have a danish in denmark

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denmark / europe / on the road
the merchant houses lend a breath of fresh air to the area

That was one of the things we were hell-bent on doing in Copenhagen. I am the type of person who would be similarly tickled taking photos of herself having French fries in France, cheddar cheese in Cheddar Gorge, or Philly steaks in Philadelphia–so you get the picture.

Anyway, we arrived via SAS flights to the capital of Denmark, “Europe’s Coolest City,” sometime March last year. We stayed at the Admiral Hotel, a sturdy solid building with a view of the Opera House. It was a very maritime-oriented hotel, with picture frames of compasses and models of ships in the lobby.

Admiral Hotel, located on Tolbodgade

Admiral Hotel, located on Tolbodgade

We started off by making our way to Nyhavn, a canal with colorful, picturesque houses on either side. Though it was cold it was sunny out, so a lot of locals were sitting outside having their brunch and soaking up the sun.

the merchant houses lend a breath of fresh air to the area

the merchant houses lend a breath of fresh air to the area

The combination of frozen canals and the sunny skies was interesting, to say the least.

A lost bicycle, blown away by the wind maybe? How would the owner retrieve it?

We saw a lot of lost bicycles on the canal, blown away by the wind maybe? How would their owners retrieve them?

We made our way to the to Christianborg Slot (Christianborg Palace) in Slotsholmen. It now houses the Parliament. Though it was open for visitors that day we decided to forgo touring the palace and do more outdoorsy things instead.

the imposing Slotsholmen facade

the imposing Slotsholmen facade

After that we took a stroll around the Latin Quarter, which was kind of like Copenhagen’s U-Belt.

The Fiancé and I usually scale something tall (suspend all Freudian innuendos please) to see the bird’s eye view of the cities we visit. In Copenhagen, we climbed the Rundetårn (Round Tower), an observatory built in the 1600s by Christian IV.

The tower has a ramp instead of steps too, like La Giralda in Seville

The tower has a ramp instead of steps too, like La Giralda in Seville

There is a bell loft at the top of the Rundetårn where the bells of Trinitatis Kirke (Trinity Church) hang. But because the bells don’t take up that much space, the rest of the space in the spacious loft was rented out over the years. At several different points in history, it was a laundry-drying area, a place to store “tanned hides, dried herbs, painted theater sets, and feathers for hats of society ladies,” and a peasant museum.

Two things that interested me most about the tower:

(1) The day we went, there was an exhibit called “Hungry Planet: Between Plate and Planet” in a large room on the way to the top of the tower. What was different about the way they presented the statistics on world food was they took pictures of families from each country posed in front of the food they typically bought and had in their fridge.

They put other interesting metrics there too, such as the % of overweight people in the population, the number of vegetarian Pizza Huts in the country, and the cost of  a local Big Mac.

The photo below is for the Philippines:

Filippinerne / Pilipinas / The Philippines

Filippinerne / Pilipinas / The Philippines

Details I love about this photo: the bottles of Pop Cola, the Jollibee take-out on the wooden sala, the opened bottle of Mang Tomas (a Philippine lechon sauce), the cross-stitched angel on the wall, and the guy on the right who appears to have been awkwardly photo-shopped in. Perhaps that last bit was done by a well-meaning relative before the photo was submitted for display. Haha.

(2) On your way down the tower ramp you’ll see a tiny room to your right. It looks more like a cleaner’s closet than anything significant, so it’s usually over-looked, unless you’re a curious cat like me.

It’s an old privy–which is a fancy schmancy way of saying toilet, I guess.

There’s a wooden, round cover over the hole where the privy’s visitors did their business. The by-products of this business ran down to the latrine pit, but it still stank like hell. The pit itself was finally emptied in 1921, “when nine truckloads of muck were shipped off.” Ugh.

It was close to late afternoon by the time we’d taken the Latin Quarter in. It was March and we were a month early for the Tivoli, which opens April through December. Walt Disney was supposedly greatly inspired by the park when he visited in 1930.

The Tivoli Gardens. Do any of the Pinoys out there remember an ice cream brand called Tivoli ("I lov it!") from their childhood?

