Copenhagen and Beyond. Part Two.

On my third day I travelled by train to Roskilde, a city a mere 30km west of Copenhagen, to visit the Viking Ship Museum. I must say that the flat landscapes, pointed by so many delicate birch trees, added to all my train journeys around and beyond Copenhagen a dreamy element.


After paying homage to the open sandwich tradition of Denmark - I had a magnificent smørrebrød in the restaurant just outside the Museum - and a brisk walk around the city centre, I went back to Copenhagen to take a canal and harbour tour. It was during this tour that I spotted a bronze copy of Michelangelo's David statue.

Donated to the city by brewer Carl Jacobsen in 1896, this replica of Michelangelo's nude statue of the biblical King David was first exhibited nearby Vartorv Square and its religious foundation. Unfortunately,  David found himself almost immediately in the doghouse as a number of no spring chicken damsels were living in the same square. It seems that mainly those who were living on second floor-level were distressed, as their windows looked out on David's symbol of his manhood. After thinking for a little while of joining the infamous 'fig leaf campaign' - which, by the way, wouldn't have solved the problem of David's buttocks turned against the convent - the municipality started to look for a new more suitable location. This proved to be more difficult than they had anticipated, as the statue has wandered the city for almost one hundred years and found his present location only in 1993.


I finished my day with a late evening visit to the wondrous National Aquarium, where unashamedly I had fish and chips for dinner. Most of my fourth and last day was spent visiting the SMK, National Gallery of Denmark.

Just an end-note: the non-square photos were taken with an Ilford Black & White Disposable Camera, which proved to be almost perfect for low light situations as it contained a ILFORD HP5 PLUS roll and a flash. I do not remember why and when I bought it, but I do remember I took it with me because it was so light compared to my beloved Hasselblad 500 C/M.

Apart from the usual frozen-shoulder pain, this time the Hasselblad also caused me an embarrassing moment at the airport when the Security guy who was checking my bag shouted at me just because ... he wanted to say he loved my camera. Ehm, I love it too.

Copenhagen and Beyond. Part One.

Like the true festival lover that I am, last year in March (yes, it took me one year and a half to go back and organise my notes and photos) I decided to go away for the long St Patrick’s weekend and fly west to Copenhagen.

The first day was spent basically familiarizing with the area where my Airbnb flat was - the supermarket in the nearby shopping centre was so big that I think I walked twelve minutes to reach the till from the aisle where I got milk and bread - and doing a tad of window shopping and people watching in the inner city. Before heading back to the apartment, I managed to squeeze a visit to the Round Tower from whose top I took the photos below . I ended my day in the most uninteresting way: eating a box of sushi while watching on TV a re-run of Would I Lie To You? with subtitles in Danish.

Copenhagen from above
Copenhagen from above

The next day I took a train to Helsingør, classically known in English as Elsinore, to visit Kronborg Castle - the impressive royal residence that Frederick II built on the shores of the Baltic Sea in 1574-1585 and for which no expense was spared. The home of Shakespeare’s Hamlet is also the fortress where Queen Caroline Matilde, married to the insane King Christian VII, was taken and kept under house arrest after being accused of infidelity. I have been captivated by this story since I read Stella Tillyard's book, Royal Affair, and if you, like me, have an interest in the lives of royal women, especially those from the 18th century, I would recommend reading it. The whole building is simply massive, and at the risk of sounding unsophisticated, I was positively impressed with the sheer number of toilets around.

The figure below to the right, drawn by an anonymous visitor and left in the Educational room, represents Holger Danske, the Danish mythical hero who lies asleep in the dark and damp underground passages, where the smell of the oil lamps is rather intense I must admit.

To say that the weather was wintry and the wind bitterly cold would be an understatement so, despite my desire to take photos, I immediately looked for a place where to rest, warm up and have lunch. I didn't have to go that far as I found a table in the restaurant of Culture Yard, a cutting-edge glass and steel structure created from old wharf buildings.

On my way back to Copenhagen, I stopped in Humlebæk to visit the Lousiana Museum of Modern Art. To start with I must confess I spent more time in its stylish butik than the gallery itself, but when, eventually, I found the energy to go on my meandering art-quest, I was truly taken aback by the amicable and restful atmosphere. Speaking of rest, I truly appreciated the room with the huge corner sofa and panoramic sea view of Sweden across the river Sound.

I was still sank into the sofa when I started to notice plenty of visitor carrying rolled-up posters. They were reproductions of the work that the Irish artist, Richard Mosse, has produced during the civil war in eastern DR Congo. Because they are beautiful but deeply unsettling images, I thought the enthusiasm of those who were grabbing the posters from stacks located all around the exhibition room, inappropriate and excessive.  I won’t deny that seeing a mousetrap in the Giacometti room left me kind of perplexed too. To be continued.