After a pleasant night at sea, we arrived at our next port-of-call,
Our ship was not greeted by fire boats or Japanese naval vessels, but
by this sight:
It was a 5-piece band that played quite a few songs as we pulled
in. It was nice, and they played ragtime pretty well for a
bunch of semi-retirees from Denmark. The first song they played
for us was "Wonderful, Wonderful Copenhagen" from the movie "Hans
Then we got off the ship for a walking tour of Copenhagen. Well,
not so much a walking tour as a
tour. Actually, she did stop to take the time to explain the
various points of interest, but in between... I think she used to be an
Olympic speed walker, and never forgot.
Our first stop was The Little Mermaid.
Hans Christian Andersen lived in Copenhagen and did most of his writing
here. To honor him they placed a statue of his best-loved
story. If all you are familiar with is the Disney version, read
the original. It is... different. Decidedly different.
Here I am, posing with a few dozen other tourists.
According to our tour guide, her feet/fins are rubbed shiny by all the
tourists, and her head was stolen at some point in the past.
About that moment our tour guide sprinted off to the next sight.
Windmills are not exclusive to the Dutch. This one is on a
military base. The red roofs you see are barracks. Pretty
swanky for a base.
Okay, we are not above making fun of other languages.
The flowers here are just as nice as those in the Netherlands.
So, the tour guide is telling us the history of the area, it's great
maritime contributions and naval history, and all we can look at is the
shiny, red 2CV.
Notice that Sheila is looking at it while staying with the group, who
are all oblivious to the glory that is the Citroen 2CV.
I want one.
Just outside of the Maersk Shipping Headquarters (The largest shipping
company in the world, according to our tour guide) stands a huge
mast. At the top the flag of Denmark Ripples in the warm summer
...Then our tour guide took off like the wind and was racing ahead to
the next stop.
I did not know that there were so many constitutional monarchies still
in Europe. All of scandinavia has them, as well as the
Netherlands and, of course, Great Britain. This is the courtyard
outside the Royal Palace. The Richrich of Denmark bought all the
land around the palace, to build all their own palatial homes.
Some were eventually taken over by the government, some are still in
private hands. It is pretty, in any event.
One quick note. It is not only Americans that are Ugly
Tourists. The Ugly Tourist can come from anywhere. Here we
encountered a group of tourists from Asia. Most were happy to
just snap photos of the royal guard outside of the palace, but a couple
were downright obnoxious. As the guard would make his patrol, the
OA (Obnoxious Asian) would walk behind him, as if doing a very poor
mime routine. When the guard would stop at the end of the route,
the OA would stand next to him, making goofy faces for his friends to
photograph. This went on for several minutes. Then we
learned the difference between the british palace guards and the Danish
palace guards. Eventually, it seems, the guard tired of the OA
being a jerk, and when they got to the end of the route and stopped,
the OA tried to get a bit too close to the guard. The guard, in
one smooth move, took his arm from the butt of his rifle, put it
against the shoulder of the OA and gave a mighty shove. The OA
stumbled and almost went down. At this point he figured out that
being a jerk is not the best way to make friends in foreign lands.
Then our tour guide took us to get a snack.
In Denmark, you must eat a danish. It's not called that, any more
than french fries are called french fries in France. In Denmark a
danish is Weinerbrod, which translates into "Vienna bread".
This is amazing stuff. There is no way to compare it with
anything we get over here. Just take my word for it. Go to
Denmark and eat weinerbrod.
Canals are not just in the Netherlands, either.
This is a canal-side road. Shops and homes line the way. It
is really pretty. I could live here.
A group of palace guards paraded from their ready room to the palace as
Then we sprinted off again to view parliament from a distance.
(it's the green-roofed building past the steeple on the right.)
Nearby was the largest thermometer in Europe.
As you can see it goes up the side of the building. It may be
smaller than the one in Baker, California, but it is far nicer.
At the very top are two statues of women, one on a bike and one with an
They were designed to show people the weather. However, I figure
that if you can see which of the statues is out, you can tell the
It was here that the tour ended. If we wanted to go back to the
ship, there was a chartered bus that could take us back right
then. If we wanted to stay, we would have to make our own
arrangements. The easiest method would be to take the dock bus,
which ran every 15 minutes. Either that, or we could take a taxi or
attempt to find our way back by walking. We opted to stay and go
back later. This became an adventure in and of itself.
Our next stop, Tivoli Gardens!
Tivoli Gardens is an amusement park. While Disneyland was
celebrating its 50th anniversary, Tivoli was observing its 125th.
It is arranged in such a way that the rides do not actually impinge
upon the gardens that give Tivoli its name. It really is a
...And they serve their Frites with Mayonnaise and the kind of salt we
only see on Pretzels.
Sheila enjoys some of the beautiful flowers.
This is one of the buildings inside Tivoli. It houses restaurants
This was an amazing fountain. It was totally silent and very
hypnotic. The tubes were filled with water. As you watched,
a bunch of bubbles would bloop up from below, and rise to the
top. There was action without sound. It was very cool.
Here's another view.
Tivoli Gardens is a very pleasant place. We saw lots of older
couples there. We figured out that admission to the park is just
a few bucks, and a season pass was about $12.50. Since the rides
are done under separate tickets, if you don't want to ride, but like
pretty flowers in a pleasant setting, it is a great deal.
And a view of Tivoli from outside on the town plaza.
I mentioned earlier that anybody who did not take the charter bus back
had to make his or her own arrangements. Just behind us as we
took the above picture was the city tourist/travel hub. This is
where you go to catch buses to most parts of the city. We were
told by several people this was the place to go to avoid a multi-mile
walk back to the ship through a city that can seem like a maze.
Remember Sheila's feet from Amsterdam? Walking back seemed like a
bad idea. We headed over to the office to buy our tickets. The
nice lady behind the counter informed us that the bus we needed was not
running that day.
What??? This is the bus we need! Is there an alternative
bus? The nice lady tells us "No, there are no alternative
buses. The route is blocked."
"Blocked? By what?" I ask.
"A protest." the nice lady says. "President Bush is in town and people
are protesting the fact he is here."
Hmmmm. We have just one day in Copenhagen, and the president has
managed to make things inconvenient for us.
We ask about alternatives. We can walk or take a taxi. The
taxi stand is just a short walk across the plaza. We go there,
talk to the taxi driver at the head of the line and make arrangements
to go back to the ship. Along the way, our driver discusses
politics, protests and the president. He points out that protests
in Denmark are singularly pleasant events, as much a picnic as a
protest. A large number of like minded people get together, put
up some signs and enjoy some good food and wine while demanding change
of some sort.
Our driver was amazed that we as a country would elect somebody like
George W. Bush. He was even more amazed that, having learned what
he was like for his first term, we as a country chose to reelect
We explained that more than half of us did not vote for him, and he won
by the barest majority the second time around.
The driver stated that he was not a popular man in Copenhagen. We
stated that the same was true in the U.S. and not to judge us by
the mistake made by others who had voted for this boob.
At one point the driver hits a backup caused by all the traffic
diverted away from the protest zone. The driver suggested a
longer, but now faster route. We agreed, and he took it.
Eventually we made it back to the ship.
The bus would have cost us $6. The taxi ran $60. I wonder
if I can send Bush a bill for the difference?
Finally, tired but happy we made it back to the ship. Only to
face one final hurdle, the walk back to the room.