Little Mermaid and Walking Around Christianshavn

This is post #8 of our 2016 Copenhagen-Stockholm trip: Tuesday, August 16, 2016.7Scandiskip_11Uber

After an afternoon rest, we decided to use Uber to get to the Little Mermaid, as it was not near any Metro, nor bus lines that we could decipher (I hadn’t yet found that Metro map).  When we talked with Shergo, our driver, we found out he was a student (immigrant) and was being paid to go to school, plus $1000 dollars per month.  I wonder if the Swedish government knows he’s driving Uber in his spare time instead of studying. 7Scandiskip_12 Little MermaidSweet and sublime, perched on a rock by herself…

7Scandiskip_12a…and a multitude of her closest friends.  I understand that this scene is repeated often, and when the tide is out the tourists get in a long line to pose right beside her rock, which means you could never get a photo of her unless you were in line, waiting to pose with her too.  Ah, tourists.  We are a funny lot.7Scandiskip_12bThe statuette industry was out in full force, too.7Scandiskip_12cWe walked on, away from that site.

7Scandiskip_12d7Scandiskip_13And now we are strolling tourists, walking through sections of the city we’ve not seen before.  The light has a beautiful quality–that golden light right before the sun starts to set, which makes all the colors richer.7Scandiskip_13a

Monument to those who fought bravely: this is an explosive mine, used in the harbor.  This park was the site of the Danish Resistance to the Third Reich and the Nazis, and is named Churchillen Park, after Mr. Churchill.  We walked on, heading for Christianshavn.7Scandiskip_13b 7Scandiskip_13a 7Scandiskip_13b 7Scandiskip_13e

Decorative building wall.7Scandiskip_14

The fountain drew us in, and we enjoyed the view of the Copenhagen Opera House:7Scandiskip_14a

After spending a few mintues here, we noticed what was across the street:7Scandiskip_15

That dome in the back is the Marble Church, behind the plaza for Amalienborg Palace.  We heard the clicking of steps and the calls of a marching group of soldiers and went to watch the changing of the guard.7Scandiskip_15a 7Scandiskip_15b 7Scandiskip_15c

Yeah, apparently I was standing inside their marching lane and had to quickly get out of the way.7Scandiskip_15d

They did this interesting face to face thing, and we supposed that they were reporting in on any weirdo tourists lurking about, or other matters of state.7Scandiskip_15eOn the side of each guard box/tube is a small cut-out heart.  This place is so charming.

7Scandiskip_15f7Scandiskip_15g7Scandiskip_15h7Scandiskip_15jNyhavnWe found Nyhavn again, but turned left up and over the pedestrian bridge, apparently pretty new and…

7Scandiskip_16 Christianhavn…into Christanshavn, not really knowing where we were going, but trying to check another thing off the tourist list.7Scandiskip_16a 7Scandiskip_16bYes, that really is a rhinosaurus head strapped to the car.  It appeared to be some sort of art project, though. Not real.

7Scandiskip_16b1The pub across the street with a figure near the door that looked like a cross between Angelina Jolie/David Bowie with impossibly high cheekbones.  We never could figure out what gender the figure was, but s/he looked like a visitor from across the River Styx. 7Scandiskip_16cWhen we were walking around we loved seeing this steeple of Vor Frelsers Kirke, but we were there too late to enter the church or climb that spiral tower.

7Scandiskip_16d One of the oldest streets in Copenhagen, we enjoyed seeing the half-timbered front of the houses.

7Scandiskip_16eYes, it’s does say 1765 over that doorway.

7Scandiskip_16f 7Scandiskip_17Since Dave wasn’t feeling well we decided to jump on the Metro and take it back to our neck of the woods.  This wasn’t grafitti, but decor painted on the walls.  We liked how the sunlight seemed to be steam coming out of the iron (on the upper right of the photo).7Scandiskip_18Here’s another rendition of that hollyhock by the doorway, signs that we were almost back to our hotel.  Dave went right up to our room, but I said I was going to go and get something to eat.  I tried the pizza place from the first night and it was jammed.  I guess Tuesdays are popular nights to hang out.  So I found another pizza place that baked some pizza-dough-like bread and put in a couple of thin slices of ham, sliced tomatoes and a wad of lettuce.  I took it back to the room, removed the wilted lettuce and enjoyed the rest.  We spent a quiet evening, getting some rest, letting Dave practice his presentation for the next day.

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My Attempt to Find Chocolate and Brave the Transit System

This is post #7 of our 2016 Copenhagen-Stockholm 2016 trip.

7Scandiskip_1chocolate3Tuesday morning I had my passport, my receipts from the Marimekko store (for my VAT refund) and the idea that I would find chocolate at the Magasin store, and so I descended into the Metro station, determined to figure this out.  I was in the elevator with a nice young woman and her buggy-with-a-baby, and she explained it all to me as we descended.  Which went really well, until she said, “to get on, you just swipe your pass here,” and indicated the place, only I had no pass.  She smiled and I waved good-bye as I went up one flight of stairs to the convenience shop, which I’d been told would sell me a ticket.

Nope, so I went up one more level to find the ticket machine, where I had my escapade mentioned in the last post.  But finally getting my ticket, I went back downstairs three levels and got on the nice shiny new Metro car and went one stop to the Magasin Department Store, which is kind like our Nieman Marcus, or equivalent, I guess.  When I got out, it was raining –or– misting very heavily, and of course, the forecast said no rain, so my umbrella was at the hotel.

I always check for earrings, or some other costume jewelry to purchase, but all they had was real gold and real silver, so I asked where the VAT refund was and they said top floor.  I found the place, but there was a line.  I’d read somewhere that you have to take a ticket whenever you stand in line, so I grabbed one from the ticket dispenser and waited my turn.

It was all for naught, as apparently there are two VAT refund companies at work in Scandinavia and the one Marimekko used was not the one that could refund money at this place.  But I could show it at the airport, she said, which sounds great until you’ve done it once, and I had, so I realized that I’d just donated to their tax-dollars-at-work system.  But I could investigate the chocolate!

7Scandiskip_1chocolate2 7Scandiskip_1chocolate1The chocolate, according to the woman I met at Nyhavn, was in the basement, which was under construction, but I found the rows of shelves, and immediately started to try to calculate the prices.  The bars at the top run about $14 and the one at the bottom is $17.  I found a young woman to help me, and she steered me to Guld Barre, the ones at the top of the post.  They were around $1.50–much more affordable.

