Touristing in Copenhagen

This is post #2 of our 2016 Copenhagen-Stockholm trip.

1scandiskip0The next morning Dave is up early, as is his habit, and he gets ready for the day, then heads off to breakfast.  I struggle to wake up, but do get myself ready to walk with him after he returns, over to where his meetings are held for the day.  It’s at a university building and we walk over the Dronning Louises Bridge across “The Lakes” where we see this statue en route of an earnest young couple deep in conversation.  I remind Dave that we are celebrating our wedding anniversary this week, and that could have been us some years ago, trying to figure everything out.  In fact, 27 years ago, we were in Austria on our honeymoon, beginning our life together.  It’s lovely to be traveling again in commemoration of that blissed-out event, and realize how far we’ve come.

1scandiskip1d1scandiskip1 As he makes the last turn, I bid him farewell and watch him walk up the street, then return to photograph the upper panels of this kiosk.  It’s a gray day, but sun is promised later, and I’m interested in All Things Danish, so everything catches my eye.1scandiskip1a 1scandiskip1b 1scandiskip1c 1scandiskip1e 1scandiskip1fWhat I didn’t realize was that I would see this kiosk over and over again as I walked through Copenhagen.  Where this one seemed like a one-of-a-kind, nearly centuries old, I began to wonder about how old they really were about the 4th time I saw it.   It turns out they are old telephone kiosks that held the first pay telephones and were built between 1896 and 1915.  Originally there were 30 of these, and now there are only eleven (more info can be found *here*).  Daniel Fischerman, who wrote the post, notes that “They were built in national romantic style with copper, cast and wrought iron and hard wood.”1scandiskip2A funky European-style fountain, right next to the old telephone kiosk.1scandiskip3This building appeared to be completely square.1scandiskip4 1scandiskip4a 1scandiskip4b 1scandiskip4c“What was this,” I asked the lady who pulled up to part her bike. “A kindergarten,” she replied.
I’d want to go to school here if they had chickens on the walls, too.1scandiskip4dThe sun is beginning to shine. 1scandiskip5 1scandiskip6Pussy Galore’s Flying Circus served coffee from the telephone kiosk.1scandiskip6aKitty-corner from the kiosk and its square was this church. At this point, everything is amazing, new, interesting, fascinating and so I’m always taking pictures.  By the end of the week, as jaded tourists, we’re like, “Oh, yeah.  That.”1scandiskip6bI’m always in search of pattern (for my quilting) and surface design.1scandiskip6c 1scandiskip6dThis is a “good” sidewalk.  It has the cobblestones with ample parts pavement.  “Bad” sidewalks are those rustic all-cobble surfaces, which are fine for the first 10 minutes, then become tiring to walk on.1scandiskip6e 1scandiskip6fI saw this moveable kiosk later on in the day in one of the squares.1scandiskip6gThat moat must have been huge.  I have always envisioned moats as about 10 feet wide, but if these “lakes” were truly the remnants of the old city’s moats, they would have been a serious defense.1scandiskip6h 1scandiskip6i 1scandiskip6jTiveren is a companion to the Nile statue.  This site notes that he “was established 30 July 1901 as a counterpart to the Nile. Although the Tiber River is modest in relation to the Nile, the figurative manufacture of the river that runs through Rome, an equally powerful giant. The original was found in 1512 in the Temple of Isis Iseo Campense near S. Maria sopra Minerva, Rome.”1scandiskip7I’m on the hunt for breakfast, and I pick something up at a bakery, but found better and more unusual things (translation: fresher) at Torvehallerne, or the Food Hall.  I’ll save this stall for later, as I’d heard about Denmark’s open faced sandwiches, called “smorrebrod” and wanted to try them.1scandiskip7fAbout a block away is the Metro stop.  A lot of the first hours in a new city is about creating markings, or getting bearings, and this station became one of them.  It was easy to spot as I walked along as it was flooded with bicycles, many of them parked under the flat roofs seen here.  I keep walking.1scandiskip8Another telephone kiosk near the Metro.

There’s an area here where there isn’t much car traffic, except in the mornings, for deliveries.  Some cross streets have traffic, but many streets have been marked off for pedestrian use.  I found my way to the Marimekko Store on one of these streets, picking up a few souvenirs.  There are many shops along this shopping street, Kobmagergade, and I enjoy the show of the storefront windows, but since my brain is still fogged in and trying to handle the fact that when it says 100 kronen, it’s really only about $15 US.  But it sounds like so much more, so I just look.

Workers were busy installing cobblestone (re-installing?) and three of them were in their city-issued bright green bib overalls, moving stone and equipment this way and that.  I noticed that one of them was shorter  than the others and when he turned around it said “Froddo” on his bib overalls.  I checked and none of the other workers had names on their overalls. I wanted to take a photo of this little joke, but thought it intrusive so I moved on.

