Friday, September 30, 2016

Går rundt Copenhagen del to

Our second day in Copenhagen found us on our way to the National Museum of Denmark
A tight fit!
and the Ny Carlsberg Glyptoteket. If we hadn’t run out of time and energy, we’d have visited the Royal Stables. These have been turned into little museums and there is always a chance of seeing the royal horses. Since we missed these, as well as a plethora of other sites, we’ll have to go back! We only visited two museums this day, but they were good ones.

The National Museum of Denmark is Denmark’s largest museum of cultural history. It is housed in the Prince’s Mansion, a Rococo edifice that dates back to 1684. There are
Left: Trundholm Sun Chariot
Right: Horned helmets
exhibits from the histories of Danish and foreign cultures, alike. The museum also sponsors SILA – The Greenland Research Centre to further archaeological and anthropological research in Greenland. One of the many things I didn’t know before this trip was that Greenland is/was part of Denmark. There’s a lot to see in this museum since it covers 14,000 years of Danish history, including the reindeer-hunters of the Ice Age, Vikings, and works of religious art from the Middle Ages. There is also a collection of Danish coins from Viking times to the present, along with Roman and Greek coins. We only took a moment to glance at the collection of objects from the ancient cultures of Greece and Italy, the Near East and Egypt. But we did spend some time with the collection of objects from Danish excavation of Tell Shemshara in Iraq. My focus was the Trundholm Sun Chariot, an important late Nordic Bronze Age artifact. As with the Egyptians, important persons were buried with a variety of goods for their use in the afterlife. In Denmark and in Greenland, the burial places weren’t pyramids, but peat bogs. It was amazing how many artifacts were preserved in this material, including clothing and jewelry. I knew that there was a lot of amber used in ornamentation in Russia, but there is an equal amount, if not more in these ancient Danish artifacts. The one exhibit that Dave liked the best was the horned helmets from Brøns Mose at Veksø on Zealand, Denmark. These are from the Bronze Age and perpetuate our vision of Viking headwear. It took us more than half a day to tour this museum and I know we didn’t see it all – yet another reason to go back to Copenhagen.

As ‘dense’ with information as the National Museum of Denmark is, the Glyptoteket is
Top L to R: Ophelia, Mother Denmark, Degas Ballerina
Bottom: Ungent pots
restful. The first thing we saw when we entered was the winter garden with benches, soothing sculptures and open spaces. Although it looks like someone’s castle, the building that houses the collection was actually built for that purpose. The building is a mix of Venetian renaissance, neo-classical, and modern minimalist which works with the types of displays in each of these areas. The Glyptoteket is an art museum and it was wonderful. The Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek collection is built around the personal collection of the son of the founder of the Carlsberg Breweries, Carl Jacobsen (1842–1914). The sculptures that make up the largest part of the collection were privately held, and like so many other folks, the owner wanted someone else to have to store it, so it became part of the treasures of Denmark. The focal point of the museum is antique sculpture from the ancient cultures around the Mediterranean including Egypt, Rome and Greece, along with modern sculptures such as works of Rodin. These are presented in grand rooms with dark blue walls that allow the white marble to glow. I was in heaven! There is also an extensive collection of French impressionists and Post-impressionists (Jacques-Louis David, Monet, Pissarro, Renoir, Degas, Cézanne, van Gogh, Toulouse-Lautrec and Bonnard) plus Danish Golden Age paintings by artists whose names I don’t know. The works by Degas included his sculptures of women. These were ballerinas in various poses as a study for his life-size ballerina sculpture. It’s always fascinating to see how an artist known for one form transfers his/her vision into another medium. There were also two special exhibits. The first was of Gaugin’s works in Tahiti which were introduced by an area that portrayed his ‘collection’ of materials that inspired his paintings. This amalgamation of materials included parts of machines, baskets, toys, utensils, and other odds and ends that caught his imagination. It was interesting to learn that he had once lived in Copenhagen and left his family there while he traveled and lived in the islands. The other special exhibit was about the Crustumerium which was a small settlement just north of Rome. An amazing amount of pottery and other household materials have been found that support the notion that while these people traded with the Romans, they were completely separate from the city.

Copenhagen is an interesting place and we could have spent a week here rather than just
A rather 'stiff' docent and Cynthia
two days. There is much more to see and to do; the citizens are friendly and helpful so even if you don’t speak Danish, it’s no problem to travel around. However, even with the rate of exchange, it’s not cheap. Expect to spend about $20/person/meal on the inexpensive side. Other prices are equally high. For information about my rating system, see Reading the Reviews.

