Our transfer from Berlin to Copenhagen gave an insight into the more mundane. The bus passed through the ordinary suburban areas that you find in every town. We pulled into a roadside stop on the Autobahn which compared favourably with many similar places we have stopped at on the Hume Highway, on our many journeys to Melbourne. The same fast food and trashy souvenirs where available with one difference that you have to pay to use the toilets. Its nice to know that Australian roadhouse are up there with international best practice, except for the fact that you don't have to pay 50cents to use the toilet. Greg tells me he would personally be prepared to pay 50 cents to use the toilets in grotty servos if they where cleaned at least once a month.
The countryside was magnificent with many acres of recently harvested grain, which Greg remembered from his childhood when he and his family travelled through this country in the early sixties, in a Volkswagen Kombi van. He recalls in those years all agricultural building where the same colour a reddy-brown, but in the intervening half century grey has been added to this palette. The farms appear to be well kept.
Our route took us from Berlin to Rostok where we took the ferry to Denmark. At Rostok we could see there was a regatta of vintage sailing boats which appeared to be from all over Europe. The crossing took about two hours. We landed Denmark then headed to Copenhagen.
Our tour guide mistakenly thought that a bus primarily filled with passengers over sixty would enjoy the Tivoli Gardens amusement park. The park has beautiful gardens but the restaurants were expensive, it was about AUD100 for a pizza for two. The rides are horrible, with screaming people and would be my idea of a holiday in hell, but were very well patronised by the locals. In a country full of good design and food Greg surmised that the population must enjoy escaping in this trashy environment to understand how lucky they are not to live with this on a day to day basis. After a full half hour we all agreed that the bar across the road looked far more inviting. After a few drinks we headed to our hotel for the night.
Today we visited the old town of Copenhagen and toured the usual tourist spots, including the Little Mermaid. We then visited the royal residences which are guarded by sentries in front of each residence. Its nice to see that access to buildings like this are both used by the royal family and opened to the public.
We then visited Christiansborg Palace which is both a museum and the prime minister's office. Once again the security is very low key and invisible, in contrast to the Reichstag where police officers with machine guns were evident. After our tour of this wonderful museum had finished and we had a spare hour before we headed of to visit Fredericksburg Castle.
During our tour of the city Greg's eagle eye spotted a flea market, yeah. After we left the bus my thoughts were of coffee and little walk the mediaeval old town, but no Greg wanted to visit the flea market. I can now add Copenhagen to the list of flea markets I have visited. Once again populated by the same people, selling the same junk, having arrived earlier in their battered vans and fallen angel cars. It only took Greg less than 15 minutes to find that there was nothing of value here. The one upside to this market was that it was adjacent to a gourmet food market so I was able to have a very nice, but expensive, coffee served by a very jovial Danish couple.
We rejoined the bus to our next stop Fredericksborg Castle. The castle was built as a royal residence for King Christian IV of Denmark-Norway in the early 17th century, becoming the largest Renaissance residence in Scandinavia. After a serious fire in 1859, the castle was rebuilt on the basis of old plans and paintings. Thanks to public support and the owner of Carlsberg Brewery, J. C. Jacobsen, it was restored and reopened as a museum and gallery in 1882. The castle and grounds are magnificent and we spent about two hours walking in the building. Unfortunately we didn't have enough time to visit the grounds which are spectacular.
One of things about being on a tour are the various optional dining evenings on offer. Tonight's optional dining experience is a "Traditional Danish Dinner". Previous experience of such dining has translated to bad food and wine, those who know me will know that we are not partaking in the traditional Danish dinner. The dinner commences at 17:30. I asked Greg why would anyone want dinner at 17:30. He looked up from the map he was reading and said "to prepare them for retirement village living"