Thursday, 3 October 2013

A spring day in Copenhagen

When we touched down in Denmark in the middle of May for a weekend break, I was prepared for the worst. The rain had barely ceased in the UK for weeks, with low temperatures to match, and although I'd packed my umbrella, I couldn't help feeling a little disappointed that I'd miss the beautiful gardens and parks in full bloom, set against a blue sky.

I needn't have worried. Despite being only a couple of hours from home, Copenhagen was in the middle of a short heatwave, with temperatures soaring and my umbrella happily made redundant. After peeling off my many layers, we set out to explore.

With no fixed plan in place, we wandered along the canals, stopping to marvel at the sand sculpture competition taking place and seeking out the source of loud, thumping music, which led us straight in the middle of a carnival. Disentangling ourselves from the crowds of onlookers, we made our way to a quieter street, where pastel townhouses overlooked the glittering blue of the water and we could cool down with a few scoops of ice-cream.

Filled with parks, gardens and pretty house-lined canals, Copenhagen is a gorgeous city with lots to see, much of it for free. Of course, one of the biggest draws is also, size-wise, one of the smallest - the famous statue of 'The Little Mermaid', inspired by Hans Christian Anderson's tale. The mermaid, being of an easily transportable size, is notoriously a kleptomaniac's dream, and over the years it has been stolen, moved and vandalised. It's hit or miss whether she will actually be there during a visit.

Luckily, when we arrived at her home by the waterside (conveniently situated close to the cruise ship docks), she sat proudly staring across the water, hot sun glancing off her bronze body and tail. I'd come expecting her to be small and surrounded by eager tourists desperate for a photo, but was still impressed - I'd grown up loving the Anderson fairy tales and the mermaid seemed a physical representation of that beloved part of my childhood. Even the obnoxious man shoving children out of the way to clamber up rocks and pose for a seemingly endless set of photos couldn't destroy my mood (although I did suggest, perhaps rather loudly, that maybe it was time to give someone else the chance to have their picture taken...)

After hours just wandering the city, drinking in the atmosphere and the sights, it was time to head back to our hotel to change and excitedly head out once more for the main reason we'd chosen Copenhagen for this short break...


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