Sunday 17 June 2018

#4 Cruising The Baltic with #Fred Olsen’s Balmoral- Copenhagen

Copenhagen!... 12th June

There were no talks today since it was up for an early breakfast and off for our City Tour of Copenhagen.

I’d been to Copenhagen sometime in the early 1980s (1984?) but my memories were very dim. All that seemed memorable from that trip was my kids both having a nasty cold and being out of sorts, though they did sleep on a coach tour out of the city to the Castle of Elsinore/ Esbjerg.

This time around, I was seeing the city with fresh eyes. The highlights of the tour were good choices but the traffic made moving around the city centre a very difficult job for a large and very full coach. Knowing a little bit about the architectural styles from the talks was really useful as we slowly wended our way around the centre.

There were a few short photo-stop opportunities to get a better feel of the surrounding buildings. At the Amalienborg palaces of the current Queen Margaret of Denmark my tour guide had explained that there were royals in residence at two of the three palaces in the ‘oval’ square. One flag bore the emblem of her son and heir, but the guide explained that was a little confusing since the Prince was currently in Brussels signing a NATO treaty or something similar. She reckoned he might be in residence later which explained his flag flying from the rooftop mast.

The other flag was for other members of the Royal family and she guessed that it might be the middle sister of Queen Margaret, who also became a widow sometime recently like the Queen whose French husband died earlier in 2018. Just as the guide was giving more info on the status of the Danish Royals, their State funding etc a limo approached me with a very low key toot. The car was about a metre away from me as it glided slowly past. My guide surreptitiously glanced into the back seat and declared that it did indeed contain Queen Margaret’s sister who was whisked into the underground car park of the palace building that flew the general Royal family flag.

I loved the tour information which enhanced the ship talk, the guide able to fill in a lot of current politics and situations that the population currently find themselves in regarding health, education and well-being.

Our tour included a drive around the Nyhavn harbour area. I found it quite incredible that the terraced housing that was built hundreds of years ago for the Danish Royal Navy is still being lived in, though some buildings are currently used as naval offices. It was all so orderly and so very practical!

There was no opportunity to be inside ‘The Tivoli’ Amusement park but it was fascinating to find out the history and ideology behind its creation, many other parks aping themselves on the Tivoli conception - including the Disneyland park in California.
Ah, that Little Mermaid! 

No tour of Copenhagen can ever be complete without taking in a short visit to see ‘The Little Mermaid’. Small it may be for a national statue but she a cute one- even if the original Hans Christian Andersen story of her is a little bit gruesome. The mermaid’s transformation wasn’t without much pain and neither has the statue had an easy time of it. She has already had lots of bits repaired due to damage inflicted by protesters and others. Her head has been replaced 3 times, her arm once and explosives I 2004 knocked her off her pedestal. Paint splattering has also defaced her but the Danish have soldiered on and had her restored to her full glory, regardless.  

Dare I write it? The day and evening continued with far too much excellent food and wine …and even more entertainment from the excellent musicians aboard the Balmoral.


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