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Denmark.

Folk Dancing at Rosenborg Castle - Denmark

Folk Dancing at Rosenborg Castle - Denmark

Denmark

For some reason when I was a little girl and had never even been out of the UK, the place I really wanted to go to was Denmark. I even used my pocket money to buy a Collins Guidebook to Denmark and I would look through the pictures deciding where I wanted to go. My favourite places were Jelling Kirke with its Viking runestones ­and I did make it there ­and Mons Klint on the Island of Mons with its towering white cliffs.­ I've not made it there yet.

I've been to Denmark twice. My first visit was in 1986. I had spent a year working in Finland as an au pair and was intending to fly back to the UK at the end of my contract. My boyfriend of the time, who is now my husband, said why don't we get the train, so I bought an interrail card and used it to travel from Helsinki to Stockholm, Stockholm to Helsingborg, then across to Helsingor with Hamlet's Castle. After that we travelled to Copenhagen, then Hamburg, Amsterdam. Hook of Holland to Harwich then home. We arrived in Helsingor at some ungodly time of the morning. Being summer it was light and we looked at the castle before travelling on to Copenhagen. We planned to spend two nights in Copenhagen but extended it to three because we liked it. We visited the Little Mermaid, the Nyhavn, The Carlsberg Brewery, the Tivoli Gardens, Rosenborg Castle. I remember going to a huge department store and trying on the hats then laughing at how ridiculously expensive they were. I also remember the wonderful open sandwiches and delicious cakes and pastries.

Our second visit was in 2002. We flew to Esbjerg with two friends. They hired a car and we drove off to Ribe, ­Denmark's oldest town. Later we visited Silkeborg to see the lakes and the bog body. After that we stayed in Aarhus for a couple of nights then drove to Jelling to see the church and rune stones. Next we spent a couple of nights in Odense. After Odense, to everyone else's disapproval, I insisted we went to Legoland and guess what, we all loved it. We also visited two beaches: one on the Baltic and one on the North Sea. We did not actually see Esbjerg at all, except the airport, which was a bit of a shame. Oh well next time.

Helsingor.

We arrived in Helsingor by ferry from Helsingborg in Sweden. It was very early in the morning but we wanted to see the famous Elsinore Castle ­used as the setting for Shakespeare's Hamlet. The castle's real name is Kronborg Castle. Kronborg Castle was built in the 1420's by King Erik of Pomerania. The castle was located at the narrowest part of the Øresund and charged cargo ships a toll for sailing past. In 1585 Frederik II enlarged the castle. In 1629 the castle was destroyed by fire. It was later rebuilt by King Christian IV. The Swedes occupied Kronborg from 1658 to 1660 and plundered its treasures. From 1785 until 1924 Kronburg Castle became a barracks; then it became a museum. The castle was not open when we visited as we were very early. We walked around the sea barriers next to it. With no­one around in the early morning, we half expected to see the ghost of Hamlet's father walking the battlements. Helsingor is a port city only 3 miles sail away from Sweden. It has a population of just under 50.000 and is located in the north eastern corner of the Island of Zealand.

Helsingor

Helsingor

Helsingor

Helsingor

Copenhagen­

The Little Mermaid.

I don't have a lot of photos of Copenhagen. My travel style in the past was: turn up knowing nothing, get a free map, use that to find the sights that interest me, take about 8 photos, go home. The only sight in Copenhagen I knew about before I arrived was the Little Mermaid Statue.The Little Mermaid is, of course, the symbol of Copenhagen and even the whole of Denmark. In 1909 Carl Jacobsen, the son of the founder of the Carlsberg Brewery, comissioned the sculptor, Edvard Eriksen, to create a statue of the Little Mermaid from the Hans Christian Anderson fairytale. It is believed he came up with this idea after watching a ballet based on the fairytale. Ballerina Ellen Price was used as the model for the statue. The sculpture was unveiled on the 23rd of August 1913. The Little Mermaid Statue sits on a rock by the waterside at the Langelinie Promenade. It is 1.25 metres, about 4.1 ft, tall and weighs 175 kilograms, about 385 lbs. The statue has, unfortunately, been the target of vandals and political extremists from time to time. It has been decapitated and even blown up, but is always restored. In the fairytale the unfortunate mermaid fell in love with a prince that she rescued from a ship wreck. She then gave her voice to a seawitch in return for human legs. She wanted the prince to love her as much as she loved him and endured agony in every step she took just to be near him. When he married another, the sad mermaid sought her own death. The statue rests on a rock, gazing sadly out to sea dreaming of her handsome but fickle prince.

