I really envy Europeans their vast markets … and even their small village markets. But in Copenhagen (pronounce the a long—I wondered myself, but learned quickly from Svend, our Danish host) they have a great example. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Our Grande Tour began as Svend whisked us around Copenhagen for a scenic drive enroute from the airport, where he so graciously picked us up. Then on to his and Lisbet’s home in a lovely neighborhood near beautiful lakes, in the northern outskirts of Copenhagen. We met the two of them while on a cruise in Croatia, which is a great story on its own. Their property used to be an orchard and is full of apple trees and flowers—and we were mesmerized by their robot lawnmower. 

That first evening, we walked a short way to one of the many beautiful lakes we saw in Denmark, where Svend rows, often enroute to a larger lake, where he rows some more. 

The next day, he took us back in time on a tour through the Open Air Museum—Frilandsmuseet—cattle, sheep, geese, thatched roofs (one was of seaweed), historic garden plots, an old blacksmith’s shop (Svend’s father was a blacksmith), lots of greenswards for picnicking—and a host of schoolchildren doing just that. But their website is the best place to read the story of how these old buildings have been moved and reassembled to envelop visitors with what Danish country was like from 1650 to 1950.

On Friday, Svend, John and I rode the train into Copenhagen for the day…and started off right around the corner from Norreport train station, in one of those enviable markets. If you aren't hungry when you walk in, just inhale...
Torvehallerne is actually two side-by-side sleek, very cool-looking glass and metal structures with outdoor stalls to boot. The abundance of food—and the way it is displayed—boggles the mind. I would never have the patience to line up vegetables so temptingly. And it’s not just vegetables and fruits—you can find fish, cheese, meat, coffee, pastry, fresh herbs, plants, chocolates, anything you might need in a kitchen, including pots and pans. And liquor. And olive oil. And. And. And.
At the market, we had a great talk with Henri Lee, a fishmonger originally from Connecticut. Henri happens to be part Native American, which is most evident in the long ponytail he sports—and he’s been in Denmark since 1997. Henri told us 60% of his fish are local, and the tuna is from Portugal or Norway. You can learn more on his website— hav.dk —if you read Danish. But just the pictures are worth the visit.

Well, Denmark is a monarchy, so it only made sense to visit a palace … or two.  
We began at Rosenborg Castle, built by Christian IV, king of Denmark and sometimes Sweden, during the early 17th century. Opulent rooms, elegant royal jewels, imposing portraits, sparkling glass, too many riches to mention or comprehend … complemented by several life-size lion statues cavorting in the throne room. (Note: This writer has a great fondness for lions … or any cat. My favorite photo that I took on this trip was of Bubber, Lisbet and Svend’s cat.)  

And Denmark still has royalty … the current Queen, Margrethe, who is 75 and heads Europe’s oldest monarchy, was instrumental in assembling the exhibit we next visited, ‘From the Danish Royal Family’s Lofts and Cellars,’ across King’s Park from Rosenborg Castle. Amazing exhibit! You name it, you’ll probably find it here, from the mundane to the sublime. And the castle it’s in is called a palace—Amalienborg Palace of Christian VIII. And what castle/palace is complete without the changing of the guard? And that’s exactly what we saw enroute from one p(a)lace to another.

And did I mention that Danes are really good environmentalists? They have windmills all over the place and they ride bikes just about everywhere. But no biking this time for our small troupe—we walked and gawked. Copenhagen is full of fascinating buildings. The new opera house, the National Theater, the Stock Exchange with its fanciful lizard tower and tails! And a whole lot of people in the Library garden staring at their phones and playing Pokeman.

We lunched alongside a canal, then we walked some more, taking in the beauty of so many of Copenhagen’s buildings. At the train station, we learned our idea of traveling through Germany enroute to Prague was monetarily impractical. (Change of plans … ultimately, we flew from Copenhagen to Prague … less than half the price of a train ticket for one of us! But Prague is another story.)

After our walks through Copenhagen, we took the train back to the house for some steaks on the barbeque. In the morning, we began the next phase of this particular trip to new places…the Jutland Peninsula.