Posted by: landonrordam | August 1, 2009

Gasp! Two Days in One Post!

Soo the past four days or so have been less exciting than the beginning of the trip.  This is mostly because I had worn myself out with the rents here, so I decided to take a break, walk around at a leisurely pace, get some reading done, etc.  So there isn’t as much to say for each day.

On Tuesday, I bid my parent adieu, then headed down toward my scheduled meeting with Joakim Garff, the author of my book Søren Kierkegaard: A Biography. It was a very good meeting; I was excited to meet him and I gained a lot of knowledge about Kierkegaard.  Eventually the interview and its insights will go up on the Kierkegaard blog.  After that I hung out in Rådhuspladsen, where the Rådhus, or Copenhagen town hall, is located. 

The Rådhus, or Copenhagen town hall.  The area in front is a very busy city square.

The Rådhus, or Copenhagen town hall. The area in front is a very busy city square.

After that I went to go see Harry Potter – with Danish subtitles!  It was quite an experience.  My verdict is that it was better than the last one (not a difficult feat) but still not fantastic movie-making.  Also, they (as usual) left a lot of stuff out.

The next day, my big event was going… bah buh bummm — to the ZOO!!  Yes, I embraced the little kid and biology major inside me and went to go hang out at the zoo.  There were a lot of fantastic critters (fun fact – I also taught my Danish cousins the word critters!  It’s the least I could do to repay their hospitality…).

Monkey!

Monkey!

Baby bears playing!

Baby bears playing!

Elephant!

Elephant!

Otters!  (Alyssa, Alina, and Jess: I think he's got brain damage!)

Otters! (Alyssa, Alina, and Jess: I think he's got brain damage!)

Penguins!

Penguins!

…And there were a lot more.  Anyway, that’s it for those two days.  Here’s your sign off picture:

Niels Bohr is buried in the same (extremely large) cemetary as Søren Kierkegaard.  This is his grave, which is one of the most pretentious in the entire cemetary.  It's seriously about 15 feet tall.

Niels Bohr is buried in the same (extremely large) cemetary as Søren Kierkegaard. This is his grave, which is one of the most pretentious in the entire cemetary. It's seriously about 15 feet tall.

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So, on Monday we decided to check out the most ancient part of Copenhagen.  This is where the castle of Copenhagen stood almost 1000 years ago, and the area is now surrounded by a moat.  Today, it’s where Christiansborg Palace stands. 

What’s interesting about Christiansborg is that it has burned to the ground – twice.  Reminds me of the Wren Building!  But when they were digging out around the ruins of the second Christiansborg to build the third, they came across the ruins of not just one but TWO ancient castles!  The very first one, Absalon’s castle, dates from 1000 or so (I’m actually making these numbers up, but if you really want to know you can look them up yourself), and the second, Copenhagen Castle, dates from 1200 or so.  When you go down it’s really incredible. Unfortunately, it’s also dark so I wasn’t able to get a very good picture.

The ruins of two ancient Copenhagen castles under the current Copenhagen castle.

The ruins of two ancient Copenhagen castles under the current Copenhagen castle.

After the ruins we went up to visit the Thorvaldsen Museum.  Thorvaldsen was a very well-known Danish sculptor who made a lot of sculptures down in Italy as well as the Christ and the Apostles statues in Our Lady’s Church (see my Kierkegaard blog).  He has a giant museum in Slotsholmen, the area inside the moat, so we went to visit it and… it’s closed on Mondays.  Bummer. 

So instead we got tickets to see the Folketing, the Danish Parliament, which now resides inside Christiansborg.  They had a free English tour, and… well, let’s just say you get what you pay for.

This man is the world's worst tour guide.  This is about the time he was telling us, "Uh, this is where they used to have the house of lords for danish parliament... uh, you can see there are tables and chairs... and if you look up at the... uh, I don't know the English word..."  Awful.  Eventually people just wandered off to look around while he was talking.

This man is the world's worst tour guide. This is about the time he was telling us, "Uh, this is where they used to have the house of lords for danish parliament... uh, you can see there are tables and chairs... and if you look up at the... uh, I don't know the English word..." Awful. Eventually people just wandered off to look around while he was talking.