I was going to walk on further, but because of the rain and the anxiety about finding my way around the Metro and their convoluted ticketing system for tourists, I decided to head on back to the hotel.  I could buy a 24-hour pass, but the price was around $20 and I didn’t think it would be cost-effective, given that the bulk of the area I was going to move in was away from the two Metro lines.

Copenhagen Transit MapIt wasn’t until I found this map (full-size here, in case some else can use it) that I began to survive the Copenhagen Metro system. I downloaded it onto my phone and continually pinched it larger to navigate around town.  But for now, I just wanted to head home.

7Scandiskip_17My ticket was good for one full hour anywhere on the system, so I descended three levels below and waited in their nifty little place for you to wait: tucked inside that line where it says “Vent”  (which means “Wait).  And of course, the doors line up perfectly with the dots.  I was supposed to meet Dave back at the hotel, but when I came out, I saw this:

Stoff 2000 Fabrics_1I knew what Stof meant: fabric! Since the sun was now shining, I took that to be a sign, so I went in and explored.  It was on two levels, small, with similar fabrics on the second floor as on the first, with variations.Stoff 2000 Fabrics_2I purchased a half-meter off two of these rolls of cotton.  “Small suitcase,” I explained to the woman, when she asked “only a half-meter?” and who was most helpful.  Stoff 2000 Fabrics_3 Stoff 2000 Fabrics_4I also purchased some buttons, shown here in their tubes (right).

7Scandiskip_7When we met up again, Dave showed me this great snapshot of a man carrying chair on his bicycle, snapped while Dave was walking back to the hotel.7Scandiskip_9cWe went over the Food Hall and gazed at the sandwiches.7Scandiskip_9d 7Scandiskip_9b We ended up with three: the potato/onion/crispy onions (above), the roast pork with watercress, bacon and berries (below), and…7Scandiskip_9a 7Scandiskip_9…roast beef with shredded horseradish, crispy onions and mustard pickles as well as dill pickle slices.  7Scandiskip_10 We sauntered over to the chocolate that I’d seen before: filled chocolate frogs.7Scandiskip_10aWhen I asked the saleswoman “why frogs?” she just shrugged her shoulders and said, “We see them a lot in Spring.”  I translated this to mean “I have no idea–they are just what they are.”7Scandiskip_10bAcross the way was this small shop: Summerbird, with its chocolate-enrobed almonds. 7Scandiskip_10dThey let us try a few, and we liked the mint the best.  It’s coated in rhubarb powder to make it pink. 7Scandiskip_10cThe lemon and the chocolate frogs came home with us.  Time for a break, so Tuesday afternoon found us trying to ignore all the sounds outside our open windows, while catching a few minutes of sleep, a tourist’s prerogative.

Street Level Sights

This is post #6 of our 2016 Copenhagen-Stockholm trip.

I can’t resist it any longer.  Here are all the manhole covers we saw in Copenhage and Stockholm.  Just to give this a lofty air, manhole covers date back to ancient Rome and were made of stone.  There’s even been several books written about them; one title is “Drainspotting.”  Clever.

manhole cover scandinavia_1 manhole cover scandinavia_2

Look carefully at this one. . . and then the next one.manhole cover scandinavia_3

It’s one of Hans Christian Andersen’s stories “The Brave Tin Soldier.”  In the lower manhole cover, he is in the water (remember he only had one leg) about to be eaten by the great fish.  I don’t know what happened to the top manhole cover, but the tin soldier is missing.  Obviously these are from Copenhagen, Denmark.manhole cover scandinavia_4

Another grand symbol of Denmark was the Elefantordenen, or “Order of the Elephant,” a royal order to which a limited number of people can belong.  (I guess one has to die before another can be added.)  And upon the death of that Knight of the Order of the Elephant, they have to return their insignia; however, there are two exceptions: one is in Paris in a museum, and the other is on display at Dwight Eisenhower’s presidential library.  I’m guessing that’s why there are elephants all over this cover, found near Rosenberg Slot (castle).manhole cover scandinavia_5 manhole cover scandinavia_6I’d been reading about an artist that is one of Copenhagen’s native sons, Poul Gernes, and he seemed to grab circles out of the air and put them into his art.  When I saw this, and a few hundred other dotty motifs in Copenhagen, I could see where his art was coming from.  Here’s one example, a poster from his exhibit at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art (another one of those things I wish I could have gone to):

Poul Gernes_1I was sitting beside sleeping Dave, trying to shake off his illness, browsing Things to Do in Copenhagen, and found news of this exhibit.  I then did multiple searches on him, finding his quiltish motifs irresistible, like visual catnip.

Poul Gernes_2Here’s some of his works installed at the Louisiana, a complicated train ride away.

How do I know that it’s complicated?  That morning, when I’d tried to buy a Metro ticket to the Magasin Department Store, a couple from Italy showed me their paper with the directions (train connections) out to the Louisiana, written in English.  So I tried to help them.  They had a credit card, and it appeared that this machine would accept it (that was our problem in the airport–the machine “didn’t like the card” according the to man helping us, so we had to try a different machine).  So that morning, the Italians (the woman spoke very limited English) and I selected what we thought was the ticket, only it didn’t like that, and cancelled the selection, without any information about why.  We tried again, but now it showed they were buying four tickets, not two, and we couldn’t find a way to have it be just two tickets.  Of course, there is not an agent in sight, only a line-up of tourists behind us.

So I tried buying my ticket, which went through, and now which creates another problem.  Once you buy a ticket, you have one hour to use it or lose it, so now the clock is ticking for me.  I turn to the couple behind me, who were from Britain, explained the situation and they took over, as I scampered down three flights of stairs to catch my train.  So when another day presented itself to head out to the Louisiana, I’m afraid I chickened out.  I found out only LATER, that at my station, upstairs, before you even go to the train-ticket-buying level (which is NOT the same level as the train-taking-level) there is a person there who can help.  I guess I just didn’t want to be that far away from Dave.

