Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Three Days in Copenhagen

When folks talk about a trip to Amsterdam, almost the first thing they mention is the bicycles and now I know why. Although there are fewer bicycles in Copenhagen, there are still over a half a million or so I've learned since we returned. Exiting the the train station to go to our hotel, it was the first thing I noticed.
Yup, that is a lot of bikes, so I was shocked when we next came upon this:
How do they get them up and down?? Everywhere you go there are people on bicycles,
made easier by dedicated bicycle lanes.
The building with the spire is the Stock Exchange building, one of the oldest in the city, learned while on our canal tour, where we saw, yet another, mode of transportation, boats and lots of them.
That same tour took us beside the "Little Mermaid", probably one of the most photographed spots in the city.
Matt thought of everything ahead of time including the brilliant move of buying us all a CopenhagenCard which we used for the canal tour among other things, including the Architectural Design Museum. But first we had lunch at a beautiful old department store, notable for me because it is while there that I learned that Scandinavians are crazy for licorice.
Although Matt is standing by some chocolates, they had several spaces devoted solely to licorice in flavors I'd never before considered. Who knew? Here's a post from a blog called Scandikitchen that ranks the top ten Danish licorice. I've heard of ranking most anything, so I should not be surprised, but still I am.

Off we went walking to the museum, passing by many places that have a door on the street that actually leads to darling courtyards.
We were greeted by Legos at the museum and lots of them, an invitation for folks to play before heading upstairs. Tom making something cool.
For us one of the neatest things about the museum was seeing the model for the Vancouver House which as you may recall, we watched being built a block from our condo.  The exhibit was sponsored by BIG, the Copenhagen architecture firm that designed the museum, as well as some fantastic buildings around the world, shown in models below.
It was while we were there that Bruce started becoming more and more uncomfortable prompting us to head back to the hotel. Some very miserable hours ensued while the apparent kidney stone was moving. Tom had some stronger pain medicine with him, allowing Bruce to get some much needed sleep.

The next morning, leaving him to rest, Matt and I went to the Natural History Museum, visiting this gorgeous glass house where we were treated to all sorts of global plants and of course the butterflies I told you about before.
Ever seen a red poison dart frog before?
The cacti were very impressive.
Later on Bruce was feeling well enough to visit a Meet the Viking exhibit at another museum. Loads to learn and see there but what really amazed me was the gold. Of course the partial Viking ship, that  preserved because it was found in bogs was very cool. A Genghis Kahn exhibit at the same museum was equally as fascinating.
I guess this is what happens when doors have been around as long as these have.
I wonder what the guns over the door signified?

How cool are these little cones I saw on a tree behind the hotel?
The first thing we did on our last day in Copenhagen, having scrapped the idea of a longer train journey because Bruce was still not his best, was visit Rosenborg Castle built by Christian 1V beginning in the 1600's. Set in the heart of the city, it is both an oasis, and an opulent example of the absolute monarchy from that time period.  Walking into the first room, well, no surface went untouched without adornment.
Bruce is texting a photo to Bill of the incredible ceiling.
The truth is, everything was incredible!
The tapestry was but one of many found throughout the spacious rooms, none more so than the Great Hall which held the thrones guarded by gold lions.
The craftsmanship, the materials, and then there were the ivory carvings and boxes. Ebony and ivory apparently were very popular with a large area devoted to the Royal collection.
Taking in all of the incredible treasures would take way more time than we had, but if you are planning a visit, it is a place we can highly recommend. Eventually we made our way to the area where they keep the crown jewels. Oh my!
After a lovely lunch on the grounds,
we walked just down the street to the National Gallery of Denmark,
where we saw, well, art. Beautiful rooms, beautiful art. You would be forgiven if you thought that Edward Munch painted only in his The Scream style, mostly because like me, you have not been exposed to his other work which I found exciting, while at the same time moving.
Here's another trio of paintings, reminding me that there is nothing new under the sun. Painted in the mid 1500s, the one with the older man and the younger woman...well, need I say more? Then too, I could not help but wonder what kind of barbering equipment was used to do the haircuts of these men.
Generally I am tempted to think most men wore their hair long in those days but clearly I am wrong.

Bruce was feeling poorly so it was back to the hotel for a rest. Later on, he revived and we walked just a few blocks to Tivoli Gardens where we were immediately charmed.
Should you care to know more, here is a neat travel story about the place. Amazingly it has been open for 176 years!!! This ride, called Time Machine was one we DID not go on. Watching the cars spin and flip was enough excitement for us!
Nor did we ride this roller coaster!
There are lovely lit gardens amongst the rides,
and a Crystal Palace which every Disney fan can appreciate. Actually it brought back memories of when Bruce's Dad was building the Contemporary and Polynesian hotels when we were in high school. We visited the property on several occasions as Disney was under construction, marveling at the notion of a Crystal Palace.
It is said that Walt Disney was most definitely influenced by his visits to Tivoli, and having seen both, there seems to be no doubt.
At the top of the above photo you can see the Matterhorn which houses a 100 year old wooden roller coaster that Matt convinced us to ride. Thrilling! When it comes to rides, I'm a bit of a wuss, however this one was a blast!

