Category Archives: Denmark

D = Denmark

A to Z Ports = Denmark’s Capital, Copenhagen

In many ways, the cruise port in Copenhagen feels like a small one, even though it is deep and can dock larger ships. Most ships, especially ones that are only in port for the day, will dock at Langelinie Pier. This dock is about a mile from the city centre, but only a few hundred feet from one of the most famous attractions in Copenhagen: the Little Mermaid statue.

Little Mermaid
Little Mermaid

It also has a line of shops and places to eat along the way. There is also a hop on, hop off bus stop at the ship that will take you to all the important stops in the city itself. At one of the main squares, you can visit one of the royal palaces, shop, find great places to eat and take a canal cruise.

One warning – bicycles rule the road!  So remember to watch for them and be careful wandering across squares and open spaces!

 Here are some of my previous posts about Copenhagen.

#AtoZChallenge

Yet another castle #AtoZChallenge

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Sometimes, it seems that there are so many castles!  This one is Egeskov and is still occupied but rooms are open to the public. The castle is built in such a way that the family could move to a separate halve, closing it off from anyone who might attack it.

There are also extensive grounds around it with different gardens, exhibits and other exhibits. One garden, Caroline’s Garden, is interactive, with various types of musical instruments like bells and drums that can be played. It was quite magical!

Nyborg #AtoZChallenge

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Nyborg is a beautiful Danish city, with a medieval city central. but, before I could venture into town, the ship had to go under the Great Belt Bridge. My first time under this bridge was at midnight — and this time it was at dawn.

The Nyborg’s central area is anchored by a castle, one built for defense. The grounds surrounding the castle was a beautiful public park.

 

Mystery Cruises #AtoZChallenge

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So, why would someone pay to go on a mystery cruise; get on a ship and head to ports unknown? Since I love to cruise, this sounded like an interesting opportunity to sail into, well, mystery! I’ve now done two of these cruises and both on the Braemar.  I really like this ship. It is a smaller one and feels like family. It is very easy to sail solo and meet lots of friends on this ship.

On the first cruise, we sort of knew where we were going. The passengers were given a choice and we voted for one port or another — but we did not know where we were going until we got there! Here are the ports we visited:

Porto, Malaga, Barcelona, Valencia, Cartegna, Cadiz, La Coruna

The second mystery cruise was truly a mystery — one that would include only maiden ports (ports where our ship had never visited). It was very strange not to be able to plan or research the ports we were going to, nor to be able to know exactly what to pack — for warm or cold! The cruise was early May, so it was hard to plan for everything. It started in Dover and we waited to see if we would turn to go north … or south (or if we could even trust that, in the night, the ship would change directions!). As it turned out, we continued North and thus we began a cruise that went to Norway, Denmark, Germany and Sweden.

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The ports included:

Larvik, Hundested, Nyborg, Fredercia, Wismar, Lyskil

Would I go on another one? It would be hard to keep me away!

 

 

Kronborg Castle #AtoZChallenge

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Kronberg Castle is also know as “Hamlet’s Castle.” The first time I cruised in this area, I sailed by the castle on the way to Copenhagen.

Kronberg Castle, setting for Hamlet
Kronberg Castle, setting for Hamlet

On the Mystery Cruise, we docked close to the castle and I was able to finally go into the castle. It is perfectly situated at a place to stop ships sailing on their way to the Danish capital — perfect for collecting tariffs.

The outside fortifications are impressive, with several types of fortifications surrounding the castle.

 

Inside, there are large rooms and hallways that lead to a ballroom that is the entire length of the area facing the sea. I thought is would be very cold in that room, as there was only one, albeit large, fireplace at one end.

As for Hamlet, This castle has so many nooks and crannies — places to hide and towers to climb. It could definately be a place of secracy and betrayal.

 

Jelling #AtoZChallenge

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Ever wonder where the symbol for Bluetooth comes from — or even the name?

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If you go to Jelling, Denmark, you will learn about the Viking King Harald “Blåtand” Gormsson and see this familiar symbol carved into rocks, on signs and in the museum (Blåtand sounds like “bluetooth”). It seems that his name is living on through modern technology. However, Jelling is not about the technology, it is about a Viking burial ground filled with the memories of King Harald and the beginnings of Denmark.

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Archaeologists discovered remains of wooden pillars that formed an outline of a very large long boat. Now, white stones and pillars mark the space. In the center is a small chapel and graveyard. On the north and south side of the chapel are two large mounds. It is believed that the north mound was originally built for Harold’s father, Gorm, but no bones were found there.

Bones were eventually discovered in the church, and have been reburied there after extensive renovations. If you follow the line the goes along the floor of the chapel, it points to the spot where the bones were interred.

The chapel and surrounding graveyard is still actively used by the local community. My tour guide told that this is the church she attends and that her family is buried there.

Just outside the chapel are two carved stones. The oldest is known as Gorm’s Stone and is the first time Denmark is named as a country (~950).  This stone was dedicated to his wife, Thrya. The larger stone is Harald Bluetooth’s Stone it is tells of his conversion to Christianity.

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I don’t always to into museums, preferring to get a sense of the place from the outside. But, the tour guide advised that we should, at the very least, go to the roof of the Jelling museum to get a better sense of the whole site. So, in I went and all I can say, is you should try to visit this museum! It is one of my favorite museums anywhere. It includes several an interactive experiences that shows Viking history and their culture through interactive displays. I found myself playing with every button to see what the displays would show next. We were all transformed into children playing with all the exhibits.

Some of the exhibits showed items that had been found onsite, and then, through holographic imagery, the object were transformed into what they probably looked like. It was fascinating and so much fun!

