Wonderful, Wonderful Copenhagen.

…Thank you Frank Loesser. *

We were having lunch on a deck by a shaded lake.  There fountains in the lake giving us a constant water gurgle regularly punctuated by screams of terror and delight.  We were enjoying open faced Danish sandwiches at a restaurant in Copenhagen’s Tivoli Gardens.

We were in Copenhagen to visit with Suzi’s AFS sister, Lise, and her son Torben.  Lise came to live with Suzi, as a Danish exchange student when Suzi was a young girl and we have maintained contact over the years.  We have visited several times, they have returned the visit and their son, Torben, had the experience of going to the Winnipeg Folk Festival with us.  He remembers it 45 years later.  We had hoped to visit with Lise and Torben during our interrupted world cruise.  They had planned to come to Copenhagen then, but we never made it past Mauritius, so we were glad to see them.

We had dinner at a Danish bistro (I had pork with cracklings, red cabbage, and new potatoes.)  Did I mention that I love Danish food.  Torben had driven his mother from Odense to Copenhagen.  The dinner was shorter than we would have liked because our plane was an hour and a half late into Copenhagen.  We got out of the baggage area just at sunset.

We had a free day in Copenhagen that we decided needed to be a relaxing day after the time with the grand kids.  Tivoli seemed like a good way to spend it.  We were happy to pay the admission cost but some girls along Hans Christian Anderson’s Blvd decided to scale the fence.  They were fit and most made it over without much problem, but one straggler had to make several attempts.  The girls were laughing and screaming so much as they were scaling the fence that they attracted a lot of attention, but not from the guards at Tivoli Gardens. 

We were not at Tivoli for the rides but for a stroll, lunch and people watching. 

One couple was having their wedding pictures taken and I certainly hoped that they were taking the pictures after the wedding.   While Denmark is a very clean country the pavement at Tivoli is still walked on by thousands of people and the white dress was sweeping up more than a little dust as the bride moved from photo op to photo op, holding kisses with the groom for an uncomfortably long time while the photographer got things framed and in focus.  It was beginning to remind me of the night in High School when Robin’s and Celia’s braces locked. They had to hold the kiss while Celia’s parents made an emergency call to the orthodontist.  I wonder how easy those dresses are to clean.

On other visits to Tivoli, we have enjoyed the luminous dragonflies.  They were not there this time but there was an installation “Little Sunlight Swarm” by Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson in place of Dragonflies.  It consists of33 hanging glass, for want of a better work, lanterns, hanging from trees around Tivoli Lake.  They change light conditions causing reflections, refractions, and the colored patterns on the pavement.

After so much travel we were tired so after a midday stroll and midafternoon lunch in Tivoli Gardens we went back to our hotel for a nap.  The Nobis hotel was only a block from Tivoli.  It is affiliated with Marriott, and we used points to stay there, a nice touch of luxury for us.   

Because we were so close to the center of the action, went out again in the late afternoon.  I wanted to go to Radhuspladsen, across from Tivoli, for a Danish Hot Dog with horseradish mayo and onions.  When we got to the corner of Hans Christian Andersens Blvd and Vesterbro Gade where Tivoli Gardens and the Radhuspladsen are across the street from each other we were at the noisiest intersection in Copenhagen.

The normal screams of terror and delight were coming from Tivoli, along with their normal Friday night summer music.  But across the street Radhuspladsen had become “Pride Square” where Pride Flags mixed with Ukrainian flags, and there was a raucous drag show on the main stage.  One of the MCs wore a Dolly wig and was stuffed with Dolly padding but had a deep bass voice. (I wish I had gotten a picture of them, the pic posted is of the comedian.)  The pladsen was packed and rockin’.  Folks were having a great time.  I was set on getting my hot dog, so I waded into the crowd, found a hot dog stand where I had bought my favorite Danish treat before, and got my dog.  People around were happy and friendly. 

But going across H. C. Andersens Boulevard was a challenge.  I was about halfway across when the green hand turned red, and the countdown clock started ticking down.  On the other side a company of teenage girls with green, orange, chartreuse and magenta hair let out a scream and started running, in a solid phalanx, across the street, toward me, giggling, laughing, and screaming.  It was terrifying.  But as they approached, they parted, like the red sea, ran by me, made it to the other side as the red number ticked down to zero and were swallowed up by the crowd at the drag show.  LGBTQ+ Danes and their allies know how to party.

I suspect all Danes do.  Two and a half decades ago Suzi and I taught a summer at the Danish School of Journalism in Arhus.  One of our colleagues said “before two drinks, Danes are boring, after six we are boring again.  Between two and six we gonna have some fun.” The party in Radhuspladsen Square needed no drinks to not be boring.

We were rewarded, both nights in Copenhagen, with classic sunsets. 

*Sometimes I find it hard to believe that the guy who gave us “Guys and Dolls” also gave us the “Hans Christian Andersen Story.”

Hans Christian Andersen on H C Andersens Boulevard.

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