We crossed the bridge from Sweden to Copenhagen. In the water towered several wind turbines, blades spinning silently in the distance. The bridge snaked to the other side of the border and we saw Denmark stretching out, a flat plate of land the Danes call home. We were dropped off near the central station, and swinging are packs onto our backs we set out to figure out where we were going to go next.
For four days we camped about a 20 min train ride from the city centre. The campsite was cheap, and included showers, bathrooms, a kitchen, a gym, and a dining hall. This ‘campsite’ was really just a field surrounded by the city, so it wasn’t my ideal vision of camping in the bush. But what wilderness is left in Denmark? This tiny spit of land has been farmed, settled, and developed on every possible slice of property, so I can understand why the country has made it illegal to camp outside of designated ‘campgrounds’.
We purchased a 72 hour Copenhagen Card that covered all of our transit expenses and gave us free entrance to many of the cities’ attractions within that 72 hour time period. In the end I think the cost of our touring would have been three times more than what we payed for the Copenhagen Card, so it was well worth it. We saw some spectacular things.
In the National Museum we perused through rows of ancient weapons and tools, from the stone age to the iron. There were aged bronze swords and flint battle axes, boulders covered with norse runes, armbands and rings of gold. We also found evidence that some vikings DID wear horns on their helmets!
Christiansborg Palace, home of the Danish royal family, was incredibly ornate. Every column, table, and picture frame was intricately carved. Huge tapestries hung on the walls with the many paintings depicting older rulers and their families. Every room was marvellous to behold, and we took a large chunk of time out of our day taking pictures and just admiring all the little details. In one room an artist, Bjørn Nørgaard, had created stylized tapestries depicting many different eras and historical figures from Danish History, from the ancient times of gods and heroes, to the modern age of science. They had been a gift to Queen Margrethe II.
The weapons museum was every guy’s dream, it was so COOL! A row of cannons were displayed in the front hall, ancient to modern. Moving upstairs brought us to a great hall displaying an endless rack of weapons and armour going through all the ages from the medieval times to present. Some were intricately and beautifully designed, such as the ivory and gold embroidery on antique flintlock pistols, and some were simple and practical, such as the mass produced footsoldier’s spears, axes, and the modern automatic weapons.
Another one of my favourite places in Copenhagen was Frederiksborg Castle, an enormous building made out of red brick and stone, complete with a church, a moat, gardens, and many acres of parkland. Compared to Christiansborg Palace, Frederiksborg seemed much older and perhaps a little spooky. The interior of Frederiksborg reminded me of a typical haunted castle. The halls were lined with paintings of ancient rulers, lords, and ladies, their eyes following you as you moved past them. There were full plate armour figures acting like sentries at many of the entrances. A massive fireplace in the main hall was a sight to behold; it was nearly as tall as I am and quite a bit wider. Who knows how many secret passageways we unknowingly walked by, perhaps behind the grandfather clock? Or in the library of century old books?
The castle grounds themselves were eerie yet beautiful to walk through. The path was flanked by great, twisted oaks and there was a stillness in the air. On an island in a small lake someone had built a hut, now aged, leaning, and crooked, adding a bit more magic to the place. White swans circled the island, drifting like ghosts across the still waters. Thousands of grey crows were nesting in the trees, cackling amongst themselves, their beady, evil eyes looking down at you from the branches.
There were so many other amazing places, such as the boat canals, the ancient greek and egyptian sculpture museum, and the city streets themselves were quite spectacular to walk through. We initially thought the Carlsberg brewery was going to be a quick go-through, but it actually turned out to be really interesting. The two free beer samples didn’t hurt either, especially the Jacobsen Original Dark Lager with a recipe dating back to 1854.
We have yet to go to the Tivoli gardens, a theme park in the centre of Copenhagen holding the oldest wooden roller-coaster in the world, but it’s on our list for next weekend. We have found a place to volunteer for a roof over our heads and meals. It’s a historic ceramic factory out in the countryside that has been renovated to be a living area and an arts/cultural centre. There is still a lot to be done in rebuilding and renovations, but we’re looking forward to the work we’ll be doing in this amazing place. We will let you know more about this factory and the work we’ve been doing soon!