Copenhagen- The Little Mermaid.

Copenhagen- The Little Mermaid.

The Carlsberg Brewery.

Carlsberg, ­ possibly the best beer in the world, ­ originated in Copenhagen. We visited the Carlsberg Brewery and took the brewery tour. The first thing we noted were the elephant statues at the brewery's impressive entrance. The elephant is one of Carlsberg's symbols and they brew beer called after these animals ­ elephant beer ­in some parts of the world. The swastika was also one of their symbols until the 1930's. They used it because the swastika was originally a symbol of auspiciousness in Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. With the rise of the Nazi Party the swastika was dropped by the Carlsberg Brewery who wanted no association with right­wing extremists. It was here on the tour that I first learnt the original meaning of the swastika. Now that I live in Asia, I see this symbol on Buddhist temples all the time and understand why it is there. The tour was interesting and on it we learned a lot about making beer. At the end we were given some free samples to try. Another thing we learned on the tour was that due to government regulations in Denmark they are able to brew strong beers for export, but are not allowed to sell them in Denmark itself, as the government is or at least was trying to clamp down on drunkenness. The Carlsberg Brewery was founded by J.C. Jacobsen. The first ever brew in this brewery was ready on the 10th of November 1847. Export of Carlsberg beer to other countries began in 1868. Brewing Carlsberg under license in other countries began in 1968 with the opening of a Carlsberg brewery in Malawi. Now Carlsberg is brewed and enjoyed in many parts of the world. J.C. Jacobsen, the brewery's founder, was a philanthropist and enthusiastic art collector. With the fortune he amassed from brewing beer, he gradually built up an impressive art collection. This is now housed in the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek in Central Copenhagen.

Copenhagen - The Carlsberg Brewery.

Copenhagen - The Carlsberg Brewery.

The Nyhavn ­ New Harbour.

The Nyhavn is also a world famous sight and I had, now that I think of it, heard of this and seen pictures of it before I visited Copenhagen. Nyhavn means New Harbour. It stretches from Kongens Nytorv, King's Square to just south of the Royal Playhouse. This waterfront area is lined with brightly coloured 17th and 18th century townhouses. Nowadays the area has many bars, cafes and restaurants. There are also many historical wooden ships on display here. The Nyhavn was constructed during the reign of King Christian V. Construction began in 1670 and continued for three years. The Nyhavn was built as a gateway from the sea to the old inner city at Kongens Nytorv. This was a more convenient location to off­load cargo or fish. The Nyhavn was dug by Swedish prisoners of war who were captured during the Dano Swedish War which lasted from 1658 to1660. This area was once notorious for bars, rowdy drunken sailors, and prostitution. Hans Christian Andersen was a famous resident who lived at Nyhavn for 18 years. Nowadays you can do boat trips from here and it's interesting just to wander around looking at the ships, old houses, restaurants etc.

The Nyhavn - New Harbour.

The Nyhavn - New Harbour.

Rosenborg Castle.

When we visited here, we were fortunate enough to watch some folk dancing taking place in the gardens outside the castle. Rosenborg Castle was built in 1606. It was originally used as a summerhouse during the reign of Christian IV. It was built in Dutch Renaissance style and was designed by architects Bertel Lange and Hans van Steenwinckel the Younger. Later it was expanded and used as a royal residence until 1710. After this it was lived in by the royal family only twice: once when the new royal residence, Christiansborg Palace, burned down in 1794 and once during the British attack on Copenhagen in 1801.

Rosenborg Castle.

Rosenborg Castle.

On our second visit to Denmark we began by exploring Ribe.

