Sunday, May 24, 2015

Exploring Copenhagen - Day 2

We had the opportunity to explore the city on our own again today. Some members of our group visited the National Aquarium of Denmark, others took a train to Malmö, Sweden, and others stayed in the city to continue touring the major landmarks. I decided to rent a bike for myself to tour around the city for the day.
We had the opportunity to explore the city on our own again today. There were a number of various activities people chose to pursue, including visiting the National Aquarium of Denmark and taking the train to the nearby town of Malmö, Sweden.

While I thought both of these activities sounded interesting, I thought my time would be better spent taking in the city. So I decided to take the advice of friends who have previously traveled to Copenhagen and strike out on my own for a day-long biking tour of the city.

Copenhagen is known for being bike-friendly. In fact, it is often referred to as the most bike-friendly city in the world. This is because of the large designated bike lanes that are present on nearly every street and are protected from the road by a curb. In addition, drivers in Copenhagen have learned to accommodate bikers very well, which means biking is safe and efficient, even in the dense center of town.

I started off my bike tour with a trip to Rosenborg Castle and the adjacent King's Garden. Completed in 1624, the castle once served as a summer home for royalty. It now serves as a museum and the home to Denmark's Crown Jewels.

Kongen Haven
One of the avenues in the gardens.

Rosenborg Castle
The main entrance to the castle.

Crown of Christian V of Denmark
Crown of Christian V.

The State Sword, scepter, and globus cruciger
The state sword, scepter, and globus cruciger.

The castle's interiors exuded opulence of the highest degree. This was particularly apparent on the top floor by the Long Hall, which displayed the thrones of the king and queen guarded by three silver lions.

The Long Hall - Rosenborg Castle
The Long Hall

Thrones - Rosenborg Castle
The king's and queen's thrones, made of narwhal teeth and silver, respectively. They are guarded by three silver lions.

After leaving the castle, I ventured over to Kastellet, an old citadel from the mid-1600s that served as part of the defense system of Copenhagen.

A view of the citadel's church (foreground) and windmill (background).

Then I went to get a better view of the Little Mermaid. Similar to the famous view of Nyhavn, the Little Mermaid has become representative of Copenhagen and thus draws huge numbers of visitors each year.

The Little Mermaid
The Little Mermaid.

After leaving the waterfront, I went to the Thorvaldsen Museum, which celebrates the work of Bertel Thorvaldsen, a world-famous Danish sculptor. The museum was primarily filled with plaster models of his sculptures that were used to construct the bronze or marble final versions, which are now scattered across Europe.

The Great Hall of the Thorvaldsen Museum
The Great Hall of the Thorvaldsen Museum.

Jesus and the Twelve Apostles - plaster copies
Plaster copies of Jesus and his 12 apostles.

I was able to see the marble versions of these statues in the Cathedral of Copenhagen near the University of Copenhagen campus.

Jesus and the Twelve Apostles - marble copies
Statues lining the sanctuary.

I also made it over to the Rundetårn (Round Tower). The tower is attached to Trinity Church, which was an observatory commissioned by King Christian IV in 1635 to continue Denmark's astronomical observations started by Tycho Brahe.

The Rundetårn

Following my visit to the Rundetårn, I made my way back to Nyhavn to enjoy the scenery once again before heading to the hostel for the evening.

Biking around Copenhagen on my own was a fantastic experience, and I was glad I was able to dictate my own schedule. Even though I was constantly moving from landmark to landmark, I don't feel like I have even scratched the surface of what Copenhagen has to offer.

While this was our last free day to ourselves in the city, we will still have time in the evenings to explore more. Tomorrow we get back to our scheduled seminar activities with a trip to Møns Klint to study the geology of Denmark!