Christus • Vor Frue Kirke, Copenhagen

This is post #3 of our 2016 Copenhagen-Stockholm trip.ChristusExterior1

The Vor Frue Kirke, or Church of Our Lady in Copenhagen, sits on a small street in the center of the old town, and has a fairly plain exterior with few garnishes and flourishes.ChristusExterior2

Statues of David (above) and Moses (below) flank the front entry.ChristusExterior3 ChristusExterior4 ChristusExterior5

Across the street is a small plaza with an obelisk, with this bas relief at its base–a detailed counterpoint to the simple lines of the church.ChristusExterior6Christus Interior1

The architectural lines inside are simple as well, with the central nave flanked by the twelve apostles, each holding its attribute.  No stained glass here, and the main altar lies far in front, the gilded wall behind the Christus the only brilliance, so the eye is drawn there by the use of light and color.  Whether this plainness is by design, or the result of the Protestant Reformation (which stripped the original church of its original ornamentation), it still has power and impact.Christus Interior2Christus InteriorOrgan

View to the rear organ loft. Christus InteriorS1 Christus InteriorS2 Christus InteriorS2a

Peter’s keys.Christus InteriorS3 Christus InteriorS4 Christus InteriorS5 Christus InteriorS6 Christus InteriorS7 Christus InteriorS8 Christus InteriorS9 Christus InteriorS10 Christus InteriorS11 Christus InteriorS12Christus InteriorAngelMedallion

Each statue has an angel medallion overhead in the upper wall of the nave.Christus InteriorHallwaySide aisle.Christus Interior4 Christus Interior3 Christus Interior5FinalI stood there long, looking up at the Christus, then slipped into a bench to think about the Savior beckoning me to him, his arms outstretched, his hands showing his the wounds he received while mortal.  As in the beautiful Sagrada Familia Cathedral in Barcelona, a quiet upwelling of gratitude caused me to acknowledge the reality of the Atonement, and once again, to recognize that Christ needs to be at the center in my life.  All of this sounds so trite and cliched.  No matter.  Even though I can’t always express in words how I feel when I speak of spiritual things, I trust the feelings inside that bear a sweet witness of Him.

Later I would come to know that this church where I sat was built and destroyed several times, and in the last construction, in order to save money, the builders incorporated elements of the surviving walls.  That felt right to me, knowing that who I am has been rebuilt many times as I’ve gone through hardships in my life — and that the person I am now is built with fragments and pieces of what came before.

Other visitors came quietly in, the sounds of the street far away.  Finally it was time to go.  I took one last photo, one last long look, and left, carrying some of His peace with me.

Touristing in Copenhagen

This is post #2 of our 2016 Copenhagen-Stockholm trip.

1scandiskip0The next morning Dave is up early, as is his habit, and he gets ready for the day, then heads off to breakfast.  I struggle to wake up, but do get myself ready to walk with him after he returns, over to where his meetings are held for the day.  It’s at a university building and we walk over the Dronning Louises Bridge across “The Lakes” where we see this statue en route of an earnest young couple deep in conversation.  I remind Dave that we are celebrating our wedding anniversary this week, and that could have been us some years ago, trying to figure everything out.  In fact, 27 years ago, we were in Austria on our honeymoon, beginning our life together.  It’s lovely to be traveling again in commemoration of that blissed-out event, and realize how far we’ve come.

