We splashed out on two Copenhagen cards which gave us entrance to the city’s major attractions as well as travel on all public transport for one price. One of those included was the land train which is a 45 minute tour around some of the more interesting areas of the medieval city. The first train we tried to board was full so we had an hour to kill.
What else do you do for a spare hour but go to a Ripley’s Believe it or Not, also included in the card. Their website breathlessly tells us that it is only place in Copenhagen where you’ll find the Taj Mahal built from 300,000 matches and a picture of Queen Margrethe produced from pocket lint, and metal junk art. I’ve seen these “Odditoriums” in various cities around the world and often wondered about them. They did indeed have a matchstick Taj Mahal and a picture of the queen, along with deformed stuffed animals, distorting mirrors and optical illusions. As we were leaving, I asked Madam what she thought of it. “Cheesy” was her succinct and accurate reply.
There was plenty of room on the second train. It was better than I feared and took us around some areas we hadn’t seen. Even nicer when we got to sit down instead of walking. It was only marred by five loud and annoying tourists. I’m not sure if they were Japanese or Korean. They demanded the ticket seller took their photograph sitting on the train, then spent the entire trip peering into their phones and shouting loudly to each other. I don’t believe they looked at anything on the tour. They could have saved money by giving the driver a few Krone tip for a picture then left the rest of us in peace. Madam got very excited about halfway around the tour when she saw an American Pie Shop. I stopped her from jumping from the moving train by promising to go back later that afternoon.
Our next stop was the Glyptoteket Art Gallery. They had a large advertisement on the outside of the building which promised Manet, Van Gogh, Monet, and Gauguin. I think I saw a couple from Monet and two from Van Gogh, one suspiciously unsigned. The rest were from, shall we say, lesser known artists. There were a large number of paintings from Gauguin, probably more than I’ve ever seen in one place. Madam examined them and immediately suggested we planned a trip to Tahiti.
The pictures were oddly arranged over three floors. A couple of rooms of paintings then you had to go up to the next floor to see more. Then again up another floor to see the rest. I have a bit of a weakness for French impressionists, so had only intended to see those but we wandered around some of the statues and the Golden Age of Danish painters (1800-1860) exhibition which was almost empty of visitors.
We watched a young French couple go from room to room, stopping only long enough to take each other’s photo in front of the largest picture in the room. They didn’t pause to look at a single picture. All they needed was a photo to prove they had been there. Everywhere we go we seem to be seeing selfie tourism. Whether it is Stonehenge or The Little Mermaid. People who rush from attraction to attraction pausing only long enough to take a selfie or a photo of their friends before rushing to the next. I just can’t seem to see the point. Are they just trying to impress their friends, real or online? Get Instagram likes? Make the world think they are seasoned travellers?
I think it was Kurt Vonnegut that said ‘we are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful who we pretend to be’. This was decades before social media and the Instagram selfie age. Our image we present to the world via our Facebook or Instagram accounts is not us. It is just a collection of data on some remote server. To try and present ourselves as art lovers because we have a selfie in front of a Monet or two does us, or our friends, no favours.
Our Copenhagen card included a canal boat tour. At this point we were willing to do most anything that involved sitting down and not walking.
I’m always a bit suspicious about canal tours – so many of them just cruise past a few apartment blocks telling you how much they cost, then start hinting they would like a tip at the end. This one restored my faith. The young woman guide started asking if anybody would like the tour in Danish. A few raised their hands. Then she asked in English. Most of the rest responded. Then she asked in Spanish. One family said “yes please.” Obviously they said “sí por favor.” but you probably already worked that out. The tour included views from the canals of the Opera House, the Royal Palace, Christiansborg Palace and, of course, the Little Mermaid. The guide was the most entertaining we had in the city. Fun and knowledgeable and perfectly fluent in all three languages. And just a little bit cute.
My feet were still a bit sore, even after a 45 minute sit down. Madam astonished me by almost running down the road. Her feet were a blur. She was darting in and out of groups of meandering tourists. Ducking under selfie sticks. I struggled to keep up. I called after her. All I heard was “pie… pie… pie… pie”. I had completely forgotten about the American Pie Shop. We made it there just a few minutes before they closed and she selected a large slice of “S’Mores Pie” to take back to the hotel.
For those of you unfamiliar with this peak of American culinary expertise, this is a sickly sweet confection consisting of cracker crumbs, heavy cream, sugar, chocolate, eggs and marshmallows.
We made our way back to the hotel for the evening and Madam started on her pie. I asked how it tasted and she just said “Mmmmmm.. Mmmmm …. Mmmm… mmmm.”
I wasn’t sure if that meant it was good, or that her teeth had stuck together.