Dorrances in Denmark

Trip Start May 28, 2008
Trip End Aug 26, 2008

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Flag of Denmark  , Zealand,
Thursday, July 31, 2008

Transportation between Malmo Sweden and Copenhagen Denmark is a breeze, with direct train services throughout the day. The rail link between the two cities over a narrow channel of the Baltic Sea includes a bridge, tunnel, and artificial island.

We met a charming Dane on our Great Wall hike in China, and he was kind enough to email us some ideas for our time in Kobenhavn (Copenhagen). We had no trouble finding our way in the Danish capital, which has a number of canals and is another charming waterfront city. The whole surrounding area known as Zealand is very flat, as is the rest of Denmark.

The Danish palace of Christianborg, seat today of Danish government, is actually the third Christianborg as the other two were lost in terrible fires. Hopefully the third time is the charm. The Danish kingdom had a more modest palace on the same site, but it was poorly regarded by visitors from other European kingdoms when compared with the grand palaces such as Versailles. The first Christianborg was meant to address this, but even in Royal endeavors the Danes were a bit more modest than the other major European powers of the day.

The site still has subterranean walls which can be toured below the palace, where you can see parts of the original fortifications from the founding of Copenhagen. These underground ruins are well displayed, and date from centuries before. Also visible is the cornerstone laid for the modern Christianborg.

The Nyhavn waterfront area is a great place jammed with cafes on both sides of a narrow, dead end canal. This area turns into the longest café party in Denmark during summer, as the crowds on both sides of the canal and all the establishments blend together.

The kids were quite interested in Tivoli, the local theme park and garden area in downtown Copenhagen that has been in operation for around 150 years. Stirling was too small to try the rides she wanted to go on, but we did drop in just before midnight to enjoy the water and light show - which was actually rather good, with various laser effects that displayed well in the water and mist.

A special area of Copenhagen is Christiana, an anarchist/socialist/hippy/commune district that developed decades ago when squatters occupied vacant military buildings. Despite never-ending controversies, the movement and area survived and is now a UNESCO World Heritage area. When you enter Christiana, there are cafes, bars, concerts, art projects, graffiti, and a whole different world - a strange but somehow thriving city within a city, complete with their own postal service. It was really a fascinating place. We didn't take many pictures, as most areas have signs requesting no photos be taken, but we did post a few so you can get a feel for the area. We found a nice vegetarian café, and had a surprisingly great lunch there.

Copenhagen is trying again to shut down Christiana for redevelopment, and it remains to be seen whether the city will have any more success this time around. Christiana has already been surrounded by upmarket and expensive apartments/flats and private docks, so we thought it would be nice to see this little urban oasis remain intact. When departing towards downtown, there is a sign reminding you that are once again entering the European Union - rather than the independent-whatever-they-call-it of Christiana. Whether you agree or disagree with what has happened in Christiana, it is certainly worth an interesting visit.

- Demian
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