There are a couple of important words that we like to learn wherever our travels take us. We have found that “thank you” is the best way to evoke a smile from the locals, even if we mispronounce it. In Copenhagen, that little bit of verbal magic is simply “tahk,” pronounced, TAHK. The other is “goodbye,” which is “favell,” pronounced, FAVELL. From the time we got off of our plane, and purchased our “Copenhagen Cards,” which are much needed for transportation, as well as entry into various museums and fun spots, until we said our final tahk, we found nothing but friendly, courteous people. Just as a side note; while on our train going from the airport to our hotel, we were trying to figure out how to find our hotel once we debarked the train. As if by magic, a fellow appeared, saying that he had a bit of time before he had to go to work, and would be glad to walk us to our hotel. He even offered to carry one of our bags, which were on wheels, when we got to a staircase. Needless to say, we practiced tahking a lot with him.
After we got settled into our hotel, which was within walking distance of the train station, we hit the hay for a good night’s rest. There was much to do in the coming days. We got up bright and early, and hit the breakfast buffet. Our first order of the day was to have a Danish in Denmark. Now it was time to begin our sojourn in the land of Hans Christian Anderson, Tivoli Gardens, and The Little Mermaid, among other delights. Our first stop was the front desk, where we made numerous inquiries into the local happenings, and locales. The people behind the desk mentioned that we seemed very upbeat. I let it slip that we were in the midst of celebrating Naomi’s birthday, along with the fact that we had been planning this caper for some time. They gave us directions to the info center, and we were off. Yes, we tahked them a bunch.
Looking at the map issued to us at the info center, we decided to make a walking tour out of this burg. Walking through Copenhagen is not as easy as one might think. There is so much to see and do while making one’s way to “Point B,” it’s mind-boggling. Point B, in this instance was the Resistance Museum, and the Little Mermaid. The city center is just chock full of wonderful architecture, pubs, and canals. Did we let these things, along with the quaint shops impede our progress to our “Point B?” You betcha. What should have taken us about forty-five minutes turned into a few hours of “ooohing,” and “aaahing” at the aforementioned stuff, along with realizing why Copenhagen is considered the most expensive city in Europe. I won’t bore you with the “gories,” but as an example, one sign read, “Pizza and Salad €49.” That translates into $64.00.
Well, we finally made it to the Little Mermaid, via a wonderfully restored 18th Century fortress. This world famous statue on a rock deserves her fame. She truly is a beautiful work of art. Following the mandatory pictures taken at her feet, or fins in this case, we were off to the WW II Resistance Museum for some real eye-openers.
Here is one example: “The myth of the king and the Star of David”
“During the war a rumour surfaced in the British and American press that the Danish king had countered German demands for anti-Jewish legislation b threatening to wear the “Star of David” in protest. King Christian in fact never did such a thing. But it is true that the welfare of the Danish Jews was of great importance to the king and the Danish government. The persistence of the myth is no doubt due to its easy explanation of the well-known rescue of the Danish Jews.” This is a quote from one of the displays at the museum. They also had an “underground railroad,” for evacuating Jews which was quite similar to the one in our country before, and during the Civil War, for evacuating Blacks. Yes, they were quite gutsy in the face of tyranny.
Following this, it was time to eat. After refinancing our houses, we ordered, and ate lunch. When we saw the bill, we thought that we had just fed a party of nine at Spago’s. So it was that we decided to cap off our culture-vulture lust with a visit to the Erotic Museum. Believe it or not, they allow pictures to be taken in there. They house some pretty exotic erotica. Compared to some of their displays, the Marquis de Sade was a Sunday school teacher. After all of this hiking and gawking, it was time to get back to our hotel, and regroup for the upcoming days. We were met at our room by a lovely bottle of wine, and a birthday card for Naomi.
Following our morning ritual of cholesterol and caffeine, we were off to see more of this wonderful town. Even some of the buskers were hip. One in particular had rigged-up a diggery-do on a tripod, at which he sat and played with flawless circular breathing, multiple tonguing, and believe it or not, high notes, while beating out some very complex rhythms out on a tabla. Needless to say, we tipped him heavily. The buskers in Europe in general are of a different type from what we normally see in America. Sometimes there will be string, or woodwind quintets playing wonderful classical pieces. Up the street will be some sort of ethnic single, or group doing their home-cooked stuff, while still further up the street, an accapella saxophonist will be wailing his/her own take on bebop. It makes for an interesting mix during a long stroll. Believe it or not, unlike in some parades, where the music from various bands clashes with the other bands, these people space themselves so that they don’t detract from one another.
We made it to the National Museum, which housed some very interesting goodies. The lur was the sacred musical instrument of the Bronze Age. Yes Veronica, that’s from before CDs. They resemble a cross between serpent horns and natural trumpets, and were blown during ritual ceremonies. The ones on display are 3000 years old, and can still be played today. The mouthpieces look very similar to contemporary ones. The women’s clothing of that era was very similar to today’s fashions, except a bit more “see through.” The “cord skirts” were made of what looked like “dread-locks.” The blouses and coats were of a woven fabric and styled like what one would find in a department store today. The skirts were worn in a low-slung fashion, rather like a “Pre-Cher” look.
After a few hours of prowling around the various rooms, which included their idea of caskets, which were simply hollowed-out logs that were lined with pitch and then fabric, skeletons, skulls, etc., we made it to their restaurant for a wonderful lunch.
If you don’t like herring, skip this paragraph. They served three kinds of herring, curry, sherry, and a sweet wine type. This array was accompanied by some boiled potatoes, kapers, onions, and fresh baked bread. It was the most incredible herring I’ve ever had. Combined with a local beer, it made for a very memorable lunch. Yes, I said tahk a lot.
Okay, you can join us herring-slingers now. As with most adventures, we try to save the best part for last. Here goes. The Tivoli Gardens is a masterwork of music, rides, exhibits, flowers, food and fun, all in abundance. After a few hours of roaming around, we decided to go to the “Viking Buffet.” It was just that. Every sort of salad, beef, pork, chicken, and dessert was there for the taking. We then took in a concert by the Tivoli Jazz Band. They were terrific. Most of their arrangements were quite Basie-ish. We hung out with the leader and a few of the players. After we took our leave of them, we ventured around the park a bit, and found a wonderful chamber orchestra. As soon as they finished their last bit of Beethoven, a marching band came wailing through playing “Stars and Stripes Forever.” It was quite an accompaniment to all of the American flags flying around the park, along with bunting of American flags throughout the various areas. Being Americans, we both got a bit choked-up at this display of their love of our country. We had noticed that the menus, and many signs were in Danish, Spanish, French, and English. Glaringly missing was the German language. After all of this, and a bit of cotton-candy, or as they say, “candy floss,” and licorice, we made our way back to our hotel to drop off our “treasures,” and candies.
At this point, we decided to venture up the other way from our hotel. Well hey, guess who was staying two blocks from the “red-light district?” It was almost like Dorothy and Toto on their way to Oz. The biggest difference was instead of “lions and tigers and bears, oh my,” it was “hookers and junkies and pimps, oh my.” Yes, Naomi stayed close to me.
By this time, we had to pack and get a good night’s rest for the trip back to beautiful downtown Wiesbaden, Germany, which we made without a single problem…YAY.
As we bid “favell” to this land of candy, culture, color, and fun, there was already a desire to return.