Our travel companions enjoying a swim. - Denmark

Our travel companions enjoying a swim. - Denmark

Ribe Town

Ribe is the oldest town in Denmark. It is a lovely historical town, dominated by a huge cathedral. We visited the cathedral and also went up its tower for lovely views over the town. The cathedrals bells are incredibly loud when you are inside the tower, as we found out. After visiting the cathedral, we wandred the picturesque streets of the old town with their lovely timbered buildings and strolled down to the Ribe River. Ribe Cathedral is actually called, Vor Frue Kirke ­The Church of Our Lady. There has been a church at this location from around 860 when Ansgar, the Apostle of the North, was given permission to build a church here. The church became a cathedral in the year 948 when Ribe got its first bishop. Borgertårnet, the 52m high Commoners’ Tower, which dates from the 14th century, used to be the town’s watchtower and storm tower. You can go up here to enjoy lovely views over the town and surrounding countryside. The cathedral’s carillon bells play 'Now found is the Fairest of Roses'­ a hymn by Brorson at 08.00 and 18.00, and a folk song about Queen Dagmar at 12.00 and 15.00. There was folkdancing outside the cathedral when we visited.

Ribe Town

Ribe Town

Ribe Town

Ribe Town

Ribe Town

Ribe Town

Ribe Town

Ribe Town

Ribe Town

Ribe Town

Silkeborg And The Tollund Man.

Since I was the one that wanted to come to Denmark, I was told to do the research and work out what to go and see. My friends were a bit shocked when I told them we were going to Silkeborg to see a dead body. That'll teach them to put me in charge! Silkeborg is a lovely town surrounded by lakes. Some of the lakes have fountains in them. Silkeborg Museum contains two bog bodies ­ the Elling Woman and the Tollund man. I recommend you see the Elling woman first as it is not as well preserved as the Tollund Man and will come as a disappointment if you see her after seeing him. The Tollund Man is the mummified corpse of a man who lived during the 4th century BC. He was found in 1950 buried in a peat bog by some people who were cutting peat. The high tannin content of the bog had preserved him. His features were so well preserved that the people who found him thought he was a recent murder victim. What makes him so amazing is the detail on his face: the lines, the facial hairs. I'm not sure what I was expecting, but the degree of preservation was astonishing. Twelve years before Tollund Man's discovery, another bog body, Elling Woman, was discovered in the same bog. The Tollund Man is believed to have been the victim of a ritual sacrifice. He has a noose around his neck so was clearly murdered. He was found buried under about two metres of peat. His body was curled up in a fetal position. Despite his violent death, he looks remarkably peaceful and is not at all disturbing. We were so impressed by him that we tried to visit another bog body ­ Grauballe Man in Aarhus, ­but he was out!

Silkeborg And The Tollund Man.

Silkeborg And The Tollund Man.

Silkeborg And The Tollund Man.

Silkeborg And The Tollund Man.

Silkeborg And The Tollund Man.

Silkeborg And The Tollund Man.

Silkeborg And The Tollund Man.

Silkeborg And The Tollund Man.

Aarhus.

After visiting Silkeborg, we drove to Aarhus where we stayed the night. Aarhus is the second biggest city in Denmark. We had a look at Aarhus's lovely cathedral, took a stroll around the busy town centre and down by the waterfront and headed off to The Old Town, ­Den Gamle By,­ a wonderful open air museum with restored buildings from all around Denmark. On the day we left there was a festival of street entertainment taking place in Aarhus city centre. Aarhus Cathedral was built in 1201 and later enlarged in 1450 and 1520. It is the tallest and longest church in Denmark. It is dedicated to St. Clemens. St Clemens was the Roman Pope in 100 A.D. He became a martyr when he was drowned with an anchor tied round his neck. He is now the patron saint of sailors. We loved the beautiful frescoes on the cathedral walls. The cathedral also has a marvellous altar piece which was carved by the famous Lübeck sculptor and painter Bernt Notke. Den Gamle By, The Old Town Open Air Museum,­ was founded in 1909. It has around seventy-­five historical houses from all over Denmark, arranged to form a Danish town as it may have been in the 1800s. We had a great time visiting here. It is fun and informative.

Aarhus.

Aarhus.

Aarhus.

Aarhus.

Aarhus.

Aarhus.

Aarhus.