What we did:
Four and one-half carrots
Our best decision was getting the Copenhagen Card. It comes with a booklet that tells you
Local Viking
what is free or discounted and where things are located. There is a map (no review, for the obvious reason that we were map challenged in this city). Included is a pass on buses, water buses, trains, and metros in the entire Capital Region. You can use this card 24 hours a day for the number of days you’ve chosen.  It’s well worth the cost. If you buy online, it’s cheaper and you pick it up at one of the Tourist Information offices.

Ny Carlsberg Glyptoteket (Dantes Plads 7, 1556 Copenhagen, + 45 33 41 81 41, was my favorite place in Copenhagen. It is a must if you visit this city.

Four carrots
Canal Tours Copenhagen (Gammel Strand 32, 1200 Copenhagen K, +45 3296 3000) is a nice way to spend the first hour of the day. Be sure to get there by 9:00 AM so you get on the first boat, otherwise it gets crowded, especially if it’s a nice day. Also, if you’re using the Copenhagen Card, you must get on at the Ved Stranden location.

National Gallery of Denmark (Sølvgade 48-50, 1307 Copenhagen, +45 33 74 84 94, is a very good art museum, particularly for the history of Danish art.

National Museum of Denmark (Prince's Mansion, Ny Vestergade 10, 1471 Copenhagen K, +45 33 13 44 11, will give you a historical perspective of Denmark and Greenland. It’s a good place to go to understand Scandinavian culture.

Tivoli Gardens (Vesterbrogade 3, 1630 Copenhagen, +45 33151001, is simply fun. There are some historical and cultural exhibits, but mostly there are places to eat, rides, and gardens. If you have kids, you’ll want to take them here.

Three carrots
University of Copenhagen Botanical Garden (Øster Farimagsgade 2 B - DK-1353 Copenhagen) is the place to go if you are interested in plants and historical buildings. Admission to the gardens and the buildings is free.

Rosenborg Castle Gardens (Øster Voldgade 4A, 1350 Copenhagen, +45 33 95 42 00) is a good place to go for a picnic. When the flowers are in bloom it is probably spectacular.
Where we stayed:
Three and one-half carrots
First Hotel 27 (Løngangstræde 27, 1468 Copenhagen, +45 70 27 56 27) is in a great
Coming and going at First Hotel 27
location. If you want a large room, air conditioning, and a big bathroom, you’ll want an American chain hotel but it will cost about twice the price. The room and the bathroom were clean and tidy. There were plenty of toiletries, fluffy towels, and trash cans. The over-large window opened in two positions. When swung out it let in a cooling breeze that was downright cold once the sun went down; it also opened at the top to let in a lessor amount of air. If you have your window open you can hear the nearby clock chiming each quarter hour, but it stops at 11:00 PM, as do any street parties. Unlike many hotels, the elevator was large enough for our bags and us to ascent together. The staff all speak English and are polite, helpful, and good humored. The only two things I would have liked were more plugs for all of our electronics, and a top sheet rather than only a comforter (which we did need in the early hours of the morning). It was a good value for the price we paid and we'd stay there, again.

What we ate:

Georg Carstensen looking at Tivoli
While food is not cheap in Copenhagen, it is readily available and ranges widely in price. I’m sure that once you’re out of the tourist area the prices come down, although we didn’t experience this. Do not be surprised at the proximity of the other folks in the restaurant; we always had our own tables, but were nearly in the laps of the people next to us. Tap water is not free, but it is cold and you get about a liter per order. I didn’t see any non-specialty restaurant that didn’t offer vegetarian and vegan items. Thankfully, there is no smoking in the restaurants.

Four carrots
Café Zalt (Kompagnistræde 2, 1201 Copenhagen K, +45 33 36 53 53) is in a pedestrian only street. There is outside as well as inside seating. We chose inside because
Top L to R: Menu, Drinks, Dessert
Bottom L to R: Pasta and beef, smørrebrød 
it was crowded outside and a bit chilly. It appears that the restaurant is in some type of old storage or business building with low ceilings and lots of small rooms; it’s also rather dark. I used the flashlight on my phone to read the menu. We began with a Stella Artois for Dave, a cava Brut rosé for me, and water for us both. I was surprised and pleased with the wine; it was a bit sweet and refreshing. Had I realized that smørrebrød (Danish open-faced sandwich) was not a smorgasbord (Swedish buffet), I would have ordered these delicacies much sooner. I had two open face sandwiches, one beef and one salmon. The best part of salmon was bread; it was full of seeds or nuts making it crunchy. The beef was marinated in some sort of sauce and was outstanding; it was on the same yummy bread. Dave had pasta with tenderized steak, tart green tomatoes, mushrooms, sauce, and red tomatoes. He said it reminded him of a very good hamburger helper; he’d order it again. We finished our meal with chocolate coconut cake dressed with sour cream and a chocolate cinnamon sauce; it was delightful! Our server was rushed off her feet, but still managed to perform her duties efficiently and politely.

