2013 Summer (Baltic and Britain – Copenhagen, Denmark – Day 2)

Our second day in Copenhagen on the 16-day Baltic cruise took us to two castles: Kronborg Castle, famous as the setting for Shakespeare’s play Hamlet and Fredericksborg Castle in Hilleroed, a magnificent Renaissance castle that is now the Nation Museum of History.

En route to Kronborg Castle in the town of Helsingør we drove through a very high-end residential area with huge houses and lovely landscaped yards. Kronborg is one of the most important Rennaissance Castles in Northern Europe.  It is a UNESCO World Heritage site located at the extreme northeastern end of the island of Zealand on the 4 km-wide (2.5 mile) sound that separates Denmark and Sweden.  The castle dates back the 1420s when King Eric VII built Krogen and Känan, Helinsborg on the opposite coast of Øresund.  The two fortresses protected access to one of the few outlets to the Baltic Sea.

From 1574 to 1585 King Frederick II had the medieval fortress transformed into a Renaissance  castle.  The Swedes besieged and captured the castle in 1658 and took many of its art treasures as booty.  The castle ceased to be a royal residence in 1785 and was converted to a barracks for the army.  After the army left in 1923 the castle underwent extensive restoration and was opened to the public.

Shakespeare immortalized as Elisonore the setting of the famous drama Hamlet.  The play is enacted here all summer long. As a child I loved my doll house and as an adult I still love miniatures. After the tour of Kronborg we got back on the bus and were driven to the Frederiksborg Castle, which has been the home of the Museum of National History since 1859. There was a lengthy walk on a very old cobblestone street to get to the castle. The castle was built at the time of King Christian IV (1588-1648) and restored after a fire in 1859.

The museum contains Denmark’s most important collection of portraits and history paintings as well as many other examples of decorative art.   The Chapel dates from the time of Christian IV and contains lovely, simple images of the prophets and apostles.

                               Loved this beautifully hand-carved wooden bed. The beds are very short because people slept sitting up.  It was considered unhealthy to lie prone. This cabinet opened up to expose a 3D hall. There are many, many drawers and secret spaces hidden in it.   Just look at the detail of the lace and leather in this painting! These huge tapestries contain hundreds of thousands, if not millions of stitches – done by hand over long periods of time.  It would take years to complete something like this.

 Three generations of the current monarchy of Denmark. There were so many beautiful art pieces in every single room.  I loved the panel below.  It showed the king on one side and when the slats rotated the queen is displayed on the other side.                  Not too shabby of a garden to stroll around in.  And, once again, back on the bus and back to the ship.  Overnight the ship sailed to the port of Warnemünde, Germany; the closest port access to the capital city of Berlin.

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