Day: 74 & 75
Cities / Towns Visited: 37
Countries Visited: 12
Steps Taken Today: 25,094
Steps Taken Around the World: 1,360,794
Our seventy-fourth day souly involved sleeping-in then taking a five hour train from Hamburg to Copenhagen, thus I will not bore you with the ins and outs of the adventure. I will simply say that it all went relatively smoothly and we arrived at our AirBNB room in a house with a friendly Dane named Kim in suburban Copenhagen without a hiccup. The only noteworthy revelation for the day being that we had travelled up towards the arctic enough that the sun was still not below the horizon at 10:30pm, and for someone who is a night owl and lover of the darkness, quiet, and cool of the evening hours, it was screwing with my head a little. By the time the night finally set in, it would be but five hours before it was to rise again.
Waking to the heat of a sun which had already been rising for quite a few hours, we lathered ourselves in sunscreen and headed out for our first day of exploration of this historic city. What better place to start our discovery of the city than at the national museum of course. Thus we grabbed our tickets and headed into the most interesting of the exhibitions which is dedicated to the prehistoric historic past of Denmark, and the general Scandinavian areas. Running from the stone to the iron age, and with a plethora of archaeological finds including countless flint and stone tools, all the way up to early iron weapons and artifacts, it was truly fascinating to learn how mankind survived in such a harsh environment, especially one which suffers such formidable winters, and has long periods of darkness in which vegetation struggles to survive, let alone provide for the masses. There is a series of rooms dedicated to the burial practices of ancient Scandinavians, from burial in cairns and mounds often marked with ruinstones, to some incredibly preserved bodies from the Viking age which were sealed into hollowed out tree trunks.
By the time we made it out, the time was ticking away, thus we decided to cherry pick the rest of the exhibits we would view, save us being here all day. The remainder of the visit was a whirlwind of ancient Egyptian mummies, sarcophagi, statues, and a scroll from the Book of the Dead (seriously its like every country has at least one); ancient Greek and Roman artifacts and statues; and a quick run through Danish history from the middle ages to present day. The museum is huge, and you could easily spend a couple of full days here and still not have explored it to the full extent, but we left satisfied that we had gained a good base of knowledge about the country’s ancient past.
Moving right along, we scurried off to hook into the English tour of Copenhagen’s town hall tower; you know, because we’d liked the one at Lubeck so much we thought we might give this one a go. As we reached the front they were setting up the open paved area for some sort of concert, so it was hard to really see the façade properly, but we remained undeterred as we edged along and in the door. As the tour headed off it became blatantly obvious that what language they spoke was of little importance as it wasn’t so much a tour as a guide just leading you up to the staircase that climbs to the top of the tower, with very little explanation of the interesting history or description of the building. Regardless, the interior is beautiful with its vaulted ceilings, grand staircases, and hand-painted murals and floral decoration. Reaching the top of the tower, we at least felt that our money wasn’t totally wasted, with a panoramic view of the cityscape, with its red brick rooftops, church spires, and palaces dotting the surroundings, and the canals just visible in the distance. From the other side was also a clear view of the Tivoli Gardens, an amusement park which has been running since the 1843, from which the cries of fear and excitement of the thrillseekers could be heard carried on the wind. Once we had finished basking in the view, and were somewhat tired of being battered by the wind from our lofty positions, we headed back down.
Our next destination would be the NY Carlsberg Glyptotek; an art and sculpture museum who’s main drawcard for me was the indoor winter garden which sits at its heart. Placing our backpack in the lockers provided, and entering, we were delivered straight into said garden. Its lush green plants filling the vaulted domed space; thriving in the warmth created beneath its glass ceiling. With the fountain flowing it was a tranquil respite from the hustle and bustle of outside. Eventually we moved on, taking and hour or two to wander the extensive collections of ancient Roman and Greek sculptures, French paintings, and a beautiful display of newer sculptures by a Danish artist, but in the same classical style, incorporating ancient gods and goddesses. We get so used to only seeing this style in the form of aging, and often damaged examples, but there was something refreshing and entrancing about seeing similar figures in the same glory they would have exhibited when they were first created and housed in the palaces of emperors and noblemen.
The day was growing old, and we were growing hungry, thus as we left the glyptotek we headed towards our final destination; the Tivoli Gardens. We passed through the gates and arrived in the central manicured gardens dotted with fountains and a small lake just in time to watch the evening parade which runs everyday. With the rides encircling the inner area, many shooting upwards into the sky, and watching the performers come out in their character costumes, it was easy to see why this park was the inspiration for the ever popular Disneyland. Now, as we, like most adults, are really just big kids who never really grow up no matter how much we pretend we have, we scurried off excitedly to find silly carnival food to gorge on. We decided to start small, but with one of my personal favourites, fairy floss (or candy floss for the rest of the world apparently). After that we then of course carried on, buying cheese flavoured popcorn (something I haven’t had for almost 20 years); then a local favourite, frikadelle which is a kind of Danish meatball, except we had it in a bun with cabbage slaw, and washed it down with a couple of ciders. We decided we should probably break up the food a bit, so we went for a wander around the gardens, past their pirate ship on the lake which is decked out as a restaurant (a tempting proposition but we found ourselves uninspired by their menu or its prices), before coming back to where we started. After scoping them all out, we naturally decided to go on a couple of rides. Unfortunately I get motion sick on anything that involves going in circles, upside down, or anything that makes me feel like my stomach is in my throat, thus we bought enough tickets for two rides (mainly because we didn’t want to spend the ridiculous amount of money to go on any more), and running off like children went of their mine cart ride, followed by the ferris wheel. At this point we sensibly came to the conclusion that we should probably buy something else savoury to eat otherwise we were likely to be hungry later in the evening, and delved into the food court to see what small extra we could find. To our luck and excitement we stumbled upon a place selling salt and vinegar fries. Now as lovers of this flavour in their potato chip form (but disheartened as it seems to be a rarity in mainland Europe), and often want to whinge about the fact people don’t put the seasoning on hot chips, we devoured them in the silence of pure satisfaction. Finally it was time to leave; via the ice cream stall of course, and make our way home after another long day of sightseeing.
As we unwound and tucked ourselves into bed, and with the exhaustion of the day creeping in after the sugar had worn off, I smiled to myself thinking about our evenings frivolities. It is easy as an adult to get so caught up in the seriousness of life. We are surrounded by so much bad news, responsibility, and stress that we forget to have fun; and I’m not talking adult fun, I’m not talking sex, drug, and rock and roll; I’m talking about the carefree fun of a child, I’m talking eating the foods you know your parents would have told you not to eat too much of, and running off to spend your pocket money on rides even though its a terrible investment of $12 for 3 minutes of excitement. We forget that life is there to be lived because we are constantly told that we need to plan for the future, to think about our retirement, and to set ourselves up for later. That’s not to say that we shouldn’t think of these things, but if it is all we concentrate on, if we only look forward, we forget to live now; and one day we will get to that future point that we spent all that time looking towards, and look back to find that we forgot to do anything of value in the interim. Don’t lose your inner child, eat the silly foods, treat yourself to a little fun now and again, run around with your friends or your partner like you’re in the schoolyard and you’ve only got 10 minutes left of recess, because to be honest, recess seems short to a child, just as youth seems short to the aged.