Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Shall We Dansk?

After another picture-perfect day in Copenhagen, highlighted by a visit to Rosenborg Castle -- the impressive royal residence of 16th century King Christian IV complete with a treasury -- I went to see a Danish version of The King and I. It was worth seeing just for the sets, costumes (this was a major Broadway type production in a 100-year old theater) and though I love old musicals, this is one from which I can only name (and thus sing along) about 3 songs...despite having seen it in Chicago about 5 years ago and owning the movie. But though I knew in advance that it would be sung in Danish, it seems a bit unfair. Willie Nelson is in town -- I would've seen him were he not sold out and pricey -- and I don't think he sang On the Road Again in Danish. And don't get me started on opera. But oh well. Someone's waiting so I feel rushed and will cut this short.

Hope to blog again from Stockholm.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Copenhagen: Just 'One'derful

"Wonderful, wonderful Copenhagen" sings Danny Kaye in the titular role of the fictionalized musical biography Hans Christian Andersen, Denmark's famed 18th century storyteller. Yet while my first 28 hours or so in town have been quite pleasurable, it seems that the singular "Wonderful" of the song's title is sufficient. Although I can't fully judge, as Monday found all the Museums and Castles/Palaces closed, I believe the duality of the refrain may be a bit over effusive.

Like all European capitals, Copenhagen is both beautiful and historic, with random buildings dating back to the 17th century. Compared to most American cities, the architecture/coloration is quite dazzling and overall vibe quite distinctive. Despite forecasts of rain before I arrived, both Sunday night and today have been sunny and beautiful and I have greatly enjoyed walking all around taking pictures of the sights. I have taken tons on pictures and many should look quite impressive. But compared to other European places I have visited in the past -- London, Paris, Ireland, Spain, Amsterdam, Prague -- Copenhagen isn't quite as dazzling. Just not as many mouth-agape things to see.

First of all, about 80% of the prime "postcard pictures" are towers and spires of some sort -- and there are lots of them (and even a few more under scaffolding). This place is more phallic than a Dali Museum. And today, I probably walked 3 miles to reach the city's most famous landmark, The Little Mermaid statue. Now, I like HC Andersen plenty and appreciate the Blarney Stone-esque appeal of the quaint little statue (heck, I schlepped the 3 miles didn't I), but if the statue itself were in Lincoln Park, I'd likely walk right by without a second glance (let alone about 100 photographs).

Even Tivoli, the famed amusement park, though historically quaint, distinctively Danish and worth wandering through -- no, I didn't go on any rides -- was basically Coney Island (today) with a bit of European panache.

I know it probably sounds like I'm whining, but I'm really just critiquing. Being here is far better than almost anything else I could be doing and I am enjoying myself. And I was looking more forward to Stockholm and St. Petersburg from the get-go, so I can't even say I'm disappointed with Copenhagen. It's wonderful, just not necessarily doubly so.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Previous Destinations

As I prepare for my latest adventure, hopefully with occasional blogposts, I thought I would reference some of my prior trips. In addition to journeying to many cities throughout the U.S. and Canada, I have been to:

England (London & Liverpool), Ireland (Dublin and throughout), Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam, Prague, Spain (Madrid, Toledo, Barcelona, Bilbao), Italy (Rome, Florence, Pisa, Siena, Venice) and Australia (Sydney, Melbourne, Great Barrier Reef).
A few of my better photos are shown here.