But the Danish Parliament was very exciting to see.  I had written a paper about it in my Clay Clemens class.

The Folketing, or Danish Parliament!  This is where decisions affecting around 5 million (!) people are made.  The fate of the world is in its hands!

The Folketing, or Danish Parliament! This is where decisions affecting around 5 million (!) people are made. The fate of the world is in its hands!

After that we walked around Copenhagen for a good long while (it was my parents’ last day).  Then, after a one hour nap – we were exhausted – we visited Frederiksberg Gardens, one of the final stops on my Kierkegaard tour. 

Frederiksberg is (surprise!) yet another Danish palace/castle.  I think it was another one of those summer getaways.  It’s now a very pretty park, and the palace is used as a military training school.

A lovely little boat that takes you across this lake if you get there earlier in the day.

A lovely little boat that takes you across this lake if you get there earlier in the day.

This is the pacifier tree, a (rather disgusting) Danish tradition.  When children are finally ready to give up their pacifiers, they give them to the Pacifier Tree, to join the ranks of everyone else's pacifiers.  It's like the tooth fairy, only way less sanitary.

This is the pacifier tree, a (rather disgusting) Danish tradition. When children are finally ready to give up their pacifiers, they give them to the Pacifier Tree, to join the ranks of everyone else's pacifiers. It's like the tooth fairy, only way less sanitary.

After Frederiksberg Gardens, we ate at a really good traditional Danish place called Hansens Gamle Familiehave (Hansen’s Old Family Garden).  It was quite delicious.

Sooo that’s it for now!  Here’s one last picture:

The Cow Parade, which has come to New York and many other cities - even Blacksburg, VA in Hokie Bird form - came to Copenhagen.  This one is called "The Little Moomaid."  You see, about ten years ago, people went out to the harbor to find that The Little Mermaid, Copenhagen's best-known and most-visited tourist attraction, had had her head lopped off.  This is a tribute to that.

The Cow Parade, which has come to New York and many other cities - even Blacksburg, VA in Hokie Bird form - came to Copenhagen. This one is called "The Little Moomaid." You see, about ten years ago, people went out to the harbor to find that The Little Mermaid, Copenhagen's best-known and most-visited tourist attraction, had had her head lopped off. This is a tribute to that.

Posted by: landonrordam | July 31, 2009

North Zealand!

Busy day. I’ll try to keep it brief.  Basically, Søren Kierkegaard didn’t travel much, but when he did, he invariably got into his carriage and just rode up north of Copenhagen into and around his favorite forest, Gribskov.  Soo we decided to track him down. 

The first place we visited was Esrum, where an old (1100s or so) monastery is located.  Kierkegaard loved to ride around here.  It was a pretty interesting place, too.

Esrum monastery.  The place used to be huge, but most of it was torn down when the Danes switched from Catholicism to Protestantism.

Esrum monastery. The place used to be huge, but most of it was torn down when the Danes switched from Catholicism to Protestantism.

After Esrum, we visited Søborg Sø — translated litterally, Lake Castle Lake, and is actually no longer either a lake or a castle.  The castle is in ruins, and the lake was siphoned off in the 1800s for irrigation.  In fact, when Kierkegaard visited the lake, he noted that it was diminishing and predicted that it would soon be used up.  He was right!

The old Søborg Sø.  Apparently they are currently making plans to fill the lake back in.

The old Søborg Sø. Apparently they are currently making plans to fill the lake back in.

Then we went to Gilleleje, one of my favorite places in Denmark.  This is where in 1835 Søren Kierkegaard decided what he wanted to do with his life.  It’s a fishing village up in the north of the island of Zealand.  The first thing we did when we got there was have lunch, because we were starving.  We went to the harbor, and had very good seafood – I had flatfish.  Then we picked up some smoked mackerel (delicious!) for dinner that night.  After lunch we walked up on the cliffs looking out on the sea.  This was one of Kierkegaard’s favorite places to be.  Looking out onto the ocean, I could understand why.  It was FANTASTIC.  And what’s more, there is a giant monument to him up there!