1scandiskip1d1scandiskip1 As he makes the last turn, I bid him farewell and watch him walk up the street, then return to photograph the upper panels of this kiosk.  It’s a gray day, but sun is promised later, and I’m interested in All Things Danish, so everything catches my eye.1scandiskip1a 1scandiskip1b 1scandiskip1c 1scandiskip1e 1scandiskip1fWhat I didn’t realize was that I would see this kiosk over and over again as I walked through Copenhagen.  Where this one seemed like a one-of-a-kind, nearly centuries old, I began to wonder about how old they really were about the 4th time I saw it.   It turns out they are old telephone kiosks that held the first pay telephones and were built between 1896 and 1915.  Originally there were 30 of these, and now there are only eleven (more info can be found *here*).  Daniel Fischerman, who wrote the post, notes that “They were built in national romantic style with copper, cast and wrought iron and hard wood.”1scandiskip2A funky European-style fountain, right next to the old telephone kiosk.1scandiskip3This building appeared to be completely square.1scandiskip4 1scandiskip4a 1scandiskip4b 1scandiskip4c“What was this,” I asked the lady who pulled up to part her bike. “A kindergarten,” she replied.
I’d want to go to school here if they had chickens on the walls, too.1scandiskip4dThe sun is beginning to shine. 1scandiskip5 1scandiskip6Pussy Galore’s Flying Circus served coffee from the telephone kiosk.1scandiskip6aKitty-corner from the kiosk and its square was this church. At this point, everything is amazing, new, interesting, fascinating and so I’m always taking pictures.  By the end of the week, as jaded tourists, we’re like, “Oh, yeah.  That.”1scandiskip6bI’m always in search of pattern (for my quilting) and surface design.1scandiskip6c 1scandiskip6dThis is a “good” sidewalk.  It has the cobblestones with ample parts pavement.  “Bad” sidewalks are those rustic all-cobble surfaces, which are fine for the first 10 minutes, then become tiring to walk on.1scandiskip6e 1scandiskip6fI saw this moveable kiosk later on in the day in one of the squares.1scandiskip6gThat moat must have been huge.  I have always envisioned moats as about 10 feet wide, but if these “lakes” were truly the remnants of the old city’s moats, they would have been a serious defense.1scandiskip6h 1scandiskip6i 1scandiskip6jTiveren is a companion to the Nile statue.  This site notes that he “was established 30 July 1901 as a counterpart to the Nile. Although the Tiber River is modest in relation to the Nile, the figurative manufacture of the river that runs through Rome, an equally powerful giant. The original was found in 1512 in the Temple of Isis Iseo Campense near S. Maria sopra Minerva, Rome.”1scandiskip7I’m on the hunt for breakfast, and I pick something up at a bakery, but found better and more unusual things (translation: fresher) at Torvehallerne, or the Food Hall.  I’ll save this stall for later, as I’d heard about Denmark’s open faced sandwiches, called “smorrebrod” and wanted to try them.1scandiskip7fAbout a block away is the Metro stop.  A lot of the first hours in a new city is about creating markings, or getting bearings, and this station became one of them.  It was easy to spot as I walked along as it was flooded with bicycles, many of them parked under the flat roofs seen here.  I keep walking.1scandiskip8Another telephone kiosk near the Metro.

There’s an area here where there isn’t much car traffic, except in the mornings, for deliveries.  Some cross streets have traffic, but many streets have been marked off for pedestrian use.  I found my way to the Marimekko Store on one of these streets, picking up a few souvenirs.  There are many shops along this shopping street, Kobmagergade, and I enjoy the show of the storefront windows, but since my brain is still fogged in and trying to handle the fact that when it says 100 kronen, it’s really only about $15 US.  But it sounds like so much more, so I just look.

Workers were busy installing cobblestone (re-installing?) and three of them were in their city-issued bright green bib overalls, moving stone and equipment this way and that.  I noticed that one of them was shorter  than the others and when he turned around it said “Froddo” on his bib overalls.  I checked and none of the other workers had names on their overalls. I wanted to take a photo of this little joke, but thought it intrusive so I moved on.

1scandiskip8b 1scandiskip8c 1scandiskip8d 1scandiskip8eThe Round Tower and the doorway to the top.  We never did make it.1scandiskip8f 1scandiskip8gAnother landmark was the fountain with three cranes, a gift given in at the turn of the century to celebrate Crown Prince Frederick’s and Crown Princess Louise’s silver wedding anniversary.  Actually some say they are herons and some say they are storks, with the stork people winning out as newly graduated midwives dance around the fountain.  Of course, I know none of this at the time, as there’s no tour guide feeding this salient info into my ear, nor can I read any placard in the vicinity as they are in Danish, so I just enjoy the design, and acquire another landmark.

1scandiskip8aAnd just down from it, I sat to rest on a #copenhagenbench across from this building, the backside of Christiansborg Slot (Castle), and seat of the Danish Parliament.  I saw several tour groups enter in the main door (led by people with umbrellas or other items, held aloft) so figured it must have been important.

