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Last updated : Nov 2009
Hans Christian Anderson pandemonium
Rating: (4.7) (12 Votes)

Copenhagen, Denmark
May 14th 2001

Pros: Great Celebrations throughout the city!
Cons: none

Hi it's Devon again.

If I had to sum up our time in Copenhagen in one word, it would be Slots. The word slot means castle for most Danes, but for Randi and Peter, the Danes we were staying with, I think it will now always make them think of a German beer called Slots. I know it will for Sarah and I. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

We arrived in Copenhagen on Friday afternoon, met up with Randi at the station, and braved the afternoon bus crowds back to the apartment she shares with her boyfriend Peter. Wanting to take full advantage of another gorgeous Scandinavian day, we headed back into the centre of town to take a canal cruise. On the way, Randi told us that we had arrived just in time to celebrate Hans Christian Andersen's 200th birthday the following day. And Copenhagen was going all out, let me tell you. That night there was a gala performance at the National Theatre, and the following night a huge concert at the stadium with a line-up of performers including Tina Turner. Craziest of all is the 8km walk through the city, marked by white footsteps, leading you to places of importance in H.C's life. There's a lot of love for this man.

Anyways, back to the cruise. It took off from Nynhavn Canal, which was lined with people drinking and soaking up the sun. The cruise was about an hour and took us all over the place. We saw the Royal Palace, the National Gallery, and the Little Mermaid Statue,which is apparently crawling with people in the summertime. According to Randi, there are literally people crawling onto the statue to get their picture taken. Poor Mermaid. After the cruise, we joined the people on the canal, and cracked open our first Slots.

Back at the apartment that night we had a gourmet dinner while watching the never-ending gala performance for H.C. Andersen. Then it was off to a pre-party, where we had everyone saying "Slots" instead of Skåll (cheers) by the end of the night, and from there to a party at the University. There wasn't a lot of people at the party, but that just meant more room for us on the dance floor! And we needed the extra room, to avoid any and all interaction with a guy who felt the need to rock out shirtless all night long,

The next day was the big day. The big H.C. birthday blowout. We first joined the crowds at his grave, and then made our way over to the main square, Radhaus Pladsen, to see the huge statue of him. Feeling like we had properly payed our respects, we then headed over to Christshavn and climbed the 400 odd steps of the Von Freisers Kirke tower. The view from the top was amazing.... as was the shortness of the railing, and the way the floor slanted downwards off the edge! Afterwards we took a quick walk through Christania, a community established in the 70's based on communal living. We had dinner in Dragor, the cute little fishing village where Peter's family lives. And then it was on to the Copenhagen Jazz House. Super fun night with Randi, Peter, and their friends Anne and Morten. I don't think we spent more than half an hour sitting the whole night. How could we, when they were blasting such great Michael Jackson tunes!

Sunday was a perfect day, weatherwise and activitywise. We got off to a bit of a late-start and arrived in the town of Helsingor, just in time to tour Kronberg castle before it closed for the day. Kronberg is also known as Elsinore, the castle that was the setting for Hamlet. And yes Hamlet is a fictional character so don't ask me how that works........

From Helsingor we drove to Klampenborg and walked through Dyrehavn park to Bakken amusement park. A quick trip to the ticket office to buy a coupon booklet, and we were all screaming away on a rickety roller coaster. Starving, we headed back to Copenhagen for one of the funniest/most painful eating experiences I've had in a long time. It was an all-you-can-eat vegetarian buffet. Let me paint the scene for you: there was Randi, who had to unbutton her pants, but still eating; then Peter, head down on the table, who had to throw in the towel; Sarah who had planned her buffet eating the most strategically and was still doing ok; and then me, forcing down my 3rd plate, determined to be the champion of the night. Needless to say, a walk around town was in order afterwards.

So we are currently working on our "Scandinavians--Please come to Canada and let us house and feed you" banner. We could not have had a better time. Taks all around and hopefully we'll see you soon in our neck of the woods.