Day 19 – Castles and Trains

So I mentioned before that I was using this Copenhagen Card, which covers entry to things and transport. While amazingly, it also covers transport out to areas that I would not consider to be part of Copenhagen. I guess they are considered part of “Greater Copenhagen”, but to me it would be like saying that Hudson, WI is part of Minneapolis.

Anyways, I hop on the S-tog (never did figure out what the S means, Tog is train). It essentially runs like a local train would. I headed up to Hillerød, where Frederiksborg is. (It’s a good thing I picked up a tourist map, because I definitely thought that Frederiksborg Palace was in Frederikberg Park. Which is a completely different direction and area.)

My first stop in Hillerød was the mall, because I had found some place that sold fitbits! Got my new fitbit, was all set to just run with it, but it needed charging, so I guess I’d have to wait a few more hours. If only I had remembered to bring my portable charger with me!

Next off I walked to the Castle. It is quite cool because it is on a series of islands in a lake. I’m sure at some point they were connected by draw bridge or some other moveable structure, now they are connected with permanent bridges. Anyways, I was sad to discover this was yet another collection of paintings and memorabilia instead of a restored castle. Oh well. The building had clearly gone through some troubles and almost none of the original interior remained anyways. The gardens looked amazing, however I hadn’t planned as well as some past days, and was lacking enough layers. I swore that I’d be warm enough in shorts in 15 degrees, but I didn’t factor in the wind and clouds. No park dwelling for me.

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Back to the train station to take was actually described as a local train. Super nice though! Obviously none of the amenities that come with the regional trains, and not the billion seats all facing one way with tray tables, but very nice and clean. To me, nicer than our light rail at home. I had to read the schedule/train stops about 10 times to figure out what train to get on. There were two that went from Hillerød to Helsingør. Turns out the only difference was the route and how many stops and the time, so really, it didn’t matter which one I got on.

At Helsingør, finding the castle was extremely easy. Clearly it’s a big draw for the town as there were signs right from the train platform. On the way, I found the library, which happened to have computers set up for free use. Well, if you remember earlier, I had a fitbit that needed charging. They also had free wi-fi, so I was pretty content to hang-out at the computer for 30 minutes or so. If you follow me on instagram, I’m sure you saw that.

Kronborg Castle was the type of castle I had been waiting to see! Helsingør (written Elsingor some places) is the town that is at the point closest to what is now Sweden, and the town Helsingborg. At the time of this castle’s establishment, both sides of the water were Denmark (remember, for a large part of history the Danish ruled over all of what is now Sweden and Norway, or at least most of it). The castle was established so that the king could force all ships sailing through the area to pay dues, or taxes. It started as a small castle, but around the 16th century underwent some additions, partly because the cannons of the time were getting better and there was no way the walls could withstand the newer ones.

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In this castle, there was an area that was particularly dedicated for the women of the household (queen, staff, etc.) to walk inside. This was in order to save their shoes. Crazy to see. I can’t imagine living in the castle because it must have been brutal to keep it warm at all. But this was used as the Royal residence in the time of Frederik II, after which it was used as a summer castle for some time, and then later abandoned. However, it’s one of the few that weren’t built by Christian IV, who built what seems like every other castle in Denmark. (A little tough to keep straight who built what, because they liked naming things after themselves, but the line of kings have names that pretty much alternate between Christian and Frederik from the “modern” time of the middle ages).

Inside one room (can’t remember which one now, a smaller hall) they had tapestries depicting the kings. Originally there were 43, now 7 hang in this hall, and 7 more in the National Museum in Copenhagen. They were made by Frederik (the something) to in an effort to demonstrate that the Danish monarchy was older than the others around them. How amusing. But it was cool to see that they all had different thing to distinguish them, and the Danish Coat of Arms of the time they ruled (which changed a lot over time actually). The danish coat of arms has 3 lions on it, which makes more sense to the 3 silver lions guarding the thrones I saw the other day.

Also in this room is a canopy which was hung over the king’s table at all meals (see the previous slide show pictures). The canopy was awesome and giant. I can’t tell you about what’s on it any more, but for once there was an awesome display telling you about it. When Sweden captured the castle (~1640 if I remember correctly) they took a lot of things with them, including the canopy which must have been in a trunk. Anyways, it was kept in Sweden, and is normally on display in a museum in Stockholm, so I was excited it was in Kronborg.

I took a walk around the outer walls of the castle (again, see pictures above), and then headed back to the train station. I was planning on taking the S-tog back to Copenhagen. All the S-togs that run in Copenhagen (like the one I took in the morning) are a red train. All the trains in the station were silver (only 4 tracks, 2 trains). And they were all going to Sweden. Looked at my S-tog map to try to figure out what was going on, couldn’t. Asked the conductor standing outside the train (thank goodness everyone speaks beyond fluent English). He nicely told me this train was going to get me to Copenhagen central. About half the way home, I took my map back out and realized that the nice silver line which I just figured was another S-tog color, was in fact a regional train. Way too much time spent trying to figure that out. Got home safely and quickly!

I decided I really should check out Tivoli, as it was right by my hotel and central station. And because I could get one “free” entry (normally 99dkk ~ $15) per day with my Copenhagen card, I didn’t lose anything if I decided I really was too tired and left shortly. I got in, took a walk around, went to check out the one ride that looked awesome (each ride is 75dkk…. woof). After finally figuring out where the entrance was, turns out it was down for the day. The ride is essentially a giant kite eating tree (for those of you that remember the old Camp Snoopy rides), and you must get a good view from the top. Oh well, decided to come back tomorrow if I saw it up and running.

I walked around the rest of the park, but that night there was an Elton John concert, and so they were starting to close down lots of the walk ways. The concert would be awesome, and you could hear without a ticket I’m sure, but huge crowds for something I’m only sort of interested in, doesn’t work for me. I decided to just head home.

On my way out, I actually got yelled at. I had been drinking a cider I brought in with me (I hadn’t had it on the train like planned). Turns out you can’t bring in drinks. Denmark allows you to drink pretty much whenever and where-ever you want, so I hadn’t even considered that! Oops. Luckily it was just a telling me, and I kept heading out.

Wow sorry, that’s a novel. There just wasn’t anything I could leave out!

P.S. This is the first day which I’ve had clothing struggles. The biggest part of the struggles was my inability to keep my food in the container, and not on my clothes, both my coffee and my yogurt decided they were more fashion statements than food. The other was my lack of warmth, but that was poor planning not lack of resources.


Steps: 17,750 (12,750 logged after charging my fitbit! The rest are an underestimate)

Floors: 25

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