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[ edited & typed: 07-18 ]


Kronborg Slot: Left Copenhagen in a downpour, which had (only temporarily, as it turned out) petered out to a misty drizzle by the time I arrived in Helsingør. Kronborg castle looked suitably gloomy & Hamletesque in this weather. Walked around the fortifications, and for a while it even looked like it might clear up entirely, but this turned out to be wishful thinking, by the time the castle opened the rain had intensified again...

I'm not sure what I expected, but Kronborg was something of a disappointment to me; as bare as Rosenborg Slot was stuffed, whitewashed rooms, the paint slightly mouldy and peeling in places from the damp, with only the odd painting, tapestry and piece of furniture. Several points for gloom, but it's rather hard to actually imagine people living there. People other than the cast of 'Hamlet', that is, because as a scenery it'd be quite perfect... The view on the sea and Swedish coast is nice, though again in a slightly depressing way, at least in this weather.

A beautiful Flemish late 16th century tapestry with a rhino in a jungle setting complete with griffin, as if the artist weren't wholly convinced a rhino was any more real...


(On a sidenote, apparently in the first version of the history of Hamlet ('Amleth'), as written down by a medieval Danish historian, Hamlet is a great success at the English court, marries the king's daughter, later returns to Denmark, revenges his father by killing not only his uncle, but burning down the castle over the heads of the court, is acclaimed king and lives happily ever after, or as near as was possible then. I find this psychologically intriguing how such a rather straight forward success story was by steps turned into a tragedy full of existential questions...)


Visited the Casemates, which were chilly, damp, dark and slightly creepy due to fact they saw fit to give them an air of realism by putting up life-sized mannequins of soldiers in there. The rain outside felt positively tropical after...

The castle church was more cheerful, richly carved painted and gilded woodwork.

Skipped the maritime museum and sat in the entrance hall, waiting for the rain to lessen enough for me to walk back to the station without getting thoroughly soaked. Why, with the weather they're having they don't sell umbrellas in the souvenir shop, escapes me... or raincoats. I wouldn't have been picky. Looked out in the rain, munched M&Ms, jotted down these very important details in my diary, and was fleetingly tempted to just steal one of the umbrellas lying around there. Told my evil self to shut up and kept wondering why when I'm normally so pessimistic about everything, I insist on being so unrelentingly optimistic about the weather. No, it will not rain. It will clear up. Well, soon, anyway.

Eventually at least the rain slowed down enough for me to venture out again, looked into the Sct. Marie Kirke on my way back; very pretty, pillars and walls of brick, vaults painted white and covered with frescoes, the same detailed woodwork as in the castle church; pleasantly light, pastel overall effect.

Back to the station, the rain increasing again, bought the cheapest umbrella I could get, which is small and probably not of much use if it's really pouring or the rain comes from one side, but I refuse to spend three times as much on something I've got at home anyway, but was just stupid enough to forget packing.

Waited for my train, looking out into the downpour and watching Swedes embarking & disembarking the ferries mostly apparently to buy their alcohol here, judging from empty beer crates they carried and number of shops I noticed on my way...



Took the train to Fredensborg Slot, and surprisingly enough the weather actually did clear up, with only the odd 1-minute shower and even an occasional glimpse of the sun, so that at one point I found myself dressed in a spaghetti strap top, juggling sweater, sunglasses and an umbrella...

Day improved vastly in every sense...

The palace is a pretty baroque from the outside; the interior partly restored, partly modern furnished as it still serves as a residence for the Danish royal family for most of the year; the guide offered more gossip than art history. Fun fact: they're using the window panes as guest book for guests of state, found the signature of our ex-ex-president, who'd managed to get the month wrong, crossed it out and corrected Sept. to Oct. much to the amusement of the rest of our visiting group.

Got to visit the royal kitchen gardens & Orangery, which is modern, as the original one hasn't been preserved, but a very clear, restrained, stylish rendering of the traditional architecture.

Very beautiful park sloping down to a lake, a small formal baroque garden in front of the palace, but for the most part the original severe design had since been changed to an English park, more organised around the palace, a wilderness on the edges.

Walked down to the lake & was writing this sitting on a bench on a sort of pier terminating in a round platform, sound of the waves lapping on the shore, grey clouds still hanging low, the woods on the other side of the lake a hazy greyish green that suggested rain. Flocks of crows veering across the sky, screeches of a gull. Wind stirring the trees and the dark and silvery water, occasional drop of rain. Grey bleached wood of the pier and benches, a crow hopping across it. Quite alone, and hoping I hadn't misread the opening hours.

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