Vacationing in Copenhagen (vi) – the open air museum

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Just north of Copenhagen is the Frilandsmuseets, or Danish Open Air Museum. It is one of the largest open air museum in the world with 50 buildings from Denmark, Sweden, Schleswig and the Faroe Islands. It’s easy to get to via the bus system.

You can spend a whole day at the museum, there are a myriad of different buildings, some of which contain workshops like shoe makers, and woodworkers. There are also sheep, ponies, cattle, and an abundance of farm fowl.

Manor house, Taagense, Lolland

Farm from Ostenfeld, Schleswig




Farm from Østerlars, Bornholm


Kayaking at the cottage

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A couple of years ago we bought kayaks, for doing some water sport in the summer. Normally we take them when we rent a cottage, and spend a few days just paddling about (nothing serious). We bought a pair of Santee 126 Sport kayaks, made by Hurricane. Made of UV-resistant, thermoformed plastic, they are *super* light kayaks, easily luggable by one person. 39 pounds in weight, and 12’6″ in length, they have a rear external storage compartment, and a forward internal access bulkhead. This means the kayak floats nicely should it flip over. It comes in a bunch of nice colours too. The seat is super-comfortable, and the kayak is easily maneuverable. The opening of this kayak is large as well, giving it a less enclosed feel, and making it good for activities such as fishing. You can get cockpit covers and spray skirts from Sealskirts.

Boudin noir

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cooking / deli

Call it what you like, Bourdin noir, black pudding, blood sausage… is always delicious. One of the oldest types of charcuterie it is commonly served with breakfast, or with sautéed potatoes or apples (as I ate it as a kid), blood sausage it always delicious. This one from Sanagan’s Meat Locker in Kensington Market, TO. Cut into ½” (10-12mm) slices, they are a chocolate brown colour, flecked with pieces of fat. When fried in a pan with a little oil, they become pitch black and crispy.

Vacationing in Copenhagen (v) – where to shop for food

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The grocery stores are *interesting* if you are use to shopping in stores with a large assortment of produce. We stayed in a less touristy part of town, and yet I didn’t see too many independent cheese, or fruit and vegetable stores. Were they hidden, I don’t know. I shopped for basics at two grocery stores fakta and døgnNetto– there are a bunch of others here. Some of these are open 7 days a week, so you don’t have to panic if you arrive on a Sunday and nothing is open (like in Switzerland). (Note, that some of the discount supermarkets are starting to disappear of late). Here is some info on grocery shopping.

Downtown there is a food market known as Torvehallerne. Close to the busy Nørreport Street and the Botanical Gardens, you can find 60 stalls where you can buy anything from fresh fish and meat to whisky,  chocolate and exotic spices. It’s an excellent place to both eat, and shop.

There also outdoor flower, fruit and vegetable vendors.

With in-season produce…

There are a multitude of gourmet food stores and greengrocers.

Deli shops and cheese mongers.

Butchers, and seafood vendors.

Overall a great food experience.



A good brush

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baking / kitchen tool

Not all brushes are created equal. Unbeknownst to me, I have been collecting brushes for years. Why? I have no clue. I seem to have a small collection of pastry brushes, from Sweden, Germany, Denmark? Other brushes too… for cleaning, and sweeping. Something about the old school nature of these items. In Copenhagen there is a small store which sells household products such as brushes. It is called Blindes Arbejde  and they are handmade by blind and visually impaired artisans. I bought a bunch of them when we were in Copenhagen a few years back.

These brushes tend to use natural bristles, such as horse hair, goat hair, or coconut fibre.

The design of these brushes is hundreds of years old. Tapered holes are drilled in the wood, and bundles of bristles are woven in using stainless steel wire.

For pastry brushes, I prefer boar bristle. Not silicon, or synthetic of any sort. But then I use these brushes for baking… either brushing on egg, or melted butter, or icing. For slathering on BBQ sauce I would recommend silicon. It’s a personal preference. I have aa series of pastry brushes, from Denmark, Sweden, and Germany.

There is also the Swedish brush maker Iris Hantverk, which make similar brushes. In Canada, you can find some of the Iris Hantverk brushes at Mjölk in Toronto.


Vacationing in Copenhagen (iv) – what to eat?

