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Posts tagged Christian IV

Frederiksborg Castle

The train ride from Gilleleje to Hillerod was great. We were the only people on the train or at least our section of it. The views were spectacular as we headed through Danish forest with occasional glimpses of lakes and farms.

My son took advantage of our empty train carriage to stretch out. The windows in the train were larger than any I’ve previously encountered.

We took a bus from the train station to the castle (as buses which normally cost at least US$4 for even short rides were free with our 24-hour, unlimited pass). We missed the stop to get off which turned out to be a good thing as we ended up entering the grounds from the extensive wooded area in the rear. My only regret now is that we didn’t explore the park-type areas more.

Once you see the castle, though, you are drawn to it, and it becomes difficult to stay in the beautifully landscaped outer grounds. They weren’t just trees. There were lakes, lily pads, canals, bridges, sculptured gardens, wildlife, flowers, and more.

Frederiksborg Castle is not to be confused with Frederiksberg Castle which is near our residence many dozens of miles to the south.

This is the setting in Music & Silence. There is even a carving of the king’s orchestra on the castle wall. I wonder if the lute player in the carving was the inspiration for the book (as the main character in the book, Peter Claire, was a lute player for King Christian IV).

When you click on the above image you’ll see lots of black flying things. I’m not sure if they are birds or bats, but let’s say they are bats to make the photograph be even cooler. 😉

frederiksborg slot

These statues appear to be fairly newly restored. Some of the other ones didn’t look like they had been touched in hundreds of years.

We were there after 7 p.m. on a weeknight and the interior of the castle had closed at 5 so all of the tourists were long gone. This made for some great photo opportunities as I’m guessing this shot could never happen with tons of tourists in the way normally. If you like uncrowded self-tours then I highly recommend you plan your visit for the evening or early morning hours. I would have liked to have stayed until the sun set, but that would have been another 3+ hours. The sun never seems to set in these Danish summers.

This last picture was taken back in the center of town. The statue is the only thing near the camera, on a plaza where you can enjoy a meal or drink. Nearly everything was closed and very few people were around. With a view like this and so few people to enjoy it, the sensation was strange.

We then headed back to Copenhagen on a 40-minute train ride, pretty much ending a very eventful and wonderful day. It wasn’t that expensive either. With food, train tickets (kids were free), etc. we ended up spending less than US$100 which is very hard to do for four people in Denmark even when you aren’t going to three amazing locations around much of an entire island (Zealand).

Music & Silence

When I found out late last year that I’d be living in Denmark this summer I determined to learn a thing or two about a country I knew little about. Music & Silence by Rose TremainI’m not sure quite how I came upon this book; perhaps it was a Google search of something like “best Denmark books.” In any event, Music & Silence was available at my local library. Now that I think of it, I probably just typed “Denmark” into the keyword search of my library’s database.

Anyway, this book, being “historical fiction,” probably isn’t the best source to learn about Denmark, but it was entertaining. For me, Music & Silence went through three phases.

The first was confusion as I tried to figure out who the characters were. The descriptions are rich, but there are so many characters, and the author bounces back and forth between them; she also doesn’t go with a linear time line. This made for somewhat difficult reading, but it was exciting at the same time as the reader has to stay alert and try to piece things together.

The second phase was non-stop pleasure as you finally get your mind wrapped around the characters and become deeply involved in the plot. While this portion of the book is certainly the best, I don’t recommend entering this phase if you have other things you are supposed to be doing. You will find it hard to put the book down as you have to see what will happen with the next twists and turns of the story.

The final phase, for me anyway (I think my wife and other readers may disagree), was disappointment. For all the subtleties, complications, and richly woven plot lines of the bulk of the book the endings were all too clean, predictable, and perfect for my taste.

At least that’s my memory. It’s been five or six months since I finished this book so things are foggy at this point. Rose Tremain certainly painted some pictures in my head, though, of Copenhagen, the Denmark countryside, Rosenborg, and Frederiksborg. I’m anxious to see the real things.