Tivoli is an amusement park and “pleasure garden” in Copenhagen. The park opened in 1843 and is the second-oldest operating amusement park in the world (the older one is in Denmark, too).

Gateway to Tivoli.
The park had 4.6 million visitors in a recent year.
A small theater ready for its show.
Why they call it Tivoli “Gardens” in English. That’s Tivoli’s pirate ship in the background.
The gardens draw strollers of all kinds.
Even the ducks sun themselves at Tivoli.
The Tivoli water wheel still works.

COPENHAGEN: Amalienborg

Amalienborg is an 18th Century rococo complex of palaces. Denmark’s royal family, one of the world’s oldest monarchies, still resides here.

Amalienborg from the canal.
The palace square with 1771 statue of King Frederik V on horseback.
At the palace square, you can watch the changing of the guard at noon.
Amalienborg central fountain.
Fun at the fountain.
Close-up of one of the four large abstract columns that flank the fountain.


Kastellet (Citadel) is one of the best preserved fortresses in Northern Europe. Shaped as a five-pointed star with bastions (projections from a wall that enable defensive fire in multiple directions) at its corners, the citadel was part of a ring of bastioned ramparts that used to encircle Copenhagen.

The King’s Gate to the Citadel.
The Rows, a barracks at the Citadel, which still supports military functions.
A moat encircles the fortress.
Closer look at a wall segment and the moat.
Moat guardians in training.
To us, the Citadel was a big park with great trails for hiking.
The Citadel has its own windmill, critical to supplies of flour and oats in a siege. Sixteen windmills used to stand on the ramparts of the city; this one is the last still working.
Directly across the moat on a southeast corner is St. Alban’s, consecrated in 1887, a traditional English Anglican church with a spire and stained glass windows. And picnickers.
Closer look at St. Alban’s.
Playing in the water at Churchill Park Fountain, just to the south of the Citadel.
Churchill Park Fountain.
Churchill Park


Rosenborg is a Renaissance palace, with gardens and museum, in the Danish capital. It houses the crown jewels.

Just before reaching the palace gate, we peeked into this Smørrebrød (“butter and bread”) restaurant. Google says Smørrebrød is a traditional Scandinavian open-faced sandwich topped with cold cuts, pieces of meat or fish, cheese or spreads and garnishes.
Main gate to Rosenborg next to the restaurant.
Gate and ornate facade of the palace.
To city residents, the grounds are a big park.
Children love the low limbs of the trees.
Except for the modern bike, the grounds could serve for an impressionist painting.
The well-tended lawns make a great place for a picnic.
The palace viewed from the garden.


Kronborg is a castle in Helsingør, north of Copenhagen. It was immortalized as “Elsinore” in William Shakespeare’s play “Hamlet.”

An ancestor of the fortress was built here in 1420. The castle is situated at the narrowest point (2.5 miles) of the Øresund, the sound between Denmark and Sweden. A coastal fortification here commanded one of the few outlets from the Baltic Sea.
From 1574 to 1585, King Frederick II had the medieval fortress transformed into a magnificent Renaissance castle. One of the most important in Northern Europe, Kronborg was added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 2000.
On the walk through Helsingor to the castle.
The castle begins to come into view.
Main gate of Kronborg.
Fortress wall and castle tower.
The sound viewed from the fortress ramparts. That’s Denmark on the other side.
Masters of the moat.


After a visit to Helsingors, we took the ferry across the strait to Sweden to visit the former royal palace Sofiero, now an extraordinary floral park.

Leaving Denmark for a brief excursion to Sweden.
Neo-Gothic city hall in Helsingborg, Sweden, en route to Sofiero.
A wall of rhododendrons greets visitors to Sofiero.
Park paths are drenched with color in summer.
Grab a seat at this hushed oasis while you can.
On the trails, your companions are plants of every imaginable variety that will prosper in the climate.
Awash with color.
Anne on the long and winding road in Sofiero Palace park.

COPENHAGEN: Scene on the Street

A post for photos of Copenhagen that don’t have anywhere else to go.

Tourist and seamen Stroll along Larsens Plads.
What was really astonishing was how few of them had locks.
Crowd forms for photos of the Little Mermaid.
The Little Mermaid from Andersen’s tale.
Frederik’s Church, 18th-century Lutheran church that boasts the largest dome in Scandinavia.
“Ansgar” is a name seen all over town. Archbishop of Hamburg-Bremen in the time of the Franks, Ansgar became known as the “Apostle of the North” for his efforts to bring Christianity to Northern Europe.


Despite sitting 65 miles inland on the Elbe River, Hamburg is a seafaring town (pop. 1.8 million). It is 800 years old, but the 2-year-old glass-and-steel Elbe Philharmonic (Elbphilharmonie) concert hall below hints that Hamburg is determined to be a vibrant 21st Century city as well.

The wave form of the roofline is a reminder that Hamburg dominated trade on the Baltic and North seas from the 12th to the 15th centuries, and its history and growth have been tied to shipping and transportation since. Depending on whom you ask, its port ranks first in Germany, second in Europe and third in the world (after New York and London), and it can accommodate the largest ships on the sea.