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There are plenty of excellent things to eat in Copenhagen… it really depends what you want. It can be something as simple as hot dogs, or as refined as dining at award winning NOMA (currently closed but set to reopen at a new location sometime soon). Hot dogs you say? It seems they are the fast food of Denmark, and can be found everywhere – including the main city squares. One of the best places to get a hotdog is DØP – an organic hot dog stand located near The Round Tower. But if you are in Copenhagen, then there are two things you must try. One is Danish pastries… this is the place to try pastries, only obviously they aren’t called Danish pastries, just pastries. The first is smørrebrød, which is typically rye bread open face sandwich. We ate at Restaurant M, which was extremely delicious. Here are some of the dishes we had:

Smoked eel with scrambled egg, and smoked salmon

Liver pate with bacon and mushrooms, and Danish style beef burger

Chicken salad with bacon and mayo, and steak tartare

If you like high-tea, there is a tea shop in the downtown called A.C.Perch’s, in business since 1835.

Downstairs there is a tea store, whilst upstairs is the restaurant.

There are also great places to eat in the market Torvehallerne. Like fish and chips.


Vacationing in Copenhagen (iii) – museums

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Copenhagen abounds with museums and galleries. There is the art gallery, the National Gallery of Denmark, and the Arken Museum of Modern Art. There is the wonderful National Museum of Denmark which is in Copenhagen and is associated with a series of  museums,  all over Denmark, including The Open air Museum, and The Frøslev Camp Museum (a WW2 POW camp). When we visited the National Museum, there was an excellent Viking exhibit which included a viking longship.

The National Museum of Denmark

Like many European cities, history abounds. A short hop from the centre of town is the Renaissance style Rosenborg Castle. Built by Christian IV (he seemed to like building things), as a summer castle in 1606-1634. The extensive gardens of Rosenborg Castle in central Copenhagen. Actually successive kings only lived here until 1710, after which it was only used for official functions, becoming more of a storehouse for royal family stuff. There are three floors packed with furniture and artifacts from the 1600 and 1700s, and a basement (treasury) containing numerous crowns etc.

South of Rosenborg are the four palaces of Amalienborg, home to the Danish Royal Family. The Royal family bought the palaces from four noble families after the nearby Christiansborg Palace burned in 1794. Christiansborg Palace is now comprised of royal buildings, and the seat of the Danish Parliament (this is the third Christiansborg, the second one, finished in 1828, also burned in 1884).

A panorama of Amalienborg (click to see full-size version)

Further afield is the Danish Viking Museum, which was established in 1969 following the excavation of five Viking ships known as the  Skuldelev ships. The museum now contains numerous additional ships, and has a shipbuilding yard where they perform experimental archeology. We didn’t visit this time, but it’s on the list for the next visit. North of Copenhagen there is also The Museum of Natural History, housed in Frederiksborg Castle, and Fredensborg Palace. Further afield Denmark abounds in castles.

Vacationing in Copenhagen (ii) – things to see

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Copenhagen abounds in sights to see. Just walking around time is a great experience. Note that in the summer months there are a *lot* of tourists. Not surprising, its a popular city to visit. Below is a view from Amagertorv, described as “the most central square in central Copenhagen”, looking towards the Nikolaj, Copenhagen Contemporary Art Center (in a converted church). This square is very popular.

A great place to start is in the centre of Copenhagen at the Rundetaarn, or The Round Tower. Completed in 1642, the tower which was built by Christian IV as an astronomical observatory. It is Europe’s oldest working obervatory.


It has a very unique spiral ramp which leads to the top of the tower, which has a height of 114 feet (34.8m). The ramp is 686ft is length, and turns 7½ times around the central core of the tower. Built so that a cart could make its way up the tower to the library near the top.


The spiral ramp inside the Round Tower

From the top you are provided with exceptional 360° views of Copenhagen. Looking out you will see a skyline full of towers and church spires.

Architecture in Copenhagen is varied and exceptional. Below is Copenhagen Cathedral Vor Frue Kirke, a short walk from the Round Tower.

Nyhavn is a 17th-century waterfront lined by brightly coloured townhouses. Home to numerous small boats, it is somewhat of a tourist

Copenhagen is also great from a shopping perspective, with large design stores like Illums Bolighus, HAY, or smaller places like Blindes Arbejde. (where they sell home products like exceptional brushes made by blind and visually impaired makers).