To the Great North… The Land of Vikings…
It has not exactly the blog i had planned to make. It was supposed to be my travelogue. But then, till now, i haven’t got in here anything… Well, blame it on the bad winter in Europe (and as i hear, rest of the world as well). Well, that may prevent my travelling plans…but cannot deter me to write so spicy travel stories…
So, i write about the bunch of trips i have already taken. And to being with, the trip to the land of Vikings come to my mind – a trip to the Danish capital of Copenhagen with a dash across the sea to the Swedish town of Malmö – in November, 2011.
The first thing that comes to your mind, as you land in Copenhagen, is , ‘Damn! Its beautiful’. Okay, maybe not exactly after landing. But as soon as you enter the city after a short train journey. A word about the Danish trains – they are awesome! Unlike anywhere i have experienced. Anyways, by the time you get over your infatuation on trains (unless you are Sheldon Cooper), you will experience the beauty i am talking about. It is one modern European capital where skyscrapers are not eyesore, standing tall beside historical Cathedrals and Town Centres. Danes have done an extremely good job to maintain the architectural uniformity, where you can build structures with the architecture resembling the surrounding. At some parts of the city like, you may have a feel of landing back in times… A few centuries behind. But that doesn’t mean, it’s an old city. Just that the modern shopping district and business centres do not mingle with the old town and palace grounds. The architectural changes are gradual.
Walking across a few busy streets from the Central Train Station (after a short break at the Hard Rock Cafe, that resides beside the famous and lovely theme park – Tivoli), a short walk takes you to the nearby Canal, dug across the city, to let the sea water come in. Something that is must – a boat ride in the canal, that takes you across the various landmark locations in the city – like Christiansborg Palace (the seat of Folketing, the Danish parliament), Danish Royal Theater and Tycho Brahe Planetarium, and then out into the open sea. A cool Danish guide, who was with us, filled up with historical bits – the three dragons of Scandinavia… standing for the larger Denmark of Denmark, Sweden and Norway (no, Finland is not Scandinavia!), the whims of an emperor who wanted his own ‘Venice‘ and had the canals dug up and the myths of Little Mermaid, immortalized by Hans Christian Anderson, the favorite son of the city. The little trip took us across the old Port and Red Light district of the city… Nyhavn!
The thing i try to do in my trips is to walk round the city on my own. trying to get the essence of the new place and the thrill of getting lost in a new city. This time, my walks led me by the famous Rosenborg Castle (partly occupied by the NATO and houses the Royal Treasury), the Amalienborg Palace (the residence of the Danish Queen and the royal family) and the Christmas Market… After the night stroll, the quest of ‘Authentic Danish Cuisine’ led me to this little Danish Restaurant. The trip that was thoroughly sumptuous – consisting of varieties of pickled Herring, Smoked Salmon and Mackerel and a mail course of local preparation of roasted lamb – left a deep hole in my pocket.
The following day was shorter but interesting nevertheless – even though the Norse weather gods did not favor us. The big plan for going to Copenhagen was to cross the Øresund strait via the Øresund bridge* – made famous by its intriguing partial-bridge partial-tunnel architecture. I crossed it by the train from Copenhagen to Malmö. The fog was too thick to see through. Well, at least, i went across, to this Swedish Town, made famous by the famous Turning Torso. Walking around in this sleepy little town, i came across the Malmöhus Castle – a medieval castle surrounded by a moat, that presently serves as a museum. The sight from the beach was all white and all you could see was the sea gradually disappear under the thick mist… just like the town itself!
That was all about my short tryst with Scandinavia – a couple of well spent days… experiencing the few moments in Malmö, Sweden coupled with the beautiful København (Engl. Copenhagen), the capital of Danmark (Engl. Denmark), an awesome amalgamation of Cultural preservation and cautious Modernization. A combination of Venice, Paris and a coastal Dutch town… complex network of Canals, with pathways along them intricately decorated and colored in rich hues…
* Some images of the Øresund strait and the Øresund bridge from Wikipedia
Appendix: Tour Maps:
(click on maps to see better resolutions)