Walking the Christmas diner away on a cold and rainy day

Copenhagen Travel Blog

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The Royal Guard changing at Amalienborg

I had invited my friend Barbara for our family Christmas in Copenhagen; she had never really celebrated Christmas in her family and she had dreamt about trying that and she had never been in Denmark or Sweden as well.

My family had always had an open attitude towards Christmas; I think I can state that we are a happy family who enjoy each other’s company at occasions like Christmas. We were all coming back home for Christmas; my brothers and sister with their. My brothers, sister and I had always brought friends for our Christmas dinner if they had nowhere else to go and we had always enjoyed to have it like this. This year it was my friend Barbara that was the out of family guest; my friend Jacob was also supposed to be there but he had to go to work the whole evening.

Soldiers on a line - all dressed up for tourist and the Queen

It was the day after Christmas evening and Barbara had been sitting talking most of the night after my family Christmas eve and we both had enjoyed sleeping until 10.30 am. After a couple of cups of coffee, it was time to discover Copenhagen on this probably the most quiet and boring day of the year in Denmark.

It was really cold and raining; it was not the best weather for a city sightseing, but we just put on some warm clothes and brought some umbrellas and went for it. First I took her for a spin in the city by car, just to give her a view of what Copenhagen looked like. Copenhagen differs a lot from Brussels; it is more open, organized and we have the water close by, which gives it freshness, but also some cold winds.

After the spin we stopped at Amalienborg, where the Queen lives to see the change of the Royal Lifeguard.

The little mermaid sitting in the cold - frozen
It was raining and there were not many other tourists following the change this noon. There were almost as many policemen as spectators which is rare, and still they wanted to manage us; we were ordered to follow the black lines of the pattern made in cobble stone at the square. We took our obligatory pictures and hurried back into the warmth of the car.

After this endeavour it was time to visit the most famous icon of Copenhagen; the Little Mermaid. I have always liked to come out were the mermaid is sitting; first of all it is a quiet place of the city and then you are walking in a really nice part of the city next to the harbour and the old military fortress, Kastellet. You are also just next to Langelinie or Long-line, which is a pier where all the Cruise ships stop for Copenhagen. In the old days this was where all the ships where coming back from all over the world with exotic goods for the inhabitants of Copenhagen.   

The name Langelinie goes back to the middle of the 17th century where it referred to an idyllic path along the Oresund coast that rounded the citadel Kastellet and continued towards a lime kiln north of the city.

Tourists making pictures
For a long time, this stretch was a military area where civilians were not granted unrestricted access.

Under a general order from 1819, soldiers were required to "throw water in the head and on the breast and to cool their feet in the water" here. Eventually a beach promenade and a park for the Bourgeoisie were made but with access only on the payment of a toll to keep the more common people out. Not until a public uprise in 1848 did the area become open to everybody.

The expansion of the city and the increasing industrialization soon made it clear that the city's harbour was becoming too small and in the same time old plans to create a free port were revitalized.

In a plan from 1862 it was decided to dig out the area to allow access for the largest ocean-going ships and use the materials removed for landfills along the coast.

Cold Babs and a shaking photographer
A suggestion to make all of the island of Amager into a duty-free zone was abolished and instead it was decided to create a free port in the area north of Kastellet at the site of the Langelinie promenade.

The beginning of the work was prompted by Germany's construction of the Kiel Canal that was begun in 1887 and threatened Copenhagen's position. In 1894 the work was completed and Copenhagen had got an entirely new harbour front.

The old beach promenade with Bourgeois mansions had turned into the heavily trafficked street Strandboullevarden located several hundred metres inland and the beach where the soldiers had been required to cool their feet had turned into harbour basins. Langelinie became now a pier on the other side of that harbour basin.

For a period of 4-5 years I lived in an apartment just next to Strandboullevarden in a house build on the old beach area.

Ahhh - finally indoor with green tea and a coffee frappé !!!
The house was from 1896 and it was huge; build in military traditions by a house developer who made most his money selling guns and gunpowder to the military. Half of the backhouse had sunken and it made the apartments lean in the back; and I loved it. It was a constant memory that there once had been a beach there.     

We took the obligatory pictures of the Little Mermaid together with some other frozen tourists and soon decided that we needed more warm coffee before we called the tourist visit of Babs first day as a tourist in Copenhagen off. We were later that day going to a 1st Christmas day dinner at some of my friends.

Mam-Malaika says:
Thanks for sharing this with us, you reminds me of my beautiful time I spend in Denmark in the mid 1990s
Posted on: Oct 02, 2010
Chokk says:
Thank you :)
Posted on: Jan 26, 2010
vances says:
Great entry --- conveys a nice sentiment of sharing over the holidays and a lot of useful info!
Posted on: Jan 25, 2010
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The Royal Guard changing at Amalie…
The Royal Guard changing at Amali…
Soldiers on a line - all dressed u…
Soldiers on a line - all dressed …
The little mermaid sitting in the …
The little mermaid sitting in the…
Tourists making pictures
Tourists making pictures
Cold Babs and a shaking photograph…
Cold Babs and a shaking photograp…
Ahhh - finally indoor with green t…
Ahhh - finally indoor with green …
Inside one of the few café that w…
Inside one of the few café that …
Flames in the window
Flames in the window
In the middle of Amalienborg
In the middle of Amalienborg
Tourists helping each others to go…
Tourists helping each others to g…
Green grass and a green guy
Green grass and a green guy
photo by: the_bill