A giant Søren Kierkegaard monument in Gilleleje!

A giant Søren Kierkegaard monument in Gilleleje!

And the view from the rock was incredible:

If I looked out onto this vista for 3 months, I'd probably get some seriously thinking done too.

If I looked out onto this vista for 3 months, I'd probably get some seriously thinking done too.

There was a steep staircase leading down from the 25-or-so foot cliffs, and my dad and I went down there and walked along the shore for a bit.  Then it was back in the car and heading for Kronborg!

Now, I’m sure you’ve heard of Elsinore – Hamlet’s castle, right?  Well “Elsinore” is a perversion of the Danish town Helsingør, and the castle Kronborg in that town is Hamlet’s castle!  What’s better, two of my favorite characters, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, happen to have been named after Danish noblemen that visited England!  Unfortunately for us (and you), Kronborg was closed by the time we got there.  But I got a very pretty picture of the outside.

Something is rotten in the state of Denmark!  They close too early!

Something is rotten in the state of Denmark! They close too early!

After looking at the outside of Kronborg, we went to Fredensborg, a summer palace for the royal family.  Unfortunately, by that point my camera had run out of batteries, but I can assure you we had a lovely time.  

Then we went and had the mackerel, and (I think) that was it for the day!  There, I kept it in check, didn’t I?

And here you go:

We were running late, so I only had time to snap this quick picture, but apparently Kierkegaard spent some time at this mill.  Isn't it lovely?

We were running late, so I only had time to snap this quick picture, but apparently Kierkegaard spent some time at this mill. Isn't it lovely?

Posted by: landonrordam | July 31, 2009

Sweden!

So!  Next day, we decided to pack up and head out on to lovely Sverige (that’s what the Danes, and I believe the Swedes, call Sweden).  But first, we visited a quaint little village inside Copenhagen – actually near Christiania – that is rather curious.  Apparently, when Denmark first started buying Model T Fords, they came on ship in little Model-T-sized boxes.  The payment given to the workers unloading the cars often included one of these boxes.  So the workers took the boxes and set them up in communal gardens to be sheds.  And now, 90-so years later, they have been turned into little itty bitty houses.  Most of them are summer houses, but some of them are lived in year round. 

Why yes, that IS a very artistic photo!  Yes, I agree - it's breathtaking!  Thank you!

Why yes, that IS a very artistic photo! Yes, I agree - it's breathtaking! Thank you!

After that, we traveled over the Øresund and visited Sweden.  Malmö and Lund, to be exact.  Malmö is the town right on the other side of the bridge from Copenhagen, and since things are much cheaper in Sweden, a lot of Danes do their shopping there.  It’s actually a very nice town, though, with lots of old buildings, interesting statues, and the like.  We ate at “Max”, a Swedish fast food joint that tells you how many pounds of carbon dioxide were belched into the atmosphere to make your burger value meal.  Mom and dad tried out falafel nuggets and a falafel burger (which were interesting), but I just got a regular bacon cheeseburger.  Not as good as the good ol’ US of A, I’m afraid to report, but who has perfected fat, quick, cheap food like America? And man, do the Swedes like their mayonaisse!

After our lovely meal, we walked around for a little more, and saw Malmö’s contributions to the worldwide Iran protests.  I have to say, Swedes, it was… underwhelming.

I can just here Mahmoud now:  What's that you say?  Thirteen Swedes protested the regime?  Well then!  It's certainly time to resign.  The public pressure has reached its breaking point.

I can just here Mahmoud now: What's that you say? Thirteen Swedes protested the regime? Well then! It's certainly time to resign. The public pressure has reached its breaking point.

Then after that, we went to Lund, a very old town (that used to belong to Denmark, any self-respecting Dane will tell you!).  There was a pretty nice cathedral there, which had an extremely rare fern growing on it — apparently the little sucker only grows on castles and cathedrals and such in the Northern climes.  It was thrilling.

Look!  I found a rare plant!  In Sweden!

Look! I found a rare plant! In Sweden!

