Monday, October 31, 2011

Odense, Denmark

town hall

The final destination for us in Denmark was the city of Odense, on the island of Funen.  Funen is the second largest island in Denmark and Odense is famous for one thing apparently: Hans Christian Andersen was born here.  He left at age 18 as soon as he could but there are statues to him and his fairy tales everywhere in the city and you can visit his childhood home and a museum dedicated to him and his writing.  We didn't, but you could.  We instead wandered around the city and went to the Danish Railway Museum instead.

Andersen's "Flying Trunk"

 Odense is named after "Odin's Vi" or Odin's shrine that existing some 1000 years ago.  Nothing of it remains.  Today, it is Denmark's third largest city.  We enjoyed seeing a less touristy city and loved that our hotel room was substantially bigger than in Copenhagen, but that the bed had two pillows each!

entrance into Munke Mose, one of the green spaces in Odense

eating a traditional Danish chocolate: marzipan, flavored creme, and chocolate
so sugary sweet

another statue to Andersen's stories

feeding the ducks along the canal

boat houses along the canal
woodland path in the Hunderup Woods

Danish Railway Museum
All Aboard!

better get your ticket ready!

luxury car with railway wheels--for the big wig owners of the railways

bridge over the canal
After three days in Odense, we headed back to the States via London.  So long,  Denmark!  Thanks for the great vacation! 

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Roskilde Church

On our way from Copenhagen to Odense, we hopped off the train at Roskilde to visit the Vikings Museum and to see the Roskilde Cathedral-- a UNESCO site since 1995, and you know how we feel about going to those!  This cathedral is where almost all of the Danish Kings and Queens are buried-- 38 of them.

There have been at least two churches on the site of the present cathedral.  Construction for the cathedral began in 1170 when Absalon, the founder of Copenhagen, was bishop here.  The main parts of the church were completed by 1280, but with each century and each monarch, work has continued.
center walkway

The church was Catholic before the Reformation came to Denmark in 1536.  The building was remodeled in the new Protestant style, then, including removing several of the side alters.  Since the Reformation, all of the Danish kings, most of the Danish queens,  and many of their children have been buried here. 
Danish coat of arms in silver, on the side of one of the coffins
After seeing other buildings of his, it isn't surprising to learn that Christian IV made his chapel very ornate and grandiose.  The current Queen Mathilde II has chosen to be interned in the St. Brigitte;s chapel. There was a model of her final memorial: glass and gold, supported by elephant heads. 

a model of the memorial coffins for the current Queen and her consort
Most of the monarchs' chapels are off to the sides.  They were an array of white marble to rococo gilding.  The most overwhelming to me was Christian IV's chapel.  On the wall are paintings of the King during the battle of Kolberger Heide in 1644-- where he lost his eye in battling the Swedish fleet.  King Christian IV (1577-1648) began his rule of Denmark and Norway in 1588 and is best known for the great builder of Copenhagen.  That man's initials were on practically everything in that city!
Christian IX (1863-1906) and Louise in the Glucksberger Chapel

Christian IV's Chapel, with statue of the king

pulpit and the organ

the high alter

Christian IV's chapel: Anna Catherine (fore right), Christian IV (right middle; 1588-1648), Heir Apparent Christian (back right), Sophie Amalie (fore left), Frederik III (far left; 1648-1670)

Frederik II (1559-1588) and Sophie in the Chapel of the Magi

 Royal sarcophaguses behind the high alter: Louise (left), Duke Christopher (middle), Frederik IV (foreright), and Christian V (back right).

the center aisle towards the High Alter

Krag's Chapel
Christian VI (1730-1746; middle), Frederik VII (1848-1863; left), and Louise of Hessen

Frederik V (1746-1766)

behind the high alter, looking to the dome

choir stalls

Fred the 8th

16th century clock with St. George charging the dragon every hour

Queen Margrethe I (1375-1412)

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Day in Sweden

We went on a day-long bus trip up the coast of Denmark to Helsingør over to Helsingborg, Sweden by ferry.  We then drove down to the city of Lund, where we had about 2 hours to walk around, eat lunch, and go touring.  Thank goodness for the ham sandwiches we made from the breakfast buffet at the hotel!  We had a nice picnic in Lund's Botanical Gardens.  Then, back on the bus for a ride to Malmö, where Danes go to shop.  I had a slight meltdown (I got a cold and was feeling the worst of it) and sat drinking coffee while Will went off to shop.  Then back on the bus, over the Øresund Bridge, Europe's longest rail and road bridge, back to Copenhagen.