There there was the room where you could stand on different spots on the floor and experience a Viking death, funeral and journey to Valhalla to be with your kin and fellow Warriors. Sounds a bit morbid, but really is was so much fun!  I think it did that a couple of times. It was fun to “see yourself” flying with the Valkyries!

From there, you climbed the stairs to learn more about the Viking Gods and their stories. On the roof of the museum, you can get a panoramic view of the whole site. Yes, I could have stayed at the museum for a long time!

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Hundested #AtoZChallenge

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Hundested is a small town of about 8,500 residents and is located on the northern coast of the island of Zealand. And this was our second port of call on the Mystery Cruise of Maiden Ports I took in May 2016. It was the fist time a cruise ship ever came to this port of call — and what a welcome we received!

It started with a flotilla of various types of ships — from small personal boats and kayaks to military boats to a Viking ship.

Then, there was the turnout of, what seemed to be, the entire town to greet our ship!

And finally, we we greeted dockside by Vikings!

Once we were off the ship, there was a little Viking Village setup where they were selling mead ad other souvenirs. The town itself had arranged for a number of tours around the local area. Everyone was friendly and seemed very happy to receive their first cruise guests.

 

 

Fredericia #AtoZChallenge

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Fredericia, Denmark was one of the port stops on the Mystery Cruise. Like all of the ports we visited, it was small, but had very good support for cruise ships and tourists. The sil-in was beautiful and I saw a few dolphins, but was unable to get any pictures. When we docked, the ship was met by a band. There was an information centre and very helpful people who shared information about things to do. There were bicycles for rent and souvenirs to buy. I spent time pouring over a map with one gentleman — trying to place where we’d been and where we might go next.

In the morning, I went on a tour, but that left the afternoon to explore the town. It was an easy walk form the ship to town — or there was a tourist train. The town is as cobbled streets and interesting artwork.  Everyone was friendly and I enjoyed my walk and just being surprised by what I might see around each corner.

 

There are a lot of things to do in Fredericia and it is close to many areas in Europe.

 

 

Fredericia, Denmark

Our fifth port of call on Braemar’s Mystery Cruise to Maiden Ports was Fredericia, Denmark. We were greeted with more porpoises — this time I have some “bad” photos of them, but at least I can say I saw them this time! As we docked, a marching band, the Sixth of July, announced our arrival. Fredericia is a fortified town, and it is also very close to Jelling, the home of the Viking King Harold Bluetooth. This would be my first stop of the day.

Jelling is an interesting site. It has two mounds — the North Mound and the taller south Mound. The North Mound was used as a burial mound, but no bones were found there. It is believed that it was originally built for Harold’s father, Gorm. Bones were eventually discovered in the church, and have been reburied there after extensive renovations. The Church stand between the two mounds and in the exact center of a large “long boat” shape that is the center of the palisade. Archaeological findings located the wooden indicated the pillars the marked the site and have marked the site with stone pillars.

Also on this site are two carved stones. The oldest is known as Gorm’s Stone and is the first time Denmark is indicated as a country (~950). The larger stone is Harold Bluetooth’s Stone it is tells of the conversion to Christianity.

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The museum that is located with this site is now one of my favorite museums. It is a very interactive museum that shows Viking history and basic living through interactive displays. I found myself playing with every button to see what the displays would show next. There there was the room where you could stand on different spots on the floor and experience a Viking death, funeral and journey to Valhalla to be with your kin and fellow Warriors. Sounds a bit morbid, but really is was so much fun!  I think it did that a could times. From there, you climbed the stairs to learn more about the Viking Gods and their stories. On the roof of the museum, you can get a panoramic view of the whole site. Yes, I could have stayed at the museum for a long time!

But it was time to head back to the ship and Fredericia. The ship was docked very near to the city center and there was a visitor’s center setup right there. It included a place to rent bicycles, a souvenir shop, an information center with a map of the local area and there was a tourist train that would take you directly into the center of town. I enjoyed my walk into town, passing by a display of old cars, a market, and then down the main street.  One corner had an English pub on one side and and Irish pub on the other — I found this interesting!

As with everywhere we went in Denmark — the people were friendly and very helpful. This is another place I would love to visit again!

On our way out of port, the band played and I think I saw a few more of those elusive porpoises.

 

 

Nyborg, Denmark

I was up very early on this fourth day of Braemar’s Maiden Ports Mystery Cruise. Why? I happened to see a very familiar bridge — one I saw on a previous cruise at midnight (and yes, I was standing topside on the deck, in a formal, taking pictures!). This time, I would get the photos at sunrise — and I think they came out quite nice!

We still did not know where were headed on our Mystery Cruise. Pulling into port, I thought I saw a Swedish flag — but I was wrong.  We were back in Denmark and this time on the island of Fyr (Funen) and the town of Nyborg. I also caught a glimpse of two porpoises but they were camera-shy (and I was just a little too slow).Nyborg is a city that has a 12th century Castle. it is also a nice port for exploring many different sites on Fyr island.

My tour this day took me to Egeskov Castle. This is a very unique castle that is still used as a family residence. It is surrounded by some amazing gardens and has several exhibits in the buildings surrounding the castle. I could easily spend an entire day just walking through gardens!

The castle can be divided into two separate buildings with the idea that, if half if it is attacked, the family can move into the other half and block entrance to this through a series of very thick walls.

And, the gardens are wonderful!  One of them is very interactive as it combines the senses with the addition of musical instruments that anyone can play — including chimes that will add their music with each breeze.

The town of Nyborg is also very welcoming. Once in the city centre, it is an easy walk to the castle and the surrounding park. The Nyborg Slot (castle) is much plainer than Egeskov Castle. It was clearly designed strictly for defense with it’s thick walls and small windows. I also loved walking around the park and the city centre with its unique architecture.

We were again welcomed by very friendly people who provided lots of information about the places to see. Yet another very special place to visit!