The Tivoli Gardens. Do any of the Pinoys out there remember an ice cream brand called Tivoli (“I lov it!”) from their childhood?

For an amusement park built in 1853, it’s had an awesomely long shelf-life.

Right next to the park, in fact he’s looking directly at the park, is Hans Christian Andersen, whom ’90s kids like me have to thank as inspiration for all the magical Disney movies I grew up with as a child.

here's looking at you, HC

here’s looking at you, HC

By way of random FYI, I took a fantastic spill near Hans’ statue right after this photo after tripping on a crack in the pavement. I have a tendency to be clumsy with my feet: I’ve tripped on cracks, into ditches–I even tripped during my pre-wedding photo session (ha!). That last accident I attribute to 4-inch wedges, which are never a good idea unless you’re walking on flat smooth floors or have been wearing high heels since birth.

The next day, we took a stroll along the harbor, which was conveniently located behind our hotel. I was keen to see the statue of The Little Mermaid, which turned out to be smaller than what I was expecting, but still beautiful. She looked lonely, like she was waiting for someone she knew would never come.

The Little Mermaid, who has actually been stolen a couple of times (why?)

The Little Mermaid, who has actually been stolen a couple of times (why?)

a girl and her dog

a girl and her dog

We got all the way to the end of the harbor where the Mermaid was. The only problem was there were no bus stops, no train stops to bring us back to the city center.

So we took the long way round, walking through the Kastellet, a pentagram-shaped fortress.

a small windmill in the Kastellet

a small windmill in the Kastellet

We passed by Amalienborg, the home of the royal family, on the way back to the central part of the city. The Marmorkirken (Marble Church) was under renovation and closed that Sunday.

The Marble Church was supposed to have been built from Norwegian marble

The Marble Church was supposed to have been built from Norwegian marble

We visited the NY Carlsberg Glyptotek (the personal collection from Mr. Carlsberg of beer fame), which was personally my favorite building in the city. The collection of sculptures is one of the best I’ve seen so far–which proves there is a LOT of money in beer-making. (Duh.)

The Kiss, by Rodin

The Kiss, by Rodin

a Degas bronze ballerina

a Degas bronze ballerina

We also went to the Carlsberg Brewery and took the tour, which included free beers.

even the beer brewery in the city is rich with history

even the beer brewery in the city is rich with history

There was also a room with empty beer bottles from all over the world, and a stable where they kept the brewery horses. The horses used to pull the wagons that delivered the beer barrels to wherever they had to go.

he was very friendly

he was very friendly

One of my favorite parts of the tour was the ‘Find your Favorite Beer’ section, where we got to “enjoy the scents of beer.” According to the information card in the room, smelling a beer before drinking it is just as much of a sensory adventure as it is tasting it.

For instance, who knew that Carlsberg’s Lager had aromas of oak, coffee, grain/cereal, and toasted bread? Or that the Ale smelt of rose, citrus, liquorice, and red apples?

The Elephant Gates at the plant

The Elephant Gates at the plant

Danish dishes seem to be quite filling, with a lot of boiling, potatoes, and cream involved. For our last meal in the city we had frikadeller, which is pork and veal meatballs fried in butter and served with potatoes, at Restaurant Klubben, a pub.

I liked the creamed cabbage

I liked the creamed cabbage

On a final note, we did have our Danish for breakfast–bought from a sweet-smelling bakery called Emmerys. It was the flakiest, most delicious pastry ever and did not disappoint.

But since it was so yummy we didn’t have any proper photos of it except this one:

The Fiancé's last bites of a raspberry (or was it strawberry?) Danish

The Fiancé’s last bites of a raspberry (or was it strawberry?) Danish

On a final, final note: a photo of my favorite Danish export:

delighting kids since the 1940s

delighting kids since the 1940s

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The Author

I am 100% Filipina. I've lived in Manila, Jakarta, and London. Right now, I'm firmly planted in the tiny island of Singapore! I caught the travel bug early on. I also love reading, dark chocolate, spur-of-the-moment food trips, Fridays, dachshunds, and lazy weekends with my family or the Hubby.

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