1scandiskip9Behind me is a canal.1scandiskip9aAnd occasional boats with loudspeaking tour guides feeding garbled-sounding salient info into the tourists’ ears.  Is it better or worse to not know what you are looking at?  I read plenty before I head off to a place, and take along guidebooks as I walk, but not everything is in every guide book. And not every tour guide knows everything, or has time to tell the tourist everything. In this way, both book and actual tour guide filter the experience.  So when I get home I look up things.  Dave and I had fun reading about the telephone kiosks today, several days after-the-fact.  Would it make it any better to have known about this as we saw them?  I will never know.1scandiskip9bWhere am I?  I find these signs helpful, even if they’ve been tagged.1scandiskip10I head back up towards Torvehallerne for lunch, passing by this church tower.1scandiskip10aDo you think the Danes ever come out of their offices and wonder where they’ve parked their bike?  Copenhagen’s bicyclists are a determined and numerous lot.  Around dinnertime you’d better watch yourself and not step into the “bicycle freeway.”1scandiskip11I spot an interesting statue on top of that far building just to the left of the copper tower roof.  [Later, with the magic of the internet(!)  I found out it is a statue of Hermes atop the former Messen Department Store, now the Varehuset Museum.]1scandiskip11aSo much of travel involves sight.  I can’t read the language, so pictures — or what I actually can see with my eyes — become the way I navigate through cities and streets.  One language that is  universal, though, is the language of flowers.  Here are some taped to the front of a shop–along the doorway and along the windows.  I was charmed.1scandiskip12And then there is the ubiquitous advertising guys, this one with a flag attached to his back, advertising e-cigarettes.1scandiskip12aI want to go home and make a navy dress (but this shade of navy which veers slightly towards lavender) with cream accents.1scandiskip12bAm I there yet?1scandiskip13Here’s a giant bowl of frozen yogurt, a cousin to the giant hot dog spotted at the airport.1scandiskip13a 1scandiskip14I make it to the Food Hall and there is a long line for the smorrebrod sandwiches.1scandiskip14aWhen I get close, I start to panic and just end up pointing to two.  They zip them over onto a plate, hand me my soda and a fork and knife and turn to the next customer.1scandiskip14bThey all start with a thin slice of sturdy rugbrød — a sourdough rye bread.  Then they spead on some butter, then start building.  The one on the left was smoked cream cheese with garnishes on top of slices of cucumber.  The one on the right is sliced, cooked potato with a blob of sour cream, topped with a crispy onion ring and lots of chives.  I ended up eating here three days in a row and came to understand that the art of smorrebrod is stacking ingredients.1scandiskip14cHere’s a look from the other side.1scandiskip14dI sat at the counter overlooking this prep station, so saw them do lots of sandwiches.  Most of the time, their hands were not gloved, and the only one I could see wearing them was this lady, as she put them on to handle pickles.  Even the lady who separated the egg yolks out for the tartare sandwiches (they put one egg yolk in a tiny little dish for each serving) did so with bare hands.  We are sort of freaked out by this in the US, as we are so aware of food safety all the time.  I don’t think I’d be as willing to eat the food with bare-handed prep people in another country, say, India or something, but here it seemed part of the scene.1scandiskip15Bikes for rent, complete with GPS screens.1scandiskip15aJust don’t park them here.

Copenhagen Arrival and First Impressions

This is post #1 of our 2016 Copenhagen-Stockholm trip.

scandiskipWhen we traveled around Spain and Lisbon this spring, I did a post saying hi to my Mom.  This time I did only one post like this: “Bye, Mom!” My son and his family landed in the LA airport the same time as we were boarding, so I called to tell him hello, and then we whooshed down the jetway to our tiny teeny cubicle — aka, airline seat —  for the next 12 hours or so.

