Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Copenhagen 1

Sunshine in Denmark
Quote Ree at the end of our first day in Copenhagen - "I have never been to a city with so many good looking guys". I was thinking the same thing - almost.

  • Family tree preparation
  • The Strogget
  • Canal tour (not sure what I typed but the auto-correct changed it by removing the "c". Well spotted good sir!)
  • The Round Tower

Study this baby
For those not in the know, Ree's dad was Danish so this trip to Denmark also includes a few days in Odense where he and previous generations of Sprogoes (aka "Spoh-woos" aka "impossible to pronounce" unless you have a large agitated frog jammed in your throat) were born and lived.

The Copenhagen first leg, will be guided by one of Rees cousins (Ulla - as in sounds like oohla as in sounds like ooh la la). Her dad and Rees dad were first cousins which means that Ulla and Ree are the children of first cousins which makes them second cousins as opposed to first cousins once removed.....I think. Where are you when I need you Stoyanov?

This may be totally wrong but the way I remember it, the numbers - 1st, 2nd etc are about number of generations to closest ancestor as in first cousins share a grandparent, second share a great grandparent etc. in this system it doesn't matter how old the cousins are.

Then there is the "Removed" bit which I think, relates to the difference in generations (up OR down) between cousins soooooo, 1st cousin once removed is the child OR parent of your first cousin and 2nd cousin once removed is the child or parent of a second cousin. This goes on and on - first cousin twice removed is the grandchild or grandparent of a first cousin......remember, don't believe me, its how I remember it but the memory aint what it used to be.

As an Aside, I am pretty sure I read that one of the 8th cousin's of Dick Cheney is Barack Obama.

As an aside again, the Danes or most of the non-English speaking world don't go for this system. You are either a first cousin or a "distant relative". This was made clear to me by Ulla as I proudly explained how she and Annemarie have a common great grandfather making them 2nd cousins but not removed! Sigh. Down in flames baby!

To try to be"in the know", I got Ree's Bro to send me this family tree (pic below) to study up on. It's taken a bit of effort but I think I am all over it now!

It's not so easy to learn (for me) at least in part because
    1. So many names are the same - Hans', Christians' but not Andersons. By the way, the kings of Denmark are similar - they alternate between Frederick and Christian..ie Fred 2, Chris 3, Fred 3, Chris 4 etc....sheesh. Obviously this rule does not apply to any Queens that may come along.
    2. Danes tend(ed?) to marry, have children, change their minds, then divorce and remarry, just have a few extra girlfriends (clearly not much birth control) or move to a new country.
    3. Ree's dad was an only child but his dad was one of six (of which one was Kai and another Kaj - pronounced the same),
    4. Ree's dad's dad was one of nine!
    5. For example - Ree's dads brother Holgar, marries Edith who already has a son. Next year they have a daughter Ulla (as in the Ulla above). Soon after, Holger leaves Edith to live with Oda and they have Desiree. Explain that to my ipad family tree software!

My homework from Chris

A get your bearings tour of Copenhagen
Early (10:30 ish) Ulla picked us up from our Hotel lobby and took us to see the sights of Denmark.
Wherever we have gone we have been the benefitees of wonderful hospitality and warmth but Ulla was in the league of Jose from Spain. She pretty much looked after us for three days - yups the distant Antipodean relatives had a committed tour guide for the duration.

Our itinerary for day one can be simplified as firstly a walk along The Sprogt - the main walking street / retail street / central street of Copenahgen and a little bit ressemblant of a more ordered version of Las Ramblas. Next we took a boat tour beginning in Nyhaven (New-Hahven aka New Harbour), stopping for a bite to eat along the way. Finally a tour of the ROund Tower, which is so both round and a tower but also much more.

The weather was superb - sunny, high 20s and wind free. The Danes who have had a tough winter were out in force enjoying the sun. Not much in the way of hats or sunscreen or come to think of it, layers of clothing. Many closer to nude on the spectrum of birhtday suit to well dressed. And some damn fine figures there were.

Ree and 2nd Cousin / "distant relative" Ulla

A cool pedestrian walking street, crowded, shops from high end to Leg to 7/11s. We strolled, we listened, we breathed in Danish air (clean), and marveled at Danish design. Everything just works.

