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Copenhagen, Denmark
Story written by Rick Archer

Thanks to Hans Christian Andersen, the Little Mermaid pictured right has become an icon of Copenhagen.   Andersen, the author of many fairy tales beloved throughout the world, lived in Copenhagen for much of his life.   Thanks the international acclaim he received for his work, Andersen became Copenhagen's most famous citizen.

The Little Mermaid sculpture was commissioned in 1909 by the Carlsberg brewer Carl Jacobsen, impressed by a ballet "The little Mermaid" based on a fairy tale written by Hans Christian Andersen.  The head was modeled after prima ballerina Ellen Price. However, once the model realized this gig included taking her clothes off, she drew the line. At that point sculptor Edward Eriksen used his wife Eline as a model for the body.  

This of course led to wife Eline uttering one of the most famous lines in history:
"You stare at other women constantly, but you only want me for my body." 

Don't let that picture fool you. 
The Little Mermaid is a shrimp - the statue is only 4 feet high.  Little indeed.  Nevertheless, she remains Copenhagen's favorite tourist attraction.

Assuming you read a least some of my lost passport story, you will understand that I arrived in Copenhagen exhausted and bleary-eyed.  Although it was 8 am in Copenhagen, inside my body it was 1 am and time to go bed.  After all, immediately after my nerve-wracking full day of wrestling with the passport issues, I got on board at 5 pm in the USA for the 8 hour flight across the Atlantic.

On the other hand, the gang had a great night's sleep and was rarin' to go.  Marla gave me the option of sleeping at the hotel or coming along for the Hop On/Hop Off Bus Tour.  This adventure would include a ride in a boat to explore the canals of Copenhagen.

It wasn't like I was going to get a chance to see this area again anytime soon.  Since I had caught a few fleeting moments of sleep on the plane, I opted to hang with the group.   That said, I can't honestly say I paid very good attention.  I dozed on and off all day long.

This picture was taken at
Nyhavn, a popular drinking spot for both the locals and the tourists.  I know it appears that I am standing under my own power, but Marsha had to prop me up.  Notice my buckled knees and you realize just how bad it was.

I don't know much more about Nyhavn other than Hans Christian Andersen lived there and wrote some of his stories there.  Fortunately, Marla did extensive research on Copenhagen.  If you are interested in learning more about the city, you can read Marla's "Tourist Guide" write-up on Copenhagen on our Information Page.  This page includes excellent tourist information on the other cities we visited as well.

My fan club was pretty ruthless.  I think it was Sandra (in white) who referred to me as "Bernie". Unfortunately I was just barely alert enough to catch the dig.  She was hinting that I was barely more alive than "Weekend at Bernie's", the movie where two guys take a dead guy with them everywhere they went. 

Thanks, Sandra.  If I can find a bad picture of you, I will definitely include it. 

For the little time I was actually awake, I got the feeling that Copenhagen is a bit drab.  Many of its buildings are grey and black.  Many of its buidling also appear old and rundown.  This is some interesting architecture, but it is sporadic.  There are trees, of course, but not as many as I would have expected... especially downtown.  I saw only the occasional green areas.

Despite the fact that I only gave Copenhagen a "C" for beauty, I could not help but be impressed with the vibrant energy of the city.  This is definitely a city in motion.   That evening, I saw more people out and about than any city since Barcelona and its famous "Las Ramblas" walkway.  Everywhere I looked, there were people in outdoor cafes.  

The Baltic Sea was once an inland lake.  When the ice melted at the end of the Ice Age, the water pressure forced some of the land near where Copenhagen is located today to give way.  The onrush of water created three canals.  Copenhagen is actually built on top of an island.

Thanks to its position at the crossroads between North- South, East-West, cars, people, and ships pass through Copenhagen with amazing frequency.  As a result, Copenhagen is one of Europe's most important cities. 


Oh look who we have here. Could that be Sandra with the big frown??

Marla was definitely in a great mood. I was
never sure whether she was glad to see me
or simply glad to get her makeup back.

Since I was basically useless, I don't have much a story to tell about Copenhagen.  So I will stick to pictures and a few brilliant observations.


That's the train station. Like New York, there were people walking everywhere. Busy place

I have never seen more bikes or bike riders in
my life.  Thousands of bikes.

The canals were pretty, but I could have done without the graffiti.


There is the Carlton Hotel.  It's okay, but not
much of an eye-catcher

Hopping off and hopping on the canal boat.

Some of the architecture had a modern feel.



Everywhere we went we had to dodge bike
riders. What I found unusual was that half
the bikes had absolutely no locks on them. 
Our group could easily have grabbed a few
if we wanted to. This access baffled me.

This graffiti offers another example of why I got the feeling that Copenhagen seemed run-down.


Marla's favorite show is "Walking Dead".  That pretty much sums up how I felt. Jet lag is brutal.

Marla suggested maybe later we walk to the top of this tower. I
said "Are you out of your mind?"

The weather was perfect at 70 degrees.  We had only one brief shower of rain the whole trip.

Interesting dance pose.


I am not saying Copenhagen was ugly.

But it was drab and lacked organization.

I just wasn't very impressed.

I understand that Copenhagen is an Old World city with old buildings, but it was fairly obvious that Paris & Barcelona have little to worry about


I was very impressed with Tivoli Gardens. Wow

Our group walked Tivoli in a counter-clockwise circle.  It wasn't too crowded when we entered at around 7:30, but the people kept arriving. 

We eventually realized that Fridays at Tivoli revolve around an evening rock concert.  I was surprised to hear the singer use English lyrics.  Then I thought of Abba.  Now that I thought of it, their great hits were all sung in English. I guess that explains it.

To this day, even 25 years after their retirement, the Swedish pop-rock foursome Abba retains tremendous popularity in this part of the world.

The map below shows you all the attractions.  As the upcoming pictures will show, this is a lovely place to visit.


Tivoli Gardens entrance

Here is an outdoor theater #2 on map

We sat and watched a mime show for a while


As we walked around, we could see people were gathering for the regular Friday Rock Concert. She sang all her songs in English. 
By the time the concert started at dark, the place was packed.  I estimate the crowd at 10,000.  The energy was unbelievable.


 I am not sure how to describe this place, but the pictures help to show its magic.

As you can see, I have forgiven Sandra.


As you can see, it was dark now.  We had spent close to two hours wandering around and we were getting tired. 

I can safely say that if I am ever in Copenhagen again, the first place I am headed is to Tivoli Gardens.

NEXT STORY: The beautiful city of Stockholm, Sweden

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