June 7, 2015
It’s Good to be the King – In Denmark
Started today with a big breakfast. Scandinavian’s don’t mess around with petit dejeunie. It was some of almost everything except the liver pate. I find that tough at 8 AM or at almost anytime. We were on the road to the end of the commuter train line some 10 miles from the center of Copenhagen. We were helped in the purchase of tickets and where to get off by young Danish couple who spoke much better English than I do. A few minutes on the train got us downtown and a quick ride on the subway got us to the king’s harbor square and the canal boat tours. Boarded out tour boat for a one hour orientation on the canals. The only let down was the fat tourist trying to sit on the little mermaid’s lap. It kind of ruined the short photo opportunity from the boat. The rest of the venture was fine and we could find plenty of church spires to photograph.
It was a short walk to Rosenborg Palace where Christian IV enjoyed his position as king of Denmark, Norway and occasionally Sweden. The Danes called these Castles “Slots”. Not sure why. Something is lost in translation. Rosenborg is a palace that I would consider live able. Peggy would object to some of the features but let me take you on a quick tour. Appropriately, we started in the wine cellars. Christian lived a larger than life life style and the castle reflects his tastes and interests.
Christian ruled Denmark some 60 years in the time of Queen Elizabeth. As a Renaissance Monarch, he lived to the fullest. He seemed to do everything in excess. Rosenborg Palace in the center of Copenhagen was his favorite place to live. Yesterday’s Fredericksborg Palace is far grander in scale and Christian preferred the more intimate Rosenborg. Perhaps it was because his wife, the Queen could be upstairs working on her lathe while his mistress was a couple doors away on the same floor. Remember that royal marriages were arranged and love had nothing to with it.
I think he found Rosenborg comfy because he had is own private toilette off his bedroom. This is one of the first I have ever seen in my extensive search over the years for royal potties. He also had a cool peep hole in his boudoir to observe any nefarious activities in the rooms next to his bedroom. The room with mirrors on the ceiling and floor intrigued me to some extent. The artwork reflects Christian’s interest in the opposite sex. It appears that he had a healthy appetite for more than just food.
Christian’s rule saw the last of Denmark as a world power. His wars of conquest and attempts to rescue Protestantism exhausted little Denmark. The stage was set for Sweden’s time as a world power. The Swedes would conquer Denmark only to succumb to the Russians in the early 17th Century. Both the Swedes and Danes seem to have got over it. Besides, the Danes have a great collection of crowns, jewels and other tricked in the palace treasury. They even have holy hand grenades.
We had a wonderful sandwich with avocados and chicken at a basement restaurant that was right out of San Francisco. It was hard to tell that we were in Copenhagen. We briefly walked the Stroget pedestrian street. It was a big deal 50 years ago when they banned cars. Now every big city has a pedestrian street with high end stores. Even LA? We then effortlessly retraced our steps to the car and drove to Kronborg Slot or Palace near our hotel.
Kronborg was built to dominate the narrow passage between Sweden and Denmark. The Danish kings from the 14 hundreds on charged a toll for passing ships. It became a serious fortress by the time Christian became king but he left his mark all over it. We were amazed that you can rent the ballroom and the wine cellar for private parties. It would be fun to fire a few shots towards Sweden.
Pictures below are for the vegetarians. Plenty of fish and even a bird cake for special guests.
You would never know that Danish Kings had Legos for visitors.
It is Sunday and Denmark shuts down. We were left with a dinner choice of McDonalds or Viking Asian? We chose to make a picnic. Time for a normal dinner tomorrow.