Now back to the manhole covers.

manhole cover scandinavia_7 manhole cover scandinavia_8 manhole cover scandinavia_9 manhole cover scandinavia_10 manhole cover scandinavia_11 manhole cover scandinavia_12

This one is from Tivoli Gardens, as the motifs on the upper left and lower right are the main entry gate, shown below:

scandskip_TivoliGardens_1

manhole cover scandinavia_13I think UPONOR does sewer, drainage sort of things, but I did love the way the cobblestones are set in a circle around this one.

And to further enrich this post, here is a section from Wikipedia that bears re-reading:

The question of why manhole covers are typically round (in some countries) was made famous by Microsoft when they began asking it as a job-interview question.  Originally meant as a psychological assessment of how one approaches a question with more than one correct answer, the problem has produced a number of alternative explanations, from the tautological (“Manhole covers are round because manholes are round.”) to the philosophical.

Reasons for the shape include:

  • A round manhole cover cannot fall through its circular opening, whereas a square manhole cover may fall in if it were inserted diagonally in the hole. The existence of a “lip” holding up the lid means that the underlying hole is smaller than the cover, so that other shapes might suffice. (A Reuleaux triangle or other curve of constant width would also serve this purpose, but round covers are much easier to manufacture.)
  • Round tubes are the strongest and most material-efficient shape against the compression of the earth around them, and so it is natural that the cover of a round tube assume a circular shape.
  • A round manhole cover has a smaller surface than a square one, thus less material is needed to cast the manhole cover, meaning lower cost.
    The bearing surfaces of manhole frames and covers are machined to assure flatness and prevent them from becoming dislodged by traffic.
  • Round castings are much easier to machine using a lathe.
  • Circular covers do not need to be rotated to align with the manhole.
  • A round manhole cover can be more easily moved by being rolled.
  • A round manhole cover can be easily locked in place with a quarter turn (as is done in countries like France), which makes them hard to open without a special tool. Lockable covers do not have to be made as heavy, because traffic passing over them cannot lift them up by suction.

Honestly, I’ve never thought about why they are generally round (some are not), but I just enjoy them when I see them!

An Evening Stroll to Nyhavn

This is post #5 of our 2016 Copenhagen-Stockholm trip.

5scandiskip0Monday afternoon, I meet Dave at the hotel and we head out the back way to dinner.  This bright pink hollyhock is by a stoop, and I think I photographed it everyday.  We head down Nansesngade Street, turn right on Vendersgade, walking towards Torvehallen, the Food Hall.5scandiskip1We ended up here and after ordering at the counter (they have a limited selection), they handed us our utensils and napkins in these paper bags and we found an empty spot (most tables are shared).5scandiskip1aThey brought our salad with our meal.  We shared everything (how could we not?).

5scandiskip1bRoast chicken au jus with corn on the cob.

5scandiskip1cRoast potatoes sprinkled with fleur de sel: a winner.  The buttery juice underneath had whole cloves of cooked garlic floating in it.  Dave said these reminded him of the time we were in Lyon, buying food at the street market (marche); the rotisserie chicken sellers would rack up their birds, letting the juices drip down below to a catch basin, which was full of potatoes, being basted by the chicken drippings and juices.  Agree.5scandiskip1dThis was porchetta (stuffed pork chop) with those delectable tomatoes on a vine that you can find in Europe, but not so much where I live.  The tomatoes were lightly cooked, so they were warm and juicy, but not mush.

About halfway through the meal, two young women join us at our (communal) table.  Usually, because of the language barrier, it still feels private, as we are speaking English and whoever is next to us is speaking the language of the country.  While that was still true here, I realize that in Denmark (and found this again to be true in Sweden), just about everyone is fluent in English, so our veil of privacy is dropped.  I am careful about what I say in public because of this.5scandiskip1eEl Mercato’s tables under their umbrellas.

5scandiskip1fNow that we have been here a day, we are starting to get familiar with the little touches, like these winged bird balustrades alongside the steps leading down from the street.  We head out the back of Torvehallerne, turn right on Fredericksborgade, and arrive at the Metro station. (If you thinking typing the names of the streets is tough, try saying them.)5scandiskip1gThe bicycles!  This time we come at the mass from another angle and place; these bikes are all contained in a depression at the station, perhaps to keep them corralled.5scandiskip1hWe walk along the backside of Rosenborg Slot, where the guards maintain a walk back and forth from one guard post to another, the sweet little heart cut-out just visible.  I never dare get too close, but it’s an interesting touch to have a heart on a guardhouse.5scandiskip1iHans Christian Anderson’s profile on the street covers.  Is this one water?  Electrical?  No matter–they have quite a collection of them.5scandiskip1j 5scandiskip2This older house has shifted: notice those crooked windows in the middle.  We turn right on Gothersgade (does “gade” mean street?) and continue walking.  I show Dave all the red brick buildings I saw earlier.

5scandiskip35scandiskip3At the Kongens Nytorv square is another telephone box, but this time with different gilded designs.  5scandiskip4And ahead of us?  Nyhavn, a 17th century “waterfront, entertainment district, and canal in Copenhagen, Denmark.”  Dug by dug by Swedish prisoners of war  in 1660, “it is a gateway from the sea to the old inner city King’s Square (Kongtens Nytorv), where ships handled cargo and fishermens’ catch. It was notorious for beer, sailors, and prostitution. Danish author Hans Christian Andersen lived at Nyhavn for some 18 years”  (Wikipedia).5scandiskip4a 5scandiskip4b 5scandiskip5All I know that it is on every To Do List for tourists who visit Copenhagen.  Because Dave isn’t feeling well, we avoid the left side of the canal where it is mobbed with people, and instead walk on the right side, which we feel gives us better photos, anyway. We’re all about the photos.  We bump into a jovial trio of women, who ask us where we are from (America?  don’t we look like it?).  Apparently two of the women have traveled in to meet the third woman, who lives here.  She asks us how we like Copenhagen, and I say it’s great — except for the fact that I can’t find any decent chocolate.

Ah, she says.  You need to go to Magasin, the big department store at Konger Nytorv.  Go into the basement, and they have lots of chocolate.  I make a mental note to do that tomorrow, as I also have to go there to get my VAT tax back from Marimekko.

