We were up early and took the 8:30 train to Hillerod some 24 miles from Copenhagen.
Madam wanted to see yet another royal palace, Frederiksborg Slot. Literally translated this is Frederiksborg Castle. This summons up images of battlements, a moat and portcullis. In practice it was another palace with endless rooms of royal portraits and over-ornate furniture. Eighty-three rooms of it. I summoned interest for the first twenty or so rooms but my enthusiasm and my body flagged by thirty and I was frantically searching for a cafe by room forty. There wasn’t a cafe and their coffee machine was broken. I would have had much more fun with a bow and arrow shooting invading armies from the battlements of a proper castle, or prowling through castle dungeons.
An exhibition in the basement did make the entire visit worthwhile. There were dozens of portraits by the Australian-born visual artist Ralph Heimans. Several of the Danish royal family were featured as well as English royals and actors. And boy, can the man paint. You could get close and see the brush strokes. Stand back and you would think you were standing in front of the subject. Give me a thousand years and a mountain of paint and canvas and I could never come close to being half as good as Heimans.
After a short ferry ride round the lake, we headed back into the city and walked down Strøget looking for somewhere to eat. We had managed to book our week during the annual jazz festival as well as the hottest week of the year. It would have been lovely to sit in the square and listen to the outdoor concerts but every place with outside tables was packed. Sitting inside in the heat wasn’t an option.
We headed back to the hotel and the buffet in the neighbouring mall. Buffet food is often disappointing but this was probably one of the nicer meals we had in Copenhagen and half the price of eating in the square.
Our flight home wasn’t until 5.25pm so we arranged a late check out and planned to do one last excursion. Another royal palace if Madam had her way, or maybe a canal cruise if I had mine. In the end we just looked at each other and realised we were just about Copenhagen’d out. It is a wonderful city packed with amazing sights and lovely people and I could have happily spent another week there, but we had walked 55 miles during the week, often in almost unbearable heat, and it was starting to show. Instead, we just lounged around in the hotel room for a few hours, packed and took the train to the airport.
We were reluctant to eat at the airport but we ended up there at lunch time and the first place we saw served Smørrebrød sandwiches. There wasn’t much else that we fancied so we settled on this. My experience of airport food is that it is usually overpriced and often dire. What I hadn’t counted on was the Danish ability to deliver quality. The Smørrebrød were so good that Madam was picking them apart and studying the menu description, trying to work out how to recreate them at home. Have you ever had a meal that good at Gatwick or Heathrow? You don’t need to answer that – it was a rhetorical question.
I had a few Krone left after lunch and a couple of hours to kill. Rather than sit at a bar or read, I had a wander around the mostly expensive shops. There was a gift shop with the usual fridge magnets, keyrings and ornaments. The sort of stuff you buy then look at it when you get home and say “What on earth did I buy that crap for?”
My eyes wandered to an upper shelf and I saw it.
Oh yes I did.
A VIKING HAT WITH HORNS!
Pictures from the trip can be found here