Day 3 - Copenhagen (DK)

I started to think about what Denmark is famous for? Immediately Danish pastries came to mind - wrong! They originated in Vienna. Then I thought of great Danes - wrong! These dogs are German in origin - Deutsche Dogge (“German Mastiff) and have no link to Denmark. Then of course, bacon - yes!  And not forgetting the younger generation - Lego (LEGO blocks originated in the Billund, Denmark, workshop of Ole Kirk Christiansen, who began making wooden toys in 1932. Two years later he named his company LEGO after the Danish phrase leg godt (“play well”).

For the cultured among us (!), there is Hans Christian Andersen who was a great author and playwright but who is perhaps best known for his fairy tales - "The Emperor's New Clothes",  "The Nightingale", "The Steadfast Tin Soldier", "The Red Shoes", "The Princess and the Pea", "The Snow Queen", "The Ugly Duckling", "The Little Match Girl", "Thumbelina" and of course "The Little Mermaid".

It was quite a long walk to see the Little Mermaid but we also visited the Kastellet (a fortress) on the waterfront. It is an old military settlement with moats, a windmill, a church, war memorial and a fountain. Alternatively you can hop on the tourist bus to see the statue if you would rather save  your legs!

Copenhagen is reputed to be the happiest city in the world!

You'll never be more than 52km from the sea!

It has 444 islands, but only 76 of them are inhabited!

More than 50% of Copenhageners cycle to and from work every day and there are more than 12,000km of cycle tracks and lanes throughout the country!

There are no mountains in Denmark which is also ideal for cycling!

The Danes have a word for that cosy feeling of togetherness, hygge, which is a feeling of wellbeing and a warm atmosphere!

Denmark has the oldest flag in the world!

The Danish language has no word for "please"!


Amalienborg Palace and Danish royal family

Here are some photos of the daily 'changing of the guards' ceremony held in the courtyard outside Amalienborg Palace, the royal family's main residence. I absolutely loved the upbeat, jolly music and the whole spectacle was great fun to watch, as the Queen's bodyguards, the Livgarden, marched around the octagonal courtyard to relieve the guards on duty. Try to get there for about 11.45 as the guards and band arrive at 12.00.

Queen Margrethe II (born 1940), has been Denmark's reigning monarch since 1972. Her son Crown Prince Frederik (born 1968) will be the next one to succeed to the throne and he met his wife, the Australian-born Crown Princess Mary, at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney. The royal line reaches all the way back to Gorm the Old (believed to be born around year 900) and Harald Bluetooth (born around 940).