Three and one-half carrots

First Hotel 27 Breakfast (Løngangstræde 27, 1468 Copenhagen, +45 70 27 56 27) is about $16 per person, but it has the advantage of being in the hotel. Looking at what some folks were eating, the restaurant was losing money. The food was set up as self-service with plenty of fresh fruit, breads, coffee, juice, cheeses, cold cuts, and cereals. There were also hot foods: boiled (soft or hard) and scrambled eggs, sausages, bacon, and cereals. As with many buffets, you could go back as many times as you’d like. The wait staff seemed surprised, but pleased, when Dave and I cleaned our own table; perhaps we were supposed to leave things. In any case, it was easier than hunting a place to eat and the food was good.

Krogs Fiskerestaurant (Gammel Strand 38, 1202 Copenhagen, +45 33 15 89 15) requires
Top: Menu
Middle L to R: Roe, bread, Langoustines
Bottom L to R: Dessert, Lemon sole
reservations for dinner, and it’s a more upscale place so we actually changed from jeans into something a bit nicer. The restaurant is in an old house near the canal and is really pretty on the inside. Service is near perfect; waiters knew what they were serving to a point but didn’t know about preparation. I had a glass of a very nice Alsace wine; it was sweet and good. Dave had a glass of Riesling that was merely okay. While we looked at the menu, they brought us a very nice piece of warm bread with butter. He decided to have the 3 Course Evening Meal. This began with roe, sour cream and onion garnished with lemon, dill, and watercress; pancakes were served as the bread. Lemon sole with smoked shrimp in fish sauce was flavorful, but the shrimp were tough. For dessert he was served berries with sorrel sorbet, crumbled sorrel, crumble coffee beans, and crème fresh; this was excellent. I had grilled langoustines with sautéed peas and onions in a teriyaki sauce. The langoustine tails were good, but it wasn’t worth the effort to try to get the meat out of the legs and claws. The peas had a good flavor from the teriyaki sauce. Presentation of our meal was lovely, but the preparation of the foods needs to be better to command the price that is asked.

Restaurant Karla (Dantes Plads 1, 1556 Copenhagen V, +45 33 12 70 25) has both outdoor and inside seating. It’s across the street from the National Museum and the
Left: Napkin
Right T to B: Fried cheese, Lemon pudding
waitresses speak excellent English. We only had a snack because we planned to have a rather large supper. If I go back to Copenhagen, I plan to eat at this place, again; the menu looked very interesting. Dave ordered fried camembert cheese with fresh, hot wheat bread, black currant jelly, fried parsley, purple grapes, and oranges. He said it was very good. I had lemon pudding with whipped cream and a strawberry. The taste got stronger as I ate. I thought my pudding was very good, too.

Riz Raz (Store Kannikestræde 19, 1169 Copenhagen, +45 33 32 33 45) is in an older
Top: Building and sign
Middle: Burger and fries
Bottom: Shrimp
building on a pedestrian street. It has both outdoor and indoor seating; we chose indoor because it was warmer. The waiters are you and energetic, if not particularly knowledgeable about the food or the restaurant. I had an appetizer that was six grilled shrimp in flavored oil with a piece of garlic bread; the taste was good, but the shrimp were tough. Dave had a burger with fries; the fries were excellent and the burger was good. We both drank tap water. Our bill was about $30 without tip. We were entertained by the group of young professionals next to us who were switching among Danish, English, German and some language we couldn’t identify as they ate their meals. It’s a pleasant place, but rather pricy.

Three carrots
The Café at the National Gallery of Denmark (Sølvgade 48-50, 1307 Copenhagen, +45 33 74 84 94) has a wide range of foods available, but it is difficult to put in an order since the
Beer and pie, the lunch of champions
cook is also the counter person. We settled for two pieces of pie, and one beer; this is the only place I found with free tap water. The pie was okay but our bill was about $20.

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