5scandiskip5aWe go back to strolling and realize that the lavender house on the left does angle out to the right as it moves back from the street, invading the space of the yellow building.  At first I think it’s an optical illusion, but no.  It really is all stretched out of shape.5scandiskip5bNyhavn 17 is a restaurant, and I saw an earlier version at the Lego Store.  The oldest house, number 9, dates from 1681.5scandiskip6 5scandiskip6a 5scandiskip6bWe rest on a #copenhagenbench, and enjoy the sight of the bicycles whizzing past us, as well as the reflection of the old buildings.  Two young women whoosh by it, coming to a stop at the light to our right.  I realize then that one young woman is on the bicycle seat, steering and pedaling, and her friend is behind her on the sturdy fender, holding down her short fluttery dress for her as they ride along, laughing at jokes that only young teens know.  5scandiskip6c5scandiskip7Time to head back to let Dave rest.  5scandiskip8We turn right on Havnegade, coming up at Holmens Kirke, a church built for Christian IV in 1619.  Now as I sit here at home, writing this all up, I wonder, why didn’t we ever go inside that one?  I’ve found many sights I want to see again, so I guess I’ll have to come here another time.  See that twisty spire to the right of the church? 5scandiskip8aThat is on the steeple atop Boursen, the former stock exchange from the 17th century.  It has four dragons with intertwined tails. 5scandiskip9We walk past the Parliament Buildings, up Kobmagergade Street, which turns into a pedestrian and shopping zone.5scandiskip105scandiskip11When the sidewalk stars come out at night, and the planets begin to shine in shop windows, you know it’s time to go home.

Further Exploring on a Monday Afternoon in Copenhagen

This is post #4 of our 2016 Copenhagen-Stockholm trip.4scandiskip0

Leaving the Vor Frue Kirke where the Christus is seen, I come upon another of Copenhagen’s signs.  They seem to have these erudite quips all over the place, and in English, too.  I complimented one young woman on her English, and she said “Well, we are a small country.”  The juxtaposition of vulnerability, truth, defensiveness and the realities of America’s Might in the World (of one kind or another) was contained in her simple statement.4scandiskip0a

When I saw this window, I thought of my sister Susan, who regularly knits small sweaters for her grandchildren.  Another friend, Susan in Australia, also came to mind as she is a superb knitter as well.4scandiskip1

It was right around the corner from this passageway that cut through from the street where the Vor Frue Kirke is on, to a courtyard, to somewhere else.  I didn’t follow it, but loved the ceiling (below)…4scandiskip2 4scandiskip3

…and the rosette bricks.4scandiskip4

I made my way down to the shopping street and this line-up of mannequins, all in clothes that didn’t remotely look like what I was seeing on the Danish women, told me I’d arrived.  From my observation, most of those who looked like they belonged here wore neutral-toned clothing in somewhat boxy shapes, many with leggings and sandals.  Comfortable, stylish clothes, not these fussy ones.  I remarked to Dave that all a good Dane needed for her wardrobe was a simply cut jacket in an amazing fabric, with spectacular buttons.  4scandiskip5I walked up the street and noticed these two characters: a Poirrot and a man with white gloves and a cap.  Not your usual tourist.4scandiskip5a 4scandiskip5bIt was a parade of a marching band of soldiers and a few dressed-up characters from Tivoli Gardens, leading everyone to. . . Tivoli Gardens, a short distance up the road.  After they all passed by, there was, indeed, a crowd of people following them.

When I asked the guy manning the Lego Store doorway about this, he said it happened everyday at 4:30 p.m.  Knowing the reputation for punctuality here, I don’t doubt it that it was exactly at half-past four.4scandiskip6 4scandiskip6aMy guidebook said that the Lego shop had a special character, available only in Denmark, so I stopped in there to see what it looked like.4scandiskip6bHowever, the young man inside said there was no such character at all, perhaps only the Little Mermaid keychain (looked like a spinoff from Disney).  I told him that two guidebooks that I’d read mentioned this special character, and really?  there wasn’t one?  He had this funny expression on his face when I said this and then he exclaimed, “So that’s why everyone asks me about this!”  I guess the people in the shop didn’t know that it was printed in more than one place.  Above is their rendition of Nyhavn, a street along a canal that I hadn’t seen yet.  I purchased my Little Mermaid, and left.4scandiskip7I came along to this (quilt patterns!  quilt patterns!) and looked up to see the Fountain of the Three Storks.4scandiskip7aOkay.  I know where I am now.  I turned left at a big store, and walked up the street.  Time to head home and I know it will take me a while, as there doesn’t appear to be any busses running through this section of town, which probably means no real Danes have a need to be over here in Touristland.4scandiskip8I love the blankets at every table.4scandiskip9 4scandiskip10(Quilt patterns!  Quilt patterns!)4scandiskip10aI’m using the GPS on my phone to figure out where I am, as it seems to work even when I am offline.  I recognize the half-timbered house as “old Copenhagen” construction.4scandiskip11This is about the third little cafe I’ve seen where people are all outside having an afternoon drink and a snack. 4scandiskip11bThis is the top of that building next to the cafe.  This whole area seemed to have a lot of red brick construction, with some using patterns in the brick.4scandiskip11cIt’s not like other countries with painted front, stucco flourishes.  Just sturdy red brick with a hint of ornamentation.4scandiskip11d 4scandiskip12 4scandiskip13Until I get to this.  This is serious decoration, but I can’t find any information about this building, other than it was built in 1904.4scandiskip14I turn and walk along the side of Rosenborg  Slot (which is the name for Castle).4scandiskip14aThis building faces the castle.4scandiskip15Design is everywhere, even on posters at the Metro station.4scandiskip16I’m out of the red brick neighborhoods, and back to my Belle epoche area.4scandiskip17I finally have learned to come in the back way, instead of walking an extra block, up and around the hotel.  That’s our room, by the lantern, where you leave the windows open all night long and never cool down and in the morning the smokers wake you up with their morning cigarettes.  We’re learning to live with its quirks.

