Denmark – An Exciting, Innovative Country with Stunning Beauty, Rich Culture and Art
This is a guest post by James Smith.
In the next few days, I leave for Denmark. That area of Northern Europe where Scandinavia meets the European continent has long been an envisioned travel destination of mine. I am so excited to be going on this trip of a lifetime.
With my travel plans completed, my last remaining task is to pack my suitcase. I know where I want to go and where I want to visit. I seriously cannot wait to arrive in Copenhagen. Copenhagen is the capital of Denmark; this is where I plan to begin my journey. Some of the most beautiful landmarks, castles and scenery in the world can be found on and around the many islands of Denmark. In Copenhagen, the Christiansborg Castle and the Rosenborg Castle are must-see destinations. Both Egeskov Castle in Kvaerndrup and Frederiksborg Castle in Hillerod are also on my list. These four castles are listed among the best castles in Denmark to visit. The many castles, palaces and historic homes of Denmark are among the finest in the world, so my excitement is sky-high at this very moment, just thinking of my fantastic vacation plans. Denmark, once home to the Vikings, has always captured my interest. The ancient beauty and magical lore of this region of the world is captivating to me and planning this trip seems surreal.
I enjoy nature, history and photography so for me my stay in Copenhagen will be very enjoyable as this city has it all. With my trusty camera in tow, I am eager to hike through any terrain necessary to capture that perfect shot. Luckily, Copenhagen offers historic sightseeing, numerous museums, awesome nature, beautiful landscapes, interesting and new restaurants, innovative art and architecture plus some of the best nightlife that truth-be-told should not be missed. If what I hear is true, both locals and tourists alike, enjoy all Copenhagen has to offer and still yearn for more. Copenhagen hosts numerous annual conferences that are on the forefront of the most recent technologies and new, innovative ideas. One such conference pertains to global warming and includes multimedia art installations such as the CO2 Cube. This cube represents the amount of space that one ton of Carbon Dioxide would occupy under atmospheric pressure. Using such a dramatic, visual display is a perfect way to get the message across about each individual's footprint on this planet. When everyone's footprint combines together into one large footprint, it then becomes a large problem. I encourage the whole recycle, reuse and reduce concept as a whole so; again, Copenhagen is a winning city with a large heart and a modern mind that I admire.
By researching online, I soon find that by using the hop on hop off bus routes around town, I can see many prime destinations with little effort. Anytime I can mingle with the locals is a bonus as this allows me many wonderful opportunities to capture unique photographs. People make for interesting subjects, especially those just going about their everyday lives. One of the first places I plan to visit sits right on the water. The Tycho Brahe Planetarium is a feast for the eyes and for the mind. This planetarium is as interesting from the outside as it is on the inside. The architecture is modern and thought-provoking which I can appreciate both structurally and visually.
Among Copenhagen, I have found an oasis. A wonderful, tranquil garden is within the middle of this beautiful city. Behind the Danish Parliament Building is Christiansborg Palace and The Royal Library Garden. One of my old professors, who, was from Copenhagen himself, spent many rainy afternoons at the local pub telling his young scholars of the beauty of this particular garden. It is only reachable through the gates at Parliament Square - I remember his strong, boisterous voice still today. Now I will be entering these very gates myself within only a few days' time.
Being a nature lover at heart, I cannot get enough of these ancient gardens of Copenhagen. I happen to know about a few of the hidden secrets of this city; one of them is the Classens Have or Classens Garden, on Østerbro. At first glance, the garden may appear private; however, this garden is, indeed, open to the public. Public access is permitted at the gates at Classensgade. Another secret gathering spot that mostly only locals know about is Assistens Kirkegaard or Assistens Cemetery, which is on Nørrebro. Here, the locals love to sunbathe and lounge the day away at the side of Hans Christen Andersen, Søren Kierkegaard, Hans Scherfig and Niels Bohr. Scheduled guided tours allow visitors to hear many intimate details concerning the permanent residents of this famous cemetery. While I do not, normally, hangout in cemeteries, it may be well worth the trip to capture a couple of photos of the headstones of the infamous individuals who happen to be buried there.
Many shortcuts exist throughout the city and using these shortcuts, I am told, will shorten my walking distance from one area to the next. The inner city boasts numerous charming, useful alleyways. Kringlegangen connects to Grøbrødretorv or Grey Friars Square and plus Valkendorfsgade is behind Strøget, this is the main pedestrian street; via Jorcks Passage. It is then possible to get to Strøget from Skindergade and Fiolstrøde, this area is called the Latin Quarter. It sounds just too good to be true. Spending a day or two just wandering the quaint, old streets and passageways of this amazing city is surely to be enlightening and intriguing. I mentally, make a note, to double check my gear to ensure I have extra media cards, all my lenses and extra batteries as the photo opportunities should be endless.
The canals are another area that holds special interest for me as I have always enjoyed boats, yachts and large ships. Scoring a photograph of these bathing beauties will be a bonus to my trip. I picture myself, strolling past one of the numerous picturesque courtyards that exist near the canal. Beautiful, historic homes of splendid grandeur line Christianshavn Canal where it is possible to rent boats, as well. I am drawn to the watery reflections of the beautiful yachts and boats that bob gently up and down in the canal. The brightly, colored homes with their charming, old-fashioned look sit daintily on the edge of the water completely the picturesque image. Both Overgaden neden Vandet as well as Overgaden oven Vandet as these areas are known, will be a highpoint of my visit to Denmark, of this, I am sure.