1scandiskip8b 1scandiskip8c 1scandiskip8d 1scandiskip8eThe Round Tower and the doorway to the top.  We never did make it.1scandiskip8f 1scandiskip8gAnother landmark was the fountain with three cranes, a gift given in at the turn of the century to celebrate Crown Prince Frederick’s and Crown Princess Louise’s silver wedding anniversary.  Actually some say they are herons and some say they are storks, with the stork people winning out as newly graduated midwives dance around the fountain.  Of course, I know none of this at the time, as there’s no tour guide feeding this salient info into my ear, nor can I read any placard in the vicinity as they are in Danish, so I just enjoy the design, and acquire another landmark.

1scandiskip8aAnd just down from it, I sat to rest on a #copenhagenbench across from this building, the backside of Christiansborg Slot (Castle), and seat of the Danish Parliament.  I saw several tour groups enter in the main door (led by people with umbrellas or other items, held aloft) so figured it must have been important.

1scandiskip9Behind me is a canal.1scandiskip9aAnd occasional boats with loudspeaking tour guides feeding garbled-sounding salient info into the tourists’ ears.  Is it better or worse to not know what you are looking at?  I read plenty before I head off to a place, and take along guidebooks as I walk, but not everything is in every guide book. And not every tour guide knows everything, or has time to tell the tourist everything. In this way, both book and actual tour guide filter the experience.  So when I get home I look up things.  Dave and I had fun reading about the telephone kiosks today, several days after-the-fact.  Would it make it any better to have known about this as we saw them?  I will never know.1scandiskip9bWhere am I?  I find these signs helpful, even if they’ve been tagged.1scandiskip10I head back up towards Torvehallerne for lunch, passing by this church tower.1scandiskip10aDo you think the Danes ever come out of their offices and wonder where they’ve parked their bike?  Copenhagen’s bicyclists are a determined and numerous lot.  Around dinnertime you’d better watch yourself and not step into the “bicycle freeway.”1scandiskip11I spot an interesting statue on top of that far building just to the left of the copper tower roof.  [Later, with the magic of the internet(!)  I found out it is a statue of Hermes atop the former Messen Department Store, now the Varehuset Museum.]1scandiskip11aSo much of travel involves sight.  I can’t read the language, so pictures — or what I actually can see with my eyes — become the way I navigate through cities and streets.  One language that is  universal, though, is the language of flowers.  Here are some taped to the front of a shop–along the doorway and along the windows.  I was charmed.1scandiskip12And then there is the ubiquitous advertising guys, this one with a flag attached to his back, advertising e-cigarettes.1scandiskip12aI want to go home and make a navy dress (but this shade of navy which veers slightly towards lavender) with cream accents.1scandiskip12bAm I there yet?1scandiskip13Here’s a giant bowl of frozen yogurt, a cousin to the giant hot dog spotted at the airport.1scandiskip13a 1scandiskip14I make it to the Food Hall and there is a long line for the smorrebrod sandwiches.1scandiskip14aWhen I get close, I start to panic and just end up pointing to two.  They zip them over onto a plate, hand me my soda and a fork and knife and turn to the next customer.1scandiskip14bThey all start with a thin slice of sturdy rugbrød — a sourdough rye bread.  Then they spead on some butter, then start building.  The one on the left was smoked cream cheese with garnishes on top of slices of cucumber.  The one on the right is sliced, cooked potato with a blob of sour cream, topped with a crispy onion ring and lots of chives.  I ended up eating here three days in a row and came to understand that the art of smorrebrod is stacking ingredients.1scandiskip14cHere’s a look from the other side.1scandiskip14dI sat at the counter overlooking this prep station, so saw them do lots of sandwiches.  Most of the time, their hands were not gloved, and the only one I could see wearing them was this lady, as she put them on to handle pickles.  Even the lady who separated the egg yolks out for the tartare sandwiches (they put one egg yolk in a tiny little dish for each serving) did so with bare hands.  We are sort of freaked out by this in the US, as we are so aware of food safety all the time.  I don’t think I’d be as willing to eat the food with bare-handed prep people in another country, say, India or something, but here it seemed part of the scene.1scandiskip15Bikes for rent, complete with GPS screens.1scandiskip15aJust don’t park them here.

One thought on “Touristing in Copenhagen

  1. I kept wanting to comment on your photos as I read this. For example, imagine having phone booths worth preserving as objets d’art. I like the bicycle mural behind the movable kiosk and the stools (?) with the faces on them. I need a way to comment mid-blog! Most of all, I want to eat smorrebrod with you.

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