Christus • Vor Frue Kirke, Copenhagen

This is post #3 of our 2016 Copenhagen-Stockholm trip.ChristusExterior1

The Vor Frue Kirke, or Church of Our Lady in Copenhagen, sits on a small street in the center of the old town, and has a fairly plain exterior with few garnishes and flourishes.ChristusExterior2

Statues of David (above) and Moses (below) flank the front entry.ChristusExterior3 ChristusExterior4 ChristusExterior5

Across the street is a small plaza with an obelisk, with this bas relief at its base–a detailed counterpoint to the simple lines of the church.ChristusExterior6Christus Interior1

The architectural lines inside are simple as well, with the central nave flanked by the twelve apostles, each holding its attribute.  No stained glass here, and the main altar lies far in front, the gilded wall behind the Christus the only brilliance, so the eye is drawn there by the use of light and color.  Whether this plainness is by design, or the result of the Protestant Reformation (which stripped the original church of its original ornamentation), it still has power and impact.Christus Interior2Christus InteriorOrgan

View to the rear organ loft. Christus InteriorS1 Christus InteriorS2 Christus InteriorS2a

Peter’s keys.Christus InteriorS3 Christus InteriorS4 Christus InteriorS5 Christus InteriorS6 Christus InteriorS7 Christus InteriorS8 Christus InteriorS9 Christus InteriorS10 Christus InteriorS11 Christus InteriorS12Christus InteriorAngelMedallion

Each statue has an angel medallion overhead in the upper wall of the nave.Christus InteriorHallwaySide aisle.Christus Interior4 Christus Interior3 Christus Interior5FinalI stood there long, looking up at the Christus, then slipped into a bench to think about the Savior beckoning me to him, his arms outstretched, his hands showing his the wounds he received while mortal.  As in the beautiful Sagrada Familia Cathedral in Barcelona, a quiet upwelling of gratitude caused me to acknowledge the reality of the Atonement, and once again, to recognize that Christ needs to be at the center in my life.  All of this sounds so trite and cliched.  No matter.  Even though I can’t always express in words how I feel when I speak of spiritual things, I trust the feelings inside that bear a sweet witness of Him.

Later I would come to know that this church where I sat was built and destroyed several times, and in the last construction, in order to save money, the builders incorporated elements of the surviving walls.  That felt right to me, knowing that who I am has been rebuilt many times as I’ve gone through hardships in my life — and that the person I am now is built with fragments and pieces of what came before.

Other visitors came quietly in, the sounds of the street far away.  Finally it was time to go.  I took one last photo, one last long look, and left, carrying some of His peace with me.

Touristing in Copenhagen

This is post #2 of our 2016 Copenhagen-Stockholm trip.

1scandiskip0The next morning Dave is up early, as is his habit, and he gets ready for the day, then heads off to breakfast.  I struggle to wake up, but do get myself ready to walk with him after he returns, over to where his meetings are held for the day.  It’s at a university building and we walk over the Dronning Louises Bridge across “The Lakes” where we see this statue en route of an earnest young couple deep in conversation.  I remind Dave that we are celebrating our wedding anniversary this week, and that could have been us some years ago, trying to figure everything out.  In fact, 27 years ago, we were in Austria on our honeymoon, beginning our life together.  It’s lovely to be traveling again in commemoration of that blissed-out event, and realize how far we’ve come.

1scandiskip1d1scandiskip1 As he makes the last turn, I bid him farewell and watch him walk up the street, then return to photograph the upper panels of this kiosk.  It’s a gray day, but sun is promised later, and I’m interested in All Things Danish, so everything catches my eye.1scandiskip1a 1scandiskip1b 1scandiskip1c 1scandiskip1e 1scandiskip1fWhat I didn’t realize was that I would see this kiosk over and over again as I walked through Copenhagen.  Where this one seemed like a one-of-a-kind, nearly centuries old, I began to wonder about how old they really were about the 4th time I saw it.   It turns out they are old telephone kiosks that held the first pay telephones and were built between 1896 and 1915.  Originally there were 30 of these, and now there are only eleven (more info can be found *here*).  Daniel Fischerman, who wrote the post, notes that “They were built in national romantic style with copper, cast and wrought iron and hard wood.”1scandiskip2A funky European-style fountain, right next to the old telephone kiosk.1scandiskip3This building appeared to be completely square.1scandiskip4 1scandiskip4a 1scandiskip4b 1scandiskip4c“What was this,” I asked the lady who pulled up to part her bike. “A kindergarten,” she replied.
I’d want to go to school here if they had chickens on the walls, too.1scandiskip4dThe sun is beginning to shine. 1scandiskip5 1scandiskip6Pussy Galore’s Flying Circus served coffee from the telephone kiosk.1scandiskip6aKitty-corner from the kiosk and its square was this church. At this point, everything is amazing, new, interesting, fascinating and so I’m always taking pictures.  By the end of the week, as jaded tourists, we’re like, “Oh, yeah.  That.”1scandiskip6bI’m always in search of pattern (for my quilting) and surface design.1scandiskip6c 1scandiskip6dThis is a “good” sidewalk.  It has the cobblestones with ample parts pavement.  “Bad” sidewalks are those rustic all-cobble surfaces, which are fine for the first 10 minutes, then become tiring to walk on.1scandiskip6e 1scandiskip6fI saw this moveable kiosk later on in the day in one of the squares.1scandiskip6gThat moat must have been huge.  I have always envisioned moats as about 10 feet wide, but if these “lakes” were truly the remnants of the old city’s moats, they would have been a serious defense.1scandiskip6h 1scandiskip6i 1scandiskip6jTiveren is a companion to the Nile statue.  This site notes that he “was established 30 July 1901 as a counterpart to the Nile. Although the Tiber River is modest in relation to the Nile, the figurative manufacture of the river that runs through Rome, an equally powerful giant. The original was found in 1512 in the Temple of Isis Iseo Campense near S. Maria sopra Minerva, Rome.”1scandiskip7I’m on the hunt for breakfast, and I pick something up at a bakery, but found better and more unusual things (translation: fresher) at Torvehallerne, or the Food Hall.  I’ll save this stall for later, as I’d heard about Denmark’s open faced sandwiches, called “smorrebrod” and wanted to try them.1scandiskip7fAbout a block away is the Metro stop.  A lot of the first hours in a new city is about creating markings, or getting bearings, and this station became one of them.  It was easy to spot as I walked along as it was flooded with bicycles, many of them parked under the flat roofs seen here.  I keep walking.1scandiskip8Another telephone kiosk near the Metro.

There’s an area here where there isn’t much car traffic, except in the mornings, for deliveries.  Some cross streets have traffic, but many streets have been marked off for pedestrian use.  I found my way to the Marimekko Store on one of these streets, picking up a few souvenirs.  There are many shops along this shopping street, Kobmagergade, and I enjoy the show of the storefront windows, but since my brain is still fogged in and trying to handle the fact that when it says 100 kronen, it’s really only about $15 US.  But it sounds like so much more, so I just look.

