In an attempt to get the Europe virus out of the bloodstream (fat chance), here is the final report on our Ystad-Copenhagen adventure. Following the Ystad Jazz Festival in southern Sweden, son Paul and I spent three days in Copenhagen. Denmark’s capital is an hour to the northwest of Ystad by way of a long, spectacular bridge and tunnel across and under an arm of the Baltic. Copenhagen is full of music, but we didn’t need more; our ears were ringing with five days of music. We wanted rest and a look around a storied city we were both visiting for the first time. Three days wasn’t long enough, of course, but between an efficient bus system and a boat tour of the canals and harbor, we absorbed enough of the color and variety of Copenhagen that we became fans.
The sights included an astounding number of magnificent churches. It seemed that every time we entered a new canal, we saw St. Nikolaj Church from a different angle. The church dates from the early 1200s. It was destroyed in the great Copenhagen fire of 1795 and reconstructed in the early 1900s.
Work on the Dutch baroque style Church of our Savior (vor Fresers Kirke) started in 1682, but the spectacular spire wasn’t finished until 1752. King Frederik V celebrated its completion by climbing the 400 steps that rise counterclockwise to the top. Paul and I were tempted to return later and follow in his footsteps. Maybe next time. On the right is the entrance to Copenhagen harbor seen from the top of the spire (courtesy of Wikipedia).
On the harbor tour, we saw the mermaid statue placed in tribute to Hans Christian Andersen, but only her back. At the height of tourist season, there’s not much chance of being alone with her. That was not the case with the lady on the right in King’s Garden, established by King Christian IV in the early 1600s as his personal 30-acre pleasure garden. Now often called Rosenborg Garden, it is open to the public and visited by more than two-and-a-half-million people a year.
Well, it all went by too fast, and we left town agreeing with Frank Loesser, who wrote “Wonderful Copenhagen” for a 1951 film about Hans Christian Andersen. We end with the Dave Brubeck-Paul Desmond-Eugene Wright-Joe Morello version, from one of the Brubeck quartet’s finest albums.
If you go here, you can see and hear Danny Kaye sing the song, mispronouncing the name of the city, to the amusement and consternation of Danish audiences, who sang along with it in movie houses, shouting “CopenHAYgen.”