Scandinavia 2019 Travel Blog – June 24

By Kim Andersen

Students wearing shoe covers on the polished wooden floor in the Christiansborg Palace. Decorative gold frames line the doors on the marbled walls.
Oscar taking us around Christiansborg Palace.

Copenhagen harbor was busy this morning, so, we arrived 15 minutes late, at 10 a.m. The DFDS ferry-cruise from Oslo to Copenhagen with PEARL SEAWAYS is a classic in Scandinavia. The weather was brilliant, the vessel sturdy, you’d not know you were sailing if you didn’t glance out the sea-view of your cabin or stayed away from the top deck seating with the wind ripping in your sails and the sun baking you into a crispy Danish. There’s nothing, absolutely nothing, like a sparkling pilsner on a day like this: the flags whip, the gulls screech their melancholy songs hoping someone will throw a hotdog overboard.

Otherwise, the ship is a marvel of well-thought out construction, not least it’s ability to lure cash away from its patrons. It’s not the ticket, the cabins, they make their money from: it’s a mysterious mindset among people, mainly Scandinavians, that sailing is a profound existential value that causes you to go: Now, here we are; time stops for the next 18 hours; you float; you might as well purchase the over-prized buffet; you might as well purchase candy you don’t need in the duty-free, tax-free supermarket on Deck 7 if you can squeeze in there for all the real tourists; you might as well order a pizza in the Little Italiano restaurant also on Deck 7. The pool will cost you a $5-bracelet.

Our students are made of tougher stuff. They quickly translate the many kroners into $s and realize the scam going on paired with their excellent sense of how to make their limited funds stretch through the full 15 days. All the power to them!

Copenhagen this morning showed herself from her absolutely most enchanting. Busy streets but the sunshine made it seem as if even the locals were on vacation. We are not on vacation, so, we strolled through the center of town after having deposited all our luggage at the hostel because we had an appointment at 13:00 hours at CHRISTIANSBORG PALACE whose one side hosts Queen Margrethe II’s magnificent representation rooms for foreign dignitaries and similar events, and whose other side is the Danish parliament.

Oscar, our guide, was booked for a 60-minute tour but must have been inspired by the many questions from the students because after 90 minutes he still wasn’t done. Oscar gave us splendid insights into the quirks of a constitutional monarchy, amplified by a sober but sensitive overview of the Queen’s life. And, with plenty of historical information and interpretive suggestions for in particular the stunning tapestries presented to the Queen in 1990 for her 50th birthday as a gift from the Danish Business Industry. While she was overwhelmed by the nature of the gift of 17 exquisite tapestries detailing Danish history, she presumably wasn’t pleased with her particular portrait built into one tapestry. Only her dogs were depicted well, she said. Indeed, odd looking, but when coated in well-meaning, interpretive layers, it was apparently possible to extract some artistic value from the depiction.

By now, we were pretty beat. Had a out-of-this world, authentic, Lebanese Shawarma, went back and checked into our rooms and after some freshening up, strolled back to the Round Tower, Christian 4’s wonderful, astronomical observatory tower from 1642 and still going strong. A view of Copenhagen from above as the evening was settling in.