Friday, April 29, 2011

Final day in Copenhagen - 25 April 2011

Having used our Copenhagen Card on the trains, metro and buses we thought we had better collect the set and take a water-bus. We caught the water-bus from our nearest stop and rode it to Nyhavn where we transferred to the commercial canal tour boat which was also free on the Card. This was a most interesting ride as it took us along canals on both sides of the harbour and through parts of Copenhagen that we had not yet explored.

Back at Nyhavn we caught a bus to take us back across the harbour to explore the island that King Christian IV convinced the merchants to create from some low-lying islands and swampy marshes. Commerce has long gone, to be replaced by very expensive warehouse conversion apartments with equally expensive yachts and motor-launches moored alongside. This area is also home to one of Copenhagen's iconic landmarks, Vor Frelsers Kirke, with its external spiral staircase winding up the last 150 of the 400 steps to the top of the steeple – an inviting “must-climb” with fabulous views over the city.

Just down below is the independent 'Free City' of Christiana where photography is prohibited, presumably to prevent the gathering of evidence of the open sale of hash. It is a “alternative” state and the contrast between the clean, orderly civility of Copenhagen and this trashy, unkempt, scruffy area could not be more marked. It is an interesting revelation of the “failure” of the alternative lifestyle, but I guess that depends on one's point of view; the residents may consider it a success to not be concerned about their surroundings, however it hardly seems “green” and environmentally friendly.

One of the warehouses in Christianshavn has been converted into an architectural resource centre and has a cafe on the 2nd floor with a bay window overlooking the harbour, and this made for a wonderful place to stop for a coffee and cake before crossing back to the mainland,

On the other side we had intended to head for another garden but found ourselves walking past some rather imposing buildings so looked at the sign outside to see what they were, It was the Christiansborg Slot, and as we discovered that the Palace rooms were also free on the Copenhagen Card decided to take a look.

Although the equivalent of some of the State rooms in Buckingham Palace, they were pretty much deserted, both of tourists and staff and we seemed to be able to wander at will. The set of millennium tapestries in the Great Hall were fantastically vibrant as we are so used to seeing 17th C tapestries that have long since faded and lost their glory. These tapestries were, naturally, a modern design and, over the series, told the history of Denmark from before the Viking era up until today with a little corner of the final panel left blank apart from the words “Fill in with your own imagination.”

By this time we decided that there was no point busing across town to see the gardens so we returned to Tivoli Gardens to see them in the sunshine. Having decided that all the food on offer was gold-plated we returned to the restaurant we enjoyed on our first day as the setting in Churchill Park was so delightful.

Finally it was time to collect our bags from the locker at the WakeUp Copenhagen Hotel and after enjoying another session of the Gospel Choir concert series in the Tivoli Gardens we reluctantly bade farewell to Copenhagen and caught the train back to the airport for our flight home.

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