Cruise Diary ~
and Copenhagen, Denmark
Vikings, Castles, and Canals
For as long as I can remember, I
was fascinated by my grandmother's stories about Norway. Her family
came from Stavanger and it's been a dream to see her homeland.
I jumped out of bed to get my first
glimpse of Norway when the sun rose at 4am during our entry into the
Oslo Fjord. That's a bit too early to stay up, though. By the time
we'd docked, I was ready to learn about my ancestors and Norwegian
heritage. After a drive through a deserted Oslo (not only was it
Sunday, but also a holiday), we toured The Viking Ship Museum and
discovered their ships carried them not only to distant lands but
also to the next world, the heavenly Vallhalla. Once sunk and buried
in blue clay, the ships were essentially perfectly preserved graves.
Then we were off to the Kon Tiki Museum, which celebrates the
ancient style rafts used by Thor Heyerdahl to sail the Pacific, and
the Fram Museum, where we were able to walk through the strongest
vessel ever built for Polar exploration.
Cruise ships dock literally at the
foot of Akershus Castle. Begun as a Medieval fortress and royal
residence, Akershus burned and was rebuilt in the 16th century as a
"Renaissance" castle by King Christian IV. Beautifully
restored, the castle currently functions as a site for ceremonial
dinners and other royal events. The castle is captivating but its
twentieth century history is sad. During World War II Nazis used it
as their headquarters and executed Norwegian resistance fighters in
what is currently the park surrounding it and the adjacent
Our time in Norway was all too
short but I've promised myself a return trip. Our day ashore was
absolutely perfect with brilliant sunshine in a cloudless sky.
Although it was Monday, it was a
long holiday weekend throughout Scandinavia and very little was open
ashore in Copenhagen. We beat the crowd to the Little Mermaid and
from there our friend Bart led us on a walking tour of Copenhagen.
After stopping to change money in the New Harbor area, we enjoyed a
cappuccino in an outdoor cafe that provided lap robes for patrons to
ward off the chill.
Copenhagen is a wonderful city for
walking, with many streets reserved for pedestrians only. We walked
through the shopping district and a stroll through Tivoli's gardens
and then made our way back to the New Harbor to catch a canal and
harbor cruise boat for views of the city from the water.
Tuesday was yet another holiday in
Denmark and little was open in the city. We opted for a tour that
took us past the Danish "Riviera" with its beaches and
villas to Helsingor, the site of Kronborg Castle. Known as
"Hamlet's Castle" it commands an imposing view of Sweden,
only three kilometers from its ramparts. Back on the road, we past
Fredensborg Palace, summer home of the current Royal Family, on the
way to tour the lovingly restored Frederiksborg Castle and its
Baroque style gardens.
Day At Sea
Another opportunity to relax and
rejuvenate. I'm just planning
to be lazy until we arrive in Tallinn tomorrow...
Back to the Baltic Capitals Cruise