31 December 2016

Copenhagen, Denmark 2016

Tucked into an alley off a main city street and up one storey, our Carlton Guldsmeden Hotel was perfect, couldn't have been more pleasing! Perfect because we enjoy offbeat or historical or even quirky places to stay. Quaintly boutique-ish, there's nothing ordinary about the Carlton in its eco-friendly, Green Globe-certified operation or its casual, completely organic cafe. Love plopping into those comfy balcony lounges after a hard day of touring. My Dutch kinfolk know how to pick 'em! Trip Advisor, here I come :)

You wouldn't be in Copenhagen if you didn't tour by bicycle ... at least partly. You wouldn't be me if you didn't apply the brakes too fast on a rented bike and end up ass-over-teakettle on the cobblestones. Mercifully, no broken body parts and no photo. There's a lot to be said for the restorative powers of coffee. The city is said, arguably, to rival Amsterdam for two-wheeled traffic.


Not too much later, on the hind end of a tandem bike, I could nurse my sprained and bruised ego hand while pedalling and sightseeing at the same time. Good thing experienced arms were steering the vehicle. That was the day we went over the bridge and wound our way to Freetown (Christiania), the somewhat controversial "alternative society." Definitely colourful! It's a bastion of hippyness where a few thousand people live in a car-free, self-governing area, a mix of alternate lifestyles, odd houses, artisan workshops, music and art events, and a huge amount of overt cannabis. Photography is prohibited on Pusher Street but deeply breathing the pungent air is not ...

 The strange park Nemoland with its beer garden atmosphere serves over-priced hamburgers and souvlaki from concessions that have seen better days. At least coffee!

In the centre of the city, Tivoli Gardens was a wonderful place to explore as dusk approached. And the gardens are lovely. Tea houses, pavilions, and restaurants dot the grounds. Families usually head for the myriad of iconic rides; plenty of attractions and walking room for all ages. Stopping here and there for coffee and/or beer is a must.

When the lights start blooming, it's a festive atmosphere. We chose gourmet dining that night.

One day we lunched at a popular beer haus; with two cider drinkers along, the beer fan had to do all the tasting. But oh the tasty spreads and sandwiches!

It was enough to sustain us for walking the pedestrian Strøget over three kilometres past historical buildings in the city's oldest section, plus ubiquitous cafés and shopping to Kongens Nytorv (King's Square). Poking into narrow side streets along the way reveals silent old cloisters, occasional mediaeval structures, the Church of the Holy Ghost, antique shops.

Posters and graffiti are irresistible to me:

At King's Square we were adjacent to the canal quays of colourful Nyhavn, the now-gentrified seventeenth century port for the old inner city. Coffee latté to nourish the return trip!

At the end of which, naturally, we needed even more at the Planetarium café ...

So much to see in Copenhagen, alas, much more than we had time for. We missed out on castles and museums and even The Little Mermaid (gasp!) this time. But one out-of-the-way site intrigued and still puzzles me. No, it's actually it's driving me crazy trying to identify it. It's a brick facade propped in a seemingly unlikely place by a children's playground or nursery school in Vesterbro. It resembles the entrance of a fort or castle; if there was a sign we did not see it. Was it part of the old fortified city wall? Was it moved here from elsewhere? Is it a restoration? A reproduction?
Can you help??
This just in! (much later): That's all it is. A wall.

This is called Skydebanehaven -- (English. The Shooting Range Gardens) is a small public park in the heart of the Vesterbro district of Copenhagen, Denmark. Its name refers to the former shooting range of the Royal Copenhagen Shooting Society which used to be located on the site. The most distinctive feature of the park is the Neo-Gothic Shooting Range Wall which was constructed in 1887 to shield traffic on Istedgade from stray bullets.
Thanks to another Merriman researcher and Wikipedia!

© 2016 Brenda Dougall Merriman. All rights reserved.

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