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Posts tagged hans christian andersen

Copenhagen on The Amazing Race (again)

Hans Christian Andersen Statue - Copenhagen, Denmark

If you watched The Amazing Race this past week you will recognize this statue, which is where the first clue of the racing day was located. As I watched The Amazing Race I didn’t remember the writing under the statue. After looking at today’s photo I realized why. There is no saying that ends with “To Travel is to Live” underneath the Hans Christian Andersen statue in Copenhagen! The Amazing Race planted it there just for the show. Tricky. Actually, I think there are a lot of things “fudged” on The Amazing Race. Many of the scenes they show are nowhere near places the contestants go. On this most recent episode they made it look like Legoland is just outside of Copenhagen. Legoland is actually over three hours away by car.

Back to today’s photo… Why am I sitting on Hans’s lap you ask? This was a bit of a joke. Tourists (mostly kids and young ladies) take their photo in this position. I tried to get my kids to sit on his lap back in 2008, but they were far too embarrassed. They would have been even more mortified had I done it. So this past summer, when they weren’t with me, I had this photo taken to send to them to see if I could get a laugh out of them back home. However, I forgot all about it until watching the Amazing Race this past Sunday evening.


Nyhavn means New Harbor in English, but this harbor isn’t very new. Nyhavn has been around for well over 300 years. Hans Christian Andersen even lived here for a while.

Nyhavn Copenhagen Denmark

Tourists come here now as the starting point for Copenhagen Canal Tours or just to enjoy the views. Many also eat and drink at the restaurants, cafes, and bars. From the signs I saw the establishments appear to be even more expensive than those located elsewhere in town. We investigated getting some ice cream here, but it was going to be over US$6 a cone in Nyhavn, versus the usual $4 to $5. (By the time we get back to the states next month I’m guessing we will have spent over $300 on ice cream, ice cream that would have cost us less than $50 back home. Ouch!)

American kids at Nyhavn in Copenhagen Denmark

July is Copenhagen Jazz Festival month so a temporary venue was set up and jazz was playing. We couldn’t get very close so we kept going.

If you are familiar with San Francisco, do these pictures remind you of anything? To me Nyhavn seems a bit like a blend of the “Painted Ladies” seen from Alamo Square with the Marina/Fisherman’s Wharf. I say this only because, as a former tour guide in San Francisco, these kinds of strange parallels always seem to pop into my head.

Postcards from Copenhagen

When you see Copenhagen postcards, a calendar featuring Copenhagen or Denmark, or pick up a guidebook dealing with the place there is a strong likelihood that you will see one of only three pictures. That’s a shame because there is so much beauty here. I particularly like the brick buildings and architecture of which you’ll see much more of here on this blog during the next few weeks.

For today, we’ll quickly move you through the three postcard shots, with a minor twist. The twist is that you’ll see these postcard shots with people and/or from a slightly different angle.

Stroget from a less attractive angle

The above is Stroget, a street almost a mile long that is only for pedestrians. There are actually many shopping streets that run parallel or almost parallel to Stroget that have little, if any, automobile traffic as well. The typical photograph of Stroget (actually Strøget) is early in the morning with little, or no, foot traffic or bikes. The reality is that there are usually lots of bikes and people on Stroget. Also, the normal camera angle is from further to the right and elevated. I think they take that shot from above a restaurant that you can’t see in the above picture that I took.

Nyhavn Copenhagen Denmark

I have a mini tripod, but I don’t use it much. Therefore, we usually only get family portraits when someone sees me taking a picture of the rest of my family and offers to take our picture. So far no Dane has offered to do so. When I was taking a picture of my wife and kids a student from Singapore (from Copenhagen Business School where I am teaching) offered to take the above shot. Nyhavn is the place that our friends from Norway that we met at the White House said we should not miss. They were right. Nyhavn is a very picturesque harbor/canal that we enjoyed.

The most popular picture in Denmark, though, is the one I’ve saved for last.

The Little Mermaid in Copenhagen, Denmark

There she is–The Little Mermaid. This isn’t how you usually see her though. Every photo I have seen of her has been from the land. The above picture I took from our boat so you get more of her backside, and you can see what is going on on the land (tourists photographing her). You only see the two guys in this picture, but there were actually about 30 or 40 people on the land taking her picture. She really isn’t that spectacular and isn’t worth the trip on land. You’ll end up with nothing but the same picture that can be downloaded off of a million sites on the internet. There is nothing else to see or do at The Little Mermaid statue location.

And there you have it–three postcards from Copenhagen. We saved a bundle on stamps and real postcards doing it this way. Actually, we just sent off several real postcards. If you made Ellie’s short list then you can expect it to arrive in the next few days.

Congratulations on being an American today!