Aarhus.

Aarhus.

Aarhus.

On the walls of Aarhus Cathedral. - Denmark

On the walls of Aarhus Cathedral. - Denmark

Jelling Kirke, Burial Mounds And Rune Stones.

I saw the pictures of carvings on rune stones in a guidebook I owned as a child and decided I'd like to go and see them. It took me a good few years but I got there in the end. The remains at Jelling consist of two flat­topped burial mounds made of peat. The mounds are 70 metres in diameter and 11 metres high. Nearby is the smaller of two runic stones with the inscription "King Gorm made this monument to his wife Thyra, Denmark's ornament". When Gorm's son, Harald Bluetooth, introduced Christianity to Denmark in the 10th century he built a wooden church next to the burial mounds and placed a larger runic stone between the mounds. The stone has the inscription "King Harald bade this monument be made in memory of Gorm his father and Thyra his mother, that Harald who won for himself all Denmark and Norway and made the Danes Christians". The inscription is written beneath a Nordic dragon. On the southwest face of the stone is the earliest depiction of Christ in Scandinavia, with an inscription about the conversion of the Danes to Christianity between 953 and 965. The burial mounds and smaller stone are pagan, the larger stone and church are Christian, so the whole sight represents Denmark's transition from Paganism to Christianity which was brought about by Harald Bluetooth. The present church is made of whitewashed stone. The earlier wooden churches were destroyed in fires.

Jelling Kirke, Burial Mounds And Rune Stones.

Jelling Kirke, Burial Mounds And Rune Stones.

Jelling Kirke, Burial Mounds And Rune Stones.

Jelling Kirke, Burial Mounds And Rune Stones.

Jelling Kirke, Burial Mounds And Rune Stones.

Jelling Kirke, Burial Mounds And Rune Stones.

Jelling Kirke, Burial Mounds And Rune Stones.

Jelling Kirke, Burial Mounds And Rune Stones.

Odense Birthplace Of Hans Christian Andersen.

Odense is Denmark's third largest city. It is located on the Island of Funen. It was the birthplace of Hans Christian Andersen. We went to see the house where he was born in the picturesque old town of Odense. We also visited the cathedral and the market near the town hall. Also on our itinery was a visit to a museum dedicated to Danish composer, Carl Neilson. Odense Cathedral is also known as St. Canute's Cathedral. It is named after King Canute IV. There has been a church at this location for more than nine hundred years. Outside the church there is a statue of Hans Christian Andersen. The old town of Odense where Hans Christian Andersen was born is filled with clourful wooden buildings and is a very pretty place to visit. There was a market going on near the town hall when we visited. In the square outside the market there was a large statue of a reclining giant. This statue is called Oceania.

Odense Birthplace Of Hans Christian Andersen.

Odense Birthplace Of Hans Christian Andersen.

Odense Birthplace Of Hans Christian Andersen.

Odense Birthplace Of Hans Christian Andersen.

Odense Birthplace Of Hans Christian Andersen.

Odense Birthplace Of Hans Christian Andersen.

Odense Birthplace Of Hans Christian Andersen.

Odense Birthplace Of Hans Christian Andersen.

Legoland

I was the only one of us who wanted to go to Legoland. The others were against it because you could see this in England so why come to Denmark to see it, but I held firm, stating that this was the original legoland and lego was invented in Denmark. Ole Kirk Christiansen invented lego in 1949. When he died in 1958, his son Godtfredt took over the family business. Godtfredt built the first legoland theme park next to his father's factory in 1968. We loved legoland and were really impressed by the lego models of world famous sights, animals and the humorous depictions of people. Legoland is located in Billund.

Legoland

Legoland

Legoland

Legoland

Legoland

Legoland

Legoland

Legoland

Legoland

Legoland

Beaches.

We love to swim and as well as getting one hotel with a pool, we went for a dip in the Baltic at a beach near Aarhus ­which was very nice, but there were rather a lot of jellyfish. Our best swim was at a lovely long white sandy beach near Esbjerg where we had a refreshing swim in the North Sea.

Beaches.

Beaches.

Beaches.

Beaches.

Posted by irenevt 07:09 Archived in Denmark

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