Nyhavn and the Marble Church

The last whole day in Copenhagen started with breakfast at the hotel, after which we decided to check out some stores. The only thing we bought was a cookbook, Copenhagen Food: Stories, Tradition and Recipes by Trine Hahnemann. My niece, who lives in Brussels happened to be in Copenhagen at the same time visiting a friend, so we decided to meet up for lunch at ChÀo Viet Kitchen. I chose Bun Nam Bo, rice noodles with shrimp, mixed salad, herbs, fried onions, peanuts and blended fish sauce, hubby ate Chao Ca Ri, a unique Curry coconut milk creation with chicken, mixed salad, herbs, fried onions and peanuts, and my niece had Bun Chay, rice noodles with tofu crispy portobello mushrooms, herbs, fresh mixed salad, peanuts, roasted onions and homemade vegan fish sauce. All the food was delicious and made with fresh ingredients.

Bun Nam Bo

After lunch we decided to walk to Nyhavn, which is a 17th-century waterfront, canal and entertainment district that originally was a busy commercial port where ships from all over the world would dock. The area was packed with sailors, ladies of pleasure, pubs and alehouses. It is lined by brightly colored 17th and early 18th century townhouses that now have been renovated and house bars, cafes and restaurants. This is the area that is prominently featured in all types of travel photos from Copenhagen. After enjoying a drink in one of the many restaurants we decided to take a stroll to the Marble Church.

Nyhavn
The other shore of the canal is not as colorful

The Marble Church, officially called Frederik’s Church was designed by the architect Nicolai Eigtved in 1740 and was intended to commemorate the 300 years jubilee of the first coronation of a member of the House of Oldenburg. The foundation stone was set by king Frederick V on October 31, 1749, but the construction was slowed by budget cuts and the death of Eigtved in 1754. In 1770, the original plans for the church were abandoned by Johann Friedrich Struensee. The church was left incomplete and stood as a ruin for nearly 150 years. In 1874, Andreas Frederik Krieger, Denmark’s Finance Minister at the time, sold the ruins of the uncompleted church and the church square to Carl Frederik Tietgen on the condition that Tietgen would build a church in a style similar to the original plans and donate it to the state when complete. Tietgen got Ferdinand Meldahl to design the church in its final form and financed its construction. Due to financial restrictions, the original plans for the church to be built almost entirely from marble were discarded, and instead Meldahl opted for construction to be done with limestone. The church was finally opened to the public on August 19, 1894. Frederick’s Church has the largest church dome in Scandinavia with a span of 31m. The dome rests on 12 columns. After visiting the church, we visited the yard of Amalienborg castle.

The Marble Church

The ‘swan’ organ, which was built by Knud Olsen in 1894. It is no longer in use; the church also has a modern organ from 1963 by Marcussen & Søn.
The dome of Frederik’s Church
There was a couple taking wedding photos outside the church
One of the four identical buildings of Amalienborg castle
There were guards outside Amalienborg

Then it was time to head back towards our hotel and my niece was catching up with her friend who had been at work. After returning to the hotel we relaxed and got ready for dinner, which was to be our first ever one Michelin star experience. Read all about this experience in my next and final Copenhagen post.

Canal cruise and Tivoli Gardens

On Monday we had breakfast at the hotel and the headed to Ved Stranden to buy tickets for a canal cruise. As the boat that was about to take off was a covered boat I asked the person at the ticket booth when the next open boat would leave which was in around 30 minutes, so we had a coffee at a nearby Espresso House and boarded the boat at 11 am. There was a little bar at the dock where you could purchase refreshments to take onboard (soft drinks, water, beer, etc.) but we opted not to. The cruise was equipped with an audio guide in several languages but there was also a live guide on board who provided us with some additional/alternative information. The tour lasted one hour and was a great way to see the city from the water.

Ready to set off on the cruise
The Little Mermaid statue attracts loads of tourists
Many interesting abodes can be seen on the shores of Christiania
There is a copy of the statue of David outside
Den Kongelige Afstøbningssamling
Church of our Saviour whose serpentine spire was inaugurated in 1752.
The Marble Church and Amalienborg
The Black Diamond is an extension to the Royal Danish Library on Slotsholmen.

Once we returned to Ved Stranden we decided to walk to Torvehallerne for a spot of lunch. We chose to share a margherita pizza with tomato, buffallo mozzarella, cherry tomato, basil oil and fresh basil at Gorm’s Pizza. The pizza was tasty but could have used a bit more spice. We also had ice cream at Is à Bella. We shared two scoops in a cup, pistachio and lime and they were super delicious. We also stopped by Exotic Mix that sells various nuts, seeds and dried fruits, and bought a couple of bags of nuts to take home.

