Thursday, 25 June 2015

Like a Fairy Tale

You have got to love a city and a country that prides itself on being one of the birthplaces of the modern-day fairy tale. That magical spirit is almost a part of the DNA of the people here in Copenhagen.

After an exhausting journey and dinner consumed in a mostly comatose stupor, we awakened refreshed and raring to go this morning. It was our plan to just wander the streets and see where the city took us. I was particularly excited to see the Hans Christian Andersen house and to view his memorabilia and the back stories to his tales. Yes, I had images of Danny Kaye floating around in my head, and for some reason I kept humming the melody to The Ugly Duckling. It is truly amazing to note how much of our modern pop culture has been influenced by Andersen's stories and fables. The Little Mermaid, The Snow Queen, The Emperor's New Clothes, The Duckling, just goes on and on. Disney in particular, owes Andersen a huge debt of gratitude (for Frozen alone, if not for anything else) and his descendants a huge barrel of cash. You can't walk into a shop anywhere here without tripping over fairy tale paraphernalia.

A lovely, if not a bit bone-chilling cruise of the canals followed. Copenhagen had been built around a series of quiet waterways. There is a massive shipping industry here and the cruise ships are busy and thriving. It was incredibly impressive that our young tour guide Marie, had no trouble keeping up her patter in three distinct languages. I can't imagine the North American teen who is that comfortable thrice. Another fairy tale.

A tour of the Christianborg Palace reminded me that there are still some people in this world who really do lead fairy tale lives. The opulence of the place was eye-popping. The palace is in its third incarnation as the Danes have had some trouble keeping the place from burning. No matter. The royal family has found alternative quarters just down the way at Amaliaborg. It's good to be the Queen.

Tonight...we head to the Tivoli Gardens, hoping to grab dinner and catch the place all lit up. Maybe like H. C might have imagined it in one of his stories? The problem? It doesn't get dark here until near 11:00pm, and the gardens close then, so we will do our best.

A few quick hits.

*Our little boutique hotel is charming and is located in a neighbourhood that has been re-gentrified. I think that it used to be a red light district. The adult store down the street has the biggest collection of dildos in the window I have ever seen. Another fantasy?

*When traveling, it is best to find compatible partners. I love vacationing with Twin Son and His Better Half. We have so many of the same interests and she is a whiz with a map and a spread sheet. Not that that is the only reasoned love her, but it is a definite bonus.

*The Little Mermaid statue, while tiny, was more than worth the effort. It was an exclamation point on the day.

*The bicycle culture here is amazing. This country really understands how to do it right. Thousands of bikers are everywhere. No parking lots. Bicycle parking, even on the commuter trains. They say that everyday in Copenhagen, the locals ride he equivalent of thirty times around the earth. Even in the dead of winter. Stunning!

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