On the Fourth of July we went to Tivoli Gardens, the second oldest amusement park in the world dating back 165 years. It brought back Independence Day memories from when I was a kid as we went to the Alameda County Fair in Pleasanton, California on the 4th a few times when I was young.

Tivoli Gardens Chinese Pagoda

My wife was reminded that it was the 4th of July at the grocery store earlier in morning by the clerk. Then, when we were getting ready to board our first ride at Tivoli, Vintage Cars, the ride operator heard us say something in English and he says to us, “Congratulations on being an American today!” I thanked him for his well wishes. What does one say to others on the 4th of July? The Danes don’t know any more than I, but I enjoyed his attempt.

Copenhagen City Hall from inside Tivoli Gardens

Later in the day we ran into the same ride operator on a different ride. This time he was running the Hans Christian Andersen stories ride (The Flying Trunk). He didn’t remember us from earlier in the day but did take another stab at wishing us a happy 4th. This time he said, “Happy Birthday to America!” I had to smile.

I asked him if he had been to America. He said, “No.” He had been to Canada once though. He went to Montreal so he used his French there–not English. The language ability of these Scandinavians is amazing. Some of my students here can speak four or more languages.

mini viking ships ride Tivoli Gardens

Above is the family on the Galley Ships–a ride in which the pirates in the middle fire on the viking ships spinning around them.

Tomorrow I’ll blog some more about Tivoli.

Assistants Cemetery

On our first walk around Copenhagen we went through the aforementioned Assistens Kirkegård cemetery where Niels Bohr and Hans Christian Andersen are laid to rest. This place is incredible. It has atmosphere and then some. There is a rich flavor to the entire cemetery. The greens are lush, the trees old, and the varieties endless.

assistants cemetery

Around one corner you may find a couple having a picnic. Around another you may find curious tombstones in a unique setup. Some gravestones have runes on them as well. I’m not sure if they are Viking, Anglo-Saxon, or, more likely, Younger Futhark or Rok.

Assistens Kirkegård

The only thing that disappointed was the graffiti. Niels Bohr’s tombstone is a mess on the backside (not pictured). You can see what Hans Christian Andersen’s currently looks like below.

Hans Christian Andersen

The graffiti relates to The People’s House Copenhagen located at Jagtvej 69. I don’t know all the details but apparently the government sold the building, and the new owners are going to demolish it against the wishes of many people.

Niels Bohr

This is the front of Niels Bohr’s gravestone. The graffiti on the backside contains several English curse words. I have no idea why.

Pictures from Copenhagen, Denmark

How can I possibly have pictures from Copenhagen already when we don’t arrive for another three and half weeks? Well, thanks to information provided by Copenhagen Insider, aerial photos are possible even if you are on the other side of the world. So I took a few pictures to share with you of our future lodgings and the neighborhood.

apartment in Copenhagen Denmark

Although I’m not 100% certain, I’m pretty sure part of the above is our apartment building. We are on the 4th floor. There appears to be a nice courtyard, garden, green area, whatever you want to call it, behind the place. We will be in a part of town called Norrebro. According to one of my guidebooks, Norrebro “is a lively, multicultural part of the city with plenty of bars, cafes, and alternative shopping centres.” In this part of town is the Assistens Kirkegard which is a famous cemetery. My guidebook goes on to state that “it is a wonderful place to relax or take a romantic walk. The churchyard is beautiful and is located in the trendy Norrebro district.” Sounds good.

My other guidebook says, “Norrebro is one of the most delectable nightlife destinations in the city and it is also a cutting-edge fashion centre.” It also provides more details on the famous, leafy cemetery including who is buried there. I will be living in the same neighborhood as the remains of Hans Christian Andersen and Niels Bohr. Cool. In Paris I’ll be in the same neighborhood as Jim Morrison. Last year, on our trip to Japan, we were next to Tokyo’s most famous cemetery as well. Ending up close to famous grave yards seems to be an unintended commonality on our travels.

walking along the sortedams so in Copenhagen Denmark

Less than a block from our apartment is a reservoir called the Sortedam So. You can see people walking along it in the above picture confirming what my guidebook says. “You can lounge along their grassy banks or enjoy the scenic view from the bridges that cross them.” I’ll post that scenic view from the bridge for you here in a month or less. Stay tuned.

botanisk have in Copenhagen Denmark

A short walk over the bridge will have us spilling into the Botanisk Have (pictured above from a bird’s eye view) which my guidebook describes as “among the prettiest outdoor spaces in the city, these gardens are studded with lakes, bridges, and lovely flowerbeds. Climb the winding staircase for a great view of the exotic trees below. A geological and botanical museum are also here.” Needless to say, I can hardly wait.