After that, we walked around Lund, and I met (to my surprise) a woman who went to William and Mary and was one of the first Monroe Scholars!  How crazy is that?  She heard us talking, and asked where we were from, and we got talking… blah blah blah you know the rest.  But ya, ridiculous coincidence, one of the (very) few Americans I meet happens to have gone to my school, and used my scholarship! 

After all that excitement it was time to head home.  We ate dinner at Dragør (see my earlier post) and hit the sack.  On to the next day!

And here’s my now-traditional sign-off tidbit:

In the more tourist-ridden parts of Copenhagen some shady characters try to scam you out of your money by playing "Find the Lady": that game where they hide a pea or something under one of three boxes, then move them around and you have to guess where it is.  Little do you know their tricky fingers have hidden the pea and their associates are pickpocketing you while you watch!  Well I noticed this going on at a flea market near the apartment, and when I turned around, the police had pulled up and were arresting the crooks!  Hooray Copenhagen Police!

In the more tourist-ridden parts of Copenhagen some shady characters try to scam you out of your money by playing "Find the Lady": that game where they hide a pea or something under one of three boxes, then move them around and you have to guess where it is. Little do you know their tricky fingers have hidden the pea and their associates are pickpocketing you while you watch! Well I noticed this going on at a Saturday morning market near the apartment, and when I turned around, the police had pulled up and were arresting the crooks! Hooray Copenhagen Police!

Posted by: landonrordam | July 31, 2009

Family ties

So! I know, it’s been a while, but there was an orange juice incident and the computer had to go away for a while.  But it’s back, and hopefully I’ll get (mostly) caught up tonight.

The next day (by this point I have no idea what day it is) we all went to discover famous Rørdams in Denmark.  What’s especially interesting to me is that a couple of the Danish Rørdams actually knew Søren Kierkegaard!  So it was exciting to find these people after I had read about them.

First, we went to Roskilde cathedral, where a lot of the kings and queens of Denmark are buried (there are a lot of them — Denmark has the oldest monarchy in the world). It’s a very beautiful cathedral, and really impressive.

The tomb of some Danish king... a Frederik, I think.  It was amusing how some tombs were huge and fantastic like this one, and some (Christian X, for example) were actually quite modest.  Probably says something about the kings buried in them.

The tomb of some Danish king... a Frederik, I think. It was amusing how some tombs were huge and fantastic like this one, and some (Christian X, for example) were actually quite modest. Probably says something about the kings buried in them.

What’s also interesting is that in Roskilde, paintings of all of the bishops of the Danish People’s Church (there’s only one at a time) are hung up.  So I got to see portraits of Jakob Mynster and Hans Martensen, whom Kierkegaard harshly criticized at the end of his life, as well as Thomas Skat Rørdam, who was a bishop at the turn of the century!  Exciting!

 After Roskilde, we went to Lyngby, where a few Rørdams are buried and where Peter Rørdam, an acquaintace of Kierkegaard’s, was a bishop.  I know you’re itching to see pictures of my distant relatives, so here he is:

Peter Rørdam, who knew Kierkegaard!  Isn't he dashing?

Peter Rørdam, who knew Kierkegaard! Isn't he dashing?

After Lyngby, we went to Christian’s mother’s house for a nice long Danish… er, dunce.  It ran from like 2-6, so I’m not sure what to call it.  But the food was fantastic — cheese, bread, seafood, meat, potatoes… very very good.  And Danes, in case I haven’t mentioned before, are very respectable drinkers.  So there was also a lot of good wine.

Then, after hanging out for a good long while, we decided to hit up some Danish pubs.  The first one we tried (a very old one that we think was around in Søren Kierkegaard’s time) was Det Rene Glas, or the clean glass.  This place was the definition of a hole in the wall.  It had two tiny rooms, and was full of people who looked like they’d been there since oh, 9 in the morning.  Lucky for us, it was also karaoke night!  So a lot of old drunken Danes sang to us until we finished our beers and decided to check out another place.

The next place we found was much calmer.  We found a nice back room and hung out.  We even took a picture!

From the left: my cousin Vibe, my mother, my father, me, and my cousin Ida.

