Scandimania Pt 5: Copenhagen

7 Feb

Oh patient readers, I assure you that I have finally finished the last of my blog posts about my trip to Scandinavia back in October – sorry it has taken so long!

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After stopping at Stockholm, Trondheim, Oslo and Gothenburg, I finally made it to Copenhagen, for the last few days of my adventure. I had visited the city before, so it felt much more like seeing an old friend than exploring another new place. I only had one full day in the city, so I spent it cycling around, revisiting my favourite spots, and visiting a few places that I hadn’t had the chance to check out last time I was here.

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The first place I had to check out was the Carlsberg factory in the heart of Copenhagen. I kicked myself for missing this last time I was in the city, so made a beeline for it as soon as I woke up on the last full day of my trip. The brewery has been producing delicious beers and ales since 1847, and the company has had a huge influence on Copenhagen art and culture.

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I really enjoyed visiting the enormous factory complex. I learned about the Jacobsen family who founded the brand, and had the opportunity to taste a few of their rarer brews, including the one in the picture above….I can’t believe they spelled my name wrong!DSC_5471

Many of the works of art on display in the city were donated by the Jacobsen family, including the famous Lille Havfrue – the Little Mermaid, and my personal favourite, the Gefion Fountain, near Kastellet.

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Whilst the Little Mermaid may be the most famous (but in my opinion, rather disappointing) statue in Copenhagen, the standout public artwork for me has to be this incredible fountain. It depicts the Viking story of Gefion, a humble farming woman who wanted some land of her own to plough. The King did not want to give any of his land away, so reluctantly agreed to grant Gefion whatever land she could plough in a single night.

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What the King didn’t know was that our humble farmwoman was in fact a goddess, and she had a trick up her sleeve… Gefion used her powers to transform her 4 sons into enormous, powerful oxen, to help her plough all night. The oxen were so strong that they managed to clear huge swathes of land, so much so that the earth disappeared and the area left became Lake Vannern in Sweden. The land that Gefion ploughed that night fell into the sea, and became Zealand, the island mass upon which Copenhagen stands.

The fountain is a spectacular sight. Gefion wields a whip, pushing her transformed sons on to plough the land. The fountain has so many impressive details, from the steam shooting out of the nostrils of the oxen, to the snakes coiling themselves around the fountain’s surround.

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After revisiting Gefion and her oxen, I continued my day of sightseeing by strolling around the picturesque Langelinie area, and passing through Nyhavn. Copenhagen is a really photogenic city, so it’s a fantastic place to wander around, taking pictures.
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My final stop for the day was the Christiansborg Slot, or Christiansborg Palace, which is in the town centre. It costs some kroner to visit the reception rooms, the chapel, stables and other areas of the palace, but there is, thankfully, one part of the palace is free to visit: the tower. From the entrance, you can take an elevator right to the top of the clock tower, for unrivalled views of wonderful, wonderful Copenhagen! 

I wasn’t able to take any pictures to show you, but there was one more place I visited on my trip. If you ever find yourself in Denmark’s capital, and you like swimming, you absolutely must visit Vandkulturhuset. Let me warn you right now – this is no ordinary swimming pool. The main pool is egg shaped and has a mammoth, 100m circumference, around which swimmers follow eachother round in long, graceful, elliptical lengths. In the middle of the egg is a second, rectangular pool, in which lessons are taking place, and swimmers are crossing into it by way of a bridge from the poolside. It was quite an experience! I really recommend Vandkulturhuset to anyone visiting Copenhagen, for a truly unique splash around.

Anyway, it was time to end my Scandinavia adventure, after nearly a fortnight of incredible sights. By the time I boarded the Oresundstag to Malmo, I was running so late for my flight that  I was unable to explore Malmo – with a paltry half hour of my holiday left before heading to the airport, I decided to treat myself to a real Swedish delicacy, one that is relatively unknown in the UK except to those who are fans of The Great British Bake Off – the Princessetorte.

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Apparently the cake is a very popular birthday treat in Sweden, and despite its sickly sweet appearance, the flavour was actually quite delicate! The sponge was light and the raspberry jam gave a tangy lift to the whipped cream. I don’t know what Mary Berry would have thought of the folds in the green marzipan covering though!

I usually feel a mild sense of disappointment when I step off a plane, knowing that the holiday is over and I am back in the real world. However, on this one occasion, I felt nothing but excitement as I landed on British soil. I had just completed a magical holiday, full of thrilling sights and new experiences, and I had the good fortune to land at 16:45 on November 5th – bonfire night!

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As soon as I had collected my bag from the carousel, I sped to the car as quickly as possible and set off, hoping to get home in time for the fireworks show that takes place less than a mile from my home. Fortunately, it was a clear, dry night, and there were no holdups on the motorway. I raced into my flat, dumped my bags, and ran out to the lake, clutching just my keys, my camera and a glass of wine hastily poured in the kitchen.DSC_5600

I was not disappointed – within 5 minutes of arriving, I was treated to a spectacular show, which was the perfect end to an enchanting, illuminating holiday. I’ve really enjoyed writing about my trip, as it has given me the chance to relive my adventure – if you are planning a holiday right now, I’d recommend you explore Scandinavia-  although I only saw a small amount, I am sure I will return.

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