Strolls and shops

Up at 7. Today is reserved for general hanging around and shopping, so we take into account that anything interesting will only open at ten and take it really, really easy. A long shower, a short debate of what to wear and we set out, again taking the S-train to Nørreport to find breakfast. We wander around the shopping streets until we encounter a bakery/café with organic products. Mom has pastries and a chocolate croissant, I have a soft boiled egg with really dark bread and a brownie for dessert. Afterwards, it’s still way for shopping and, taking Google maps to guide is, we decide to do some sightseeing of stuff we skipped yesterday. First we encounter Frederik’s Church, an impressive rococo structure with the largest dome in Scandinavia, at 31 m across. It’s closed for visitors this morning. It has a checkered history: the construction was delayed by the death of the architect and budget issues (Wikipedia doesn’t mention which of these was more important) and then halted completely and left to molder in ruins for 150 years. It was then sold on condition it would be restored, in exchange for the rights to develop the neighboring plots. Apparently, there was a scandal and somebody was accused of corruption.

We walk the short distance to the grand Amalienborg Slotplads, an octagonal square surrounded by four identical palaces, now the residence of the royal family of Denmark. There’s strangely dressed royal guards standing around and parading, I wonder how effective these are if actually faced with a crisis: their apparel does not look practical. The garden looks out over the harbor canal and right across from it we can see the new opera house. The contrast is lovely: at our backs the 18th century palaces and church, in front a modern structure with a lot of glass, reflecting beautifully in the water. According to Wikipedia, it’s one of the most expensive in the word, costing 370 million dollars to build.

Behind it we see a larger structure, not really a building in the sense that people might live or work in it. We see on the map that it’s Copenhill energy plan. So the structure itself contains industrial equipment, but the top of the building is built in such a way that it can be used as a ski slope in winter or for hiking and climbing in summer.

By this time the sun is feeling warm and I take off a t-shirt, now having enough with a thin sleeveless shirt. This requires a stop for sunscreen, I already got a bit sunburnt the previous days. I do a quick braid in my hair, this way I can tuck most of it under my new panama hat, which is really proving it’s worth in this sunny weather. We stroll along the quay of Nyhavn, one of the most popular sights in town. Nyhavn means new harbour and its colorful buildings date from the 17th and early 18th century. It was dug by Swedish prisoners of war to allow merchant vessels better access to the center of town and immediately it was known as a place where you could get beer and prostitutes. I can’t find out where the ‘old’ harbour is..

By this time shops are open and we start our expedition properly. First we visit Magasin du Nord, a large fancy department store. If you’re wondering why a Danish store has a French name, well, so did I. The company has a history that reads like a soap story and I can tell you that magasin is also a Danish word and that the company first sold goods out of rooms in the ‘Hotel du Nord’. We ogle the bags, use the bathroom facilities and move on. A few minutes later we’re back: our next stop is still closed and we found out meanwhile that Magasin du Nord also sells Broste, whose tableware we’ve seen at the restaurant yesterday. We explore the kitchen department of the store and indeed find items of this Danish company. I buy an earthenware saucière and mom two glasses, excellent souvenirs.

After this the shops become one big blur: we visit the Icelandic North 66 store, again the Illum department store, where we have a delicious juice, we try but fail to find a new fleece for me, doubt about buying a pair of Danish sneakers at Arkk, but demur.

Our final stop is the Lego store, where we stare in amazement at the variation of designs. If you’re still thinking Lego is only for kids, you’re behind on the times: they’re designing sets for adults with themes like Star Wars, Marvel Universe heroes, but also have a botanical collection, of which I couldn’t resist buying the tulips. Mom buys two Dots sets for the kids, including bracelets that you can decorate with the pieces. Must be great to work in these store, I bet you see a lot of smiling people.

By two o’clock we’re exhausted and head back to the central station. We skipped the Royal Copenhagen and Georg Jensen flagship stores, we’re simply out of energy. A snack at Starbucks in the station, a quick stop to send off the postcards and then the S-train to the hotel. A brief rest on the bed to let the body recover, then off with laptop and books to the residential neighborhood around the Frederiksholmløbet. Don’t know how to translate that, but it’s a body of water that used to be a port but now has wooden piers for swimming and relaxing. I write my daily report, we have some sushi and generally relax. Only 18.000 steps so far, but we still have to walk back to the hotel..

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