carolbuckles (carolbuckles) wrote,

New Newport News News: Baltic Cruise: Copenhagen edition

                        Our ship was docked and ready for us to leave by 8 am.  This was one of our on-our-own days, which Ron had mapped out, taking us by all we wanted to see.  Thus armed, we walked past all the busses and taxis and confusion and strolled along the quay.  The morning was so beautiful it hurt—cloudless skies and cool breeze.  We arrived at the Little Mermaid [Havfrue, pronounced “have froo” is literally “ocean lady”] statue with only a score of our best friends.  With careful framing, we got many photos of the statue and swans with no one in them.  We watched for awhile as one lady crept down to the water to stand beside the swans, amused that she had the nerve, with the cygnets present.  We later learned that the swan is the national bird of Denmark, because both are accounted to be “obnoxiously aggressive.”
            The whole path from the Havfrau to the star fort is incredibly photogenic.  Wonderful statues [a few weird ones]; scenic lakes with waterfowl; blue&black&white magpies strutting and defending their nests; wonderful old warehouses with solid shutters and lifting hoists; dramatic brick churches.  We now realize that this is the Baltic coast in most of its towns, but it was all fresh at that point.  We gradually worked our way, using up photographic electrons, to the old town, which is also amazingly photogenic.  We found a coke that told me to share with Nicholai [but I shared with Ron] and I collapsed on a bench, right at the dock where Ron’s selected harbor cruise was preparing to leave in 10 minutes for ₢20 ea.  Perfect, says I, and we boarded.  A thoroughly pleasant and informative hour through amazingly low bridges, rehabbed condos made from old naval buildings, 17th century churches with creative spires and charm layered on at every turn.
            We passed the Maersk building; they are the largest container shipper in the world.  Across the harbor was a mast crane from 1748, used for “stepping” masts into sailing vessels.  A nice picture of the centuries the Danes have been world traders.  Near the crane, over the naval yard, flies the flag that is never dipped to half staff, except for the 1943 scuttling of the Danish fleet to block the harbor from the Germans.
            Copenhagen gets 350 cruise ships a year, although we understood from our ship that Carnival is getting out of the Baltic.  We passed the Little Mermaid surrounded by enormous crowds, making us  happy for our early AM visit.  She spent 6 months in Shanghai at the 2010 Expo, suffering that fate many sailors did in the storied past [she was shanghai’d].
            Thus rested, we made our way to the Danish History Museum, where, in trying to frame a photo, I tripped on a low step and kissed the cobblestones.  Everyone always comments on how gracefully I fall; once I realize I cannot prevent the fall, I relax utterly and try to land on as many points as possible and not extending my hands.  I do believe I cracked my kneecap, but at the time, it didn’t hurt too bad.  People came running to help me but I assured one and all that I was fine and leapt to my feet with fluid grace and agility.  Well, I got to my feet somehow.
            We went in, checked our bags at the “Unguarded Cloakroom” aka the “garderobe” a term which literally means toilet.  Ron got tickets for the special Viking exhibit [traveling to British Museum and Berlin later] while I went for the guidebook—alas!  They had none in stock in English.
            Naturally, the first stop was lunch—Viking flatbread.  Ron had Viking sausage with rosehip ketchup and I had very smooth spreadable fresh cheese.  That and bracing hot tea fortified us for further adventures.
The museum is full of all those prehistoric, Bronze Age and Viking things you see pictures of in art books, including the Chariot of the Sun from 1400 BC and the reconstructed Golden Horns.  It was very difficult to take good photos with the reflections, but what treasure!  To my special taste, they had reconstructed the clothing of Bronze Age folks buried in log coffins.  It was very tasteful how they displayed the burials—everything in place but the actual bones for the more recent excavations.  The girl had a knotted rope miniskirt and loose off-the-shoulder crop top, worn with a large round golden belt buckle and leather sandals.  By contrast, fashion in the streets was shorts with leggings or opaque tights and boots.
Due to Ron’s research, we grabbed a local bus, which took us back to the marina, where we got photos of  what Ron calls the sailor’s mermaid statue—cos she’s NOT little-- and a bronze polar bear, which nobody knows why it’s there.  We walked along a restored quay, now home to CTC shops, where we bought nothing, and back to the ship in time for dinner.  And sailing…

*The Trough is the buffet on any ship where they offer food at all hours of the day and night.
** Cousin Vinny is any relative who has a sideline, often involving kickbacks.  Some Cousin Vinnys will drive you to the airport etc.  Upscale Cousin Vinnys have specialty shops that the tour busses call into.  These Cousin Vinny stores have bathrooms and sometimes free samples.
***CTC is cheap tourist crap.  Such stores are sometimes Cousin Vinny stores.

N4 62 Baltic Cruise Copenhagen edition for photos for my blog
Tags: new newport news news

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