We were due to arrive in Copenhagen at 11am so were up and dressed to watch our arrival.
For the second time we had been under the Øresund Bridge but both times it was in the middle of the night. Such a shame to miss this spectacular bridge which is a combined railway and motorway bridge across the Øresund strait between Sweden and Denmark. The bridge runs nearly 5 miles from the Swedish coast to the artificial island Peberholm in the middle of the strait. The crossing is completed by the 2.5 mile Drogden Tunnel.
The two blocks of flats on the left of this photo are built around old grain silos.
We didn’t have a very good start to our tour as it was chaos outside the dock and our coach was delayed. Still our first stop was to the Little Mermaid – a must for any visitor to Copenhagen. The story goes that The Little Mermaid is a fairy tale written by the Danish author Hans Christian Andersen about a young mermaid who is willing to give up her life in the sea and her identity as a mermaid to gain a human soul. The statue was commissioned in 1909 by Carl Jacobsen, son of the founder of Carlsberg, who had been fascinated by a ballet about the fairytale in Copenhagen's Royal Theatre and asked the ballerina, Ellen Price, to model for the statue. The sculptor Edvard Eriksen created the bronze statue, which was unveiled on August 23, 1913. The statue's head was modelled after Price, but as the ballerina did not agree to model in the nude, the sculptor's wife, Eline Eriksen, was used for the body.
Sadly in recent years it has become a popular target for defacement by vandals and political activists and in fact she had been painted red only two days before our visit in an anti-whaling protest.
This little hut is where the Queen of Sweden, Queen Margrethe, waits before she goes sailing.
We had a walk around the water front and saw the Swedish Opera House. The A.P. Møller and Chastine Mc-Kinney Møller Foundation donated the Opera House to the Danish state in August 2000 (A.P. Møller was a co-founder of the company now known as Mærsk). Some politicians were offended by the private donation, in part because the full cost of the project would be tax deductible, thus virtually forcing the government to buy the building; but the Folketing and the government accepted it in the autumn of 2000. Construction began in June 2001 and was completed on October 1, 2004. It opened on January 15th 2005.
We then saw the four Royal palaces which form the Amalienborg Palace. One palace is for the Monarch, one for the Heir Apparent, one is apartments for the Royal siblings and the fourth is used as a guest residence. Crown Prince Frederik and his family were in residence as his two children attend local schools. The family can quite often be seen walking around.
I was amazed that the public can get so close to the Palaces. Our guide, Sine, said that security is being reviewed.
It was then back to the coach and a drive around the city. We passed the Nyboder, a historic row house district of former Naval barracks. It was planned and first built by Christian IV in 1757 to accommodate a need for housing for the personnel of the rapidly growing Royal Danish Navy and their families during that time. Nyboder is today very much associated with their yellow colour however, the original colour of the development was red and white.
These are a few photos taken from the coach.
We passed the Tivoli Gardens but I didn’t get a photo opportunity. Tivoli Gardens is a famous amusement park and pleasure garden. The park opened on 15th August 1843 and is the second-oldest operating amusement park in the world, after Dyrehavsbakken in nearby Klampenborg, also in Denmark.
Our coach took us to the Christiansborg Palace - the seat of the Danish Parliament (Folketinget), the Danish Prime Minister's Office and the Supreme Court of Denmark. Also, several parts of the palace are used by the Danish monarch. The palace is thus home to the three supreme powers: the executive power, the legislative power, and the judicial power. It is the only building in the world that houses all three of a country's branches of government.
After the opulence of St. Petersburg it was really nice to see a much more unpretentious palace.
We walked over to Amagertorv Square which is dominated by the Stork Fountain. Only today it was so busy that my photo doesn’t do it justice. Central Copenhagen is one of the largest and oldest pedestrianised areas. It was started in 1962 as an experiment, and is centred on Strøget, which is not a single street but a series of interconnected avenues which create a very large pedestrian zone. Pedestrianisation is not just good for the environment, it has proved to be good for the city's finances too because city-centre spending increases when pedestrian areas grow — people linger and are more likely to buy, it seems. Copenhagen has one of the lowest rates of car ownership in Europe at 208 per 1,000 of the population (Rome has the highest at 665 per 1,000 of the population).
Copenhagen is world famous for its biking culture and now officially the first Bike City in the World. Last year, it was also voted the ‘Best city for cyclists’ and the ‘World’s most liveable city’. The Danes are well known for their love of cycling and cities all around the world are now looking at ways to copy this phenomenon. It really is biking heaven for the cyclist in Copenhagen with over 390 kilometres of designated bike lanes. The best bike I saw was one with a trailer on the front, perfect for transporting kids, friends, goods and pets.
Our last stop in Copenhagen was Nyhavn. This was originally a busy commercial port where ships from all over the world would dock. The area was packed with sailors, ladies of pleasure, pubs and alehouses. Today the beautiful old houses have been renovated and classy restaurants dominate the old port. The famous Danish fairytale writer, Hans Christian Andersen, used to live in no. 20. This is where he wrote the fairy-tales 'The Tinderbox', 'Little Claus and Big Claus', and 'The Princess and the Pea'. He also lived twenty years in no. 67 and two years in no. 18.
Back on the coach it was a short ride back to Eclipse. I took this photo which I really like.
We weren’t due to leave Copenhagen until 9pm so we had dinner and then planned to watch the sail away from the Sunset Bar. However Richard and I had something more important to do first! I had had an email from Celebrity this morning saying that there new off for June was £900 off a cruise – yes £900!! We went to the Future Cruise shop and complained bitterly to a young man that we had booked a cruise last night and no-one had mentioned that there would be a better offer tomorrow. After a tete-a-tete with a colleague we were told that we could have the new offer plus the original offer! We were surprised at how easy they agreed to this and accepted it gracefully!!
We went up and joined Penny and Jim and told them the good news – they couldn’t really believe it either! More Prosecco to celebrate!
“A smooth sea never made a skilful sailor” Franklin D Roosevelt