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.
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.