|A glimpse of the Oeresund Bridge to Sweden|
Kongens Nytorv). The plaza outside the station is under construction, behind a fence, but I realised that by walking round it I would come to Nyhavn, Copenhagen's colourful canal port, lined with winter stalls and attractive boats. This canal had been dug by Swedish prisoners-of-war in the 17th century and the houses had been built during the course of the next few decades. Hans Christian Andersen had lived in one of them, hoping to get work at the nearby theatre. When he failed in that endeavour he started to write his famous stories for a living.
I got onto one of the boats as it was about to pull away for a 70 minute tour of the canals and harbour. Gliding under very low bridges we entered the main waterway, past the Skuespilhuset (opened 2008, part of the Royal Danish Playhouse) on one bank and the Operahuset (2005) on the other. The first play performed at the new theatre had been Hamlet, so the young tour guide told us. It seems that Copenhagen has had a recent influx of money. 16 to 21 new bridges are to be constructed next year.
Christianshavn, across the main stretch of water from the city centre, is a series of artificial islands made in the 17th century and used for a variety of purposes since. It was originally settled by Dutch traders and part of it (since the 1970s) is famous as an established hippy settlement with "alternative" housing and about 1000 residents. The "torpedo" hangar on the waterfront has turned into a pricey block of flats (not for hippies). The blackened sheds used in the Napoleonic wars by the British navy have now become the place for little offices and studios. Further on, we passed the headquarters of the biggest shipping company in the world, Maersk, the 7-point star of its logo representing the Seven Seas. The Amalienborg Statsplads (Danish equivalent of Buckingham Palace) was pointed out too, with its great dome, where the kongelige Familie lives. And yes, I did see "The Little Mermaid" (replica) statue, but only from the back, after we had stopped to take a flag down and store it in the boat.
We returned to our starting point via the canal where the Old Stock Exchange (Børsen) stands, an extraordinary piece of architecture with a spire of entwined dragons' tails.
|Old Stock Exchange|