Posted by: landonrordam | August 1, 2009

Christiansborg, Frederiksberg – man those Danes love their castles.

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.

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