Travel

Hey, Hey, We’re The Monks

No trip to Tallin, Estonia is complete without a visit to the Danish King’s Garden. Watching over the medieval walled garden are statues of faceless monks, Ambrosius, Bartholomeus and Claudius. The legend goes, that during a losing battle, the monks prayed for divine intervention on behalf of the Danish King. Out of the sky fell a large flag, which became the national flag of Denmark.

Estonia is also considered one of the most haunted places in Europe. The King’s Garden is said to be haunted by a monk, perhaps a former executioner having a change of heart.

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LINKS

Visit Estonia

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Categories: Church, Estonia, Photography, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Kronborg Slot

Standing guard high on a promontory in Helsingor, Kronborg Slot (Kronborg Castle) was the home of Denmark rulers until the 1600’s. CPH1_-141

In 1785, the castle was being fitted for use as army barracks. The chapel was outfitted as a gym and fencing hall. The chapel was later refurnished with the original furniture and reinaugurated in 1843

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Detail of the main entrance to the chapel. CPH1_-286The chapel features the original pews dating back to King Frederik II.CPH1_-287CPH1_-139CPH1_-138The casements deep beneath the castle are a unique experience. Dimly lit and at times a bit treacherous, the casements are fun to explore but watch your step.CPH1_-288This subterranean labyrinth is where you can meet Holger. According to the myth of King Arthur, a Danish king known as Holger the Dane, was kidnapped by the sorceress, Morgan le Fay and taken to Avalon. He escaped to rescue France from danger and then traveled to Kronborg castle. Today he sleeps until he is needed to save his homeland. CPH1_-289

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LINKS

Visit Denmark

Kronborg Wiki

 

Categories: Castles, Church, Copenhagen, Europe, Hamlet, Kronborg Castle, Photography, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Exploring the Old City of Cartegena

Head towards the clock tower and you will find your way to the Ciudad Vieja or Old Town. The Old Town and Ciudad Murallada, the Walled City, lie just behind.  La Puerta y la Torre del Reloj is your entry into this amazing city. Cartagena1_The Plaza of the Carriages (Plaza de los Cloches) next to the clock tower, was the site of the original slave market. Slaves were brought into the New World through Cartegena and Veracruz, Mexico. And yes, you can pick up a carriage ride in the Plaza de los Coches. Cartagena1_-5If you’re on the hunt for some vintage record albums or a used copy of the South Beach Diet, this market is just for you.Cartagena1_-3Be sure to check out the street vendors and maybe pick up a Panama hat to keep you cool. The heat and humidity are overwhelming and most people stay away during the heat of the afternoon.Cartagena1_-18A towering statue of Christopher Columbus stands in the Plaza de la Aruanda. Columbus explored the coast of Panama, which was part of Columbia on his fourth voyage of discovery. Cartagena1_-4Modern art sculptures adorn the streets and plazas. This palenquera was one of several sculptures in the Plaza San Pedro Claver.Cartagena1_-6The Church of San Pedro Claver was built in the early 17th century. Saint Peter Claver was known as the slave of slaves by his Jesuit brethren. Unlike his brothers, Claver did not support Slavery and chose to minister to the many slaves brought through Cartegena. He would meet the slave ships before the human cargo was unloaded so that he could be the first and only friendly face they saw in the New World. San Pedro Claver was the first saint canonized in the New World. Cartagena1_-8The $5 entry fee was well worth it to get out of the hot sun for a half hour or so. The church grounds feature heavy wood furniture offset by the gleaming white washed walls. Cartagena1_-9Cartagena1_-7The altar is dedicated to San Pedro and his remains are visible underneath. You can check out his skull if you want to get up close and personal. Cartagena1_-12Cartegena1_-26 The mausoleum in the back of the cloister houses more recent parishioners.Cartagena1_-11Cartagena1_-10

LINKS:

Saint Peter Claver

The Church of San Pedro Claver

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Tales of Pohjola

Walking around Helsinki, dodging the rain and sleet, I happened upon this really cool building. The Pohjola Insurance Company building is decorated with forest animals and monsters from the tales of the Kalevala. The Kalevala is studied in schools and well known by boys and girls across Finland. Finland1_Kullervo is an orphan boy in search of a real family. In his journey he finds his real family, who he thought were slaughtered, but accidentally sleeps with his sister. When he finds out her identity he kills himself on his own sword. Not quite a happy ending.Finland1_-2

Pohjola is the mythical land of Finnish literature. Kalevela, the Land of the North is eternally winter and ruled by an evil witch. Finland1_-3

In another tale, Louhi, The Mistress of Pohjola, sends a bear to wreak havoc on Kalevala’s cattle. The hero, Väinämöinen kills the bear and they hold a feast. The bear is treated as a welcome guest, and the feast is in his honor.  Väinämöinen sings of the birth of the bear, friend and brother to man, born upon the shoulders of Otava, the Big Dipper. Helsinki1_-6Pohjola is where many believe that the roots of the world tree are. This could account for all of the trees and squirrels across the building’s front. More broadly the word refers to any northerly direction. Given its mythological namesake, it’s no surprise that the Pohjola Insurance company agreed to decorate their building with statues of monsters, fools and animals.Helsinki1_-7Helsinki1_-33

Categories: Europe, Photography, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Streets of Tallin

The capital of Estonia, Tallin is becoming  a popular cruise ship port on the Baltic Sea. Tallin’s old town is one of the best preserved medieval cities in Europe. The earliest traces of human occupation go back to 5000 BC. Unlike neighboring towns, Tallin has never been razed and pillaged.Tallin1_-25Toompea, the upper town is where you can visit Alexander Nevsky Cathedral. During the period when Tallin was under the control of the USSR, the cathedral was much hated by the people. They saw it as a symbol of oppression and in 1924 the authorities scehduled the cathedral for demolition. Unfortunately a lack of funds caused the project to be abandoned. Tallin1_-20

Tallin1_-21Between 1549 and 1625, St. Olaf’s Church may have been the tallest building in the world. Up until 1991, the KGB used the church’s spire as a radio tower and surveillance point.Tallin1_-31.jpgColorful buildings and twisting cobblestone streets are made to wander through. Tallin1_-23Local artists set up their masterpieces along the old city walls.Tallin1_-22Russian nesting dolls known as matryoshka are available for sale in many shops. Tallin1_-33Knitting played an important part in Estonia’s history, so much so that it wasn’t uncommon for hundreds of mittens to be knitted as gifts for wedding guests.Tallin1_There is something magical about the brightly decorated doors along Tallin’s city streets. Bright colors, metal and wooden embellishments turn each into it’s own work of art.

LINK

Visit Estonia

Trip Advisor: Tallin

Categories: Church, Estonia, Europe, Photography, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Fjords of Norway

Geirangerfjord in Norway often appears on lists of the most spectacular places on the earth. Created over several ice ages, the glaciers dug out the deep fjords and the towering mountains. Geiranger1_-2Geirangerfjord is home to several well-known waterfalls.  ‘De Syv Søstre’ (the seven sisters) dance playfully down the mountain while the ‘Friaren’ (the suitor) is said to be wooing the Seven Sisters across the way. Geiranger1_-3 Fairytales explain that the shape of the mountains is due to trolls. When the creatures are hit by sunlight, it’s said that they turn to stone. Could that be a face staring at us on the mountainside? Geiranger1_-4The tallest of the Seven Sisters tops out at an impressive 820 feet. Be sure to visit later in the Spring when the winter snow and ice are melting to get the best views.

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The “S” shaped fjord is almost 10  miles long and a mile wide. The waters of the fjords are as deep as the Grand Canyon. Boat tours, kayaking and hiking are all great ways to see the beautiful scenery.