Workers were busy installing cobblestone (re-installing?) and three of them were in their city-issued bright green bib overalls, moving stone and equipment this way and that.  I noticed that one of them was shorter  than the others and when he turned around it said “Froddo” on his bib overalls.  I checked and none of the other workers had names on their overalls. I wanted to take a photo of this little joke, but thought it intrusive so I moved on.

1scandiskip8b 1scandiskip8c 1scandiskip8d 1scandiskip8eThe Round Tower and the doorway to the top.  We never did make it.1scandiskip8f 1scandiskip8gAnother landmark was the fountain with three cranes, a gift given in at the turn of the century to celebrate Crown Prince Frederick’s and Crown Princess Louise’s silver wedding anniversary.  Actually some say they are herons and some say they are storks, with the stork people winning out as newly graduated midwives dance around the fountain.  Of course, I know none of this at the time, as there’s no tour guide feeding this salient info into my ear, nor can I read any placard in the vicinity as they are in Danish, so I just enjoy the design, and acquire another landmark.

1scandiskip8aAnd just down from it, I sat to rest on a #copenhagenbench across from this building, the backside of Christiansborg Slot (Castle), and seat of the Danish Parliament.  I saw several tour groups enter in the main door (led by people with umbrellas or other items, held aloft) so figured it must have been important.

1scandiskip9Behind me is a canal.1scandiskip9aAnd occasional boats with loudspeaking tour guides feeding garbled-sounding salient info into the tourists’ ears.  Is it better or worse to not know what you are looking at?  I read plenty before I head off to a place, and take along guidebooks as I walk, but not everything is in every guide book. And not every tour guide knows everything, or has time to tell the tourist everything. In this way, both book and actual tour guide filter the experience.  So when I get home I look up things.  Dave and I had fun reading about the telephone kiosks today, several days after-the-fact.  Would it make it any better to have known about this as we saw them?  I will never know.1scandiskip9bWhere am I?  I find these signs helpful, even if they’ve been tagged.1scandiskip10I head back up towards Torvehallerne for lunch, passing by this church tower.1scandiskip10aDo you think the Danes ever come out of their offices and wonder where they’ve parked their bike?  Copenhagen’s bicyclists are a determined and numerous lot.  Around dinnertime you’d better watch yourself and not step into the “bicycle freeway.”1scandiskip11I spot an interesting statue on top of that far building just to the left of the copper tower roof.  [Later, with the magic of the internet(!)  I found out it is a statue of Hermes atop the former Messen Department Store, now the Varehuset Museum.]1scandiskip11aSo much of travel involves sight.  I can’t read the language, so pictures — or what I actually can see with my eyes — become the way I navigate through cities and streets.  One language that is  universal, though, is the language of flowers.  Here are some taped to the front of a shop–along the doorway and along the windows.  I was charmed.1scandiskip12And then there is the ubiquitous advertising guys, this one with a flag attached to his back, advertising e-cigarettes.1scandiskip12aI want to go home and make a navy dress (but this shade of navy which veers slightly towards lavender) with cream accents.1scandiskip12bAm I there yet?1scandiskip13Here’s a giant bowl of frozen yogurt, a cousin to the giant hot dog spotted at the airport.1scandiskip13a 1scandiskip14I make it to the Food Hall and there is a long line for the smorrebrod sandwiches.1scandiskip14aWhen I get close, I start to panic and just end up pointing to two.  They zip them over onto a plate, hand me my soda and a fork and knife and turn to the next customer.1scandiskip14bThey all start with a thin slice of sturdy rugbrød — a sourdough rye bread.  Then they spead on some butter, then start building.  The one on the left was smoked cream cheese with garnishes on top of slices of cucumber.  The one on the right is sliced, cooked potato with a blob of sour cream, topped with a crispy onion ring and lots of chives.  I ended up eating here three days in a row and came to understand that the art of smorrebrod is stacking ingredients.1scandiskip14cHere’s a look from the other side.1scandiskip14dI sat at the counter overlooking this prep station, so saw them do lots of sandwiches.  Most of the time, their hands were not gloved, and the only one I could see wearing them was this lady, as she put them on to handle pickles.  Even the lady who separated the egg yolks out for the tartare sandwiches (they put one egg yolk in a tiny little dish for each serving) did so with bare hands.  We are sort of freaked out by this in the US, as we are so aware of food safety all the time.  I don’t think I’d be as willing to eat the food with bare-handed prep people in another country, say, India or something, but here it seemed part of the scene.1scandiskip15Bikes for rent, complete with GPS screens.1scandiskip15aJust don’t park them here.

Copenhagen Arrival and First Impressions

This is post #1 of our 2016 Copenhagen-Stockholm trip.

scandiskipWhen we traveled around Spain and Lisbon this spring, I did a post saying hi to my Mom.  This time I did only one post like this: “Bye, Mom!” My son and his family landed in the LA airport the same time as we were boarding, so I called to tell him hello, and then we whooshed down the jetway to our tiny teeny cubicle — aka, airline seat —  for the next 12 hours or so.

