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Published: August 20th 2019
Well I've now been back home for a week so I decided to start with a photo of Sienna, Evie and Isabella staying goodbye to me just before I ascended the escalator to catch my plane from Copenhagen to London, followed by London to Singapore and then Singapore to Sydney. Shouting "Goodbye Granny" they amused a lot of people waiting in the British Airways queue. Ah sweet memories!
Twelve days earlier I had received the warmest of welcomes on my arrival in Copenhagen; first from my darling daughter Katherine who met me off the plane and then, once we'd driven to the suburb of Hvidovre, there was another welcome waiting from my son-in-law Thomas and three gorgeous grandchildren, Sienna, Evie and Isabella. For my first evening with the family we enjoyed dinner in the garden on what was a nice warm summer's day.
Our first few days together were mostly spent in Hvidovre, where Katherine, Thomas, Sienna, Evie and Isabella live. The town is a suburb of Copenhagen about 10 kms southwest of the Danish capital city and which has been inhabited since prehistoric times; in 1929, a 3,500-year-old sword from the Bronze Age was
excavated there. At the turn of the 20th century Hvidovre was still a quiet rural area but not any more; it's now full of apartments, houses and all the trappings of suburbia.
While Thomas was at work for much of the time during he day, I enjoyed domesticity with Katherine and the girls, which included babysitting on the Wednesday, Thursday and Friday evenings. The first night's babysitting began with the girls and I watching Storm Boy
, the 1976 Australian drama starring Greg Rose, Peter Cummins andDavid Gulpilil which was based on the book of the same name by Colin Thiele. I'd brought a copy of the movie with me hoping that the girls might enjoy watching it over and over again as they do with lots of the animated Disney movies they love! In-between all that Katherine and I did get the opportunity to head off on our own to have lunch together and do a bit of shopping at the department store Magasin located in the centre of Copenhagen. The summer sales were on; a 70 percent discount was just too good to ignore!
For Katherine, Thomas and the girls the weekend was
taken over by church events, the first one taking place in Malmö, Sweden on the Saturday. So while they were at church I enjoyed a solitary wander around some of central Malmö, after we'd driven across the Øresund Bridge which crosses the strait between Denmark and Sweden. The Øresund Bridge is the longest combined road and rail bridge in Europe connecting the road and rail networks of the Scandinavian Peninsula with those of Central and Western Europe. A data cable also makes the bridge the backbone of internet data transmission between central Europe and Sweden. When Kev and I were in Copenhagen in December 2018/January 2019 we travelled to Stockholm on the train which was a different experience again from driving across the bridge as the rail line is much closer to the water than the road.
Once in Malmö Katherine dropped me off in the centre of the city where I explored some of surrounding area for a few hours beginning my exploration in the market square Möllevångstorget and the surrounding former working class district of Möllevången. A fruit and vegetable market was in full swing and is apparently held there every day. A little bit
of research tells me that in the evening a vibrant nightlife awakes with a concentration of exotic restaurants, pubs and bars and is sometimes referred to the Soho of Malmö. While I didn't have time to experience the night life I did have time to check out St John's Church in the inner city, built in the Jugend (Art Nouveau) style between 1903 - 1907 and designed by Axel Anderberg. However I didn't go inside since there seemed to be a wedding taking place. My further wanderings culminated in a delicious lunch in the Malmö Konsthall, one of the largest exhibition halls in Europe for contemporary art which opened in 1975. It was a very interesting art museum located in the centre of Malmö, which boasted a lovely courtyard restaurant where I ate a delicious lunch before heading back to where Katherine had dropped me off and, after picking up the girls, she drove us all back to Copenhagen.
The following day the family were attending the Hillsong Church in Copenhagen which Katherine and Thomas set up when they moved there around six years ago so I enjoyed another solitary stroll, this time through the Danish capital
city, during which time I didn't visit a single art gallery or museum, despite that being my original intention. But I did partake of yet another delicious lunch and took some photos of various buildings most of which I've explored before. The only one I hadn't was the Church of Holmen which was built as an anchor forge in 1563 and then converted into a naval church by Christian 1V.
