I had not seen her since right after I left college. It was not by chance that I was in Copenhagen at springtime. I was here to see someone special and it was in the spring several years ago that I had seen her last. Over the years I thought of her often. Many times while traveling to Copenhagen but managing my schedule to visit her was a regretable mea culpa at best. And for this I felt tremendously guilty. I remember how beautiful she was the first time I laid eyes on her. And the way she looked at me with that wide-eyed far away stare. How could I ever forget our time together. This occasion however would be different. My mind was set in stone. I had to see her again.
It was a bit of a hike from Tivoli where I was staying in the city center. Tivoli Gardens is a grand amusement park of epic proportions just south of Central Station. While the main attractions are the thrilling amusement rides there is a diverse smattering of theaters, concerts, festivals, exhibitions, restaurants and healthy amount of green areas where you can stroll until your heart is content. It is the second oldest amusement park in the world and a magnet for locals and visitors alike.
I walked up the broader boulevards to Nyhavn center. Then a set of narrower streets that wound around and jigsawed every which way towards the direction of the harbor. But I was not in the mood to be caught like a rat in a maze. My gait was purposeful. Resolute, as if driven by an expectancy of some unfulfilled premonition. Each stride bringing me closer to my goal.
Eventually my efforts were rewarded when I came upon the Gefion Fountain, the largest monument in Copenhagen. Lady Gefion in all her glory was as defiant and graceful as I remember. Legend has it that Swedish king, Gylfi offered Gefion all the land she could plow in a single night. Knowing full well she had no means to achieve this task.
But cunning Gefion outsmarted the king and turned her four sons into oxen and and thus achieved her reward. This fountain celebrates her victory. However lady Gefion was not the reason I came this way. I tossed a coin into the fountain in hopes that I would return someday soon and pushed onward.
After a short jaunt through the gardens on Langelinie promenade the path brought me to the inviting shores of the Oresund straight which lead to the Baltic sea and my journey come to an end.
There she was. She had not aged at all. So poised and as beautiful as ever. Stoic and forever vigilant in her task watching over the harbor just as Hans Christian Andersen intended. The Little Mermaid.
Copenhagen is actually quite small compared to most capital cities in Europe. It is the prized gem in the crown of the Danes dating back to the Viking era. The hearty Danes do not hibernate during the cold winter months so there is plenty of activity and much to do to keep everyone busy. However the radiant Baltic sun combined with the crisp Nordic air makes springtime the ideal season to experience the buoyant energy and effervescent spirit of Copenhagen.
The Nyhavn area, packed with waterfront cafes is the perfect place for the discriminating sport of people watching. And the Danes do put on quite a show.
Neatly situated between two seas, the North and the Baltic , Copenhagen shares much of its communal activities with its sister city, Malmo in Sweden. It is one of the greenest cities in the world brimming with culture, fine universities, parks, architecture and excellent museums. There is also a respectable presence of nightlife, cafes and restaurants that goes beyond the cliche’ but it is not over done. Once you are here you will understand why Copenhagen is consistantly voted the happiest city in the world.
The Danes by nature are not garish or effusive, nor mischievous or circumspect. Alternatively, there is a homogeneous acquiescence of civic conformity. Here, there is a more subtle and refined approach to leisure. It is a welcoming city and accommodating to all. Weather you are a local, a foreigner or just visiting to see a fin tailed friend.~ZT