Atlantis Alumni

Saturday, May 14, 2011

To Tour Or Not To Tour


The main event of Thursday was a bus tour to the Danish countryside. Thanks to my brother Billy, we were inspired to book a tour to “Hamlet’s” castle of Kronborg. The character of the melancholy Prince may have been fictional, but Shakespeare correctly located the castle in the town of Elsinore (English version of Helsingfor.)

The tour started out with an hour and a half drive to Frederiksborg, a great 17th century royal castle which is now the national historical museum. Though most of the huge palace was destroyed by a fire in the 18th century, it was rebuilt, thanks to the generosity of the brewer Carlsberg in the early 20th century. It’s furnished with the rich, rather heavy furniture and decorative style of the Baroque age, and some of the rooms, such as the chapel are very imposing. Jim even managed to photograph a nesting grebe in reed waters, since the castle is surrounded by a large moat. The visit to Frederiksborg was the best part of the excursion.

Then we briefly stopped at Fredenborg, a castle that the Queen still uses. After that photo stop we finally arrived at Kronborg, too late to visit the interior which closed at 5 PM. But we explored the grounds and enjoyed the magnificent view from the site, close to the ocean. I felt peeved that the tour guide brought us so late to the Renaissance castle, since the tour had been labeled “Hamlet’s Castle” and also that we returned a half hour late to Copenhagen. Yet it’s always worthwhile to see the landscape of any country, to obtain an idea of the differences between city and country.

After a brief stop at the Royal Hotel we left for Tivoli Gardens, to have a delicious dinner at one of the restaurants in the amusement park, La Vecchia Signora (The Old Lady.) Then we saw the unique pantomime theater. Danish pantomime is part slapstick, part ballet, and based on the old Italian theater form called the commedia del’arte. Characters like Harlequin, Colombina and Pierrot chase each other around the stage. The colorful and amusing commedia’s survival into the 20th century appears to be thanks to the Danes. The shows are done twice daily at Tivoli. They are the best events in the park in my opinion.

Friday we boarded the Emerald Princess, which sailed away from Copenhagen Friday evening.

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