From the left: my cousin Vibe, my mother, my father, me, and my cousin Ida.

Then, it was bed for us.  Until next time (which will be in about 30 minutes or so)…

I’ll leave you with one more interesting tidbit.

All the Danish kings and queens have their own cipher -- just like the college of William and Mary! So you can tell who built a royal building because the cipher is placed above the entranceway.  It's especially easy in Denmark because pretty much every king since the 1500s has either been a Christian or a Frederik.  This cipher belongs to (you guessed it) Christian the Ninth.

All the Danish kings and queens have their own cipher -- just like the college of William and Mary! So you can tell who built a royal building because the cipher is placed above the entranceway. It's especially easy in Denmark because pretty much every king since the 1500s has either been a Christian or a Frederik. This cipher belongs to (you guessed it) Christian the Ninth.

Posted by: landonrordam | July 26, 2009

More Copenhagen, and a jetlagged day.

Sooo on to Thursday.  Mom and dad were still working on their jetlag, so we took it a little easy on them.  We walked down to Copenhagen, and I found some more of the places where Kierkegaard lived.  And check this out – I found a plaque that very few people know about!  I even have a book that has pictures of plaques and statues of Søren Kierkegaard, but this one is missing.  Needless to say I was very excited.

A Søren Kierkegaard plaque... that I found all by myself!  Be proud, be very proud.

A Søren Kierkegaard plaque... that I found all by myself! Be proud, be very proud.

After that we visited to Rosenborg castle, which was the King’s summer house back in the 1600s but in the early 1800s was converted into a museum, making it one of the oldest museums of its type.  Today it houses royal artifacts (TONS of them) and the crown jewels.  It cost 20 kroner to take pictures, so I was a cheapskate and kept the camera in my pocket.  I did, however, get a picture of the outside:

There is a lot of valuable crap in that building.

There is a lot of valuable crap in that building.

After that we went and visited the Rundetårn (Round Tower) again, and then we visited a few more Kierkegaard sites (one of which we had to get special permission to see… they’d had to lock it up after vandals had gotten in and made a mess of things).

Then Christian joined us at the apartment and did some work while mom and dad napped away the jetlag.  After that we went to Christian’s house and had an excellent dinner of flatfish and shrimp and vegetables.  Delicious.  I also got to see this curious camp where Marina’s son was staying for the week – let’s just say it was an experience.  A muddy experience.

But Christian’s house was very nicely decorated indeed. 

Christian's house.  Excellent dinner, excellent company, excellent surroundings.  Yay Denmark!

Christian's house. Excellent dinner, excellent company, excellent surroundings. Yay Denmark!

Then we made it home and went to bed.  Not a terribly exciting day, but the next one is very fun-filled, believe me.  Here’s your take-home picture of the day:

This man was guarding the goodies at Rosenborg.  Looks like a boring job, but I wouldn't cross him.  And yes, that's a bayonet on the end of his rifle, in case you needed extra intimidation.

This man was guarding the goodies at Rosenborg. Looks like a boring job, but I wouldn't cross him. And yes, that's a bayonet on the end of his rifle, in case you needed extra intimidation.

Posted by: landonrordam | July 26, 2009

Taking the rents around

So, we’re now up to – what is it, Wednesday? Man I’m behind.  I’ll try to make some progress tonight. Anyway, on Wednesday morning, Christian and I went to go pick up my parents from the airport.  They’re here for a little less than a week, so they had some serious work to do. 

We first walked down to the cemetery, and visited Hans Christian Andersen’s grave.

Hans Christian Andersen's grave.  Curious fact - in Danish the letter H is pronounced "ho" and the letter C is pronounced "say." Most Danes refer to the writer as H. C. Andersen, or to American ears, "Jose Andersen."

Hans Christian Andersen's grave. Curious fact - in Danish the letter H is pronounced "ho" and the letter C is pronounced "say." Most Danes refer to the writer as H. C. Andersen, or to American ears, "Jose Andersen."

