Sunday, July 5, 2009

Taking a break in Helsingør

John is under the weather, so we’re taking a break today and staying on the boat instead of going to see the castle as we had planned. That gives me a chance to catch up on the blog. We hope to see the castle tomorrow before we leave.


We found the marina at Kastrup Strandpark near the Copenhagen airport a pleasant and convenient place to stay for a few days, both as a base to visit Copenhagen and as a place to do some work on the boat. I won’t bore the non-sailors with the details of this little-known marina, but I will write it up for the Seven Seas Cruising Association so other sailors will know about it.

One of our first sights in Copenhagen was this military group marching down the street in traffic in full dress.

Our first day in Copenhagen we bought a day pass for the DFDS Canal Tours and hop-off/hop-on canal buses. That gave us an overview of the city and a nice sea breeze to cool us off. Yes, we did see the Little Mermaid statue. In fact, we walked all along the harbor area there and also saw the polar bear statue and two impressive fountains. Did you know there’s also a statue of a merman and his family? A woman passenger on the canal tour told us about it, so we went to see it too. It’s in the water by the Højbro at Ved Stranden in the Gammel Strand area.

The little mermaid and American friends

Trekroner Fortress is only accessible by boat. It's on the DFDS green route.

Location of merman statue circled in blue

The next day we started by climbing to the top of Vor Frelsers Kirke (Our Savior's Church), which we learned about on our tour the day before, for a view of the city. It was spectacular and well worth climbing the 400 steps. I’m glad we started with that, though, because I don’t think I would have had the energy later.

View from Our Savior's Church

From there we went to Christiania, Copenhagen’s hippy town. John had heard of it before, but I learned about it from our friends Lex and Maria. Maria wrote about it in her blog last summer. It was a beautiful day, but I confess didn’t find Christiania appealing. John had a beer and I had some ice cream, and then we set off to find the Geological Museum.

To get to the museum, we got back on the metro or subway. We had purchased a three-zone klippenkort (a 10-ride public transportation card that can be shared) to get from the marina to the city and back, but we didn't want to waste it on a one-zone trip. At the ticket machine, all I could find was two- and three-zone tickets, so we shrugged and concluded that one zone was free like fareless square in Portland. (We learned later that it’s a two-zone minimum, not free, but by then we were headed out of town anyway.)

The Geological Museum was pretty good. It had several exhibitions that were in both Danish and English, and we appreciated that. They included some interesting multimedia displays about meteorites and asteroids. We had hoped to visit more museums in Copenhagen, but by the time we wandered through the botanical gardens to get to the Geological Museum and then spent some time there, it was getting late, so we just went to a brewpub called Brew Pub and then home. On the first day we visited the Museum of Danish Resistance (1940-1945). It was quite impressive, and admission was free.

Botanical gardens

The next two days we worked on the boat. Oh, the glamor of cruising. Most of the 4th of July we spent motoring from Kastrup to Helsingør. There was no wind until we were almost at the castle, and then it was against us. What a busy place the waterway between Helsingør (Denmark) and Helsingborg (Sweden) is! We had to turn off our course to let four ferries go by—three going one way and one the other. Plus, there were lots of pleasure craft out on a hot Saturday afternoon.

We haven’t decided where we’ll go when we leave here. So much depends on the weather at this point. I’ve plotted out a route that takes us to Sweden and one that doesn’t. I guess it will just be a surprise to everyone.

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