September 5, 2010 - Copenhagen, Denmark

One common thing you’ve been hearing about in most of my recent posts is the fact that it is “the last time we’ll be visiting this place” or how “we are one step closer to being completely done with the Baltic.” And today is no different, but this time, all those statements are not only applicable, but technically, also the last time you’ll be hearing them. Our stop in Copenhagen today officially ends our journey through the Baltic!

So, to celebrate, Kelsey, Erin, Nic and I got off the ship as soon as we were done with our rehearsals and headed into town, via shuttle, to Tivoli! If you remember, Nic and I had planned to go to Tivoli the last time we were in Copenhagen, but opted not to when we got caught up in the culture and celebrations. But today, we were all in it to win it (after all, unlike usual, this visit in Copenhagen was not an embarkation day, but rather a traditional port of call).

In many ways, a visit to Tivoli is the definitive Danish experience. It is the ultimate expression of “hygge”, the unique type of coziness that the Danes strive to create in all aspects of their lives: there are thrill rides, but none is too extreme; there are hot dogs and candy floss and ice-cream and beer; and a host of family entertainments, from jugglers to orchestras, to parades, to Sting.

The fact that year after year Tivoli attracts major international artists, albeit those with severe MOR tendencies  - people like Tony Bennett, the Beach Boys and Phil Collins – to its open-air stage is a testament to its pulling power. Michael Jackson tried to buy the whole place after he played there in the early 1990’s, as did Disney a few years back. But the very idea of their Tivoli falling into the hands of Americans, especially Disney, horrified the nation and there was an outcry.

Tivoli’s glitzy blend of escapist, fairytale gaiety and defiant traditionalism may not be to all tastes, but even the most cynical of visitors usually find themselves won over by its relentless, wide-eyed schmaltz. This is Denmark’s number one tourist attraction and an incredible 4.5 million visitors (a figure close to the national population) pass through the gates each summer. In all, over 300 million people have visited in over a century.

As Americans, having heard that Tivoli is what inspired Walt Disney to build Disneyland, we were very excited to see what it was all about. I expected to be hit in the face with an almost-replica, but that isn’t what happened at all. The park was gorgeous, yes, complete with huge flower gardens and unique, bubbling fountains; however, I didn’t see a thing that reminded me of Disneyland. I was a little confused. Regardless, we walked deeper and deeper into the park, taking in all the sites and attractions.

It was a beautiful day weather-wise and we also really lucked out on the crowd situation. The park seemed practically empty. We were able to get on every ride that we wanted with no more than a five minute wait, although most times we walked right on. There were no extreme thrill rides, more of just your typical amusement park rides. For example, they had the swings, bumper cars, smaller roller coasters, etc.

There was one ride, however, a Fairy Tale-themed “people mover” of sorts, which definitely caught my attention right away. If Walt Disney got his inspiration from anything in the park, it was this. In fact, I wouldn’t call it inspiration as much as full on copying. This ride was “It’s a Small World”! Everything from the artwork to the colors, from the cue line to the cars you sit on, it was all a replica. Well, actually this was the original! The only difference was the actual theme of the ride. Here, you ride along and watch as popular fairytales are depicted, as where on “It’s a Small World” you simply ride staring at different nationalities from all over the world dancing and singing. Whatever the case, I finally was beginning to see the connection.

At first, we were worried we wouldn’t have enough time to accomplish everything we wanted to in the park, but as it turned out we had more than enough! We rode every ride we wanted to, shopped a bit and even had the chance to indulge in something we were looking forward to ever since we found out Tivoli had one – Coldstone! It was heaven! I got my traditional banana ice cream with graham cracker pie crust! YUM!

The day turned out to be really enjoyable, and although the ticket prices were steep, I am glad to say that I actually made it to the infamous Tivoli Gardens! What better way to celebrate the end of the Baltic than flying through the air on a swing or racing through tunnels on a runaway train cart!?



Italics = Time Out COPENHAGEN



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1 Comment

September 19, 2010
Last stop in Copenhagen sounds like it was worth the time there. I loved the pictures by the fountain and the Steeler Jersey are everywhere!! Rides sounded fun and a great end to the Baltic. You will have fond memories for a lifetime.
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