60 Years Ago Today

Thursday, 28 August 1952:

In the morning I was up early and out to explore for a spot to eat. While walking I caught sight of the opera across the square, art gallery, and a big monument to a Danish king. There was a cold wind along with the sunshine. As I strolled down farther along the canal I chatted with a policeman. As a result I never did find a place to eat. Then I went back for the kids and we walked around and ate in the hotel. Across the street I ended up purchasing a map.

At 10:30 a.m. we proceeded to the Rosenborg Castle Gardens where we met a blonde female guide. This guide had just seen Margaret Truman two weeks before. She talked to us about socialized medicine. Then we passed by a few schools, the largest public hospital, and the Danish Museum of Art. There was a high school designated for Danish civil engineers only. We continued past the Danish Naval barracks, bomb shelter, statue of King Christian IV, Swedish church in Copenhagen, World War Peace Monument, statue of woman warrior from Viking time, and fortress on an island.

And we got to see the Little Mermaid statue by Erickson which was unveiled in 1913. This 50 year old statue was modeled after a ballet dancer. The story behind the statue is that the mermaid wanted to live like other humans. Here the English Channel extends into Denmark.

There was a large fountain on the harbour featuring a female warrior from the Viking time driving several animal figures. The warrior’s name was Gefionspringvandet hence the Gefion Fountain, which was sculpted by Anders Bundgaard. Gefion was a Scandinavian goddess who plowed Zealand away from Sweden by turning her sons into oxen. We learned about Frederick V, who was king of Denmark and that all the kings in Denmark were Protestant or Lutheran.

As our tour continued we saw the Royal Academy of Arts, Kings Square, Opera House, Hotel Angleterre where Eisenhower had stayed, Royal Stables, Tivoli Gardens, town hall square, museum, Christiansborg Palace, University of Copenhagen, and Our Savior’s Church with a golden spiral staircase up to the tower on the outside. There was a bridge to take boat trips from the harbor to Copenhagen which surrounded the old town. I could see a new bridge that was being built. Next we observed the Serum Institution and a green tower Stock Exchange in Dutch Renaissance style.

During his rule from 1766 to 1808, Frederik VII, King of Denmark, signed a constitution that gave Denmark a parliament and made the country a constitutional monarchy. In front of the Parliament Building there was a statue of Frederik VII. Our guide told us the current minister of justice was a woman. An old town hall used to be the old center of Copenhagen.

Soon after we passed by the Caritas Well. On the queen’s birthday the Caritas Well, the oldest fountain in Copenhagen, used to spring with golden apples. This tradition tracked back to the 18th century. Lastly, we viewed the Round Tower which was built to study stars made by King Christian IV and then we headed back to the hotel. Our tour guide recommended a little book which had facts about Denmark.

At the hotel two missionaries, Sister Nola Johnston and Sister Tanner took us to find bikes. The first place was all out of rental bikes, but farther down a store had some bikes. We all rented some for all day for 5 kroner. So we took off after a trial run with our skirts flying in the wind just like all other good Danish women.

We headed first for a place where most of the missionaries stayed. It was quite a ways off, but it was really fun on bikes. We used the special bike lanes. After meeting with more missionaries, we chatted awhile. And after that we all crawled on our bikes and headed for the Rosenberg Palace.
At the palace we discovered the crown jewels, Frederik’s portrait, cameo vases, Hall of Mirrors, bird cage clock, and throne room with big silver lions. There was a military drill taking place in the courtyard and a room full of vases, plates, and china.

Soon after we headed to Christiansborg Castle, Dr. and Mrs. Rogers and several of our crew had to put extra things over our shoes to enter the castle. There was a king staircase with white marble, flag, tapestries and a painting of Christian VII, who ruled from 1766-1808, the Father of Europe.
Next we took a quick look at a Frederik V and Queen paintings, Danish porcelain vases, Marlon tapestries that took six Danish ladies six years to make, Danish West Indies chandelier, Chippendale chairs, marble panels, and a throne room that was last used in 1814. The present Danish king had not been crowned. All the floors were made with different kinds of wood with oak or swamp oak.

There were paintings of a battle when the flag had come down, King Christian IX, and King Christian X, who was the father of the present king. King Frederik VIII founded this present Christiansborg Palace.

Other pictures included large paintings of the royal family, Danish royalty, Russian royalty, and Norwegian royalty. Then we ventured into the velvet room and the queen’s reception room. The latter had red plush velvet walls which were covered with huge tapestries and Venetian chandeliers, along with a model of the famous fountain of golden apples that was made for the Rosenberg Castle.

Our tour continued with more paintings by Eversen on the ceiling and an ornate grand piano. There were signs of the zodiac around the balcony and paintings of Hamlet delivering a message to Queen Elizabeth I.

We also saw the queen’s dining room, Meissin porcelain vases, Bohemian crystal chandeliers, banqueting hall, a chandelier which surpasses all chandeliers from Charles 15th of Sweden, and large tables that seated 52 people and could be extended. The first and second Christiansborg Palaces burned down before the present palace was built. A little boy was called down for taking pictures.

The next room was more gorgeous with a chandelier from King George I of Greece. Every year the chandelier was lowered and taken apart and cleaned. We hurried up the queen’s staircase to the king’s private library with 10,000 books. And there was another library upstairs with 50,000 books.

We faced beautiful cabinets in the Alexander hall, mosaics over the doors, door handles carved in ivory, and a frieze depicting Alexander the Great entering Babylon. The frieze was saved from the fire and restored to its original condition. There were such beautiful floors throughout the whole castle.

Then we entered the hall that was used for buffet suppers, scrambled down the stairs, and found a painting of King Christian VI at battle where he lost his eye. Unfortunately the wrong eye was covered in the painting. Lastly we glimpsed the queen’s gateway.

Then we hopped on our bikes and we were away again. We stopped at the Spiral Church where we climbed to the top inside the building and then outside the building in the rain and wind. I snapped pictures from the top of Copenhagen below us. The tower swayed or at least it felt like it. On the way out I saw a machine with sandwiches in it. Wow!

Soon after we traveled over a big bridge in 5 o’clock traffic. We returned our bikes and took pictures of the missionaries. Then Margo tried to get her camera fixed and I tried to get my shoes fixed. Unsuccessfully once again!

Now back at the hotel we proceeded to get ready to go to Tivoli, the second oldest amusement park in the world. After examining some of the day’s purchases by some of the crew, we jumped on a streetcar from King’s Square for the Town Hall Square. Tivoli Gardens, which was across from the Town Hall, was great fun and I enjoyed it.

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