Having spent the last few week in Native English speaking land, it's very different being in a land where the background noise is mostly Nordic. The sounds and songs of the city are very different to any other we have been in but we all feel very at home. Pretty much all Danes speak English better than we do, Danish better than we do and usually also a bit of Swedish, a bit of German and often a bit of something else as well. In other words smarter than us and sure as hell better looking than me.

Danish Mannequins

Coll bike helmet

The lady behind got a bit of a shock as flying boy launched himself at full tilt ad infinitum toward the angry birds cushion.

A toy store with a Carousel and "closet introvert" Aussie children.

In the Lego store


Hop , hop off....DUCK
Our canal tour began at Nyhaven. It was all happening, with Danes sunbathing, drinking beers, having fun and being cool without trying. The boats are very flat and low as many of the bridges are also very low.

On the boat. Note all the Danes hanging out in the background along the Harbour edges.

All the houses are the same height around Copenhagen. It's unusual for a city and quite noticeable. King Christian the Fourth decreed that law in the 1600s (I think) as he built a palace and didnt want eanyone else to be as high as him. He was a cracker of a king by the way. Lost pretty much every war the Danes fought, and almost bankrupted the city by building art projects, buildings and (now iconic) sites. He was pretty happy with how he turned out and we learned a bit more of him as we toured Denmark and in particular, at Kronberg Castle aka Elsinore by us Shakespearean types.

All the houses are the same height.

The bridge behind is typical of the tour.....Duuuuck

The new opera house. REmember the Sydney opera house was designed by a Dane

Oldest non-changed flag in the world....the Danish one that is, not this one in particular.

Little mermaid
A very famous monument for reasons I couldnt quite figure out. Its not that old (100ish years), and not to my eye at least designed in a way that affects your breath (compare to the Paizza Della Signora in Florence for example). But it is very famous and visited by many of the Copenhagen tourists.

The Little Drewee

The Little Mermaid

A very low bridge

Waiting to "hop on" after lunch

Sand sculptures

Cher again

The round tower
Built by Christian the 4th as most things in Copenhagen of longstanding iconic status were, the Round Tower is a tower that is, not surprisingly, round.
It was designed to encompass the three most important facilities available to a 17th century scholar ie a church, a library and an observatory. Scientists used to observe the world - not even in laboratories - crazy Danes.
The tower is one of Copenhagen's most iconic sites and as compared with the "Little Mermaid", this time it is easy to see why.
As you enter you discover that there are no stairs, just a winding whitewashed spiral walk which is a bit like walking up through the outside of a shell. You pass the Church at the bottom and walk past little alcoves on the inside on the spiral where little kids jump out an go boo to not unsuspecting adults who overdramatically feign fear.
About half way up there is a large show space which was once the University library. It held all the books of the University until the late 1800s until it became too full and was closed. It is now used for exhibitions throughout the year. The current exhibition is eclectic to say the least (straw ladies anyoon)? Lovely space though - overlooks small caf├ęs and during the Jazz Festival, music comes up through the exhibition hall windows. Sure the music when we were there was "discordant crap jazz", but it could have been good.
At the top is a 360 degree observation deck with understated shadow drawings on the walls to inform you which building you are seeing is which. The observatory isn't used much by astronomers anymore but can still be accessed to "see the stars" - it's Europe's oldest functioning observatory should it need any further kudos.

It was about 7 when we left Ulla walked back up the Strogt, took a moment to recover and wash up and headed out for highly rated on Trip Advisor Halifax Hamburgers.

Boys happy with their burgers

We walked back - its still light at about 10pm. Strolled through the parks, past the many Danes on bikes riding home or out, and checked out this new (to us) part of town.
Drew was not OK with one of the statues getting a beer to hold so climbed up and removed it. Th ekid likes order.

The beer has GOT to go

Building around the corner from our hotel. The lights would change regularly so the numbers would also change.

Tivoli - that's for family lunch and playtime in a couple of days. Its 2 minutes walk from the Copenhagen Plaza where we arestaying for the first part of our Denmark journey

Tomorrow we go to Louisiana?? then the house of 2B something or other


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