Wednesday, August 20th, 2008
Copenhagen – Navy Town
Copenhagen was an important navy town with the barrier islands protecting the city from the sea, also a martial bulwark. This naval base has now been largely turned over to civilian use for flats and the very famous Christiania, a sort of free city taken over by the hippie movement in the 1960s for alternative living styles. Now it might be the last great bastion of the Woodstock generation. Life goes on at Christiania, with organic foods, hand made bicycles, music and all the rest you might imagine on a modest scale.
Walking streets are a distinct feature of Copenhagen. Long cobblestone streets with shops on either side throughout the downtown are blocked off from vehicular traffic and crowded with folks window shopping, shopping for real, gypsy vendors, buskers in odd garb of all types entertaining the multitudes. People watching is a prime sport.
Tivoli Gardens is perhaps the original amusement park – it could well be the sweetest one. Established in the 1800s in the middle of the city it has rides and pleasant places to relax, all in garden-like setting. Our favourite ride was the swing chairs that spin you around 200 feet above the city. It’s a little scary but the view is incredible. Tivoli is a wonderful summer destination, full of people of all ages enjoying themselves in the sunshine, and in the evening there are very often bands performing well into the night. And the lines are short. There are more than rides and beer gardens at Tivoli. There is a tropical fish aquarium with 1600 tropical fish, a concert hall, a pantomime theatre, Friday rock concerts, a jazz festival, Tivoli Boys Guard Band and museums (this time with exhibit “Bodies”), not to mention playgrounds for small kids and endless people watching and more. They even have a pretty reasonable reproduction of a pirates’ galleon on a small pond. A day off from your ship spent at Tivoli in the summertime is a fine thing.
Meanwhile, back at the ship…
Sailmaking was going on briskly up on the quarterdeck, open ship for public visitors – more old shipmates from my Danmark days came by: Captain B.B. Jespersen of the full-rigger Georg Stage, Captain O.P. Nielsen of the full-rigger Danmark, Capt Jarle Flatebo now of the Bark Statsraad Lehmkuhl, Styrmand Owe Jespersen formerly of the Georg Stage, Styrmand Hanne Jensen, Anita and Katarina Larsen – wife and daughter of the former Chief Engineer of the Danmark and great friend the late Alf Larsen all came by to see this child of Danmark. Earlier, Captain Ole Ingrish, Port Captain of Esbjerg and Captain Rune Bergsby, Sailmaker Bjarne Stammerjohann, Captain Jesper Johansen (Lille Dan), all ex-quartermasters in the Danmark, as well as Ship’s Carpenter (and also Captain) Flemming Walsted, had come by in other ports. And a young woman named Marie who had sailed in the Danmark as a cadet a couple of years ago could not resist the call of the sea again and has signed up to sail with us onward.
Other Ships in Town
The big Naval sail training ship of the line Amerigo Vespucci came into port after us. She was a sight to behold alongside the dock. Her natty cadets swaggered in their snappy uniforms along the streets of Copenhagen in clusters.
Sail to Marstrand
On a bright clear sunny day without a breath of wind we steamed away from Nyhavn, down the long narrow channel of the harbour and into the Sound between Sweden and Denmark and carried on to a spot recommended by many called Marstrand along the rocky coast of Sweden.