Our time in the Scandinavian countries is fast drawing to a close. We’ve gone from knowing very little about them to falling totally in love with their natural beauty, ancient history and friendly people.
By Sunday we need to be in Germany to see my Aunt Maria and we have a few errands to run before we arrive. Things that are simple to accomplish at home, where you have access to all your things, shops you know, etc, require a whole new level of skill when you’re overseas. The morning is spent running around, Google instructions in hand.
Mission accomplished, we have lunch near the Radhuspladsen before setting off for South Copenhagen for a final tour. The bikes have racked up a decent amount of mileage in Copenhagen. They’ve proved an excellent purchase- we’d be at the mercy of public transport or taxis otherwise.
Our first stop is the Vor Frelsers Kirke. Built in 1696 it has two defining features. Inside, the rear wall is covered with an intricately carved wooden frame in which a huge three storey 1698 organ nests. It has more than 4000 pipes and is supported by two elephants. There’s something you don’t see in church every day: elephants! Best of all, someone is playing it – the church is alive with music.
Outside, it’s all about the spiral spire that winds anti clockwise at the way to the top. There’s a staircase on the outside of the spire of 400 steps leading to Copenhagen’s second highest view, but even looking at it makes my palms sweat. That’s a no from me then. It’s a bit it annoying being scared of plummeting to your death. Robs one of all manner of good views and pictures. Will need to work on that.
A short ride up the road is Christiania, touted as a successful example of alternative living. The community was set up in 1971 when a group of squatters moved into deserted military quarters and refused to moved. In the spirit of if you can’t beat them, sanction them, Copenhagen decided to treat the commune as a social experiment. It now has around 900 residents, with their own system of government, kindergarten and infrastructure.
It sounds fine in theory but in reality, it comes across like a good excuse to sit around stoned and not shower for weeks. If this is alternative living, you can keep it. It’s a bit of a time warp, a step back into the hippie culture of the 70s. No photos are allowed inside the commune, no doubt something to do with all the open dope smoking, despite it being outlawed in 2004. Ah well, at least they were playing good 70s music and the sentiment behind this sign comes from a good place.
I much prefer the ancient Borsen building from the 1500s, once Copenhagen’s stock exchange, now chamber of commerce. Its spire is four dragon’s tails intertwined – ancient fabulousness. Even the very modern Operaen is more to my taste.
On that last note, it’s time to ride home, put the bikes away and leave Copenhagen. We’re both sorry to be going – had time permitted another day or two here would have been well spent. I might have confronted one of my fears and caved on a terrifying ride at Tivoli or climbed that spiral staircase. Stranger things have happened.
Instead we head south towards Germany and end the day in Ringsted where I make friends with an enormous fluffy tortoiseshell kitty who is in much need of cuddles and head scratches. I miss my kitties and he’s a welcome vistor, even if he eats most of our cheese as a treat. Little pet.