Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Anticipating our Cruise in Copenhagen

Pulling into the Copenhagen Marriott, we rejoiced and were relieved after our awkward B&B stay in Aero. Kirk was able to Priceline the hotel for 100 euros - a steal in the pricey capital city. The place was fully booked with fellow cruisers anticipating departure. Our view overlooked the city and Tivoli amusement park. Connor got a kick out of that! Kirk took over Connor-duty and I strolled into the rainy night to enjoy the fabled lantern-lit Tivoli Gardens.The world's grand old amusement park - since 1843 - is 20 acres, 110,000 lanterns, 400,000 flowers and countless ice cream cones of fun.But for me I skipped the ice cream and instead indulged in a big, fluffy pink cloud of cotton candy (called candy floss here). I felt like a big kid and my eyes must have been big as saucers as I walked solo through the park with sticky fingers and a tune in my heart.I had to chuckle at these two Scandinavian blondies also with their candy floss. They looked like they belong to the Willinghams!The people-watching was plentiful. This was another photo just aching to be taken. I don't think this couple ever knew I snapped. I wish I knew them though to send them this loving photo.I was sorry Connor wasn't there when I saw this super cool red slide. So creative with its curves and cages!The park is only open in the summer and also for Christmas. The seasonal flowers color in the rides and fun with stunning beauty.I happened upon a big band playing and felt like I had been transported to the 20s. There was even a finger-snapping conductor engaging the crowd and introducing the tunes.The thousands of lit lanterns did not disappoint. I am sure the spot is lively during the day, but oh boy at night it really shows its stuff. Goodnight Tivoli. We woke up early and all wound up for the day we would set sail. But we still had so much of Copenhagen to breathe in. We were out the door and pounding the pavement by 7:30 AM. The joys of having a toddler early to rise!City Hall was dark red, copper and gold. This is just what I envisioned and expected from Scandinavia. That is always neat - when what you picture in your mind is close to reality. We did find another Hans Christian Andersen in Copenhagen. This time Kirk jumped up on HC's well-worn knee!
We followed a walking tour down the Stroget, Europe's first and greatest pedestrian shopping mall. I thought the glow from this yellow window display beamed sunshine on a cloudy day!
It didn't take our little one long to assume her routine of removing her shoes and socks as we toured around. It is like a reflex or instinct! I wonder if it helps relax her to go barefoot? Whatever it takes.
Established in the 1670s Nyhavn ("New Harbor") is a recently gentrified sailors' quarter. With its trendy cafes, jazz clubs, and tattoo shops, Nyhavn is a wonderful place to hang out. We were there by 8:30 AM so we had the place to ourselves. We passed by later in the day and it was jam-packed so we were happy we snagged the opportunity while we could. We pressed on to see the overrated and overphotographed symbol of Copenhagen, The Little Mermaid. She is small and indeed a huge tourist trap. I cringed with the tacky knick knacks hawked all around her, but she was a hit for Connor. She LOVED the Little Mermaid and wanted to swim right out to meet her!
We took in Amalienborg Palace and Square and then on to lunch at Restaurant Ida Davidsen. This eatery is another of the 1,000 Places to See... and is a showcase of the national open sandwich called smorrebrod.
Ironically Ida herself took our order for her yummy sandwiches. Ida runs this fifth-generation family restaurant, now more than a century old. The menu of 178 variations, said to be the largest in Scandinavia, is the size of the Copenhagen telephone directory. The sandwiches are displayed in a glass case, and like everything in this aesthetically sensitive country, each is carefully and artfully prepared. The choices are delectable, if somewhat improbable: tongue with fried egg, pigeon with mushrooms, and pureed smoked salmon head the more imaginative offerings.Kirk was a huge fan of the smorrebrod!Connor on the other hand, was not such a fan of the fancy food. So we picked up some of her favorite treats in the nearby market!Last stop was the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Scandinavia's top art gallery - ironically funded by beer money! Since the gallery didn't allow strollers and our princess was napping peacefully Kirk made the rounds while we stayed out to continue the snooze. But Kirk took some great photos so I feel like I was inside nonetheless.He said one of the unique displays taught about how many Greek sculptures were originally painted with color. I never knew that, did you? Strange to picture them that way when the soft, cool white marble is so mesmerising. The exhibit had original aged pieces paired with replicas with their believed-authentic hues.Those Danish ladybugs even made it into the Carlsberg gallery! Spot her near the "o" in "continues"Rodin was big at this museum. One of his "Thinkers" was in the outdoor gardens, which we all got to enjoy. And at long last we boarded our boat and called Cara to tell her we made it before we set sail. So much to tell as we were met with cruise culture overload, but will save that for a future post. Ahoy!!!

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