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Perched high on the mountainside next to the Seven Sisters is the abandoned Knivsflå farm. It was ordered abandoned by the authorities in 189 due to the threat of landslides. It still stands today despite the threat of avalanches.

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LINKS

Geiranger Fjord

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Visiting the Queen of Denmark

Amalienborg Palace is one of several architectural and cultural masterpieces in Copenhagen.  The palace is still the residence of Denmark’s Royal Family. A statue of King Frederik V dating from 1771 stands in the forecourt. The palace is made up of four identical buildings. These are Christian VII’s Palace or Moltke’s Palace, a guest residence, Frederik VIII’s Palace or Brockdorff’s Palace, home of the Crown Prince family, Christian IX’s Palace or Schack’s Palace, home of Queen Margreth and Prince Consort and Christian VIII’s Palace or Levetzau’ Palace, used as guest palace for Prince Joachim and Princess Benedikte.

CPH1_-187One of the highlights of a visit to Amalienborg Palace is the pageantry of the changing of the guard. Every day Den Kongelige Livgarde take to the streets and march from their barracks by Rosenborg Castle to Amalienborg. At precisely 12 noon the changing of the guard takes place. Unlike the changing of the guards in England, there are no fences separating the guards from the public.

CPH1_-188CPH1_-189Although you can’t drop in on to visit the Queen, you can visit one of the buildings where 4 kings of the House of Glucksborg who ruled from 1863 through 1972 resided. Among the rooms you can see are the study and drawing room of Christian IX and Queen Louise.  Queen Louise was the great-great-grandmother of today’s Queen Margreth and through marriage allowed Prince Christian IX to ascend the throne.  Queen Louise made sure that all six of her children married well and Queen Louise and King Christian IX became known as Europe’s Parents-In-Law.  Four of their children sat in the thrones of Denmark, Greece, England, and Russia.

The study of Frederik VIII is an approximation of the way it looked. After the King’s death in 1912, his belongings were given away to family and friends. The heavy wooden furniture and faux leather walls make it a very masculine space.

CPH1_-190The private salon of Queen Louise is full of Victorian treasures and personal souvenirs. CPH1_-191Christian IX’s study is decorated with framed photos of family. During Christian IX’s time, photographs were a new sensation and expensive. They were a status symbol and also showed how seriously Christian IX took his fame as Europe’s Father-In-Law.CPH1_-192

LINKS

Amalienborg Palace

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Frederik’s Church

The Frederik’s Church’s green copper dome can be seen over the city of Copenhagen. Also known as The Marble Church or Marmokirken, began construction in 1749. The victim of budget cuts, the church stood in ruin until 150 years later when it was finished. If you plan to visit be sure to have some Danish Krone in your pocket as they don’t accept credit cards.CPH1_-125The gold lettering over the entrance portico HERRENS ORD BLIVER EVINDELIG translates to “the word of the Lord endureth for ever.” – 1 Peter 1:25CPH1_-126Some say the large dome was meant to rival St.Peter’s in Rome. It remains the largest dome in Scandinavia and one of the largest in Northern Europe.CPH1_-120

CPH1_-119The ornate Swan Organ is no longer in use. The swan is Denmark’s official bird.CPH1_-121CPH1_-122

CPH1_-123The inner dome of the church is resting on 12 columns. The cupola is split into 12 equal parts and decorated with angels and the 12 apostles.CPH1_-124

LINKS

Visiting the Marble Church

 

Categories: Church, Copenhagen, Europe, Marmokirken, Photography, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

