Refreshing Copenhagen

Refreshing Copenhagen

Submitted by Editor on Tue, 2016-10-18 12:38 Change of guards -Copenhagen As a young boy, I had read the stories of Hans Christian Andersen and was fascinated by the story “The Little Mermaid”. When I learnt that a statue of little mermaid exists in Copenhagen, I wished to see it.  But my childhood dream was realised only when I became a grandfather.  While Denmark is well known for its cows, Copenhagen, its capital, is famous for beer. Located on the coastal islands of Zealand and Amager, Copenhagen was a fishing village in the tenth century.  It became the capital of Denmark five centuries later. From fifteenth to eighteenth century, this city saw a number of wars and attacks by the Swedish and the British.  It is of interest that Admiral Nelson, who brought Napoleon to his knees, was the British commander attacking this city.  As it was late in the night when we landed at Copenhagen airport, we drove straight to our hotel and checked in. The next morning, our local guide Nrupa, who is doing a PhD in the prestigious Copenhagen University, met us at our hotel and asked me what I liked to see. My instant reply was, “The Little Mermaid”.  We purchased a day travel card and reached the seashore using a bus. We entered a garden and, after a brief walk, Nrupa pointed at the sculpture of Little Mermaid. The statue, which is about 1.25mts tall, is shown sitting on a tall rock in the sea. The mermaid is looking longingly at the shore and contemplating. Unveiled over a century ago (1913), the statue was commissioned by Carlsberg Beer and sculpted by Edward Erickson.  Little mermaid After taking a few pictures, we toolittle mermaid, copenhagenk a bus again and got down at Amalienborg palace complex.  This complex, which consists of four different palaces, was founded by Frederik V in the 1700s. The complex has palaces of Christian VII, Christian VIII, Christian IX and Frederick VIII. The four identical palaces face an octagonal shaped courtyard, which has a statue of Frederick V riding a horse. When we reached the courtyard, it was almost noon and a number of tourists had gathered there.  Nrupa said that we were in time to watch the change of palace guards. Within a few minutes, a contingent of guards wearing bright uniforms marched to the palace gates and the ceremony began. Having watched a similar drill in London and Athens, I was not very much impressed. Nyhavn Copenhagen We then walked towards Nyhavn, the most popular meeting place of Copenhagen. Nyhavn was built as a port in 1670, by digging a canal which allowed ships to reach from the sea to the land. Along the canal were developed warehouses and other buildings. Over a period of several years, as the ships became bigger, the area fell into disuse and was developed as an entertainment zone. Hotels, bars, restaurants and places of amusement soon mushroomed. Today, the area is abuzz with tourists and locals alike. Hans Christian Andersen’s house and The Memorial Anchor (built in memory of sailors who lost their lives) are other attractions of Nyhavn. We had lunch in one of the cafes and took a canal tour in a boat. We returned to our hotel in the evening. The next morning started with a typical Danish breakfast of pastries. Adequately energised, we went to Christiansborg palace, which is now the seat of the Danish Parliament, the Supreme Court and the Prime Minister’s office. Since the fee to visit parts of this palace is quiet steep, we gave it a miss, and instead went to see Stroget located nearby. Stroget shopping area Botanical Garden Over a kilometer-long, Stroget is a car-free shopping area and one of the longest shopping roads in Europe. As we were tired, we went to relax to the King’s Garden, which was setup in 17th Century as a private garden. This vast 40-acre garden is a real feast for the eyes. It contains several historical buildings and monuments including the Rosenborg Castle. A building in Rosenborg Palace Complex Tivoli and city centre Nrupa suggested that we see the Queens Gardens too, but since we had walked sufficient distances, we decided to get back to our hotel.  “There are many more attractions of Copenhagen like the Tivoli gardens and the zoo which you need to see,” she said. We told her that we need to keep something for our next visit and bid goodbye to her. Vibrant and colourful, one shouldn’t miss the chance to see Copenhagen.   Author: Dr.Guruprasad is former DGP and presently the Chief Executive of the Gokula Education Foundation (Medical) which works in the field of education and health care