• Day339


    December 5, 2015 in Denmark ⋅ ☁️ 8 °C

    I've spent the past two days cramming in as much of Copenhagen as possible. Unusual for me but I only have a few days here to see what I want. So on Friday morning I started with a good Ol fashion walking tour!

    This 3 hour Grand Tour of Copenhagen was great. Our guide was fab and very funny. The places we visited included:
    - The City Hall
    · Christiansborg palace
    · The old City Centre
    · Picturesque harbour Nyhavn
    · Royal Palace Amalienborg
    · Strøget shopping street
    · The round tower
    · Admiral Hotel
    · Royal Opera House
    · The Bishop Absalon Horse Statue
    - Royal Danish Play House
    - Theatre

    Things I learnt and saw:
    - The Latin Quarter is great for food.

    - During WWII the Danish put up defence for two hours before being occupied by the Nazis… Although they were occupied the Danes were able to keep a lot of their own customs and arrangements, but upon learning of the Nazis final solution they secretly shipped out their Jewish population to Sweden saving almost 90%!

    - How Carlsberg got its name…
    Once upon a time a bloke worked at the Royal brewery. He noticed that they couldn't always get the same tasting beer due to the water quality not always being the same. So he bought some land out of town and set up his brewery on a hill, which in Danish is known as a Berg. He asked his son Carl to join him, which he did and thus the name Carlsberg was created.

    - Copenhagen has had two major fires, which damaged the city, in 1728 a third of the city was destroyed and again in 1795 a quarter was damaged.

    - Princess Mary: we saw where she got married and where she lives now

    - We watched the changing of the guard at the Royal Palace

    - Fav new Danish word: As in Sweden, the Danes have their own special word for a cosy, coffee moment, it's called Hygge. Basically means doing anything that warns your heart :) so nice.

    - Half way through the tour we took a 25 min break for lunch. I stopped in at a local cafe got a smorgborrd. Mine had sliced meat, dried onions, salad and some sauce, plus the rye bread. It was great! But I definitely needed a second one.

    The tour ended at the Royal Palace Amalienborg, where we watched the changing of the guard. With an hour to spare I decided to go and see the Little Mermaid before returning to The Bishop Absalon Horse Statue for the start of the Christiania tour.

    I, however, failed enormously at this task and somehow got stuck on the Military Island which houses the Baroque church of Kastelskirken. Time was up and I decided that as the Mermaid is apparently the most unimpressive statue and has repeatedly won this honour in awards then perhaps I wasn't missing out on too much haha and left. Until next time!

    Christiania is a very interesting area of Copenhagen so this should be a very interesting tour.

    We began at the Bishop Absalon Horse statue where we walk to the nearest canal and all peer in to see a sculpture in the water. Depending on what time of the day the sculptures are either in full sight, appear to be coming out of the water or covered all together. Our guide said that it had inspired the Little Mermaid story.

    We crossed a bridge and heading towards Christiania on the way passing the Borsen aka 17th century former stock exchange. Our guide told us that McDonalds had wanted to buy it several years ago for a nice figure, but the committee refused to sell it to them.

    According to legend (thanks the dragon tailed spire guards the building against enemy attacks and fires, and surprisingly, the Old Stock Exchange has many times been spared from damage, when fires have broken out in neighbouring buildings.

    The Christiansborg Palace (the present Danish Parliament) has burnt down on several occasions, and most recently in 1990, a fire broke out in the Proviantgaarden in Slotsholmsgade (Slotholm Street), but once again, the Old Stock Exchange was spared!

    We took pictures on the bridge as the sun set over the city and heard stories of the naval years while walking through Christianshavn. When we reached the bridge near the Vor Frelsers Kirke (Church of our saviour) the guide asked us all to yell out 'hi Daniel’ towards an apartment block where apparently his friend Daniel lives.

    The Church of our Saviour is one that you can climb to the top. It also apparently plays music on the hour and once our guide heard the Star Wars theme! From here we neared Christiania. Apparently guided tours from guides not from Christiania are not legal, so we had to finish our tour on the outskirts and pretend not to follow the guide into the village.

    Christiania is a former barracks area colonized by hippies after declaring itself a ‘free city’ in 1971. It has it’s own rules and runs completely free of the Danish government - none of this is legal. They also don’t pay taxes which is a sore point for some Danes, but as it’s one of Copenhagen’s’ most visited attractions others feel that it’s ok.

    You can’t take pictures unless you have permission and the last guy who did so (according to our guide) was forced to strip naked and hand over all of his clothes. It is also ‘legal’ to buy and smoke weed here and does some ridiculous figure like $150,000 US a day in revenue of weed.

    It’s a really arty area with cool buildings, shops, food and people. You exited through a sign that says ‘you are now entering the EU’. It was cool to see, but I’d like to see it in the daylight to get a real feel for the place.

    It was quite dark by the time the tour ended and cold. As I made my way back to the city I stopped in at a little café for a croissant and tea, but mainly to warm up haha. I decided that I would try and visit the meat-packing district, which Chloe also recommended and is supposed to have some great food places there!

    So I headed back to the hostel had a shower and packed my bag for tomorrow and then headed off to Kodboyn, which is near the central station. I walked around and around, down through the little alleyways. Everywhere seemed full or hosting fancy Christmas parties or dark and deserted.

    I don’t know if I went to the wrong place or perhaps I didn’t feel appropriately dressed to walk into some of the restaurants but in the end I walked back to the hostel feeling slightly defeated haha. I’ll have to try again another day.

    Instead, for my final meal (clearly excluding tomorrow night) in antoher country, and in exactly one week’s time I will be back in Australia I had pizza and gin at my hostel. Mingling with other travellers, forced to listen to the doff doff going on in the hostels opening night of their bar in the basement and looking at a map of Europe and marking off all the countries I had been to.

    Tomorrow I have the morning to explore before heading out of town to attend the Women’s Handball World Cup championships, how exciting!

    Free walking Tour

    Meat Packing District

    Christiania – images
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