After that we took the walk down into Copenhagen.  We once again visited Vor Frue Kirke, my favorite church, and got a good look of the Thorvaldsen statues in there (all 12 disciples, and a magnificent one of Christ).  Then we went down to the lower part of Copenhagen, and I found one of the statues of Søren Kierkegaard!  He sits out in the garden behind the Royal Library.

A Søren Kierkegaard statue.  Doesn't he look good up there!

A Søren Kierkegaard statue. Doesn't he look good up there!

Speaking of the Royal Library!  There is a magnificent new addition to the library, called the Black Diamond.  I wish I had a good picture from outside, but if you really care you can look it up.  It’s an imposing black structure, jutting out into the Copenhagen harbor.  It is located in Søren Kierkegaard square, and there is a Søren K. restaurant.  And inside is just fantastic.

It's hard to capture the scope and beauty of the Black Diamond, but I try in this picture.

It's hard to capture the scope and beauty of the Black Diamond, but I try in this picture.

Mom and dad were quite jetlagged at this point, and both of them got into chairs outside and took a thiry-minute nap.  I have pictures, but mom forbade me from showing them to anyone. You can take that up with her.

Then we walked around Copenhagen for a while.  I got to visit a good amount of Kierkegaard sites, and then we saw Nyhavn – that quintessential Copenhagen street that is on all the postcards.

Nyhavn.  Now I have photographic proof that I went to Copenhagen!

Nyhavn. Now I have photographic proof that I went to Copenhagen!

After that, we walked down to Amalienborg (where the queen lives), the Marble Church (where there’s another Kierkegaard statue), and the old Royal Frederik’s hospital (where Kierkegaard died at the age of 42).  I didn’t get any good pictures of Amalienborg, and I’ve had explicit requests to keep Kierkegaard out of this blog as much as I can, so I will just share a few random pictures from the day.

A stuffed muskox from Greenland.  Found in the Royal Library.

A stuffed muskox from Greenland. Found in the Royal Library.

The Royal Theater on Kongens Nytorv.  When Kierkegaard was writing his books, he didn't want high society to think that he was too busy with them.  So at intermissions at the plays in this theater, he would walk down and visit with everyone

The Royal Theater on Kongens Nytorv. When Kierkegaard was writing his books, he didn't want high society to think that he was too busy with them. So at intermissions at the plays in this theater, he would walk down and visit with everyone so they would think that he was at the play the whole time. Then, he would walk back home and continue writing.

 Okay, that’s it for Wednesday.  On to Thursday!

Posted by: landonrordam | July 24, 2009

Another Day in Copenhagen!

So.  After finishing up with all my exciting adventures in LEGOLand, my roommate/cousin Marina and I spent the next day in Copenhagen.  We first took the Metro down to one of the University areas, where there was a FANTASTIC new dorm that had just been built.

This dorm is much more swanky than Jamestown South.

This dorm is much more swanky than Jamestown South.

Then, after that, we went down and visited Christiania.  Let me tell you the story of Christiania.  During the late sixties and early seventies, a bunch of hippies were looking for a place to set up a free-love no-rent hippie paradise.  So a bunch of them jumped over the fence of a huge old military base and declared the area the free state of Christiania, exempt from Copenhagen laws, Danish laws, and European laws.  Hippies from all over Denmark flocked in and occupied the place, and the government gave some halfhearted resistance and then gave up.  Since then, some laws have come into place – most open selling of marijuana is banned (I say most because Marina and I passed a guy who had a big ol’ jar of pot he was vending…) and there is some rule of law.  The hippies have also realized that making your art for your own personal development, etc is fine – but when you sell those works for 50 bucks a pop! Well that’s much better.

Anyway, here’s Christiania.

There were a lot of "no foto" signs around, but I was able to sneak a few.  This is a booth where you can deposit any article of clothing, and take anything you want.  Personally, it doesn't really look like anything I'd want, but then again, I would never jump over a military fence and proclaim it my own country.

There were a lot of "no foto" signs around, but I was able to sneak a few. This is a booth where you can deposit any article of clothing, and take anything you want. Personally, it doesn't really look like anything I'd want, but then again, I would never jump over a military fence and proclaim it my own country.

An exit from Christiania.

An exit from Christiania.