As much as I enjoy old architecture, I am also very into modernism. Modern architecture thinks out-of-the-box and visitors to the city of Copenhagen will not be disappointed. Vesterbro and Nørrebro are older areas of town that are going through a major transition with the addition of more modern courtyards, eateries, sidewalk cafes and other cosmopolitan features. With a push towards open air markets, cafe restaurants and a transformation of the old meat packing district into an exhibition hall, has made this area rejuvenated with youthful new residents. I want to round out my experiences while I am in Denmark, so I want to be sure to visit the older more established areas, as well as the newer more, high-tech areas of Denmark. Copenhagen is the best place to see both the old Denmark and the new.
As much as I love to take photographs, I also enjoy reading. Hans Christian Andersen was born in Odense; this makes Odense one city I intend not to miss. This city is home to The Hans Christian Andersen Museum and is one of Denmark's oldest cities. Odense Celebrated its 1000th birthday back in 1998; this makes you realize just how old this city is. My curiosity is peaked as I ponder the ancient times and ancient people of this region. Saint Canute's Cathedral, formerly was connected with a great Benedictine monastery is perhaps one of the largest structures of this type in Denmark. My interest in viewing this building is obvious. A church with such age as the Saint Canute's Cathedral offers spiritual guidance to whoever may seek it. My thoughts wander as I imagine how the light that descends upon the cathedral will look. I realize that it is, indeed, very spiritual in nature. Goosebumps prickle my skin with anticipation of visiting such a place.
There are numerous popular attractions that are not to be missed while visiting Odense. The Odense Zoo receives over 100,000 visitors a year. Funen Village and the Danish Railway Museum are also key attractions to add to my list. I did a little research on the Funen Village and found that this village is an open-air, hands-on museum experience. Its purpose is to allow visitors to experience the world as it would have appeared to Hans Christian Andersen. Complete with animals of the period. Old Danish livestock, handmade, half-timbered buildings and flower gardens scattered throughout really allows individuals to get a feeling for the way of life during the 19th century. The railway museum is one of the best railway and transportation museums in the Scandinavian area. It is conveniently located next to the train station in Odense. It is a very user-friendly museum with many active exhibits. Not only does this museum cater to trains, it also has buses, ferries and believe it or not wagons. I feel this museum will also afford me many prime photography opportunities. Photography of old vehicles is also interesting to some of us photographers. According to my research, the first trains in Denmark date all the way back to 1848. For me, this is exciting news. The older the vehicle, the more I like to photograph it. It appears I am going to be quite busy during my stay in Odense, Denmark.
Aarhus is one of Odense's most intriguing cities. Aarhus has exciting nightlife and is vibrant. This is a college town; thus, its reputation is known for partying. Behind the Cathedral is the Latin Quarter or Student Quarter. This area is known for its ambience with cobbled lanes and quaint little shops. This sound right up my alley and I cannot wait to hobnob with the locals. AROS Aarhus Kunst museum opened in Odense in 2004 is well-known for its large collection of Danish art. Art from the last three hundred years is housed at this location. Odense, Denmark is known as the user-friendly city. It has exclusive pedestrian only squares, streets and alleys that lead directly to the numerous museums, restaurants, shops and cafes. With all that Odense has to offer, there is no way I will miss out on this little gem of a town. Denmark is my vacation adventure. I may never visit Paris or Rome; however, Denmark will satisfy my craving for adventure, my craving for beauty and my craving for art like no other country in the world.
As I wind down my exciting Denmark adventure, I plan to end my vacation at Jutland. Jutland allows me to relax and experience a rustic, country yet beach setting. Miles of seafaring towns dot the coastline with seemingly endless white sand beaches. Numerous, dunes, fjords and islands await my arrival. I am eager to unwind, relax and soak in the fresh air. If I become bored with the surf and sun, I will travel northward to the North Sea Coast. Here, the Beech forests, bright light and lovely beeches attract artists and surfers galore. My attention returns to packing as I remind myself to pack my swimsuit and beach towel. My suitcase is now becoming quite full, but a girl has to be prepared for anything while traveling. Again, my excitement peaks with the many opportunities that await me. The possibilities are endless. I am leaving my vacation open-ended. Oh, of course, I could spend only a week or so and focus on only the attractions that are most commonly visited. However, I plan to take my time, really get to know the country, its culture and its people. I plan on staying a full month. Yes, I will be out of vacation time upon returning to work, but I feel this trip of a lifetime cannot be hurried.The hospitality of the Danish people is unmatched. I am fully expecting to come home with many new memories of fabulous food, beautiful scenery and of the warm, welcoming people who live in Denmark. I am confident that in the very near future Denmark, will become one the prime vacation destinations. This country is beautiful, exciting and intriguing; it rivals any of the most famous countries in Europe. I consider myself one of the lucky ones for having the time and opportunity to visit this beautiful country.
Many small, picturesque towns and villages are scattered throughout the islands of Denmark, each one a unique and special treasure just waiting for me to explore. Denmark has some of the best villages and small towns to visit including Aeroskobing, Odense, Dragor, Ebeltoft, and Ribe. The possibilities are endless. The memories, sights and culture I will experience, will stay with me for a lifetime. I am just delighted and excited at the possibilities that await me in Denmark.