My last week in Copenhagen was also the last week of the summer school holidays so the 'after school care clubs' were open with the intention of getting the students ready for school. During that last week Katherine had initially intended to join Thomas on a four day retreat in Tuscany when I was going to look after the girls, however Katherine changed her mind on that score. She decided that it would have been too difficult for me to take the girls to their 'after school care clubs' as they each go to three seperate venues. I can't say that I was sorry as, during the time that the girls were there, it meant that Katherine and I could go out and do our own thing
which was very pleasant.
One of the days of freedom we caught the train to Norreport Station and from there went to the Torvehallene Food Market for a coffee and cake plus a wander around. There are over 60 stands selling everything from condiments and spices to Danish style porridge. There are plenty of organic stalls and home grown local produce, such as the the urban farmers market Omegan
selling everything from cheese to sausage, there are flower stalls and the famous Coffee Collective. After a visit to Rosenborg Castle and wandering through the park Katherine and I met Thomas and his friend James. It was a perfect day to be eating outdoors, plus we enjoyed some interesting chit chat. James shouted us all a delicious lunch; many thanks James; it was much appreciated.
On another occasion Katherine and I had a wander down to a Copenhagen waterfront park. Those of my Sydney friends who have a street library will be interested to see the Bryggens Bogskab, known as an unofficial mini public library which I've included in the photos and was started by two local residents. You're encouraged to take home as many
books as you like but no more than three a day. Just a few metres away is a swimming area with plenty of locals enjoying a dip! Not quite Bondi Beach but an area to cool off in on a warm summer's day.
The following day Katherine and I visited the Maritime Museum of Denmark; known as a cutting-edge cultural venue and ranked #2 on a list of the ten best New Exhibition Designs. Situated at Helsongør, in 1915 the museum was located at Kronborg Castle - immortalised as Elisnore in Shakespeare's Hamlet - and in 2013 the museum moved into new underground premises built around a former dry dock. Kev and I had a 'Hamlet' tour in Elsinore when we were here a few years ago so it was only a museum visit this time. The Maritime Museum was just brilliant, my favourite display being the one featuring Pippi Longstocking, featured in a series of children's adventure books written by the Swedish author Astrid Lindgren. Naturally we checked out the café there before heading back home.
On the drive to Helsongør I noticed that there was a turn off to the Karen Blixen
Museum so that was our excursion for the followng day. After watching the 1985 movie " Out of Africa" starring Meryl Streep and Robert Redford the night before to get us in the mood, we headed to Rungsted where the Karen Blixen Museum is, 39km from Katherine's place. Also known as Isak Dineson, Karen Blixen wrote over a dozen books including, of course, "Out of Africa" & "Babette's Feast" which I must watch again when I get home. If you're going to Copenhagen don't miss going to explore this fabulous museum and garden which is in a very picturesque part of Denmark on the Øresund coast just north of Copenhgen. The property traces its history back to 1520 and the oldest part of the current house dates from about 1680 when it was a combined inn and agricultural estate. In 1879 the estate was purchased by Wilhelm Dinesen, Karen's father and the property is today managed by the Rungstedlund Foundation. It's where Karen Blixen lived for most of her life apart from the 17 years she lived in Kenya and which Out of Africa
documents. She was born on the estate in 1885, returned there after her years in Kenya
and died there in 1962. Katherine and I both loved it and would recommend a visit if you're in Denmark.
On a couple of occasions I met up with Danish friends; one night having dinner with Ingrid at the quaint town of Dragør. Thanks Ingrid, it was great to spend time with you.
Another night I enjoyed dinner with Adia, Adis and their daughters Emma and Sara who live at Frederiksberg in the apartment we swapped with them over December 2018 and January 2019 while they stayed at North Rocks. We then all went to Emma's new apartment which is just around the corner from her parent's place. Many thanks to both Ingrid, Aida, Adis, Emma and Sara for your wonderful hospitality and the fun we had reminiscing on our friendships.
Finally having to say my last goodbyes to my darling Copenhagen family was quite sad nevertheless it was lovely to return to my beautiful city of Sydney. Kev picked me up very early in the morning, so early that we were able to enjoy sunrise as we drove back home. Once home it was lovely to saviour my
first cuppa...and plan the next trip!
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