After that, I went up the tower of Vor Frelsors Kirke, which has 400 steps — 150 of which are on the outside spiral of the church.  It was extremely windy and terrifying, but the view was incredible.  Since I’ve already shared pictures from the Rundetårn, I won’t put anymore landscape pictures, but here’s Vor Frelsors Kirke:

Vor Frelsors Kirke.  See that spiral? Ya, I walked up that.

Vor Frelsors Kirke. See that spiral? Ya, I walked up that.

Looking down from halfway up the spiral.

Looking down from halfway up the spiral.

After admiring the view, I joined Marina (who doesn’t like heights) down below and we continued our journey.  We saw some exciting sights, including an underwater statue, and then we visited the Denmark National Museum (their equivalent of the Smithsonian).  We saw viking spears, bog bodies, lots of golden and amber artifacts, and (what I thought to be the coolest): RUNES.

A runestone!  This was written 1000s of years ago.  I want to commemorate the death of a loved one by chiselling archaic lettering into a giant rock.

A runestone! This was written 1000s of years ago. I want to commemorate the death of a loved one by chiselling archaic lettering into a giant rock.

We also went to La Glace, a cake bakery that has been around for over 100 years.  And let me tell you – their cakes are FANTASTIC.  I have a lot of exciting pictures from this day, but you will have to ask me to see the rest!

Posted by: landonrordam | July 19, 2009

Drink it up!

Day three in Copenhagen!

Today, I really wore myself out.  I said I wanted to walk the streets of Copenhagen, just like Kierkegaard, and Copenhagen is an extremely walkable city, but man.  I probably walked four or five miles today.

As for what I did:

I had the ultimate nerd-out when I went to the Copenhagen city museum, which was very interesting.  They had a lot of models of medieval Copenhagen which were fascinating but more importantly, they had a room DEDICATED to Søren Kierkegaard.  I think everyone else in the museum was a little disturbed because I took a picture of every single thing in each of the cases.  His writing desk and cupboard were also there, which was supremely awesome. 

The more interesting pictures will appear eventually on Fragments of a Journey , my scholarly Kierkegaard blog, and you can look at them there.  I won’t bore you with them here. 

I then walked toward what I thought was Kierkegaard’s ex-fiancee’s house, but later (when I looked at the map again) turned out NOT to be it.  Whoopsie.  But I did pass by a statue of Hans Christian Andersen:

Hans Christian Andersen and an Asian tourist.  Isn't that cute?

Hans Christian Andersen and an Asian tourist. Isn't that cute?

 AND I saw this very macho-looking guy continually flipping his kayak.  Over and over and over.  It didn’t look like fun.  Maybe it’s some kind of training?

Lookin' pretty cold there, buddy.

Lookin' pretty cold there, buddy.

Then I spent some time on Strøget, the pedestrian walking street where all the touristy shopping is, and then visited the Rundetårn, or Round Tower.  The Rundetårn is about eight floors up, all in a big spiral.  It’s pretty tiring, but there’s a GREAT view once you get up there.  It was used as an observatory for a long time, until they built a new one, and they actually had the observatory open when I went.

The Rundetårn!

The Rundetårn!

Up the Rundetårn!

Up the Rundetårn!

A weird astronomical calendar or something.

A weird astronomical calendar or something.

View 1 from the Rundetårn

View 1 from the Rundetårn

View 2 from the Rundetårn

View 2 from the Rundetårn

View 3 from the Rundetårn. Notice the Church of our Lady (Vor Frue Kirke) in the middle.  That's the church Kierkegaard used to go to way back before he began his crusade against the Danish Church.

View 3 from the Rundetårn. Notice the Church of our Lady (Vor Frue Kirke) in the middle. That's the church Kierkegaard used to go to way back before he began his crusade against the Danish Church.

View 4 from the Rundetårn

View 4 from the Rundetårn

View 5 (and the last) from the Rundetårn!

View 5 (and the last) from the Rundetårn!

A 400-year-old observatory (the telescope is newer). How cool is that?

A 400-year-old observatory (the telescope is newer). How cool is that?

