Jul 122012

June 30, 2012 (Day 18)

I had a little break in the travel blog for a few days, so we could all catch up. I had some time to catch up with my daily life and you had time to finish reading my lengthy entries from before. I enjoy all your comments, for sure. Last time I left you we had finished our bike tour and were staying in Copenhagen….
weather: sunny, beautiful, low 70s, probably

Floating through Christianshaven on the canal tour

This morning it felt a little less strange not to get on the bike and ride today. I’m missing the bike, though. We were planning to go north of Copenhagen to the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art and it would have been neat to ride up there especially because the weather today was beautiful! Instead, we slept in and then spent the morning doing various chores (you know, laundry, unpacking, that kind of thing.) You don’t really care about all the chores. Though, figuring out the Danish washing machine and drier was an adventure. =)

So, we decided to take the train out to Louisiana today. It’s funny how we traveled all the way to Denmark to visit Louisiana, but this was not the neighboring state to Texas, instead it was a very interesting modern art museum. The train ride was almost an hour to get north of Copenhagen. Then we had about a 15 minute walk to the museum, but from the train station we could not get lost as we followed all the signs directing us the right way.

The low bridges on our canal tour

We started in the permanent collection and admired the various artistic pieces. Modern art is so different and creative. I could feel my creative juices flowing. We walked into one little room, pictured below, that only held two people. No information was given on the outside, but we walked in and stood surrounded by water, and the walls and ceiling were made of mirrors. Hanging from the ceiling were numerous glowing balls suspended on strings at various heights. Mark bumped into a couple, but for the most part they were not in our way. The room was completely dark except for the glowing lights and the reflections in the water and the mirrors made us feel as if we were floating through the stars in space. I could have stayed inside longer, but we were mindful of the line outside.


Another incredibly intriguing exhibit was this car built at an angle. Every detail was rebuilt to be sitting slanted from the seats to the dashboard, to all the exterior components. This exhibit took a lot of time and effort!

We were glad we came on a day with such great weather because a big part of the museum is the sculpture garden outside. In fact people were scattered around sitting on the hills overlooking the ocean. We could see Sweden across the small strait as we walked through the garden.

Great views of the ocean and Sweden

However, the most interesting exhibit, at least to me, was the temporary architecture exhibit that just opened yesterday! We came at the perfect time. This part of the museum was filled with architectural models of all kinds of very modern buildings in the Scandinavian region. We learned about each building and what made it so unique. There were videos scattered around showing us Scandinavian architecture as well as several small house-spaces that we could walk into and explore. We learned that we are anxious to visit more of Scandinavia. Denmark is just barely an introduction. Most of the modern architecture incorporates many windows so as to pull in the warmth and the light from outside into an indoor space. There were many mentions as to how harsh the weather was outside that it was important to be able to experience the outdoors while being inside.

One of the architecture rooms

There was also a series of videos in a circular room. The videos were projected in a panorama around the room and discussed the differences in architecture between yesterday and today. For instance, when the car was invented, city planning was built at a scale you could see at 60kph. With the car, cities were built in square blocks, large advertising, and signs spread far apart. This took the people out of the city. Instead, cities should focus on planning at a 5 kph scale, the average speed of a human walking. Shops would be smaller, there would be inviting spaces to stop and chat, and signs would be smaller. It was interesting and a very different way of thinking of city planning.

Eventually, we had enough of the museum and took the train back to the center of Copenhagen. Arriving back in the city around 5pm, we were on a schedule to get to the rest of our day’s activities, so we stopped in at the first place we saw for dinner. Wagamama is an asian restaurant that serves the customers basically as the food is cooked. They were very quick to point out that you could order side dishes, not starter dishes, because the food would just come to the table as it was cooked. However, we got all our food at once and it turned out to be delicious. Then we saw later on that the place was even recommended in our Lonely Planet guide book!

The Little Mermaid

Now, fed and watered, we walked to the canal for our canal tour. The tour was short at just about an hour, but it took us down most of the canals in the area. The poor tour guide had to repeat everything she said in 3 languages for us, and she did a great job! We were in a wide, but very low boat because all the bridges crossing the canals are extremely low and tight to get under. This was another great tour of Copenhagen as we could see from the water all the buildings and learn about them without having to walk the city to go find them.

We did get up to the Little Mermaid, the icon of Copenhagen and took our photograph from the water. It wasn’t anything we needed to be sure to come back and see. We also floated by a sand castle competition going on at the end of one of the piers. They must have trucked in all the sand for the competition. I’m surprised they held up with the rain and I wonder if they tarped the art. We saw a Danish submarine that had fought in Iraq and then was turned into a museum, too. Overall it was an interesting tour that I would definitely recommend.

Entrance to Tivoli Gardens

And then we rounded off our day at Tivoli, the second oldest amusement park in the world, and probably the oldest still in operation. The park opened in 1843 and not much has changed since then. I mean, the rides are newer of course, but all the gardens and architecture is still the same. We arrived a little too late for the Danish pantomime performance, but we had time to wander around the park and get our bearings. Most of the park really consists of gardens and interesting architecture with many pay-as-you-go games thrown in. The back two corners of the park have thrill rides, but the rides are not included with the admission to the park and we didn’t really have a need to ride them. Afterall, we will be visiting Legoland soon!

Tivoli gardens

The park is open until 12:30am tonight, so it is a very happening place at night. We came to see the Big Band Concert that was happening on the main stage. While we waited, we secured a couple of reclining deck chairs and watched the kids playing on old spools. They stood up and tried to walk on them as they rolled around to see how far they could get. It was actually fairly entertaining to watch them all try. The park also had lots of very interesting fountains that we visited again later after dark. Dark comes so late here with twilight extending until 11pm, that we knew we’d be in the park late. I was most interested in seeing the park lit up after dark with the millions of lights strung up everywhere. It was hard to remember that we were sitting at the very center of Copenhagen while in the park.

The Big Band performance was great! They performed for about two hours with all the normal Big Band songs we know and love, in English of course. Oh, and so many people could really swing dance too! There was a whole dancing area where everyone was having the time of their lives. We were most amused between songs as the English stopped and they spoke in Danish to the crowd making them smile and laugh along.

Tivoli Gardens at night

We took a break in the middle to walk around in the dark to see the lights after the sun went down. I wished for a full sized tripod, but I did a fairly good job at improvising to make my camera steady on benches, trash cans, and fences. When we came back to the Big Band stage, they were playing hit songs now from Sinatra, and Goodman, and Miller. We stayed for it all before finally leaving around midnight. What a great way to end a great day. At home we fell into bed fast asleep, for tomorrow is another busy day.

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