To Ordrupgaard

Up at seven, as usual. Since we’ll be going out by bike today and want to optimize, we’re having breakfast at the hotel. I take an egg from a basket, wondering if it’s hard or soft boiled and discover it’s not boiled at all. There’s both a boiling and a cold water bath and instructions on how to boil an egg, they seem to take the whole thing very seriously. I wonder how many raw eggs with their hat missing they get every day, from tourists that don’t understand the egg boiling business.

We pick up the electric bikes at eight thirty and set off along the water front? We’re starting to get to know the layout of the city and navigate without resorting to smart phone apps (often). We pass Nyhavn, the opera house and royal palace and then enter unknown territory. It’s pretty quiet still, no commuter bikes and too early for the tourists. We make our way north, having to turn back occasionally when we make a wrong turn and completely missing the famous Den lille Havfrue, the little mermaid statue. We doubt about turning back, but we’ve both seen it before and remember it as being kind of small and decide we don’t want to see it again that badly.

We follow the coastal road north, it’s quite busy but still pleasant to cycle on, since we always have wide bicycle paths, safely separated from the road. After the visit to the port, we don’t actually see the sea for a long while, since there is no road at the sea side itself. Instead, numerous roads fork off towards a dead end by the sea and when we follow one of these we see that the last houses of the street have private access, often with boat piers. It’s only when we come to Bellavista beach that the sea is accessible again, with yacht harbors, camping places and parks.

We keep an eye on the map because we’ll have to deviate from the coast road soon. The statue of Knud Rasmussen is our cue to start paying attention. He was a Greenlandic–Danish polar explorer born in 1879, famous for his expeditions in Greenland. He stand on the quay looking out over the sea – though not in the direction of Greenland.

A bit further on we reach our first goal of the day: the Bellavista estate designed by Arne Jacobsen, a famous Danish architect and furniture designer. Interesting to see, beautiful, but for me not really a wow effect. We turn inland towards our next destination, at this point I’m quite happy to have some electrical support. You would think Denmark is quite flat – indeed its highest point is about 170 m above sea level – but I promise you, you can do a lot of climbing between 0 and 170 m. Each road has separated lanes for bikes and cars are obviously used to looking out for them when turning left or right, so it feels very safe.

We arrive at Ordrupgaard around eleven. We’re actually here for two reasons: the famous art collection and the Zaha Hadid building that was added to the museum in 2005. We already have our e-tickets, so we chuck our bags into a locker and set off. There’s quite a few people around, we must be between lulls. The temporary exhibition by Danish-Israeli artist Tal R is not really our thing, though many people are staring at the art thoughtfully so we may suppose it’s meaningful and important. We glance at the paintings and drawings, continue downwards towards the French collection and, when seeing the crowd here as well, decide to have an early lunch.

We hurry through the rest of the rooms, recognize quite a few famous paintings at first glance, but refuse to be tempted and arrive at the cafeteria at half past eleven. No lunch until twelve, but we pick a quiet spot and have a glass of wine with our Wikipedia research. I have smoked salmon on sourdough bread (a classic in this area) and a pineapple/cream/chocolate chip desert.

We wrap up around twelve thirty and enter the museum proper again to continue the tour. It really is a great collection of French impressionists, it’s been a long time since I saw so many famous paintings together. Everybody else is having lunch and we can leisurely stroll around the big rooms, taking a few moments to admire each painting without others waiting for their turn. I particularly liked the Degas, Manet and Renoir paintings.

Next up is the Danish collection, with a large collection of Hammershai and L. A. Ring, that I both really like. We also visit the old house itself, which has a lot of the original furniture and design of the early 20th century. Interesting, but not really something I’d like at home. The content of Finn Juhl’s house, on the other hand, I would take with me if I could. The furniture designed by Finn Juhl in the 1940’s is everything I like about Scandinavian design. At the end of the art tour, we take a long moment to admire the outside of the Zaha Hadid extension. I’m continuously amazed at how this architect (or at least, this architect office) can make a building both functional, cool and homey.

Back to Copenhagen then. We now have the wind at our back and the ride is smooth, right up until the point where the rear tire on my bike runs flat. We walk to the nearest bicycle store, it’s closed, but there’s an air pump outside. We don’t actually understand how to inflate this type of tire, so we ask a friendly local who gives us a hand and even finds the leak, fishing out a sharp stone. It seems to leak more slowly afterwards and we decide to cycle to the nearest S-train station, we can still make something of the afternoon. We chain the bikes secure next to the closed rental office and head back to the Illum department store to investigate the rumors of Y3 merchandise. We only find shoes and not a big selection, but while searching we encounter the Halo stand, which has great zipper sweaters. I buy a blue-black one, this is the last item on my to-buy-in-Copenhagen list and this success improves the mood somewhat. When we finally are able to return the bikes around six – after spending about an hour at a café nearby, ogling the entrance, waiting for them to open – our mood is still more improved by the refund. We’re pretty weary (I’m starting to see a pattern in the last few days), so we decide an early dinner is in order. We try two steak restaurants but they’re fully booked, so we have Italian in one the Illum top floor restaurants. Back in the hotel around eight thirty, it’s actually dark when we arrive. Tomorrow we’re heading back to Belgium.

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