Stay-cation in Copenhagen

We tossed around many ideas of what to do during the mid-February winter break.  The girls would have a week off school, there would be no Danish classes and Brett was prepared to take a few days off work.  We talked about a ski trip, a beach trip, a Scandinavian island trip, a drive to Germany…it all sounded lovely.  But in the end, we decided to stay in Copenhagen.  After all, this has been our “home” for 7 months and there is so much we still haven’t seen.

We thought that two little girls, who are always playing princess, might like to explore a real castle.  They did.  So, we biked over to Rosenborg Slot, less than 10 minutes from home.

Built in 1606 as a country summer house for King Christian IV, this Dutch Renaissance style  castle is just the right size for small, wandering feet.  We had walked around the castle grounds late last summer, but never went inside, so we figured it was time for the full tour.

I had just finished reading Rose Tremain’s, Music and Silence, a novel set in seventeenth-century Denmark.  So that added a bit of mystique for me.   We meandered through each room with a little guided map, as Brett and stumbled to answer questions from wee voices asking, “what’s a lacquer cabinet?…what’s a chamber?…where is the dungeon?”  They loved the treasury full of jewels and crowns.  The gardens surrounding the castle are vast and offer a great place for kids to play and explore.

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Denmark takes a lot of pride in its Royal History, however, perhaps not as much as it does in being the creators of the colorful, little, interlocking bricks, known as LEGO.  We spent a day at the annual Lego World celebration.   The Bella Center was full of more legos than I have ever seen in my life.  (Note: We haven’t been to LEGOLAND yet.)

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The newest introduction: Girly Legos.  Not sure what we think of these.  Basically, they are pink bricks (and other various “girl colors”) that come with princess figures, white horses and castle spires.  The girls did really enjoy playing with them, however they never took issue with playing with “boy colored” LEGOS.  When the “girl” LEGOS were presented, they seemed more interested in playing with the figures and much less interest in building.  Matea spent a great deal of time setting up tiny beds for Cinderella and Snow White and I’m not sure she ever snapped two bricks together.  Hmmm…

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Look!  It’s a Lego Nyhavn!

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We could have spent all day at this place and never seen all there was to offer.  Here’s a small taste.

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As a little bonus to our stay-cation, Brett took a day off work while the girls were back in school.  This gave us an afternoon to explore without worrying about anyone whining about tired feet, cold hands and hungry bellies.

Just our four feet ambling along on the cobblestone brought back many memories of our carefree, pre-kid, travel days.  Although…our bellies tend to get hungry too.  So, we had lunch at Huks Fluks in the beautiful Gråbrødretorv square.  Hello, charming, unsuspecting square of colorful buildings that date back hundreds of years.  We are happy to have found you!

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The fact that we’ve lived here for 7 months and not yet climbed the Rundetaarn (Round Tower), is surprising.  On our past travels to European cities, we always tried to find a high observation point.  Let’s just say we have climbed countless spiral staircases in our days.  Not only does it usually offer the best view of the city, but it’s a great way to get your bearings in a new place.

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The Rundetaarn was built as an observatory in 1642 by King Christian lV.   We have walked past it numerous times with the girls and suspected the climb might be tough for them.  In hindsight, they probably would have been fine with the gradual climb.

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As we looked out at the skyline of turrets, spires and domes, it felt, at first, like the many times we’ve gazed out at the horizon of an unfamiliar city.  But suddenly, it wasn’t so unfamiliar.  We found ourselves pointing to buildings, squares and churches we recognized.  We were able to separate neighborhoods, name streets and identify the bridge leading to Sweden.

And off in the distance, just a few streets away, we pointed to our very own landmark.

Home.

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