After a pleasant night at sea, we arrived at our next port-of-call, Copenhagen, Denmark.

Our ship was not greeted by fire boats or Japanese naval vessels, but by this sight:
the band

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 Christian Andersen". 

Then we got off the ship for a walking tour of Copenhagen.  Well, not so much a walking tour as a trotting-along-behind-your-tourguide-as-she-whips-you-past-the-wonders-of-Copenhagen 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.
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.
me and mermaid
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.
tourist fart

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.
a 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 wind.
denmark's flag

...Then our tour guide took off like the wind and was racing ahead to the next stop.

royal palace

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".

weinerbrod and people

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.
canal homes
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 we watched.
palace guards

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 umbrella.
the women
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 weather...

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
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 beautiful place.

Towen through the trees


Pomme Frites!
...And they serve their Frites with Mayonnaise and the kind of salt we only see on Pretzels.

Sheila and Flowers
Sheila enjoys some of the beautiful flowers.

The Palace
This is one of the buildings inside Tivoli.  It houses restaurants and shops.

The quiet fountain
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.

Another view of the fountain
Here's another view.

fountain and palace
And another.

The entrance

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.

tivoli from outside
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 him. 

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.
The long Hallway

Next:  Helsingborg, Sweden

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