HAL 2019 World – Days 95-96 Sea Day & Copenhagen, Denmark

April 30, 2019 Paul Groves

Today we’re off to see “The Best of Copenhagen”

What better place to begin our tour than at the statue of the world famous “Little Mermaid”.  The bronze statue on its rock wasn’t as big as I thought is was.   A few photos and then back on the bus.

After a short drive we arrived at “Amalienborg”, the home of the Danish royal family.  Their “home” is composed of 4 identical buildings around a central plaza.  The first building we saw was the home of Crown Prince Frederik (we knew he was there as the Danish flag was flying above it).  The Queen’s home was next but she is not currently living there.  The current monarch is Queen Margrethe II.  The other two buildings are for guests and a museum.

Patrolling outside the Prince’s home were several armed guards.

Again, after a few more photos, we were off to our next stop: “Christiansborg Palace”.  Today the palace is the seat of the Danish Parliament ( Folketinget ), the Danish Prime Minister’s Office, and the Supreme Court of Denmark.  It is often used by the Queen and government officials as a reception hall for guests and dignitaries.  We were required to wear plastic booties when touring to protect the floors and carpets.

One of the first rooms we visited was a reception room.

Then we visited the dining room where we saw one of the first sets of Royal Copenhagen dinnerware in the Flora Danica pattern made around 1790.  This is still used for state occasions.  In the carpet was woven the Danish Coat of Arms.

The Queen’s library was two floors high and contains original copies of Danish authors including Hans Christian Andersen.  Permission from the Queen is needed before it can be used for any event such as serving an elegant lunch to visiting dignitaries.

The Great Hall is 120 ft long with 30 ft ceilings.  It was renovated on the occasion of Queen Margrethe II’s 60th birthday when artist Bjørn Nørgaard’s 17 tapestries recounting the history of Denmark were hung on the walls. The tapestry for the current century is very popular because it shows famous events as well as having recognizable famous people woven around its edge.

The next stop was at the Tivoli Gardens that first opened in 1843.  It has gardens, lots of restaurants, and an amusement park area.  It’s about the size of one of the lands at Disneyland.  It is said here that Walt Disney used many of the Tivoli ideas when developing Disneyland.

Sprinkled throughout the park are three or four stages.  All of them had entertainment going on at the same time so they were very busy.

In the amusement park area they had the modern rides but also some old fashioned rides as well.  We really liked the old fashioned kid’s boat ride.  

We spent a hour or so here and then moved on to the last portion of our excursion, the canal ride!  When we arrived at the canal boat, we noticed a very surprising plaque on a nearby wall.  The building along the canal was the birthplace of the famous Danish physicist/chemist and Nobel Prize winner, Niel’s Bohr.  Paul has been teaching about “the Bohr atom” for years.

We boarded our boat and toured the city’s canals for about an hour.  Our “Captain” looked like he just got out of high school.  In all of the canals we saw little boats called “GOBOAT”s.  These little boats are made out of recycled plastics and have a small table installed in the middle of them.  On weekends there are so many of them you can hardly move around.  Looks like the people on board have a good time.

We also saw some beautiful buildings located on the canal:  the Royal Library (Danish: Det Kongelige Bibliotek)also called the “Black Diamond” (this new library was built in front of the old one which is still used and connected via a bridge); The Copenhagen Opera House (Danish: Operaen) is the national opera house of Denmark; and, the Royal Danish Playhouse (Danish: Skuespilhuset).

Along the way we saw some interesting spires/steeples.  The first spire is composed of the tails of four dragons!  This was located on the Old Stock Exchange (Danish: Børsen).

The second steeple was the helix-shaped tower on “The Church of Our Saviour” (Danish: Vor Frelsers Kirke). The staircase is built on the outside of the steeple and is open to the public for climbing.  Not for the faint of heart.

Lastly, the curious shaped building is the city trash incinerator (Danish: Amager Bakke) that doubles as a year-round artificial ski slope, hiking slope and climbing wall.  Our guide told us there are plans for restaurants as well.  A special feature of this facility is that the chimney does not emit its exhaust continuously, but instead in the form of “smoke rings” (consisting of water vapour rather than actual smoke).

We conveniently finished our canal tour right back at the ship.

Later that night we attended a private concert put together by Conor, a keyboardist with the onboard band, and, Michael, the onboard bandleader.  Tickets were available only if you donated money during the silent auction event last month. Both musicians are extremely talented and played about an hour of music, most of which was improvised and by request.  

All in all it was a good day.