Pizza for lunch
Is á Bella’s selection

After lunch we hopped on the metro and headed out to explore Nørrebro. We strolled around, stopped for some refreshments and slowly made our way back to the hotel. In the evening we went to explore Tivoli Gardens. We decided to buy only entrance tickets without any ride access. The area is really nice with lovely buildings, beautiful flower installations, fountains, thrilling rides and some 40 places to eat. We ended up having dinner at Italia – La Vecchia Signora. I had a La Caprese salad to start and hubby tried the Carpaccio, both were delicious. We opted for the same main: Ravioli ai Funghi al Burro e Salvia (mushroom filled ravioli with a butter and sage sauce), delizioso! When we were finished eating the sun had set and we got to enjoy Tivoli at its best, all lit up with various light installations.

Tivoli houses some peafowls
Inside Tivoli Gardens
A snack to tie us over to dinner
Waterfront restaurants at Tivoli
Tivoli at night
Tivoli at night
Tivoli at night
Tivoli at night
Tivoli entrance

In the next post we will visit Nyhavn and the Marble Church.

Nothing was rotten in the state of Denmark

I had some vacation days that I had to use before the end of April and as hubby had enough frequent flyer points to get us two return flights within the Nordic countries we decided to take a short vacation in Copenhagen, Denmark.

We arrived early on Sunday morning, took the train into town, dropped off our bags at the hotel (The Square/) and headed out to explore the surroundings. We decided to walk to Rundetaarn or the Round Tower. The tower was inaugurated in 1642 making it the oldest functioning observatory in Europe. It is most noted for its equestrian staircase, a 7.5-turn helical corridor leading to the platform at the top at 34.8 meters above ground, and for the expansive views which it affords over Copenhagen. By the time we got back to street level we were hungry so we decided to go get something to eat. A place I wanted to visit called Paludan Bogcafé was a couple a blocks away so that’s where we headed for brunch. Paludan combines the traditional bookstore with a functioning eatery and it was a really cool place, plus the food was good.

Inside Rundetaarn
My delicious goat cheese sandwich for brunch
Hubby’s ham and mushroom omelet
Inside Paludan Bogcafé

Next we wandered around for a couple of hours and stopped for a beer at The Taphouse. The place offers 61 beers on tap and the selection may actually change during the day. After enjoying our beers it was time to head to the gathering point for a walking tour we had pre-booked with Viator. It was a 2.5 hour guided food tour during which we would visit five different food/drink stops and learn about food history and culture from our guide. We were a group of 10 people plus the guide. The tour started with a traditional Danish hotdog in Rådhuspladsen or City Hall Square. The Danish hotdog is served with apple ketchup, mustard, remoulade, chopped onions, fried onions, and crisp, sweet pickles. The sausage or pølse is distinguished by a very bright red color and called Røde Pølse (red sausage). I really enjoyed the hotdog. Then we actually went to The Taphouse that we had visited just before the tour and had a little beer tasting of two beers and tried to guess which of the 61 beers we were tasting.

The city hall
Rådhuspladsen
The Danish hotdog
Our merry tour group at The Taphouse

Next we walked to a restaurant called Godtfolk where we were served smørrebrød and some more beer. Smørrebrød is an open-faced sandwich that usually consists of a piece of buttered rye bread (rugbrød), a dense, dark brown bread, topped with commercial or homemade cold cuts, pieces of meat or fish, cheese or spreads, and garnishes. The smørrebrød we were served was a shrimp and egg one and it was super delicious. Our next and final stop of the tour was Torvehallerne. The history of TorvehallerneKBH dates back to 1889, when Grønttorvet (greens market) was established at Israels Plads. Grønttorvet closed in 1958, and only in 2011 when Torvehallerne opened did Copenhagen again have a fixed marketplace in the middle of the city. Torvehallerne is a marketplace that offers Danish delicacies, local vegetables, fresh fish and meat, chocolates, baked goods, pizza, etc. Torvehallerne consists of more than 80 shops located in two buildings and an outdoor stall area in between the buildings. We had a look around the “savory” building and then got to taste the local fishcake with some remoulade sauce, which was quite nice. To finish off we strolled through the “sweets” building and ended with a small dessert, flødebolle, which is a chocolate-coated marshmallow treat with a marzipan biscuit base. This was not to my liking as I do not like marzipan. All in all, the food tour was a great experience and good value for money.

Shrimp & egg smørrebrød
Flower stall at Torvehallerne
Produce stand

After the tour finished we made our way back to the hotel and got our room. We unpacked and took it easy for a couple of hours. As the food tour was quite substantial we did not need a big dinner so we headed around the corner from the hotel and ended up at a place called Rosie McGee’s and had some pub grub. The food was nothing to write home about and the place in itself was quite an experience.

Second post on Copenhagen will include, e.g. a canal cruise and a visit to Tivoli Gardens.