scandiskip1We’ve traveled a lot this year.  Proof?  We critiqued the choice of movies offered on the plane.  This crop was pretty dismal. scandiskip2 About halfway through the flight when I feel like I’d pay a million dollars to be in Economy Plus — anywhere but crammed in “steerage class” like sardines — is when I start reading the stuff in the seat pocket in front of me, noticing that their model has blissed out (eyes closed) while preparing to evacuate in the event of an emergency.  Probably not a good idea.scandiskip3We make the change of aircraft and airline in London’s Heathrow. At the security to get INTO the airport, they take apart my luggage looking for a pair of scissors.  They found it (leftover in one of the suitcase pockets from the previous trip; I’d forgotten I had them in there). I repacked and was on my way.  Landing in Copenhagen, we immediately notice the wooden floors.scandiskip4And the design of the luggage carts.scandiskip5And their #copenhagenbench campaign, complete with floors that look like grass and a park with real park benches to sit on.scandiskip6What a lovely way to handle the incoming luggage: they tell you the carousel, how many minutes until your luggage lands, and if it has arrived, they post up a suitcase.scandiskip7More park stuff, including a flooring that looks like the cobblestones we saw everywhere in the city, and wee bit of climbing apparatus for children who have been cooped up in airplanes.scandiskip8There always seems to be a RUSH of some sorts to get going to our hotel, but as Dave hassled out our Metro tickets, I was able to snap a couple of pictures in the airport.  That idea — of a giant icon of the product being sold, as in the floating hot dog, above — was a theme we’d see over and over in our visit to Copenhagen and Stockholm.scandiskip9Waiting for the Metro: a decorated ball/globe.scandiskip10We emerge and immediately start noticing the different details that distinguish this place from any other, like the signage and decorative detailing on the buildings.  Public sites under construction (like this one, where they are replacing the cobblestones) are something every country has in common, I’m afraid.scandiskip11 scandiskip12 scandiskip13Our room is long and narrow and on the first floor overlooking the breakfast courtyard.scandiskip14 scandiskip15 scandiskip16(in case you need to iron something)scandiskip17We freshen up, check in on the internet, and head out for dinner.  This is the breakfast room that only Dave will enjoy as only one of us was covered for breakfast; I’m on my own.  Our room is just to the left of that swirling step of steps, on the bottom floor.scandiskip18The hotel’s name is Kong Arthur (more details on the itinerary on the home page) which means King Arthur.  So is this a miniature round table from that era?scandiskip19 scandiskip20Our destination, a short block from our hotel, was the Pizzeria La Fiorita.  It took us a minute to work out the system, but you go down into the shop, order, and then sit outside until your buzzer lights up.  You then return the buzzer and retrieve the food.scandiskip20aSquash soda?scandiskip20bAfter a few minutes, the people sitting at the table next to us cleared so we moved over there, as they had a large umbrella covering their table, and it was a bit drizzly.  Our pizza was the shop’s special “La Fiorita.”scandiskip20cOur pasta was the shop’s special “La Fiorita.”  Since I like just about everything, and I’m jetlagged and hungry and want to find my way to bed Right Now, I’ve learned to go for the restaurant special and usually that is fine.scandiskip21We took the roundabout way back to our hotel, through this plaza/playground.scandiskip22At the end of our street is a series of rectangular “lakes,” three in a row, which are leftovers from the ancient city’s moat system.  That large swan is a paddleboat, but there were also real swans paddling around, too.scandiskip22a scandiskip22b scandiskip22cIt’s nearly 8:30 p.m. and we are getting a version of a sunset.  Because we are so far north, the sun sets, but light stays.  And in the morning, it gets light early (around 5-ish a.m.) and the sun rises a bit after that.scandiskip22dPark statuary.  There’s one on the other side to make this a matched set, but with far fewer little children climbing all over him.  This site, when we arrived home, provided an explanation:  “The enormous god with the beard of a wild man lies on its plinth and is being crawled all over by a group of small naked bronze children. They symbolise 16 different stages in the Nile floods (32 feet difference between the highest and lowest water levels). The bronze cast was made after a Roman marble statue in the Musei Vaticani, Rome. the original was discovered in 1513 near S. Maria sopra Minerva, Rome, and restored by Antonio Canova during the 19th century.”

scandiskip22escandiskip23We walk back to our hotel and with the exception of the cars, feel like we are visitors in the early 19th century.  So many buildings in Copenhagen and Stockholm had that “Belle epoche” feeling that I half expected to see women in long gowns and upswept hairdos being escorted by men in dark suits and starched collars.

Nope–just us tourists in T-shirts, jeans, and sneakers, looking to find their way to some sleep.

Les Grottes

Les Grottes MapLes Grottes is an area of Geneva directly above the train station (Gare Cornavin) of interesting architecture known as Les Schtroumpes, or The Smurfs, as well as another set of buildings called The Caves (after a river that used to flow through here).  It’s also a bohemian neighborhood with tagged buildings, run-down areas, impromptu sculpture, which is a vast change from Geneva’s button-down, cleaned up general atmosphere.

GenevaSchtroumpes_1The Swiss architects — Christian Hunziger, Robert Frei and Georges Berthoud, built these between 1982 and 1984; the four Schtroumpf buildings contain 170 city-subsidized apartments for rent.  (I found most of the information in English from the Newly Swissed website.)GenevaSchtroumpes_2They said they were inspired by Gaudi, of Barcelona, with his use of natural forms and aversion to the traditional right angles.GenevaSchtroumpes_3 GenevaSchtroumpes_4 GenevaSchtroumpes_5 GenevaSchtroumpes_6But that’s not all Les Grottes is.  It has several small quirky shops, bike repair places (the “parking garage” for bicyclists using the trains is within Les Grottes, picture below), and eating places.  I enjoyed walking through it on one of the not-rainy days.

GenevaLes Grottes GenevaLes Grottes0

At one point, they were going to raze this area and put in skyscrapers, but the residents protested and blocked it.  Admittedly, it is kind of jarring to see Heidi’s cottage all tagged up, but the difference between what we usually see as tagged buildings (concrete housing projects) and this more humble, traditional building, make us think a bit.  I got a hugely negative reaction to this photo when I posted it up on Instagram, but given the neighborhood, I thought it kind of amusing.GenevaLes Grottes1 GenevaLes Grottes2 GenevaLes Grottes2a GenevaLes Grottes2b GenevaLes Grottes2c

Is this the Old Folks Home?  It’s pretty cool-looking, if it is.GenevaLes Grottes3 GenevaLes Grottes4

Ceiling of entryway into parking garage.GenevaLes Grottes5 GenevaLes Grottes6

In this neigborhood, there is the Smurf Buildings, the Caves, tagged and decorated traditional buildings and then this elegant doorway.GenevaLes Grottes7 GenevaLes Grottes8 GenevaLes Grottes9 GenevaLes Grottes10

Random Art atop a community center (? it’s hard to tell what things are when everything’s in a language you don’t understand or read).GenevaLes Grottes11Usually we are at breakneck speed, checking off things in our guidebooks to see, racing around neighborhoods.  But when you are in a place like Geneva — known as a two-sight town — you have to drill down through the usual to find the unique.  This qualifies, I think.