And then it was the morning of our last day and taking a brief walk around the streets near our hotel, I reluctantly said goodbye to Copenhagen.
That said, we were actually happy to get back to London because, as Tom said, we could find  better drugs for Bruce.

And we did.

Thank you for reading this long piece which I know includes so many photos. I hope made you feel as if you were there with us. That's the plan anyway!

your friend,

Gail

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Sunny Florida

Interrupting the Scandinavian portion of our trip for a day trip to Cape Canaveral where the sky was blue, the water warm, and there were BIRDS!

September is really the best month for beach going here in Florida because as mentioned above, the water is perfect. Plus, even though the air temperature is still scorching, the constant ocean breeze is a like natural air conditioning and what could be better than that? Monday night I asked Bruce if Tuesday could be a beach day to which he agreed. Loading up the car we decided that we would go to Jetty Park in Cape Canaveral because it is the closest, and traveling on 528 is pretty much stress free unlike our under-construction interstate. In about an hour the car was parked, our gear was in our hands ,and we walked onto the beach where before said chairs could be put in place I was off with my camera, having noticed a flock of birds just down the way. Thinking they might take off, I got there as quickly as possible.
Little did I know, at that point, that they would not be going much of anywhere! Even when folks walked in the midst of them.
I'm not proud of it but I left Bruce to do our set up as I walked along the tightly packed, white sandy beach. I'm a bit of a fuss budget when it comes to sand, so when I tell you the sand was perfect that is saying a lot. 

Every now and again the birds would fly a bit, seemingly for re-positioning purposes.
I am no shorebird expert so I wasn't even sure what kind of birds they were, but any bird that wears orange is my kind of bird.
Since I've been home I've learned that these are Black Skimmers, with a few gulls mixed in. What I'm still not clear on is what kind of Terns these are, as there are many types.
I do know that they seem to be lumped in with Gulls on the Audubon website. Well, really, what does it matter anyway? It is always fun to put a name with a bird, but in the end, it's just a name. This one was quite the loudmouth, squawking at whomever would listen.
Spreading her wings for show.
Oh yeah, we did go swimming too!
The waves were gentle, just big enough to have some fun crashing into them, and there was none of that squealing on our part because the water was too cold. My Pacific Northwest friends, and of course Carol in California, would laugh at that as the Pacific stays cold all summer long. But we are Floridians and we like warm water, don't we?

Bruce read under the umbrella, and I kept exploring, chasing these adorable little birds which I think are called Sanderlings.
Whatever their name, they are super fun to watch as they scamper along the shoreline searching for food.

Then I came across a Great Blue Heron standing in the water...
that is, until a wave came in!
Right about now I must say that I was using an old Panasonic with my Olympus lens because it works without having to remove the battery all of the time! And here's this news---you won't remember this but while in Vancouver my best camera up and died on me one day while I was roaming Stanley Park. (btw that link has some beautiful flowers if you haven't seen it before!) You and I both know that going without a camera is not an option for me, so I bought another body to go with the lenses I had brought from home. Not as good as the one that died, but as Canada is generally way more expensive than Florida, well, I bought the lesser model.

Once home from our vacation I called Olympus and fussed about buying two cameras in the span of four years, both not working properly. The good news is that I sent the better camera back to Olympus in New Jersey and it should be arriving later this afternoon!!! Hip hip hooray!

Back to the beach....

Here's a fun shot of the Skimmers...
Later in the day they moved down the beach closer to us; please note the one lying flat which I read is a resting position, possibly because holding the head upright with that heavy beak is hard work.
Bruce told me today, when I was saying that I don't really know much about birds, that folks think that I do because I know a few names and behaviors. Friends, serious birdwatchers know so much, I am like a first grader birdwatcher, otherwise I would know why some of these birds have different feather colors. My guess is some are younger, but that is merely a guess.
As for shells, I know next to nothing except that I find them interesting and this see through shell in particular, that I saw by the dozen.
Perhaps you noticed how empty the beach was? Heaven! The rental chairs went mostly empty all day long.
And of course with a name like Jetty Park, you expect to see a jetty....
Bonus points for flying Brown Pelicans who entertained us with their fishing prowess. When I went to get lunch in the restaurant, this was the view of the whole area. Sandy dunes with sea oats and beach flowers.
On the right edge of the photograph is the lifeguard stand, a puzzling place to be back in the dunes. Aha...in the middle of the afternoon they brought equipment, moving it back onto the sand.
We are thinking perhaps it was moved because of the hurricane? The purchased lunch was surprisingly good and filling, so with the fries we did not eat, Bruce fed the seagulls.
To tell you the truth, by 3 in the afternoon, what with playing in the water and roaming back and forth along the shore, I was pooped so we packed up and before you know it, we were home again after an absolutely perfect day at the beach.

your friend,

Gail

p.s. This is a post script because I didn't want to mar the beach story, but we learned this morning that the man that Michelle and David witnessed being hit by a car died two days after the accident. To say that they have been shook up over this incident is putting it mildly. They have gone to great lengths to find the person and two nights ago Michelle was on the local news, telling the story in hopes someone hearing it had any leads. We are praying it is so.


Three Days in Copenhagen