While its economy is still dominated by sea trade, Hamburg also is a center of German publishing. And it is one of three German cities (others: Berlin and Bremen) that is a state as well, with its own state offices and legislature.

Building the concert hall on top of a long-existing warehouse created problems, and the Philharmonic hall came in 10 times over original cost estimates and six years late. But the acoustics are wonderful, and the design now is a Hamburg icon that draws millions of visitors a year.
At the heart of the city is the imposing 19th-century neo-Renaissance city hall (Rathaus).
The swan is another symbol of the city. Legend says the city will be free and Hanseatic (a league of north German towns and merchant communities) as long as there are swans on the Alster, one of the tributaries of the Elbe. The swans are protected and fed by the city government.
Hamburg’s muscle can be felt in the massive ships in the harbor, the industrial dockyards lining the Elbe and the skyline of cranes.
Warehouses are an integral part of shipping. Warehouse City (Speicherstadt) in Hamburg is the largest contiguous warehouse district in the world.
The Unilever headquarters is an example of the striking architecture that is emblematic of Harbor City (Hafenstadt), by surface area the largest urban renewal project on the Continent.
Big German cities are identified with their major churches. Hamburg probably is most associated with St. Michael’s Church (called “Michel” here).
A second big church, no longer active, is St. Nikolai. Never reconstructed after WWII bombing, it serves as a memorial to the destruction that war brings.
The “green heart” of Hamburg is the vast Planten un Blomen Park, conveniently (for us) contiguous to the convention center.
Hamburg is crossed by hundreds of canals fed by the three rivers that meet in the city — the Elbe and its tributaries, the Alster and the Bille. Some 2,300 bridges — more than in London, Amsterdam and Venice combined — cross the city’s canals.
The fabled Reeperbahn “red-light” district — during daylight. The first two blocks outside the subway stop were dingy and sleazy, and that was the end of the visit.
On the other hand, “Hamburg’s castle,” as one article called it, was an unexpected delight. Its suburban grounds were lush and beautifully maintained, and displays inside included insights into privileged life in previous centuries.
One of our favorite memories will be Lake Alster, just 400 yards from the hotel. Lined by paths and cafés, the lake welcomed us with a mellow vibe on each visit.
Your host. That look turned into a smile an instant later. Honest. [Courtesy: Anne Swift]
World’s best traveling partner. Not fazed by anything — bad weather, rude people, strange languages, changing plans or spouse with a headcold.

HAMBURG: The Harbor

Hamburg is a harbor city. The harbor is the spot to view huge shipyards, stroll along the waterfront or enjoy excellent seafood. A tour boat is classic Hamburg, but you can get a similar adventure by taking the ferry. The ferries are part of Hamburg’s public transportation system, meaning your inexpensive ticket is valid not only on streets and rails but on the water. Among tourists, the most popular ferry is No. 62, which takes you on a 30-minute trip along the most important waterfront sights.

On a bright, warm day, a spot on the top ferry deck is a coveted position. Be prepared to elbow your way aboard and up the stairs. Watch out for sunburn.
Technology and processes that enable ships to load and unload directly to trucks and trains helped reduce demand for Hamburg’s row on row of iconic red-brick storage warehouses.
The Elbe is continually dredged to accommodate huge container vessels from all over the globe.
A container ship dwarfs a ferry.
The Dockland Building is one of several Hamburg structures that mimic the shape of a ship.
Unlike a tour boat, a ferry plies a real passenger trade, too.
The ferry pilot is not called “captain” but “ship’s leader” (Schiffsführer). And it is verboten to talk to him while he’s at the helm.
Docked near the ferry’s mooring is the 318-foot, three-masted barque Rickmer Rickmers. She was launched in 1896 and today is a floating museum. In 1958, she won the tall ships race.
The craggy roofline of the Elbphilharmonic hall dominates the skyline along the harbor, up river from the landing bridges where the ferry docks. The Elbe, flowing right to left here, rises in the Czech Republic and empties nearly 700 miles later into the North Sea.
Portugal has a distinguished sailing pedigree, and a long lunch of tapas in the Portuguese Quarter, just steps off the harbor, makes a good way to unwind after the hustle and bustle of the docks.

HAMBURG: Warehouse City

Hamburg’s Warehouse City (Speicherstadt) is the largest contiguous warehouse district in the world. The structures that survived WWII, built on the water on timber-pile foundations, are regarded as outstanding examples of industrial Neo-Gothic architecture.

Red brick is the face of Warehouse City, which was placed on the UNESCO list of world heritage sites in 2015.
The classic facades of warehouses built on canals to facilitate loading and unloading of ships.
Between these two rows of warehouses sits the picturesque Water Castle (Wasserschloss), which houses a tea “counting house” (Teekontor) shop and a restaurant.
We took a seat at a table on the terrace at this end of the Wasserschloss.
Alas, the red carpet was not for us. We were asked to leave the restaurant because it was being readied for a wedding reception. The couple exiting came out of the tea shop door to the right of the carpet.
The most important church in Warehouse City is massive St. Katherine’s, where incidentally, a wedding was taking place.
Hamburg also is a center of German publishing. These twin towers are the headquarters of Der Spiegel (The Mirror), the largest-circulation weekly news magazine in the country.