Day: July 30, 2017


We signed up for “City Tour and Christianborg Palace” I like tours because it is someone else’s job to figure out how to get me places. I dislike tours because someone else dictates how long I stay in those places. They even give us big stickers, like I’ve seen done for young school children on field trips. The sticker says MSC 13, but the unspoken meaning of the sticker is: if lost, please return this person to MSC tour bus number 13. Or maybe just back to the MSC ship. Sometimes I like hearing all the trivia and history that the tour guide shares. Other times I find that being with a group and listening to a lecture interferes with me experiencing the places themselves.

Our tour had two quick photo stops at the Little Mermaid statue and a gothic church. Both places were heavily populated by tourists. The Little Mermaid is fascinating because you can get a picture like this one, where it looks like she is solitarily over looking the harbor.

But the reality of seeing here is more like this.

I was fine with it because I had no desire to emotionally connect with the statue. But if I really wanted a moment alone with her, I think I’d have to come after dark or some other time when the tour busses have all headed back to their ships.

I would have liked to spend more time with the gothic church and bridge next to a canal. That was a place where I could have sat and absorbed the surroundings, but we only had five minutes to snap some quick pictures.

Outside the Christianborg palace we had half an hour, fifteen minutes of which were a lecture. I wandered over to the walkway by the harbor. Howard and I don’t take the sorts of tourist pictures you’d expect. Howard gets up close to things and captures textures. I get up close because I notice (and am delighted by) small details like the moss growing between cobble stones.

Or the fact that the “bricks” in the entrance to the reception hall were actually made of wood.

Or this wooden flooring that I loved.

And this chest of drawers that I would love to take home.

Howard and I noticed a hot dog vendor on the harbor walk, but she didn’t take cards and didn’t have change for euros. This was quite sad because my sister (who lived in Germany for years) told me to make sure we got a Dutch hot dog while in Copenhagen.

The frustration of no hot dog combined with stuffy rooms and over stimulation meant that Howard and I were starting to be cranky with the portion of the tour which was an hour long look at the formal reception halls of Christianborg Palace. We ditched the tour group and walked on ahead. This was wise because I found I enjoyed seeing the lavish rooms more when they were quiet and I could think my own thoughts. We exited the building and had half an hour before we were due back at the bus. Down the road we could see what looked to be shops, so we went questing for a hot dog. We found a vendor and the trip got way better.

“Hot dog” does not correctly convey this food to an American audience. What we got was a foot long, narrower than an American hot dog, with a flavor that was much yummier and more nuanced. A bratwurst is closer, but still not the same flavor. One of the hot dogs had been wrapped in a thin layer of bacon. They were placed in buns that had a physical resemblance to the buns seen in the states, but a better bread flavor. Then the hot dog was buried under ketchup, a tangy Dijon-ish mustard, crispy-oniony things, and several sweet dill pickles sliced paper thin. I can see why my sister suggested it.

We sat outside in the quiet and watched tour groups and locals going about their day. Then we re-joined the group at our bus and returned to the ship. On the way home I wished that the guide would have just let me watch out the window in silence, but that wasn’t her job. Instead she pointed out buildings of interest, spouted historical details, and praised her city. While I continued to snap pictures of things she didn’t point out, but which pleased me.

Such as this sign, because I’m really glad that slotsplads is a real word even though I don’t know for sure what it means

Or this red post box that made me think of the little red mail boxes in the Zelda games.

Or the roof of the terminal building we had to pass through to get back on the ship because it had moss growing on the roof. On purpose.

Walking around, I could see that this was definitely the world of Hans Christian Andersen. Once again, landscape shapes the culture and stories.

Under the Bridge

It was a small paragraph in the daily bulletin that is delivered to the cabins. “Around 23:30 we will pass under the famous bridge of Oster-Renden that has a total length of 9 miles and is the longest bridge in Europe, it connects the two Danish islands of Selandia and Fionia.” I paused and re-read, yes it said under. I’m on a ship that is twenty stories tall and we were going to pass under a bridge. Howard and I agreed that this was something we wanted to be on deck to see. A couple of friends accompanied us at the right time and we went to the highest open deck. The bridge was already visible in the distance. It looked like many other bridges I’d seen with towers and suspension cables swooping down to the surface where cars moved across.

But as our ship drew closer I began to realize this bridge was far larger than others I’ve seen. Then I turned and realized that the span of the bridge was visible on both sides of the ship.

It got larger and larger. There was a target on the side of the bridge, which was apparently what the pilot was to aim for.

Then the underside of the bridge was above us. It soared over where we stood, appearing to be mere feet above the highest lights of the ship.

Some how our brains couldn’t parse what we were seeing, because no bridge should be large enough for a twenty story building to sail underneath it, yet there we were. In less than a minute it passed over head. The lights from our ship illuminated the under side.

And then it was receding behind us.

My words here don’t do justice to the awe-inspiring sight. Even the pictures are woefully inadequate. We all vocalized in amazement. As soon it was receding, Howard needed to get off the top deck because the combination of visuals had triggered an attack of vertigo. So we went downstairs, very glad we’d taken the time to go and see.

Note: We went back under the following night, and it was every bit as impressive.