Friday, June 3, 2011

Architecture and Sculpture in Denmark, by Guest Writer Cammie Curtin

Why go somewhere warm for spring break? (Part I)

Indeed, with friends studying abroad in Denmark and Iceland, why would I spend my spring break on a beach somewhere? The nordic countries are way cooler. So, with places to stay and people to show me around, I set off for a few days in Copenhagen, followed by a stint in Reykjavik. Guided by my friend who studies architecture, I explored the urban landscape in and around Copenhagen.

One of the first things that struck me were the brightly colored buildings.

On our first big excursion, we visited Kronborg, the castle which inspired Shakespeare's Elsinore in Hamlet. It was originally built in the 1420s. 

Here is the entryway to the ramparts. Can you find the monogram of Christian V? All around Copenhagen, buildings are adorned with the monograms of the monarch who built them. Especially common is the monogram of Christian IV.

There is a small chapel inside the castle, Slotskirke. 

On our way back into the city, we stopped at the Louisiana, a museum of modern art. Surrounded by beautifully landscaped grounds on the water, the most stunning part of the museum was the sculpture park.

"Reclining Figure no. 5 (Seagram)", Henry Moore. We stared at this sculpture for a long time, but we didn't quite see the "reclining figure".

Work by Alexander Calder.

We came across a metal pathway embedded in the ground, marked "Self Passage" by George Trakas, and followed it down to a shady platform by the water.

Finally, we made our way back to Henry Moore's reclining figure... and there she was.

Another day, we wandered around Copenhagen while my friend showed me some of his favorite sites. We walked through the archway around the courtyard of Christiansborg Palace.

The Black Diamond Library reflects the sky.

Inside, the lines of the building echo the flowing river on which the library sits.

In Gråbrødretorv Square, we found cheerful houses. Later that evening, we returned to the square to dine at Peder Oxe, a traditional Danish restaurant.

Finally, we climbed up Rundetaarn (Round Tower, built by Christian IV!) to see the city from above. There are no stairs in the tower-- only a spiral ramp, large enough for a horse-drawn carriage to ascend to the top. 

On my last day in Copenhagen, while my friend was in class, I found my way to Assistens Cemetery. It was a grey day, perfect for a visit to a graveyard. Knotty trees rose above the tomb stones.

Angels danced on rusting fences with peeling paint. 

But, after all this urban exploring, I was ready to spend some time in nature. So, I said goodbye to my friend and to Denmark, and headed for Iceland.
Copyright 2011, Cammie Curtin.


nunu said...

mmm, beautiful! a place i would love to visit one day. i'm excited to go iceland next with you!

Ariad said...

Wow! That looks like a wonderful placae to spend your break.

softearthart said...

Wonderful pictures, Beth, cheers Marie

cathy@home said...

I was here this time last year lovely memories

Anonymous said...

I love the nordic countries. Makes me look forward to visiting my son and his family in Norway next month......................Rosemary

amy g. said...

thank you for sharing these lovely photos! our family is hoping to move to denmark for a year, in the next year or so...from maine. any tips??

Nadja said...

The photos are awesome! I can't even imagine actually being in such a place...