Denmark: diving into history and fairy tales

After some great days in Germany my trip is taking me further north to Denmark. I’m especially curious about the capital but I also got some secret tips from the Danish tourism board. Just like the Netherlands, Denmark is not a very big country, so you get around easily. What are we waiting for?

Blog Holland Denmark Den Gamble By

Reviving the past in Den Gamble By

Den Gamble By is a small town in the north of Denmark, which is famous for its Old Town Museum. When you enter the open air museum you feel transferred to an old Danish market town, as it looked in times of the famous author Hans Christian Andersen. There are historical houses, streets, alleys, yards, gardens and workshops. I learn that the oldest buildings date from 1550 to 1900. But it’s not only a dead town. There are people living here just like in the old times. They  cook, chop wood and serve customers in the various shops. A girl at the well greets me and asks me to help her fetch the water and a beautiful maid smiles at me. When I check my watch for the first time a realize with surprise that I have spent at least 4 hours here.

MrHolland_Vakantie_Denemarken

The art and food of Copenhagen

As you may have noticed in my earlier posts, I’m crazy about good food. That’s why I’m very glad that my dear friend Viona gave me the tip to visit Torvehallerne, a real mecca for food lovers. I don’t know where to begin. There are about 60 stalls, full of fresh fish and meat, crispy bread, sweet cupcakes and delicious vegetables from all around the world. I made a serious attempt to try all the offered food, but soon I realize that I have to give up. My belly hurts and it’s time to walk the food off.

In the afternoon I visit Statens Museum for Kunst. It is Denmark’s largest art gallery and exhibits Danish and international works of art from the past seven centuries. I visit the exhibition Flowers and World Views, which contains flower paintings from the last two centuries and also some strange blooms, I have never seen before.

130804 Blog Holland Holiday Denmark Copenhagen

Finally, I’m can’t wait to see the statue of the Little Mermaid, the fairy take character Hans Christian Andersen wrote about. It is a sad story a bout a 15-year old mermaid that saves a prince from drowning and falls in love with him. Since she wants to be with him so badly, she sells her voice to the sea witch in exchange for human legs. In the end, she does not get the legs but is transformed into deadly, cold sea foam instead.  A tale that moved the world.

Plan my visit to your country

I had a nice time in Denmark. Now I will travel to Norway and the UK. Can you recommend any great places in these countries I should definitely visit? Please share your secret tip with me!

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Portugal: an unexpected invitation to Lisbon

After exploring Spain, my initial plan was to continue my journey to Italy. But my friend Paulo invited me on my Facebook page to visit Lisbon, so I decided to have a stopover in Portugal. It was surely worth the effort! Portugal has a breath-taking landscape and some great cultural artifacts. Here are my favourite places.

Blog Holland Holiday Portugal Boca Do Inferno

Into the mouth of hell

Paulo picked me up in the early morning with his car. I’m not quite awake but Paulo says that he has to show me something really great. We drive to Cascais, a place at the west coast close to Lisbon. Paulo parked the car close to a path that led up some very high rocks “We walk from here”, he says. The hard walk  to the top of the rocks wakes me up and when we reached it I was sweating for two. But I quickly forget that when I get aware of the view. I look down the cliffy seashore to the roaring waves that crash against the rocks. Paulo tells me, that they call this place Boca do Inferno, which means ‘The Mouth of Hell’.  I’m fascinated by this place. While we continue our walk we find a beautiful cafe inside a little rocky cave. We enjoy the view from here, together with a hot cup of coffee.

Blog Holland Holiday Portugal Bairro Alto

Bairro Alto

Later this day, Paulo takes me back to Lisbon. He wants to show me Bairro Alto, the cultural and bohemian heart of the city. I quickly realize that Bairro Alto is a mecca for shopping chicks and night owls. It has numerous sleek bars, shops for all types of fashion, cosmetics, purses amd whatever a woman can buy. The facades a sprayed with a multitude of graffitis that express the different music subcultures of Lisbon. Suddenly my morning fatigue is forgotten and I only want to get into the clubs tonight.

MrHolland_Vakantie_Portugal

Wine from Porto

The next morning I leave Paulo’s house with a rest of hangover and Lisbon music in my head. But I absolutely want to see Porto before I travel further because it is an UNESCO World Heritage Site. Well, and because I want to try the famous port wine. Therefore my first station are the port wine caves in Vila Nova de Gaia . During a guided tour I learn everything about port wine and the guide pours more than one generous glass. I have to get out of here! For the rest of the day I stay away from spirits and just walk through the historical city centre. The streets are a continuous up and down but it fits the old, rusty charms of the buildings. You can see that the original design of the city has been conserved very carefully.

Plan your visit to my country

Though my trip was unexpected, I had a nice time in Portugal. Now I will definitely head to Italy. Furthermore I will travel to Germany, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Norway and the UK. Can you recommend any great places in these countries I should definitely visit? Please share your secret tip with me!