Imagine a town where all the buildings and animals are made of LEGO. How many LEGO bricks do you think it would take to build? A model size of that town would consist of 60 million LEGO bricks and can be found in Denmark, where LEGO was invented. Today we went to check it out at LEGOLAND one of the top amusement parks in the world. The park is filled with activities for the entire family with a focus on challenging you to set your imagination free and embrace your inner child. The park started off with just the miniland opening in 1968 however has evolved since then with additions, rides, and waterparks.The largest model in the park is of Mt. Rushmore, built out of 1.5 million LEGO bricks.
The park is divided up into themed areas. The most recent addition to the park is the Polar X-Plorer, their largest roller coaster. The surprise 5 meter free fall near the end is completely unexpected, giving you quite the adrenalin rush! Throughout the roller coaster you encounter animals from the arctic made out of LEGO bricks. Pirate Land is another fun area where you can sail through a Pirate’s cave as they fight over stolen jewels and treasure. Even the trains and boats within the park are made of LEGO! Visiting the amusement park was the perfect end to our trip to Denmark.
Today we set our imaginations free as we visited the home town of author Hans Christian Andersen. From June 29th – August 10th there is a festival in Odense in celebration of his creativity. In front of the H.C. Andersen Museum the local theatre performs three plays a day featuring some of H.C. Andersen’s most popular fairytales. Although they were performed in Danish we could still follow the recognizable stories that were being told such as The Emperor’s New Clothes. H.C. Andersen had talent as both an author and artist with an imagination he described both as a gift and curse. Throughout Denmark sculptures are placed representing some of his fairytales as well as his paper cut outs. 11 of them are in Odense and today we saw the paper boat, the sea horse, the emperors new clothes and the steadfast tin soldier.
This area of Odense is great to walk around in. We came across an old merchants house from the 16th century that has remained unaltered. There isn’t a bathroom in the house and the only change that had been made was the addition of electricity. The antiques within the house are all for sale and come with a both a certificate and written guarentee of their age. The shop is closed on a Sunday so it’s best to visit during the week. Guided tours are available with special activities for kids too.
We spent the afternoon walking along the river that runs through the town. There were plenty of ducks swimming about and the swans were taking bread from people’s hands as they fed them. I would not want to get too close to one of those though. As you walk along the river you can see part of the Odense Zoo. We saw some camels, zebras and goats all from the path.
This past week we have had the privilege of staying in a renovated farm house (originally built in 1775) out in the countryside of Kølstrup, Denmark. The original beams on the exterior remain however the thatch roof has been replaced due to high maintenance costs. The home belongs to one of our family’s exchange students, Anne, who stayed with us in Canada. For some fresh whole milk in the morning they walk over to their neighbour’s farm. After living in a city for so long it sure is great to get out to the country! David even went out shooting and hunting with Anne’s dad, an experience I’m sure he will never forget. I made for them a Canadian favourite among exchange students, pancakes with maple syrup. Anne’s youngest brother however just spread Nutella all over the chocolate chip pancake and ate it that way.
Walking distance from their house is Vikingemuseet Labdy, a viking ship burial mound from 1,000 years ago, the oldest in the world. This is the only ship grave in Denmark from the viking period. The King of Ladby was buried in his ship with all his possessions including animals. When you visit the ship underground the skeletons of some of the horses remain. The original anchor is in the ship and iron curls used to decorate the “dragon’s mane” are on display in the museum.
Also within walking distance is an amazing cherry farm, Selleberg. We walked through the different types of cherry trees, picking them from the tree to taste. They have a small little shop where they sell cherry products such as jam, syrup and ice cream.
No sovereign nation has used the same flag as long as Denmark! It is said that the image for their national flag descended from the heavens as a sign from God during a battle against Estonia in 1219, lead by King Waldemar II. Denmark defeated the Estonians and from that point forward the flag design has remained unaltered. Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark, is a city packed with national landmarks, historic buildings and modern architecture, all within walking distance of each other.
We took a canal tour, and I must say, seeing all the major sites from the water truly gives you a different perspective. The tour left Nyhavn, an old commercial port pictured in the featured image. The oldest house on this strip is dated back to 1681. It also took us down to Langelinje Pier where The Little Mermaid sits. The sculpture was inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale. We also boated by Christiana, the freetown of Copenhagen where the boats on the water looked like they were built by residents of the area. Apparently most of the buildings throughout the area were built by the residents there, which make it a cool spot to check out architecturally. The space was originally the military barracks in Bådmandsgade. If you do plan on visiting this area please read this link for safety reasons as some of the locals are not so friendly towards outsiders.
The royal family was home on the date we visited as the flag could be seen from the water on top of her house. This area is well worth checking out by foot as the buildings are placed around an octagonal palace yard. Directly across from the Queen’s house the new opera house can be seen. It sits right on the water and was a gift for the Queen. This modern building is incredible from the water as is The Black Diamond, the Royal Library of Denmark. The Black Diamond also sits close to the water with granite tiles from Zambia reflecting the light from the water causing it to sparkle. When it is not sparkling it looks like an iPod dock.
After the canal tour we walked through Strøget, one of the longest pedestrian shopping streets in all of Europe. At the end of the street is City Hall and Tivoli. Tivoli is another old amusement park in Denmark with live music every day. We did not go in as we experienced the oldest amusement park in Denmark (Dyrehavsbakken), just outside of the city which is free to enter.
Today David and I arrived in Denmark to visit Anne, one of my family’s former Rotary exchange students. Her parents picked us up at the airport and took us just outside of Copenhagen to Dyrehavsbakken, the world’s oldest amusement park. It was first opened in 1583 when natural spring water was discovered in Dyrehaven Park. The spring water drew large crowds to the area and in return attracted entertainers and hawkers. Walking around the park in the evening was like being on set in an old movie as the lit up archways, rides and game stalls guided you through the grounds which are surrounded by forestry. It is FREE to enter the grounds and then you pay for the rides you want to try out and games you want to play for a prize. After eating we went on an old wooden roller-coaster, and then one called the Tornado, after convincing David and Anne that it wouldn’t spin that much. It was called Tornado, of course it was spinning!
The property of Dyrehaven is home to thousands of free-ranging red, fallow and Sika deer. I couldn’t believe how many of them we saw as we walked through the trail outside the park. It was the first time I had ever seen a white deer. I felt sorry for it as the poor thing could be spotted by a hunter miles away. The baby deers were walking with their moms and crossing the pathways right in front of us. We also learned about some of the plants of Denmark, one in particular called Braendenaelde (Burning Nettle) that will cause a burning sensation if it touches your skin. It lasts for about 10 minutes then goes away.