Day 2: Walking around Copenhagen with no particular place to go

Copenhagen canal

Introduction

Started today, with no real plan, wanted to see some typical neighborhoods of Copenhagen and how the local people live, so I took a left out of the hotel and wandered a bit, eventually looping around the historic city center.

Copenhagen Lakes and Frederiksberg

Just to the west of Central Copenhagen are 3 man-made lakes, Sankt Jørgens Sø, Peblinge Sø, and Sortedams Sø. The first lake, Peblinge Sø was constructed over 500 years ago as a millpond and reservoir. The other two lakes were added early in the 16th century to increase capacity. Someone then came up with the idea to expand the lakes and integrate them into Copenhagen’s defenses. The levees were improved, the lakes deepened and pumps were added to enable flooding, the lakes as a defensive tactic.

As I was crossing the street after crossing the levee, I heard the clip-clop of horses coming up the street, not something you expect outside of tourist areas in a large city like Copenhagen. A man and a woman on a cart headed somewhere at a decent pace. I had no idea where they came from, where they were headed, or why they were going there. Did they have to do something for the Queen, that required them to do it by horse and cart? Maybe pick up the queen’s Christmas tree, it was that time of year.

Bicycles in Copenhagen

There are roughly 4 bicycles per person in Denmark but unlike in Poland, bike riders do not ride on the sidewalks, they stick to the bike lanes. Cars on the streets, bikes on the bike lane, and people on the sidewalk. It feels like if you walk in the bike lanes you are fair game. The real problem with bikes in Copenhagen is parking, there are bikes parked everywhere, in congested areas, bikes are tagged with paper tape, and if the bike is there after some time, the bike is impounded, rebuilt, and sold.

Stumbling Stones

I came across a couple of Stolpersteines on this walk, apparently there are a few around Copenhagen.

Assistens Cemetery (Hans Christian Andersen grave site)

I made it to the Nørrebro area and pulled up Google Maps to get a reference of where I actually was, and I saw a few blocks away was “Hans Christian Andersen grave site”. I think I have said this in the past, but you find out a lot when you walk through a cemetery in a foreign country. They are like large sculpture gardens.

Assistens Cemetery started as Copenhagen’s pauper cemetery in 1760 but started to become “trendy” about 30 years later, and by the mid-1800s there was an attempt to start charging admission to reduce the number of visitors.

I found Hans Christian Andersen’s grave site, it was very unassuming, I thought it would be more grand considering all the other tributes around the city. There were a few with pictures, not nearly as many as you see in Central Europe. I think I only saw 2 with pictures, Natasja Saad, a Danish singer who at the time of her death was beginning to break out on the international music scene, and Edward (Simon) Simonyan an Armenian-born furniture designer, I could not find out a lot about Ed.

Then there’s the Nielsen family plot, a beautiful copper piece, two life-size statues of men sitting on what appears to be a table. Upon closer inspection, you see cut-outs on the tabletop, in each cut-out is a small sculpture of the people buried there. There is no indication of whom the two men are. I know there has to be some story behind this

There are a lot of standard tablet or pillar markers, and some markers are not much more than a rock with a name scratched it them, while others are complex art installations. Then there’s FRED, just FRED.

Luna Maarup Andersen

Whenever I visit a cemetery, I always manage to find that one grave that tugs at my heart, on this particular trip it was the grave of 15-year-old Luna Maarup Andersen, who would now be 26 years old. My visit was roughly one month after the 10th anniversary of her death. There were still some fresh trinkets, beads, and such hanging on the plants around her grave. On her grave were 20 candles, all had something written on them, it is nice to think that 10 years after her death 20 of her friends, came to visit, and leave a gift and a note for their friend.

As far as I can tell, Luna was involved in a car accident of some kind on Halloween 2013. She died from her injuries on the 2nd of November. Her stone has 3 dates on it; her birthdate with a star, the accident date with the moon, and the date she was pronounced dead a butterfly. If it were not for the three dates, I don’t think I would have noticed it at all.

The last line on her stone “Du åbner vores hjerter” translates to “You open our hearts”

Nørreport

Nørreport is North Port or North Gate, from the days when the city was fortified. I decided to head towards the lakes to see what might distract me off the main street, but before I knew it I was at the lakes and the statue “Young people sitting” which I retitled “He’s just got friend-zoned”. Someone made a short-term political statement in the snow on the ice, “Mind Actual Problems”, which sounds like good advice.

Obligatory pigeon picture for my wife, she loves birds.

Square Trees

As you walk around Copenhagen, you notice, they really seem to like square trees.

Rosenborg Castle

Quite accidentally, I found myself at Rosenborg Castle, I was looking for Kartoffelrækkerne or The Potato Rows because it just stuck out while I was looking at maps. Then I was going to check out the US Embassy. Well while I was waiting at this really long traffic signal that was lengthened by passing emergency vehicles, I noticed an open gate. The rule is if you see an open gate, you have to check it out. I went through the gate and saw a huge garden, it was Rosenborg castle, but the castle was closed (on Monday), I saw that as I passed the main gate.

The castle was a cool-looking building, but I was not really impressed as it was pretty small in my opinion. My past experience has been castles are much bigger and more ornate. I had planned on visiting but changed my mind.

I was halfway through my fifth (and last) camera battery for the day, and I was really getting hungry, so I started towards the hotel and looked for a place for a very late lunch.

Kongens Nytorv

It was starting to get late, and I still had not had lunch yet, so I made my way towards Kongens Nytorv, or “The Kings New Square” which is round. On the square is the Hotel D’Angleterre, fully in the Christmas spirit. Department store Magasin du Nord had their own little Christmas market out front. and across the street is the Royal Danish Theater. Embassies, government buildings, restaurants, and small retail balance out the rest of the square. I went with a hot dog off a street cart for a very late lunch, something I was not aware of until recently is that Denmark is a Hot Dog hotbed…

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