An In -“Spire”-ing Skyline

In “The City of Spires”. the oldest building in Central Copenhagen is Saint Peter’s Church. Sankt Petri Kirke is in Copenhagen’s Latin Quarter. Built in mid-15th Century, originally was one of four Catholic Churches, today the congregation is made up of German speaking Lutheran-Evangelicals.CPH1_-42St. Petri’s Kirke is where you can find the remains of one Johan Friedrich Struensee. When he arrived in Copenhagen at age 31 he was King Christian 7’s doctor. He considered himself an atheist and man of the Enlightenment and never set foot in the church while he was alive.
After his affair with Queen Caroline Mathilde was discovered, he was sentenced to death by beheading on April 28th 1772. The body was dismembered and the parts taken to Gallows Hill. In 1885, some human bones were dug up at the site, which then belonged to Vestre Kirkegård (the cemetery). The human remains that were found belonged to several people, some showed evidence of being hacked with an axe. Thought to belong to Struensee, they have resided in a child’s coffin in the crypt under the church.
CPH1_-44From the Observation Deck at the Round Tower (Runtaarn) you can see the many spires of Copenhagen. The former St. Nikolaj Kirke (St. Nicholas Church) in the foreground is now a contemporary art museum.CPH1_-58St Nicholas Church was built close to the shore, and was the church of fishermen, sailors and visiting traders. The church was named after the patron saint of sailors.CPH1_-88 The Old Stock Exchange (Borsen) has the most interesting spire in the city. The tails of four dragons are intertwined to create the spire. The legend is that the dragon tailed spire guards the building against enemy attacks and fires. The Old Stock Exchange been spared from damage on many occasions, even when fires have broken out in neighboring buildings. CPH1_-87The Danish Chamber of Commerce now resides in the building.The three crowns that top the spire represent the Scandinavian empire – Denmark, Sweden and Finland.CPH1_-90Sitting in the Christianhaven section of the city, the Church of Our Savior has a spire with an external staircase for climbing to the top. The Church is visited by more people than any other in Copenhagen.CPH1_-212The 400 steps to the top wrap around the spire 4 times. Like many fortresses the steps wind to the right. The soldiers can defend the city by holding onto the railing with there left (less dominant) hand while brandishing their swords with their right.CPH1_-213A statue of Our Savior stands on top of a globe at the top watching over the city.CPH1_-218A quick train ride to the north is where you will find the spires of Kronborg Castle, also known as Hamlet’s Castle.CPH1_-141

LINKS

St. Peter’s Church

St. Nicholas Art Museum

The Borsen (Stock Exchange)

Kronborg Castle

Church of Our Savior

 

Categories: Castles, Church, Church of Our Saviour, Copenhagen, Dragons, Europe, Hamlet, Kronborg Castle, Photography, St Peter's Church, St. Nicholas Church, St. Nikolaj Kunsthall, St. Petri Kirke, Travel, Vor frelsers Kirke | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Where Anarchy reigns…

Freetown Christiania is on the outskirts of Copenhagen. In the 1971, some homeless people were squatting in old military base. When they broke down a fence to use an abandoned playground for their kids, Christiania was born.CPH1_-204Colorful murals line the outer walls and every street corner in this quirky artistic community. There is theatre, live music and many other types of artistic expression within these walls. CPH1_-205The people of Christiania forbid, guns, violence, hard drugs and cars. Fireworks, biker’s colors and bullet proof vests are also discouraged. CPH1_-206In researching my visit to Christiania, there were quite a few websites cautioning against taking photographs in the neighborhood. Before 2017, an area known as Pusher Street was the site of many Marijuana dealers. Although marijuana is illegal in Copenhagen, the  dealers were afraid that photographers would turn them in to the police for illegal activities. An incident in 2016 in which a police officer was injured by a gun shot caused the community to shut down Pusher Street. CPH1_-207Christiania is a mix of homemade houses, workshops, art galleries, music venues and  organic restaurants. The town exists as a society within a society, you cannot buy a house in Christiania. You have to apply for it and if you are successful it is given to you. CPH1_-208

This colorful town is a great place to get lost for an afternoon.

CPH1_-209CPH1_-210Remember, there be dragons here!

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LINKS

13 Things to know about Christiania

 

Categories: Copenhagen, Europe, Free Christiania, Grafitti, Photography, street art, Travel | 1 Comment

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