Minus my meltdown, it was a fun day and the bus driver was quite funny.  We had headphones with commentary about the areas we were seeing. We watched a lot of other tourists attempting to take video and photos out of the window as we drove by places (all of them were blurry, of course!) The driver also did a bit of extra touring for us, taking us to the Turning Torso tower in Malmö and a lookout point to see the bridge, which is pretty amazing.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Frederiksborg Slot

Frederiksborg Slot was, hands down, our favorite place to see in Denmark. It is a castle that floats! 

It is built on three islands and surrounded by a baroque garden and waterfall. It was originally built in the1560s by Frederik II and expanded by Christian IV between 1600-1620.  The Danish monarchs used it for two centuries, though now it is the Museum of National History.  

In 1859 the castle burned and through subscription it was rebuilt. The beer master Carl Jacobsen help fund the restoration in the 1880 and helped open the museum in 1882.  It is currently undergoing another round of restoration-- the bridge to the courtyard is under a tent.

courtyard with Neptune at the top of the fountain
Roman gods welcome you to the castle

Neptune being the most important since the castle is built on water
 The museum now contains Denmark's most important collection of portraits and historical paintings, as well as amazing examples of furniture, silver, glassware, clocks, etc of Danish history.  The top floors are dedicated to Danish history, focusing on the kings who built and lived in the castle.  The lower floors explore the more modern aspects of Danish history, including the writing desk of Hans Christian Andersen. 
the moat of the castle

inner courtyard
inner courtyard and the main entrance to the museum

 I went through the museum without Will-- he was working-- but we went back to explore the gardens.  The way that the boxwood bushes were perfectly trimmed and designed to read the initials of Christian IV or Frederik VII was amazing.  The trees were all so uniform in shape and size-- the team of gardeners for the castle certainly has fun.

Frederik IV, Christian VI, and Frederik V used these gardens all the time.  But the tightwad Christian VII (1766-1808) had no interest in maintaining the promenades or groves of trees. It was too expensive, apparently. By the 1930s, the gardens were in a very bad state and funding was finally made available to return the garden to its former glory.
the intricate gardens
amazing angled and sloped walls of grass with perfectly formed trees are everywhere
 The interior spaces of the castle are so overwhelming.  Every inch is covered in something to look at--more like gawk at-- and the audio guide (a free iPod) is completely worth your time. Room by room, it explains what you are looking at and why it is important to Danish history.

Christian IV and his queen

a gorgeous Danish silver fireplace cover

one of the hallways
One of the most spectacular rooms was the Great Hall, with its small balcony for musical entertainment.  The ceiling depicted scenes from Danish history, made easier to study with the mirrors reflecting up. Along the walls were full-length portraits of the Kings and Queens of Denmark, proving again that the majority were either Christian or Frederik.  I think about 1904 or 1907, King George comes into the picture. 
The Great Hall---amazingly ornate
An interesting piece was a massive globe made of silver.  It still works and the inner part showed how the planets, depicted as Roman gods or creatures, moved around the sun-- a new way of thinking.  The outer parts were the zodiac signs, moving as the stars do.  At the top, a demonstration of how the old way of thinking worked: the sun moving around the earth.
a time piece that showed the new thought of the day: the planets going around the sun

one of the many bedrooms

over 10,000 portraits are in the museum-- lots of them kings and queens

the ceiling is a painting of Gefion, the same goddess with the fountain in Copenhagen
The church, one of the grandest churches I have ever seen, was able to avoid a fire, therefore is all original.  This was here the Crown Prince Joachim married Princess Alexandra in 1995. From 1671 to 1840, the kings of Denmark were crowned in this church, and today it still functions as a small parish church.  Along the upper walkway, surrounding the windows, are shields of the knights of Denmark-- this is the chapel for the knights of the Order of the Elephant and the Grand Cross of Danneborg, two of the highest honors one can achieve in Denmark. 

the church
The organ was built in 1610 and it has never had to be restored. It has 1001 pipes and two billows, therefore needing two people to play it.
the pipe organ

the building looks like it floats

The Rose  or Knight's Room

the ceiling with real antlers for the deer

I do think that one of Will's favorite parts about the castle was that Neptune, in certain lights, was giving the horns of the devil.   Regardless, Frederiksborg Slot is a must see when in Denmark.