Copenhagen, Day 1

Copenhagen Travel Blog

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Rundetaarn

Setting foot in Denmark today satisfies my standing New Year's Resolution for 2007, as it is my first visit to this country.  I am here with my friends Paul and Scottie -- they just finished working a convention in Berlin and we are all on holiday now.  We landed at Copenhagen's airport around 10am to a beautiful, sunny day -- albeit a bit chilly (40's and 50's, fahrenheit).  We cleared customs, but I did not get a stamp in the passport since we came in from another EU country, dammit!

Our taxi to the hotel was my first price shock.  It was about $40USD, far more than was predicted by the tour guides I had read (estimated at 25USD).  We're staying at the Kong Arthur Hotel, but were unable to get into our room, as it had not been made up yet.

Students protest with porn dolls at Rundetarrn
  So, we checked our bags and took off on a walking tour of Copenhagen.  First stop was the Rundetaarn, a large round tower that was part of an old university library.  It has a spiral walkway to the top.  At about the halfway point, we saw what was an old "out house" that functioned as a toilet in the time of Hans Christian Anderson.  The plaque on the wall said that he used to use it!  It also said that they used to clean out the toilet twice a century.  The stench in the tower was reportedly unbearable, despite having no glass in the windows at that time.  That is definitely a mental image that I tried to erase as I climbed to the top of the Tower!

When we arrived at the top of the Tower, we encountered a a student demonstration.

View of Nyhavn and canal
  Students upset with a recent decision about student housing at the University showed their displeasure by climbing over the safety rail, unfurling a large pink banner and hanging large blow up plastic porno dolls.  It was a curious demonstration, but seemed to get a lot of attention.  Paul and I were interviewed by the local press to get our thoughts, but we did not really know what they were protesting, so we were not very good subjects!  At the bottom of the Tower Danish Police dressed in riot gear stopped all who exited the Tower and took down identification information from each of us.  Definitely a memorable first experience in Copenhagen!

We walked on toward the city center and then over to Nyhavn.  Nyhavn is one of the most famous views of Copenhagen and is in all the postcards and travel guides for this area.

My traveling buddies, Paul and Scott at lunch in Nyhavn
  It has very picturesque views of brightly painted buildings on the canal front.  We had lunch at a wonderful sidewalk cafe here, the Hyttefadet.  We dined on traditional Danish open-faced sandwiches called "smoresbord."  Mine was an open-faced sandwich with roast beef, cheese and a fried egg.  It was delicious with an ice cold Tuborg beer!

As we were on the canal, we opted for a boat tour along the canals to get our bearings.  We had a very nice tour -- catching sights of the new Opera House and the new National Theatre.  Both were very modern designs (Danes are known worldwide for their design work) and right on the water.  We also got our first glimpse of the Little Mermaid, Copenhagen's most famous statue and icon.

Little Mermaid, soiled by the Student Protesters
  The tour also went by the Queen's Palace and the Royal Yach.  It as about an hour long and really did a good job of orienting us. 

We continued our walking tour locating the house where Hans Christian Anderson lived and wrote.  We ended up down at the Little Mermaid for a closer look and were very disappointed to find that she had been vandalized!  It was purportedly done by the same student group from the protest at the Tower.  Someone had thrown a bucket of red paint on her!  Evidently she is quite the target of vandals -- we learned she had been beheaded at least three times in the past!

We continued to walk and explore -- finding lots of intersting statues to imitate, churches and palaces.  We eventually worked ourselves back to our hotel, got checked in, and drank a bottle of German wine that Paul had brought along from Berlin.  For dinner, we went out the courtyard of our hotel and ate tapas at a Spanish restaurant called Pintxos.  It was quite good -- but not very Danish! 

jennjeff1 says:
Nothing like having to comment to the police on your fist day's visit about prono dolls on the tower! Too funny! ~Jeff
Posted on: Apr 08, 2008
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Rundetaarn
Rundetaarn
Students protest with porn dolls a…
Students protest with porn dolls …
View of Nyhavn and canal
View of Nyhavn and canal
My traveling buddies, Paul and Sco…
My traveling buddies, Paul and Sc…
Little Mermaid, soiled by the Stud…
Little Mermaid, soiled by the Stu…
Danish Flag
Danish Flag
View from the top of the Rundetarrn
View from the top of the Rundetarrn
Security crackdown on protesters
Security crackdown on protesters
More security . . .
More security . . .
King Christian
King Christian
Memorial statue
Memorial statue
The apartment of Hans Christian An…
The apartment of Hans Christian A…
Nyhavn cafes
Nyhavn cafes
Waterfront wildlife
Waterfront wildlife
Copenhagen Opera, also known as th…
Copenhagen Opera, also known as t…
Danish National Theatre
Danish National Theatre
Little Mermaid, from cruise boat
Little Mermaid, from cruise boat
Cathedral Spire
Cathedral Spire
Queens Yacht Port
Queen's Yacht Port
The Queens Yacht
The Queen's Yacht
White asparagus in season!
White asparagus in season!
Statue of Mercury
Statue of Mercury
Mercury in shadows
Mercury in shadows
Even the street lights have and ar…
Even the street lights have and a…
Fountain
Fountain
Fountain
Fountain
Closeup of Fountain
Closeup of Fountain
Paul Kissing the Snake
Paul Kissing the Snake
Life imitates art
Life imitates art
Church Spire
Church Spire
Valkyrie Statue
Valkyrie Statue
Copenhagen Hotels & Accommodations review
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The Kong Arthur Hotel is located about 5 minutes north of downtown Copenhagen, right along the pedestrian walkway to the city center and close to Norr… read entire review
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Spanish Tapas in Copenhagen
Tucked away across the courtyard from the Kong Arthur Hotel, Pintxos Restaurante and Tapas Bar is a little bit of Spain in Copenhagen. Pintxos is Bas… read entire review
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Lunch on Restaurant Row in Nyhavn
Hyttefadet is a wonderful cafe in Nyhavn, right on the canal in the middle of "restaurant row" in Copenhagen. You'll recognize the "row" as it is all… read entire review
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photo by: the_bill