Friday, March 17, 2017

A couple days in Copenhagen

Ian's travels aren't all to the hot spots of Bangui and Yaounde. Sometimes, rarely but sometimes, he gets to go somewhere I want to tag along. Say, Copenhagen.  An easy 1-hour flight from Frankfurt (vs a 9.5 hour drive) and a world-away, he had a week's worth of work and I had a couple days of wandering. Yeah, he worked, I wandered.  It's all good. Arriving around midnight on Wednesday gave me full days on Thursday and Friday to see everything I wanted to see.  Starting with her.

She's not imposing, she's small and almost insignificant.  She's not whimsical, she's lamenting. I guess the weather cooperated for my visit with her, a sad gray day. A minute was enough time and I moved on to the Citadel next door.  The Citadel is a still-functioning military establishment, though it looks like it was pulled from the military ranks in Williamsburg.  The path along the outer rim had plenty of joggers and walkers taking in the brisk air.

And a moat!
I walked about 21K steps on that Thursday. It didn't rain, but it wanted to. I wandered with a general plan of where I wanted to go and what I wanted to see, getting lost(ish) only once because I didn't look at the map and headed towards a building that wasn't what I thought it was. Eh, it's how you find cool other places. Walking along a canal, I came across this raft puttering along.  What you can't see attached to the front of the raft and hanging from those crossed bars is a scuba diver. Scuba diver dude was talking to the folks on the raft via underwater microphone or something.

I guess the Danish aren't that great of bicyclers. Or maybe those are all the results of clumsy tourists or teen shenanigans. The raft folks with their strapped on scuba guy were scanning the bottom of the canal for wayward... things. Bicycles, traffic cones, and whatever else they could pull up. It's a dirty job, but someone has to do it.

When I finally made it to the walking/shopping zone, the Str√łget, I stopped to warm up for a bit in the Hellig√•ndskirken, and caught the noon music prayers.  Have to say that no one plays the organ like my dad does, and this person had none of the style or heart I expect to hear when listening to a beautiful instrument in a gorgeous building. It was pleasant and the organ itself was physically lovely, but it didn't translate.

Along my way around downtown, past Tivoli gardens (how did I not know that it was an amusement park?), and to the Black Diamond and main library, I went looking for the permanent and free exhibit that included originals by Hans Christian Andersen. I never found it.  I did find Mermaid #2 who looks quite appalled she can't get back to the sea because some nimwit locked their bicycle to her. Maybe that's why so many end up in the canals. Mermaids get tired of being bicycle stands.

Right, so I got lost(ish) when I found myself at this place, the Church of Our Savior. That twisty spirally thing on the spire... you can walk up it.  On the outside.  And the steps get smaller and smaller up to the top. No thank you.

I snapped my photo of the twisty stairs of doom and finally made it to my final destination of the day, the Thorvaldsens Museum. He was really into mythology, and my favorite piece was the love story of Cupid and Pysche, which of course I didn't take a photo of, so here's the only cat in the whole museum.

Cupid taming Cerebrus

Nicolaus Copernicus

A very dead fleece

Gutenberg's typesetting bits.

Thor's medicine box.  Not one of his work's of art. He didn't
really take much, but he carried it with him.  Which could explain
why he died of a heart attack while sitting at the theater.
 What, you don't call him Thor?

The Greek owl... Good old Athena.

The practice room.
So I didn't know how sculptors, you know, sculpt.  I guess I thought they get a big slab of marble and it speaks to them and they have at it with a chisel.

This is wrong.

Outside the practice room (I'll get back to that in a second) was a step by step guide of how a piece comes into being.  No wonder it took years.  From the first sketch to the finished product in marble, there are more sketches, funky models, plaster casts, etc. And if you're doing something like a giant person on a giant horse, I'm in awe that any of them were ever completed.

But before you ever get to do a piece that might one day become famous, you have to practice.  I thought they get a big slab of marble and it speaks to them and they have at it with a chisel.  Yeah, still wrong.  Way back, to study with a master meant having the access and the means, and you know, a master who wanted you. Students practiced by copying the masters.  If you had a master in town, great! If you didn't, you moved to be near one.  If that wasn't going to fly, you found masterworks somewhere to study. Still not happening?

There was a break-through in the ability of students to learn from masters when the masterworks were created in easy to transport plaster copies, or at least parts of them.  Need to practice a hand?  Here's a hand.  Need to practice a shin?  Here's a shin. No matter the body part, they were available.  So the Thor Museum (yeah... still calling him Thor) has a collection of these training pieces, and you can literally.... literally... have any body part to study. Or a horse head.  If you're into horse heads.

Thor thought quite a bit of himself.  The last room in the museum has this piece, a self-portrait.  He's taller than he was in real life (no, I'm not including the pedestal), and the statue his statue is working on is considerably smaller in stature than most of the pieces he created.

OK, so that was day one while Ian was at work.  We went out to a great dinner in Nyhavn complete with mussels and escargot and salmon and a dessert sampler, with a little Irish coffee on the side.  It was actually nice going out in the cloudy gray day as the other tourists were hiding or something.

Friday was a different beast.


  1. Sounds like a grand day of adventuring; cloudy grey days offer some of the best touring opportunities, I think. Looking forward to the comparison of day 2 :D

  2. Did you visit Christiana? If not, you'll have something "different" to wonder through on your next trip.

  3. Yes the church is just outside of Christiana. The bikes you see with the carts in the front originated in Christiana. It's very interesting to wander through and admire the ingenuity of the residents in building their homes from materials from the old army base and enjoy the wildlife sanctuary that it is.