More Adventures in A City of Bicycles
Cold Winds, Bogs, Beer, Burgers
Copenhagen wasn't the warmest city we'd visited (that would be Bangkok). We started calling it Cold Wind Hagen, because every time we walked down a street or turned a corner, a chilly gust of wind was waiting for us. That didn't keep us inside, though, we still had a lot of things to see!
One of the places Julie, our Sandeman's Tour Guide recommended we check out was Nationalmuseet, Denmark's National Museum. One of the nice things about this museum is that admission is free. Another nice thing is that it has a really comprehensive series of collections about Denmark, starting before the vikings and going up through the vikings, medieval Denmark, and beyond.
The main thing we learned about vikings was that when they were done with something, they just chucked it into the bog. Don't need this wagon anymore? Put it in the bog. Don't want to carry these heavy weapons around? No problem. Toss them into the bog. Don't want this messy corpse around any more. Easy! Just into the bog it goes.
The anaerobic environment of the bogs had a preservation effect on all these artifacts, and the museum is loaded with a lot of cool finds that were dragged back out of the bog.
For instance, this pair of viking helmets (with horns, which flies in the face of conventional wisdom) are called the Veksø Helmets because they were found just outside the Danish town of Veksø in—you guessed it—a bog.
In addition to all the viking artifacts, there were many exhibits about Danish life in the medieval period and the more recent Danish kings. One of the coolest displays was of a crazy painting of King Frederik III, which looks like a mess until you look at its reflection in the polished mirror rod in the center of the painting.
Remember, thanks to Harald Bluetooth, the Danes became Christian in 960. So, of course, there's a wooden statue of St. George here at the museum—everyone loves this guy.
Ol' Bluetooth is also popularized the use of runestones when he expanded on the Jelling Stones (found in the town of Jelling in the Jutland region of Denmark), honoring the memory of his parents, telling about his conquest of, and how he converted the entire nation to Christianity.
We didn't visit the Jelling Stones (they were a little too far away for this trip), but there are a few examples of other viking runestones set up in a display in the museum.
The Nationalmuseet also has a great free kids' area which is more entertainment than education, but it does incorporate ideas and lessons from many of the different exhibits the museum offers.
Rosenborg Castle Gardens
After we visited the museum, we were surprised to see the sun in the sky, so we went for a walk and visited the Rosenborg Castle Gardens, the oldest park in Denmark which is home to Rosenborg Castle, built by King Christian IV in the early 1600s.
It's a nice park with many walking paths laid out in a grid. We were taking advantage of the nice weather (it was the sunniest day we'd seen on our visit), and so were a lot of Danes—there were plenty of folks hanging out in the park enjoying the rainless afternoon.
We had the fortune of visiting Copenhagen during the Distortion music festival, billed as "a week of emerging music and organized chaos." The festival moves around from place to place during the week, and on the Thursday we were there, it took place right outside the front door of our apartment.
We were no stranger to crowds—we did visit Granada during Semana Santa—but this seemed more intense, mainly due to the presence of alcohol. It was hard to navigate a path through the crowd of heavy drinking and vomiting Danes, but we managed. Fortunately we didn't have to lug our suitcases through the throng.
Via the Field Trip app (one of the ), we learned about a hidden restaurant by the name of Congo. Well, we couldn't find it. Perhaps it was too well hidden, but we suspect it's gone out of business (always a danger if you're too well hidden).
But we did find the Mikkeller bar, which was right down the street from the apartment, so we visited there a few times. Mikkeller is s Danish microbrewery founded by two gents and operating as a gypsy brewery. That is, they don't have their own brewery. Instead, they work with other breweries to make their unique beers.
But while the boys at Mikkeller don't have a brewery, they do have a restaurant, Øl & Brød (Beer & Bread) a few doors down from the bar that serves Mikkeller beers and Smørrebrød (a Danish open-faced sandwich).
Tommi's Burger Joint
Tommi's Burger Joint is a hamburger chain from Iceland (we found out too late they opened a branch in London—and we forgot to try it in Iceland) that is considered to be the "best burger in Denmark." With a tagline like that, how could we resist?
We could not. So we walked the short distance from the apartment to Kødbyen (the meatpacking district of Copenhagen, which is now a pretty hip part of town). I'm pleased to report that they do indeed make a damn fine burger.
The next morning we had an early flight back to Berlin, so we woke up before dawn and walked into the sunrise on our way to the train station. We were a little surprised to see a lot of people who were still up and about in these early hours of the Copenhagen day.
It was a Saturday morning, and our train was full of drunk Danes going home after a night of partying at Distortion. There were so many of them it was hard to find an open seat on the train.
Then, after the nicest, most efficient airport security check we'd experienced on this trip, we took to the air, heading back to Berlin.