June 29, 2014

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Canals near Kompagnistræde and colourful Nyhavn

Gammel Strand or old beach in English, is the name given to a central part of Copenhagen that includes the canal, the old fishing market area, and a square where you can capture some sun, before jumping aboard a canal tour of the city. It also happens to be just around the corner from Kompagnistraede, one of my favourite streets for kids clothes shopping in Copenhagen. While touristy, a canal tour is an excellent way of viewing some Danish architecture and ticking off your list the things you must do when in Copenhagen, such as the Little Mermaid or Den Lille Havfrue in Danish.  While I personally don’t associate this statue with life in Copenhagen tourists always want to see it and the canal tour is a convenient way to do so. From the boat you look back to the Mermaid and to the shore of Langelinie beyond, full of tourists furiously snapping photos of her. It’s a bit like seeing the Mona Lisa at the Louvre in Paris: it’s a lot smaller than you imagined, but the throng of clicking tourists don’t seem to care.

The canal winds its way through the centre of Copenhagen, opening up into the harbour and perhaps to one of the world’s most easily recognised ports, Nyhavn. The northern side of the canal has brightly coloured townhouses from the 17th century that distinctively signify traditional Copenhagen. We borrow from this classic image for our logo.  It’s surely the multi coloured buildings, the higgeldypiggeldy roof line of the terraces, its salty and bawdy past as a stopping place for sailors, and the fact Hans Christian Andersen once lived there, that makes Nyhavn such a distinctive tourist attraction in Copenhagen. We didn’t get down there much on our own, but I often took visitors to absorb the vibe, and the contrast with the breathtaking modern architecture nearby: the Royal Playhouse theatre and Opera House. The Royal Palaces are just around the corner and it goes without saying as a fan of Crown Princess Mary we took the tour of her home, just as the renovations were finished, when the public were allowed to traipse through the restoration of the Roccoco features and the artists murals on the walls provided lasting images for our time in Copenhagen. To grab your own piece of Scandinavia visit Dansk Kids shop now!


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