My trip to Denmark uncovered inspirational art and impressive castles

By Chris A. Hale

For the Deseret News

Published: Friday, Jan. 25 2013 4:55 p.m. MST

The rest of Frederiksborg Castle is a simply stunning piece of Dutch Renaissance architecture dating from the early 17th century. Now a museum, the castle houses centuries of art. The castle and the baroque gardens that surround it are well worth the trip north from Copenhagen. Of special mention is the expansive vaulted chapel, its impressive walls and ceiling adorned with gold and the coats-of-arms of Order of the Elephant recipients.

Kronborg Castle in the city of Helsingor, should not be missed. Immortalized as Elsinore in Shakespeare's Hamlet, the fortress sits right on the bank of the strait separating Denmark from Sweden. In fact, perimeter canons still face their one-time enemy. Should the canons fail, the hulking statue of Holger Dansk sits in the dungeon where he sleeps until the time Denmark should need its hero again.

Rosenborg Palace, in the heart of Copenhagen, is an intriguing visit for two reasons. One, it is where the crown jewels of Denmark are kept and two, if you go at the right time you can see the impressive, if informal, changing of the guard. The halls are packed with paintings of kings and queens as well as their furnishings from generations past. I was most impressed with an intricately carved amber chandelier.

Worth mentioning here is that photography is permitted when visiting Frederiksborg, Kronborg, and Rosenborg.

Another appealing attribute of Copenhagen is that no matter where you may be in the city, there is always a park close by to escape the hustle and bustle of city life. We found a charming park quite by accident and spent part of our last day enjoying nature and the statuary interspersed among the flowering trees and shrubs. The abundance of parks is no accident; the city was designed that way.

The Danes all speak flawless English, which they attribute to watching American television with subtitles. They were friendly and engaging people who appreciate their city and its many pleasures.

We loved our time in Scandinavia. The statues of the Little Mermaid and Hans Christian Anderson, the “free city” hippie commune, Christiania and actual Danish pastries (which put the American versions to shame) were just the icing on the cake of a wonderful country.

Perhaps though, I appreciated more than anything, visiting the ancestral home of my mother who passed away earlier this year. Somehow, everything we saw and experienced made me feel closer to her.

Chris Hale is an aviation maintenance technician for a major airline who has traveled extensively with his family. In his spare time he writes novels inspired by places he's been. Find out more about his books at www.Chrisahale.com

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