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.
The Horniman Museum and Gardens contain perfect bite size collections of nature, history and culture with a vast range of display gardens, buildings and sundials in their park. The nature trail is the oldest one in London running along the original site of the Crystal Palace and the South Junction Railway that was closed in 1954. Located in South London’s Forest Hill, the museum is less busy on weekends then the major city attractions, and is also FREE. The museum has been open since Victorian times when Frederick John Horniman showed off his collection to visitors at his house.
The Sound Garden, inspired by the musical instruments collection inside the museum, stood out from the others for me. There are over 8,000 objects within this section of the museum, including the oldest pair of bone clappers made in Egypt 3,500 years ago! The garden has giant instruments all tuned in the same key. It would be fun to see a set of musicians jam out on these in the park. For now, kids (as well as my husband) can experiment with the different sounds. While we were there we kept thinking about how perfect this place would be to take our 5 year old nephew.
The Victorian Conservatory at the side of the building is an additional architectural bonus to visiting the museum. It was originally built at the Horniman family residence in 1894, however it was moved and restored in 1988 to the museum. You can even rent out the conservatory for special events. From the pavilion you have a perfect view of the London skyline. We didn’t get that good of a photo though due to the lovely London rain.
Verona has the second largest amount of Roman remains in Italy, next to Rome. Being at the center of an important roads network, Verona can equally apply the phrase from “all streets lead to Rome” to “all streets lead to Verona”. Used as a strategic base, Verona was built in the first stage of the Roman expansion.
The Arena Ampitheatre, is the first noticeable Roman remain when walking through the city. In the Summer, thousands of visitors from all over the world applaud the many opera concerts held at the arena. It can hold more than 20,000 people and is the biggest open-air lyrical theatre in the world! Our hotel, Guilette and Romeo was located just off of one of the side streets surrounding the arena.
Closer to the hilltop along the river, lies remains of an old Roman Theatre. It was only discovered in the 19th century by a business man who bought the property for development. He changed his mind however, and uncovered many Roman ruins and artifacts in the area. The original marble floor of the orchestra pit, along with rows of stone seats were discovered. The Roman Theatre is part of the Archeological Museum where you can see many of the other artifacts that were found throughout the city. This includes many coins, mosaics and sculptures. It was one of our favourite attractions to visit in Verona.
The V&A museum lives up to it’s reputation as the world’s greatest museum of art and design. The museum covers a span of 2,000 years worth of art in every medium across the world to educate and inspire both designers and manufacturers. The museum was called the Victoria and Albert museum after Queen Victoria laid the foundation stone of a new building at the museum in 1899. Within the museum is the National Art Library with over 1 million items covering every aspect of design in categories from furniture and woodwork – fashion – ceramics and class – history of art and plenty more.
The V&A features different exhibits throughout the year and currently on display are Ballgowns: British Glamour Since 1950. This exhibit is AMAZING, showcasing dresses of royalty (Princess Diana’s ‘Elvis Dress’ by Catherine Walker), red carpet worthy dresses (worn by Elizabeth Hurley) and dresses straight from the catwalk of Alexander McQueen. The exhibit is two floors with more then 60 different designs. While I was admiring all the beautiful fabrics, designs and textures of these carefully constructed gowns David was wise to just let me be and dream about one day owning something as magnificent as what was being showcased. I met up with him after I had stared at them for long enough and we explored through the rest of the museum.
The theatre and performance section of the museum was really fascinating with models of famous sets and theatres throughout London. Some of the costumes that were there were from plays like The Lion King and outfits worn by Elton John in performance. The image to the right is the ever so revealing jumpsuit worn by Mick Jagger in the Rolling Stones concerts of 1972. Also in this collection were puppets, the history of stage makeup and Kylie Minogue’s dressing room.
This is a fantastic place to wander around and get lost in. It is so easy to lose track of time and realize hours have past since you arrived. This is a place I will return to as they have different exhibits throughout the year.