scandiskip1We’ve traveled a lot this year.  Proof?  We critiqued the choice of movies offered on the plane.  This crop was pretty dismal. scandiskip2 About halfway through the flight when I feel like I’d pay a million dollars to be in Economy Plus — anywhere but crammed in “steerage class” like sardines — is when I start reading the stuff in the seat pocket in front of me, noticing that their model has blissed out (eyes closed) while preparing to evacuate in the event of an emergency.  Probably not a good idea.scandiskip3We make the change of aircraft and airline in London’s Heathrow. At the security to get INTO the airport, they take apart my luggage looking for a pair of scissors.  They found it (leftover in one of the suitcase pockets from the previous trip; I’d forgotten I had them in there). I repacked and was on my way.  Landing in Copenhagen, we immediately notice the wooden floors.scandiskip4And the design of the luggage carts.scandiskip5And their #copenhagenbench campaign, complete with floors that look like grass and a park with real park benches to sit on.scandiskip6What a lovely way to handle the incoming luggage: they tell you the carousel, how many minutes until your luggage lands, and if it has arrived, they post up a suitcase.scandiskip7More park stuff, including a flooring that looks like the cobblestones we saw everywhere in the city, and wee bit of climbing apparatus for children who have been cooped up in airplanes.scandiskip8There always seems to be a RUSH of some sorts to get going to our hotel, but as Dave hassled out our Metro tickets, I was able to snap a couple of pictures in the airport.  That idea — of a giant icon of the product being sold, as in the floating hot dog, above — was a theme we’d see over and over in our visit to Copenhagen and Stockholm.scandiskip9Waiting for the Metro: a decorated ball/globe.scandiskip10We emerge and immediately start noticing the different details that distinguish this place from any other, like the signage and decorative detailing on the buildings.  Public sites under construction (like this one, where they are replacing the cobblestones) are something every country has in common, I’m afraid.scandiskip11 scandiskip12 scandiskip13Our room is long and narrow and on the first floor overlooking the breakfast courtyard.scandiskip14 scandiskip15 scandiskip16(in case you need to iron something)scandiskip17We freshen up, check in on the internet, and head out for dinner.  This is the breakfast room that only Dave will enjoy as only one of us was covered for breakfast; I’m on my own.  Our room is just to the left of that swirling step of steps, on the bottom floor.scandiskip18The hotel’s name is Kong Arthur (more details on the itinerary on the home page) which means King Arthur.  So is this a miniature round table from that era?scandiskip19 scandiskip20Our destination, a short block from our hotel, was the Pizzeria La Fiorita.  It took us a minute to work out the system, but you go down into the shop, order, and then sit outside until your buzzer lights up.  You then return the buzzer and retrieve the food.scandiskip20aSquash soda?scandiskip20bAfter a few minutes, the people sitting at the table next to us cleared so we moved over there, as they had a large umbrella covering their table, and it was a bit drizzly.  Our pizza was the shop’s special “La Fiorita.”scandiskip20cOur pasta was the shop’s special “La Fiorita.”  Since I like just about everything, and I’m jetlagged and hungry and want to find my way to bed Right Now, I’ve learned to go for the restaurant special and usually that is fine.scandiskip21We took the roundabout way back to our hotel, through this plaza/playground.scandiskip22At the end of our street is a series of rectangular “lakes,” three in a row, which are leftovers from the ancient city’s moat system.  That large swan is a paddleboat, but there were also real swans paddling around, too.scandiskip22a scandiskip22b scandiskip22cIt’s nearly 8:30 p.m. and we are getting a version of a sunset.  Because we are so far north, the sun sets, but light stays.  And in the morning, it gets light early (around 5-ish a.m.) and the sun rises a bit after that.scandiskip22dPark statuary.  There’s one on the other side to make this a matched set, but with far fewer little children climbing all over him.  This site, when we arrived home, provided an explanation:  “The enormous god with the beard of a wild man lies on its plinth and is being crawled all over by a group of small naked bronze children. They symbolise 16 different stages in the Nile floods (32 feet difference between the highest and lowest water levels). The bronze cast was made after a Roman marble statue in the Musei Vaticani, Rome. the original was discovered in 1513 near S. Maria sopra Minerva, Rome, and restored by Antonio Canova during the 19th century.”

scandiskip22escandiskip23We walk back to our hotel and with the exception of the cars, feel like we are visitors in the early 19th century.  So many buildings in Copenhagen and Stockholm had that “Belle epoche” feeling that I half expected to see women in long gowns and upswept hairdos being escorted by men in dark suits and starched collars.

Nope–just us tourists in T-shirts, jeans, and sneakers, looking to find their way to some sleep.