Wednesday, August 26, 2009

All Around Denmark

We were happy to return to Denmark's mainland, despite Aero's wonderful charm. By the time we got off the ferry we hoped good karma would return as we realized Connor's Bob stroller had a flat tire (eee gaaa!) and Kirk realized that the parking place where we left our car all weekend was a 1 hour spot! (not knowing Danish we missed that translation!) Thankfully we found the kindest bike repair shop that had Bob good as new in 20 minutes and we were ticket-free in the parking lot. The yummy Danish Danishes seemed to smile at us from the bakery windows. I resisted, but can't say my mouth didn't water looking at the gooey goodness.We drove from Svendborg to Roskilde, Denmark. It was a cloudy day, yet somehow clouds fit Denmark I think. So no worries. We snagged a prime parking place in the main square and walked to the Roskilde Cathedral. Roskilde's imposing 12th-century, twin-spired cathedral houses the tombs of 38 Danish kings and queens. It's a stately, modern-looking old church with great marblework, paintings, wood carvings in and around the altar, and a great 16th-century Baroque organ.I really loved this church. It was dramatically different from so many we have been in with its red brickwork. A fun change to help us look with new eyes at this new culture and their worship architecture. My expat friends talk about "church overload" where you start to take for granted all the wonders of these religious sites because there are just SO MANY. I can honestly say that I haven't felt that yet. When I enter a European church I still let the individuality of it wash over me. I think about who designed and built this masterpiece. And I wonder about what a service feels like in each place with each culture.After the cathedral we walked to the water and Viking Ship Museum. OK - now we were officially in Scandinavia....Viking Ships certainly make it so!This museum had several outdoor stations with boat displays and Viking-type activities ongoing: blacksmiths, archery, woodworking. But the real showstopper were the remains of 5 Viking ships. These ships were deliberately sunk a thousand years ago to block a nearby harbor and were only recently excavated, preserved, and pieced together.
I have to say that we were a tad disappointed with how little of the displays were actual boat and not reconstruction - especially given the steep entrance fees. We enjoyed ourselves nonetheless...
...and the big hit - even above the Viking ships - was getting to dress Connor up like a little Viking! Someone had on their kid-friendly thinking cap when orchestrating this museum.Connor enjoyed the dress up and playing around in the Viking boat! We lacked the 2-horned Viking hat, but I don't think the lady Vikings probably wore those anyway.
Check, Roskilde - been there, seen that. We snagged some of the famous hot dogs from a street vendor - loaded with pickles, fried onion bits and other such delicacies and continued our roadtrip through Denmark.Next stop was Frederiksborg Castle in Hillerod. This grandest castle in Scandinavia is often called the "Danish Versailles" and was the home to King Christian IV.We only had time for a quick look. But that was fine. While I am not yet suffering from "church overload," I do admit to some "castle interior overload" and have found I am often just as happy appreciating the exterior architecture without paying the hefty price tag to see the ornate interiors. Those are starting to look all alike.
The best part about Frederiksborg was the moat park in the back. It would be the perfect place for a romantic or playful picnic. There are expansive green grounds just beckoning. We had to resist, but next time!Kirk led the way from Frederiksborg to Kronborg Castle.
My Shakespeare-loving husband couldn't pass up the chance to see the "Hamlet" castle - the supposed backdrop for William's dark tragedy. "To be or not to be" echoed through the dank, dark courtyards!Our final stop on our Danish whirlwind was the highly-touted Louisiana Museum of Modern Art. The drive from Kronborg to Louisiana was stunning along the "Danish Riviera" - we could look across the water and see Sweden! But alas, to our disappointment the museum was closed on Mondays. Rick neglected to put that in his guidebook. Bummer.
I did walk the grounds and spied some of the art in the funky landscapes. The museum is perched right above the ocean. Louisiana is supposedly "a holistic place that masterfully mixes its art, architecture, and landscape."

By the end of the day our happy baby was still smiling in the backseat. We were glad to have glimpsed some of Denmark before our big boat left on our cruise.

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