Scandinavia Summer 2008 travel blog

Stephanie in front of Frederiksborg Castle

The Gardens of Frederiksborg Castle


Thankfully, the commuter train did not come throughout the night and allowed us a restful sleep. In the morning, drizzle greeted us as we crawled out of our tent. Eventually it subsided and we were able to eat breakfast and pack up our gear without getting wetter than need be.

The drive to the city of Hillerod (with a line through the o) did not take too long and we were parking near the Frederiksborg Castle by 10am. Tons of cars already filled the castle's parking lot, causing us to find a place further in town.

This was very serendipitous for Peggy, for we were near a Danish Sweater Shop. Both of the ladies happily tried on sweaters made of the finest Danish wool and Peggy found a couple to her liking. An hour later, we made our way to the castle.

Frederiksborg Slot was built by Christian IV in the late 1500s and has been used as a museum and national art gallery since 1878. It's museum of Danish history was donated by our favorite philanthropist Jacobsen. It took us over three hours to go through every one of the rooms offered for viewing to tourists.

The sections of the castle were divided into time periods and had furnishings, paintings, and other items to match the royalty of the era. (One thing we noticed is that the Danish kings were not exactly lookers in those days—with poor Frederik III taking the prize as most unattractive!) We did again, however, learn a lot about the Danish royalty and the history of Denmark. By the way, it must be easy for Danish school children to learn the names and order of their royalty for the past six-hundred years, for they were either Christian or Frederik and alternated each monarch! i.e. Frederik III followed by Christian IV, whose son was Frederik IV, etc...

We soon noticed why there were so many cars in the castle's parking lot when we arrived: Baptisms. Since it was a Sunday, there were a lot of little Danes being baptized. Celebrants streamed out of the chapel at regular intervals. Between a set of them, we were able to sneak into the chapel to take a look at its lovely architecture and design.

We then walked through the baroque gardens. The sun was shining and people were mulling around the carefully carved hedges and well-maintained flowerbeds. We headed over to the Garden Cafe for lunch, but soon discovered that the gardens were hosting a garden show. Therefore, part of the garden, including the part of the cafe, was open only to admission paying patrons.

Therefore, we returned to the castle, walked past its gates and soon discovered a small restaurant along one of its walls called “Leanora Restaurant” after one of the Danish queens. I had the fish plate while Peggy and Stephanie had the salmon. After a nice Sunday afternoon lunch, we drove to the town of Roskilde to visit its cathedral.

Since the Reformation all Danish kings—and almost all queens—have been buried in the Roskilde Cathedral. It also houses a number of medieval royal tombs, including Harald Bluetooth, one of earliest Danish kings, and Queen Margrete I who independently ruled all of Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Iceland, Greenland, and Norway in the 1300s (quite a lady for her time!).

We quietly walked throughout the cathedral and were awed by the size of some of the sarcophaguses. The most magnificent of which is that of Margrete I. Hers is right behind the altar and is the size of an oversized mini-van. Depending on the art style of the periods (or the size of the king's ego), the memorials varied in design and use of space. Naturally, Christian IV had a huge, ornate room and Fredrick III an oversized sarcophagus as well. Just outside the cathedral was the latest Royal that had been laid to rest in the 1970s in a very simple, almost lackluster in comparison, cemetery lot.

Since the cathedral was closing and the sun was making it's dip toward the west, we too continued along our way. Not too much after we left Roskilde we reached the Great and Little Belt Bridges connecting Denmark's island of Zealand to the island of Funen. The bridges made up a distance of 17 kilometers to cross and it took us a while to travel. The toll, at least, was this time “only” $42.

We easily found the campsite near the city of Odense and checked in. The Danish campgrounds we experienced are very different from the other Scandinavian countries. Here, tent campers are practically piled on top of each other. But we still managed to carve out our own niche among the other campers and relax for the remaining couple of hours of sunlight.

Dinner consisted of soup and various items found in our food collection. The evening ended with the ladies reading until they got cold and me writing our blog.

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