Subways in Lisbon

Lisbon and Spain • March 2016 / #6

Lisbon-metro-mapStart here, with the Lisbon Metro map.  Our hotel was on on the Saldanha stop, where the red and yellow lines intersect, and it was a giant station.  In our few days in Lisbon, I think we came out every one of their several different entrances, always trying to make our way back.  We could access it very easily, but always were confused on the exit.

But the decorative surfaces!  One article, that has a wide range of photographs of the subways, notes that we weren’t supposed to take photos of the subways, but luckily I read that one year later.  We started keying into the decorated subways almost immediately (how can you not?), but really figured out what we were missing after our visit to the tile museum, on our third and final day.  Then it became race to see how many we could visit before we had to leave Lisbon.

This post is picture-heavy, so you may want to use speed-scroll to get through everything.  Believe me when I say I edited down the pictures by two-thirds!

Here are some of the stations we visited:

São Sebastião

Apparently this is designed to represent trees.  All I could see was quilt designs.

Lisbon Metro_São Sebastião-1 Lisbon Metro_São Sebastião-2 Lisbon Metro_São Sebastião-4 Lisbon Metro_São Sebastião-5a Lisbon Metro_São Sebastião-6 Lisbon Metro_São Sebastião-7 Lisbon Metro_São Sebastião-8

Oriente–artists from five different countries contributed to these tiled murals.

Lisbon Metro_Oriente_1a Lisbon Metro_Oriente-1 Lisbon Metro_Oriente-1b Lisbon Metro_Oriente-1c Lisbon Metro_Oriente-2 Lisbon Metro_Oriente-3A blurry shot, but I wanted to show placement of the next two images:Lisbon Metro_Oriente-3a Lisbon Metro_Oriente-3b  Lisbon Metro_Oriente-4a Lisbon Metro_Oriente-4b Lisbon Metro_Oriente-4c Lisbon Metro_Oriente-5 Lisbon Metro_Oriente-5a Lisbon Metro_Oriente-7 Lisbon Metro_Oriente-7a Lisbon Metro_Oriente-7b Lisbon Metro_Oriente-8 Lisbon Metro_Oriente-9I imagined it would be a challenge to create artwork that would be seen mostly in dark, underground passages, but this station was especially dark.  Maybe it was supposed to be moody.

Alvalade--evidently based on a story that I could not locate; however, the illustrations are fanciful.

Lisbon Metro_Alvalade_1 Lisbon Metro_Alvalade_2 Lisbon Metro_Alvalade_3 Lisbon Metro_Alvalade_4 Lisbon Metro_Alvalade_5a Lisbon Metro_Alvalade_6 Lisbon Metro_Alvalade_6a Lisbon Metro_Alvalade_overviewThis last shot was taken as the subway train was taking off.  We saw many stations from the windows of the moving train, not having enough time to get off and on.

Martim Moniz–a station near a plaza dedicated to martyred Christian soldier.  Apparently some of this is plastic on top of tiles, but it felt like tiles to us.

Lisbon Metro_Martim Moniz_1 Lisbon Metro_Martim Moniz_2 Lisbon Metro_Martim Moniz_2aChad was with us this day; this gives you a sense of the scale of these figures.Lisbon Metro_Martim Moniz_3 Lisbon Metro_Martim Moniz_4Loved the eye peeking out from under the helmet.Lisbon Metro_Martim Moniz_5 Lisbon Metro_Martim Moniz_7 Lisbon Metro_Martim Moniz_8 Lisbon Metro_Martim Moniz_8aRestauradores–We used this metro stop to go to dinner the second night, with Chad, near a street that had tons of restaurants, mostly tourist-catered, mostly B-grade.

Lisbon Metro_Restauradores_1They had a magnificent mural titled The Arrival, for when Portugal “discovered” Brazil.

Lisbon Metro_Restauradores_mural detail Lisbon Metro_Restauradores_2 Lisbon Metro_Restauradores_1Saldanha

The “artists Jorge Vieira and Luís Filipe de Abreu worked the theme “The Universal Human Characteristics” in individually distinct tile and stone sculptures,” or so the official webpage declares.  We just thought it was pretty funky.

Lisbon Metro_Saldanha_1 Lisbon Lisbon Metro_Saldanha_1a Lisbon Metro_Saldanha_1c Lisbon Metro_Saldanha_1d Lisbon Metro_Saldanha_2 Lisbon Lisbon Metro_Saldanha_2a Lisbon Metro_Saldanha_3 Lisbon Lisbon Metro_Saldanha_3a Lisbon Metro_Saldanha_4 Lisbon Metro_Saldanha_4b Lisbon Metro_Saldanha_5 Lisbon Metro_Saldanha_5aTwo random shots (I have no idea where they were from):

Lisbon Metro_random-1 Lisbon Metro_random-2And now, the final station, Campo Grande.  Again, from the official website: “Campo Grande station opened in 1993. Its walls are covered in painted tiles by Eduardo Nery, whose work  interprets the typical 18th century tile motifs known as figuras de convite or welcoming figures.”  They had an example of his work in the Tile Museum, and in an interview with him in the movie, he said he went over to supervise the installation of the tile in the Metro.  When one of the workers asked him if he was worried that they would install the tile wrong, he replied, “I’m worried that you will install it correctly.”

When you see the installation, you’ll know what he meant:

Lisbon Metro_CampoGrande_4man Lisbon Metro_CampoGrande_3woman

Lisbon Metro_Campo Grande_1 Lisbon Metro_CampoGrande_2 Lisbon Metro_CampoGrande_3 Lisbon Metro_CampoGrande_3a Lisbon Metro_CampoGrande_3b Lisbon Metro_CampoGrande_3c Lisbon Metro_CampoGrande_3d Lisbon Metro_CampoGrande_3e Lisbon Metro_CampoGrande_4 Lisbon Metro_CampoGrande_4a Lisbon Metro_CampoGrande_4b Lisbon Metro_CampoGrande_4c Lisbon Metro_CampoGrande_5 Lisbon Metro_CampoGrande_6 Lisbon Metro_CampoGrande_7 Lisbon Metro_CampoGrande_8 Lisbon Metro_CampoGrande_8a Lisbon Metro_CampoGrande_9 Lisbon Metro_CampoGrande_10 Lisbon Metro_CampoGrande_artist

IG Hands Collage Lisbon

While we loved all the subway tiles and decorations and pictures, and subways can get us places quickly, we missed traveling above ground in the trams, and by walking around.