Annnd finally, I visited a cafe (Klaptæet) that set up shop in a building where Kierkegaard used to live.  Here in Denmark a sandwich is a smørrebrød, which is open-faced and eated with a knife and fork.  It was really really good.

A Chorizo smørrebrød.  Freakin' huge.  To quote Mitch Hedberg: "Would you like anything else?"  "Ya, a loaf of bread and some OTHER PEOPLE!"

A Chorizo smørrebrød. Freakin' huge. To quote Mitch Hedberg: "Would you like anything else?" "Ya, a loaf of bread and some OTHER PEOPLE!"

For today, thaaaat’s all folks.  Catch you on the flip side.

Posted by: landonrordam | July 18, 2009

Jetlag (it’s not fun)

So!  Day 2 in Denmark.  Today I was awake around five am.  After trying in vain to get back to sleep, I decided to get some sightseeing done around 7:30 in the morning.  Denmark is quite different in a lot of ways, but one that’s particularly disconcerting is how the sun works up here.  The sun rises around 4:45 (that’s why I woke up so early, along with the accursed jetlag) and sets around 9:30 or 10.  It’s 8:30 right now, and it’s bright as day!

Anyway, so the take-home message is that I was out on the streets at 7:30 — way before Copenhagen wakes up.  Most cafes open up around 10 or 11, so nothing was open and no one was out.  What was eerie was just how bright it was — i felt like it was 11!  I tried to capture it in a picture.

Copenhagen, 7:30 AM.  Notice how bright it is, but virtually no one is out.  Eerie.  It was every creepier on Stroget, the pedestrian walking street, which was packed with people yesterday and empty this morning.

Copenhagen, 7:30 AM. Notice how bright it is, but virtually no one is out. Eerie. It was every creepier on Strøget, the pedestrian walking street, which was packed with people yesterday and empty this morning.

Another thing you can notice in the picture is that both the red light and the yellow light are on.  When the light is going from red to green, both yellow and red come on, apparently as a “drivers start your engines” kind of thing.  I don’t really understand it.

In town, I got a lot of items checked off on my list.  I visited four places where Kierkegaard lived, found (to my surprise) the busts of Kierkegaard’s two rivals in the church, and walked the remnants of the old ramparts of Copenhagen, just as Kierkegaard would have done.

After coming back and taking an inadvertant nap (only an hour!) Christian took me sightseeing.  We drove by Frederiksberg Gardens (which I will visit for real in a few days), then saw a dam that was built during the 1940s.  Germany was sending all the unemployed Danes to work camps, so the Danish government created a giant project to employ every dane — build a giant dam!  This created a lot more land in the region of Amager, just south of Copenhagen, and prevented a lot of Danes from being sent to harsh work camps.

After that, we visited the quaint (and very Danish) little town of Dragør.  We got ice cream there and strolled around for a bit.  Then, I came back and got a cell phone – not the best rates, but enough to get around on, so I’m happy.  Plus, now I have an alarm clock.  You see, I brought my American cell phone along with me, so I could use it as an MP3 player.  However, I forgot to turn it on airplane mode before I got on the plane, and when I turned it on on the plane the time re-set to midnight on January 5, 1980.  Soooo it’s pretty worthless as an alarm.  But now I have a cell phone!  Hooray!  Now enjoy some pretty pictures of Dragør.

The Dragør Port

The Dragør Port

Down a street in Dragør

Down a street in Dragør. Notice the thatched-roof cottage.

Another view of Dragør

Another view of Dragør

Yet another view of Dragør.  My, just look at the lovely flowers!

Yet another view of Dragør. My, just look at the lovely flowers!

Oh, also – almost forgot!  After Dragør we took a tour of Lille Mølle, or little mill.  Although the tour was in Danish, Christian translated some for me.  Lille Mølle is an old mill, originally built (or commissioned?) in the early 1600s then rebuilt in the late1700s.  It was then turned into a residence where the owners threw extravagant parties with 100+ people.  I was afraid to take pictures inside, so you’ll have to settle for an outside picture.

Lille Mølle!

Lille Mølle!

Anyway, that’s it for now.  Until next time…

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