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Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Glyptotek, Tivoli Gardens and Canals, Oh my!


My second day in Copenhagen started off a bit slow with repacking everything and lugging my 46 pound suitcase, laptop, and bag o'crap into the metro and across town to the Imperial Hotel.  By the time I got there, I was ready for a lunch and nap.  The room wasn't ready yet, so I opted to have a nice leisurely lunch at the hotel's Italian restaurant:  Ristorante L'Appetito.  I chose a wonderful pasta with steak, mushrooms, and a white cream truffle sauce followed by a wonderful cappuccino. I had noticed that everything in Denmark was expensive, but this was particularly so - somewhere in the neighborhood of $30.  The charm of sitting on the patio in the sun, being waited on by a handsome, Italian fellow and just having a nice place to sit, was quite welcome.

By the end of the meal, I had gathered enough  energy to make the short hike to the Glyptotek museum.  WOW!  What an amazing place!  As you walk in, you are greeted with a view of the "Winter Garden" which is an idyllic, enclosed garden with towering palm trees, orchids, hibiscus, classically styled lily pad ponds and sculptures scattered throughout.  There was an entire room of Jean Baptiste Carpeaux and another of Rodin and another Degas.  For most of my visit, I was the only person in each room I went through.  There was a wonderful hush that added to my awe at the stunning collection of sculptures. Comically, the hush was broken periodically by the occasional, exceptionally loud screamers riding the roller coasters in the nearby Tivoli Gardens.  There was also a quite nice collection of French Painters, but it was the sculpture collection (as well as the Winter Garden) that really made this my favorite stop in Copenhagen.


At the suggestions of the bartender at the Irish pub, I took a canal tour.  On the walk over, I noticed a group of people looking over a bridge into the water below.  I was surprised to an eerie, underwater sculpture titled "Merman and His Seven Sons".   I never would have noticed it if I hadn't seen the group gazing into the waters. 


The canal tour was quite nice.  The guide gave the tour in very fluent English, Danish and German as we boated under bridges low enough to reach up and touch and low enough to make one feel the need to duck for fear of concussion.  The Danish pride themselves on being one of the most environmentally aware countries in the world; not a solitary piece of trash in sight.  The day was sunny, beautiful and uncharacteristically warm and the canals were lined with locals taking in the sun, picknicking, enjoying the locally made and favorite local beer, Carlsberg, and children were diving and swimming in the canal.  Definitely reinforced the resemblance to Amsterdam in my mind.  The canal tour took us past sights such as the Little Mermaid sculpture, windmills, the Opera House and a barge that was covered in sand that had been worked into the most elaborate sand castles I've ever seen.

I headed back to the hotel just in time to meet up with Alex for dinner.  We strolled around a bit and ended up stopping at Rosie McGee's Mexican/Scottish Cantina.  The decor was a very impressive collection of sturdy leather chairs, dark, polished, carved wooden panels and even included "John Lennon's library".  There was a very pleasant band playing a nice collection of folk and rock covers.  It was interesting to see the Danish take on Mexican food - slightly less cheese than the American-Mexican version and corn thrown into the mix.

Dinner took longer than expected, so we didn't have enough time to visit the Tivoli Gardens as we had planned.  We arrived just before closing time and begged our way in for a quick few photos before needing to leave.  Tivoli Gardens is claimed to be the second oldest amusement park in the world.  It's rather small, but extremely quaint.  The perfect blend of cheesy carnival with old world, vintage chic.  I was quite glad to hear that our Copenhagen teammates had booked reservations for dinner the following evening in one of the many bustling restaurants in the park.

The restaurant looked like a Chinese pagoda from the outside, but served traditional Danish food.  We had a nice introduction to smorrebord - small pieces of rye bread with various toppings such as chicken salad, Danish meatballs and curried herring.  The Danish meatballs were delicious!  I was scared of the herring but was surprised that it was actually quite tasty.  Ambjorn is from Sweden and Christian is from Denmark - it was quite entertaining to hear them banter back and forth about Swedish meatballs being only fit for handing out at IKEA or being far superior to Danish.

After our meal, I talked Alex into riding a quick, fun roller coaster called the Daemon twice.  In World's of Fun tradition, I made my best rock star freak out face in time for the camera and Alex kindly bought a copy.

Great times!  Barcelona up next!