There's probably a very good reason everyone rides bikes in Copenhagen, because if you don't, you end up walking 15 miles in a day. Most likely not true for everyone, but it was the case for us! We woke up early and feeling rested after a night of sleep in a bed, which hadn't happened for a couple days! Our plan to do some historical things like castles and ... more castles!
The first stop was coffee, you can never have enough! We went to another Coffee Collective, but this one was in Torvehallerne. Torvehallerne is an indoor food market, similar to Paper Island, but the shops are there permanently! There are also produce and flower markets and other goods for purchase there, not just restaurants! We got our coffee to go (not my preference!) because we had a lot of ground to cover, literally!
During our walk to the Botanical Gardens, it was the middle of morning rush hour! We are continually amazed at all the bicycles! I think the thing that amazes me besides the sheer number of them is the fact that the roads and rules of the road are so well organized and followed! There is the road for cars, next to that is street parking, then a little raised road for bikes, and lastly another raised portion for pedestrians! Everyone uses hand signals and there are even separate street lights for the bikers! They are tiny lights mounted onto the side of the car street lights! One thing I really like about the lights is that there is a 'get ready' light! The lights go green, yellow, red.. but before it turns back to green, it goes to yellow! That is the 'get ready' light! Pretty smart huh?? On our first day, we thought that everyone just left their bikes unlocked because we never saw any u-locks or chain locks. Today we finally noticed someone unlocking their bike! The locks are mounted to the back tire and have a little arm that just locks the back tire in place! This means you can park wherever you want, not just near a pole or bike parking spot, and you don't have to bother with taking the lock on and off and storing it in your bag! Sometimes I wonder when America is going to catch up!
When we arrived at the Botanical Gardens, many of greenhouses were closed, but it was such a nice morning that we got our fill of beauty walking outside through the gardens! We came to a bridge inside the gardens and there was an older man taking photos of this beautiful heron! The bird was sitting right on the railing of the bridge, without a care in the world! We got so close to it, and it didn't mind a bit! Another animal we saw during our walk was an amber squirrel with tufted ears! Our stroll through the garden landed us near the Rosenborg Castle, which was next up on our agenda!
Rosenborg Castle was originally a summer home built by Christian IV. A castle for a summer home.. must be nice! It was closed for another hour, so we decided to walk through the grounds and head towards the Little Mermaid and Kastellet. Kastellet is a star shaped fortress, one of the best preserved ones in Northern Europe! The fortress was another architectural project of Christian IV, you'll learn this guy loved to build stuff/make other people build stuff! The fortress is now used as a public park and was filled with many runners when we walked through! Kastellet backs right up onto the canal, which is where the Little Mermaid sits! BHW and I had already seen her the day before from the back side, but figured it may be nice to see her from the front also. The Little Mermaid is a statue that Carl Jacobsen (son of the founder of Carlsberg) had commissioned due to his love for the fairy tale and also his love for the ballerina that played the Little Mermaid in the theater. The statue has been vandalized a number of times, but it still sits near the edge of the water where tourists flock to see her. When we arrived there were already 3 tour buses there. I'm not sure why BHW and I put ourselves through things like this, it was so crowded and people were so rude, all to see a tiny statue of a mermaid that they probably know nothing about.. except from Disney. I snapped a quick photo (not even good quality) and got out of there, feeling stressed and claustrophobic.
We continued on towards Amelienborg to see the changing of the guard at noon. Like I shared yesterday, Amelienborg is where the Queen resides along with her son and his family. There was a small museum on the grounds which we got into for free with our Copenhagen Card. A little before noon we joined the many other folks outside to watch the changing of the guard. It was fun to see such tradition carried on in the 'modern world'. I really just think it's interesting that many countries still have royalty! They don't necessarily have political power, as is the case for Denmark, but are still treated with much respect and dignity! At the edge of Amalienborg is a church called Fredrik's Church. There was a crepe stand outside the church so we grabbed a crepe and sat on the steps to enjoy it! Nutella and banana, always the way to go when it comes to crepes! We popped into the church for a moment to admire the inside of the dome and also the details of the pulpit and organs! Old churches are always so gorgeous!
The crepe satisfied our hunger for a little bit so we decided to hold off on lunch and head back to Rosenborg Castle to tour through the museum, also free with our Copenhagen Card! Lying beneath the castle the royal jewels and other regalia are held in a vault. I was completely blown away at the detail and opulence of everyday objects like a cane handle, beer stein, or a simple notebook! And of course, the crowns and the Queen's jewels were just out of this world!! BHW is always fascinated with the guns and swords, anyone surprised? Although I'm not too into the weapons, their detailing and decorations are crazy! Who would have thought a gun needed to have intricate ivory carvings in it? I mean.. it's basically jewelry! My camera was having trouble catching good images in such low light, but luckily my cell phone came to the rescue and captured some of the amazing detail of these objects, thanks Steve Jobs!
After being underground in the castle museum, we were ready to be above the city! We walked over to the Round Tower to get a birds eye view! The Round Tower was originally built as an observatory and it is still used as that! An interesting feature of the tower is that it has a ramp to go to the top instead of stairs! The climb was 35 meters (115 feet) above the street! Our feet were really tired of walking at this point, but we pushed through and the views were worth it! We could see the entire city, and almost every place we had already been to thus far! We had fun trying to find all the castles and buildings we had visited.
At this point in the day, we were ready to sit down and fill our bellies! We headed back to Torvehellarne to find something tasty! Smørrebrød, a fancy open face sandwich and also a Scandinavian specialty, was on our 'must eat' list! We also got a hot dog.. I kid you not.. these Scandinavian countries flip over their hot dogs! They're everywhere, people love them! I feel like we've had a hot dog every day on our trip so far! They traditionally come with spicy mustard, mayo, ketchup, raw onions, and crispy onions.. and they're delicious!
We wandered back to our apartment tired and full! There, we took a break to get ready to go back out for the evening! I soaked my feet in some ice water and took a little nap. After an hour or so we decided it was getting dark enough to go explore Tivoli! I heard the best time to go is in the evening when all the lights are on! We arrived right as the sun was setting, which made it perfect to see in the light.. and in the dark! Best of both worlds for sure! Tivoli is the second oldest amusement park in the world! It opened in 1843 and had a whopping 4 million people came to visit in 2012! Our Copenhagen card got us into the park for free, and if we wanted to ride any rides, we just had to buy a ticket for each ride we wanted! BHW and I decided to just walk through and enjoy the whimsical environment while watching everyone ride the rides! Tivoli has a roller coaster that actually has a 'brake-man' on it who controls the speed of the ride, only 6 other roller coasters can say that! A night at the amusement park calls for a beer afterwards if you ask BHW! We stopped by the brewery of all breweries, Mikkeller, for a couple beers. There is a beer celebration going on right now so their already crazy draft list was even more out of this world than usual! By midnight we were pooped, we grabbed a dönner to satisfy our beer munchies and headed home to sleep!