Before going to be last night, we actually went to the Red Frog Lounge. We have been thoroughly enjoying CIA (caught in the act), the band that plays there regularly. They were amazing musicians and vocalists, and even played music we could dance to.
We woke up this morning to sunshine in Copenhagen, and after a delicious omelet, from the omelet bar, we headed out for the day, with high hopes of finding a taxi.
Once outside, we found a few taxis, and a few groups of people just standing around. It didn't take Cindy long to find one to take us into the city. The particular taxi driver whose taxi we jumped into said that they are not capable of doing an hourly rate, so we kept an eye on the meter and realized, that even with waiting for us, the fare was close to what we have been paying hourly.
Since we had no idea what we wanted to see, or where we wanted to go, we asked him to take us to see "The Little Mermaid", a bronze sculpture that has become the world-famous symbol of Copenhagen and is the fairytale creation of Hans Christian Andersen. She was seated on a rock, right there in the harbor, transforming from a mermaid to a human.
The Little Mermaid was a gift from Danish Brewer Carl Jacobsen to the City of Copenhagen in 1913. It is said that he was so captivated by both the character and the ballet, which he saw at the Royal Theater, that he commissioned the sculptor Edvard Erikson to create the mermaid.
Near "The Little Mermaid" stands the Gefion Fountain. It features a group of animals being driven by the legendary Norse Goddess, Gefion; it is the largest monument in Copenhagen and is used as a wishing well.
According to ancient legend, the Swedish king Gylfe offered the goddess Gefion as much land as she was capable of plowing in one day and one night. She is said to have plowed the island of Zealand out of Sweden.
Poseidon and Hermes guard the gates from the harbor to the Queen's palace.
After a few minutes at the harbor, we hopped back into the taxi, and said, "Where to next?" He laughed and said, "How about St. Alban's Anglican Church?" We said, "OK! Let's go!"
I think he was catching on!
It was a lovely church, built from stone, not too large or ornate, but it had a beautiful alter, with three stained glass windows, above the alter. Of course, my favorite things were the gargoyles and the doors!
It was built from 1885 to 1887 for the growing English congregation in the city.
Next, we drove over to the Amalienborg Palace; home of Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary and their four children. We arrived just in time to see the "changing of the guards." These guards wore black and blue, and great big, black, fuzzy hats. They must have been miserably hot standing in the sun all day. I am pretty sure that they were there more for entertainment than for security, but who knows? Our timing was perfect, just our luck.
Just down the corridor from the palace is Frederik's Church, it is a marble church with a copper green dome. It is said to be the most impressive church in Copenhagen. The architecture is rococo and Evangelical Luthern. The dome is just as impressive inside the church, as it is out.
The overall appearance is in blue tones, including the alter and the pipes for the organ. It felt serene, and even whimsical, as there were roosters, peacocks, and other birds and animals decorating the inside of the dome. A must-see, if you ever make it to Copenhagen.
Next, we drove by the Nyhavn , a 17th-century waterfront, canal, and entertainment district. Colorful buildings line the canal and are more than 350 years old. This is the gateway from the sea to the old inner city, where ships handled cargo and fishermans' catch. It was notorious for beer, sailors, and prostitution.Hans Christian Anderesen lived in Nyhavn for 18 years. If we had had more time, I would have loved to explore this area further.
The next stop on our tour was the Stock Exchange. The stock exchange building was magnificent. It was built in 1625 and had the most unique spire on top of the building.
According to legend, the dragon-tailed spire guards the building against enemy attacks and fires. The four intertwined dragon tails are topped by three crowns, symbolizing the Scandinavian empire-Denmark, Norway, and Sweden.
It is of Dutch Renaissance style. King Christian lV had originally covered the roof with lead, but during the Swedish occupation in 1658-1659, much of this roof was removed to produce cannon balls, and the holes in the roof were only partly covered in tin and tile.
At the end of the 19th century, the building was roofed with copper.
Somewhere along our travels, I believe across from the stock exchange, we also saw the Parliament building which is nicknamed "Borgen", meaning the castle in Danish. It is a beautiful building with a gorgeous tower sitting up on top, and big concrete balls, like at Target, in front.
Peeking out from around the corner, we saw this spire, with a ribbon of gold around the outside, it looked like it should belong to a pirate! So, of course, we had our taxi driver take us over there, too!
The church is the "Church of Our Savior" and it is a baroque church with a black and gold spire reaching 295 ft. 3 inches, up into the sky. It has 400 steps, on the outside and is said to have beautiful views. With my pleural effusion, there is no way I would attempt that climb!
The Danes call it a serpentine spire and it was inaugurated in 1752. On the top, Our Savior Himself stands on top of a golden globe and keeps watch over the royal city of Copenhagen.
The altarpiece is the work of Nicodemus Tessin and is considered a masterpiece. It depicts a scene from the Garden of Gethsemane between two columns, where Jesus is comforted by an angel while another angel hangs in the air beside them, carrying the golden chalice.
The HUGE organ, held up by elephants was built by the Botzen Brothers from 1698 to 1700; it has more than 4000 pipes and the woodwork and pipes are phenomenal. I wish I could have heard them being played.
Once back in the taxi, we passed a wall of graffiti, and if you have been following my journies, you know I am a sucker for graffiti and street art. A quick STOP! and we were out of the taxi at an outdoor market, full of street art; a perfect way to end our day.
Back to the ship, a $187 taxi ride and a full day of sightseeing make for another perfect day! Less than $50 per person a $225 minimal savings over the cruise ship tours. We all felt "complete" in what we experienced and I have decided that Copenhagen is a place that I could come back to, and spend more time.
I think that this has been my favorite city, thus far.
If you made it this far, I am impressed, as apparently I had a lot to say today!
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