Copenhagen, Denmark
Date: Lodging: Distance: Total:
06/10/1999 Royal Hotel Copenhagen 163 KM 42194 KM

Copenhagen (Kobenhavn in Danish) doesn't offer high rises or sparkling skylines, but the old and new architecture combines to make a cozy (or hygge in Danish, which is the ultimate compliment) city.

Copenhagen is Scandinavia's largest city with a population of 1.5 million and capital of the world's oldest kingdom.

6 October 1999 - With 5.3 million people, Denmark is divided into three areas or regions - two are major islands (Fyn and Zealand) and one (Jutland) is a peninsula. Known as one of the world's most liberal countries, Denmark does not embrace religion, with fewer than five percent of the population being regular church attendees. A constitutional monarchy, Denmark's Margrethe II is the Queen but real power lies with the elected parliament (Folketing). There is a cradle-to-grave social/welfare system where hefty taxes (60%) ensure free education and medical services for all. Month-long vacations and seven hour workdays are the norm.

Denmark is proud of Hans Christian Andersen, whose fairy tales are the most translated works in history with the exception of the Bible. (While in Odense, we saw his childhood home.) Karen Blixen, author of Out of Africa, was Danish as well. The country is also known for its sleek, cool industrial designs applied to jewelry (think Georg Jensen), architecture, furniture and fashion. Even Australia's Sydney Opera House, with its futuristic, clean design, had a Danish architect, Jorn Utzon.

Copenhagen is on Zealand, Denmark's most populated island. We arrived in the city mid-afternoon to find a sprawling town of 1.5 million with few tall buildings and no skyscrapers. Denmark is known for embracing refugees and immigrants and this acceptance is evident on the streets. While walking with Jim, I saw Danes with pale skin and light hair mixing, walking and talking with Africans and other immigrants, but the style of these mostly young people was the same - grunge.

6 October 1999 - Kong Hans Kaelder restaurant, located in the oldest building in Copenhagen, offers a medieval atmosphere having been constructed half a millennium ago. Hans Christian Andersen penned 'Love in Nicolai Tower' in this building three hundred years after its creation.

The basement-level eating establishment, which opened in 1976, includes an open kitchen where you can see the chef and his apprentices preparing fabulous dinner. Several small dining rooms have stark white stone walls, a floor of large cobblestones and no art gracing the walls. Crevices and niches in the walls are used to store crystal wine, water and martini glasses. Every dish is brought to the table on a highly polished silver serving tray.

The food is as delicious as the surroundings are appealing. We ordered a South African Chardonnay and then were served a complimentary feta mousse, which was a bit too strong for my taste but the consistency was as light as a feather. I ate foie gras in three preparations - the lightly pan-grilled version was absolutely mouth-watering. Jim began with the server's recommendation - sautéed scallops served with wild mushrooms. He said his dish was delicious and didn't share a morel! We both then ate the grilled turbot, which was prepared to perfection with black mushroom flakes over the fish and pureed potatoes underneath. Onions/leeks, which looked almost like fettuccini, sat in a small pile by the fish and a dainty copper pot with lid held a pasta/bread type creation. For dessert we shared valrhona chocolate in five variations, which included an unbelievably delectable chocolate soufflé.

If you've read my comments on Bagatelle's in Oslo, you know that restaurant received two stars from the renowned Michelin guide, but we were most disappointed by the food. Kong Hans Kaelder receives only one star from Michelin but we thought the food and setting were mere perfection.


  Bridge linking Fyn and Zealand - two islands
  Odense to Copenhagen (Jim)
  Dinner at Kong Hans Kaelder (Paige)