish family.
I think our guides saved the best for last because once our lunch was quickly consumed we headed over to the Royal Family’s Church, The Church of Our Lady. The original Christus statue is a 19th-century Carrara marble statue of the resurrected Jesus by Bertel Thorvaldsen. Since its completion in 1838, the statue has been located in the Church of Our Lady. Along the walls of the church are all twelve of Christs apostles which are magnificent in craftsmanship and second only to the Christus itself. It was a gorgeous back drop to the worship that took place in this old Church of Denmark. Since my parents gave me a copy of this same Christus that sits in my home to this day it was an extra treat to see the original.
From there we said goodbye to some of our tour guides and got into two waiting vehicles to see the LDS temple in Copenhagen. It was not the typical temple as we see in the US because it was red brick and made from an existing church building back in 2004. It was still a beautiful sight and fun to see a bit of home over in this foreign country.
It was a very busy day. My only disappointment was not having the time to visit Tivoli Gardens and that had nothing to do with our amazing tour guides but with the amount of time we had off of the ship. Tivoli Gardens is located right in the center of the city and is their small but famous amusement park. It has fountains, lakes, and gardens and was a inspiration to Walt Disney’s gardens he had put in at his Disney amusement parks. Also I would have loved to take a bike riding tour of the city and fortunately “J”s cousin “C” just opened his own bike riding tour called, Cycling Copenhagen. That is definitely on my “to do” list next time I’m in Copenhagen.
Safe and Happy Travels!!!