Our last day in Denmark – the bags were packed and we were ready to leave our cosy little studio apartment in Copenhagen. Our first stop of the morning had us drive into the city centre and find a small car park, Copenhagen is a pretty chilled out city to drive around as long as you remember to give way to cyclist at all times. We were heading back to Vors Frelsers Kirke in Christianhavn as the wind was a lot calmer and we wanted to climb that golden staircase! I say we – Callum has a mild fear of heights, yet he has never turned down the opportunity to accompany me up what are usually many narrow flights of stairs to the top of some tower of a ridiculously old building. He may roll his eyes a little but he is a good egg!
The climb started up a fairly normal square spiralling staircase which took us to the height of the main building to the wee ticket booth. Through this and after a couple more flights of the same steps we headed through a door and into the tower itself. It is an old timber framed building and we were climbing what appeared to be an extremely old, if not original, stairway winding its way around the outer edge of the inside of the tower. The main bulk of each floor was grated off and items of interest, like old statues and unused or broken stone cherubs, were left for us to look at as we climbed past. A dull yellow light illuminated our way through the dark building.
After several empty floors we found ourselves in line with the clock mechanism, the huge dials and wheels were fascinating to see up close! Further up still we emerged onto a floor which was divided by glass panelling. It housed a carillon – a musical instrument, typically housed in a belfry, that consists of a minimum of 23 cast bronze, cup-shaped bells, which are played serially to produce a melody, or sounded together to play a chord. The one we were looking at is apparently the oldest in Northern Europe, sadly we didn’t get to hear it while we were there.
More narrow steps led us up to the end of the indoor section of our climb. Stepping out onto the narrow platform we looked out over Copenhagen, a pretty city with lots of towers and steeples punctuating the skyline. Walking around the first flat layer we took some photos and tried to pick out some of the places we had visited the previous day. The walkway starts to climb around the tower, the further up you get the narrower the stairs become, spiralling round and round until you reach the very top – here the footpath narrows until nothing, so that you can’t physically go any further. The views from the very top are much the same, with the added benefit of feeling very exposed and high up! The wind definitely wasn’t as strong as the previous day but it was still strong enough to highlight the fact that you were, in fact, on the outside of the roof of a very tall building, with nothing but a pretty black and gold railing keeping you there.
As with all things of this nature, we had to drag ourselves away from the views, descending the small awkward ladder back inside and down the spiral staircase until we were back at ground level. We walked back to the car, taking the slightly longer route through Nyhavn and back along the banks of the river. Traditional architecture gave way to enormous modern buildings that lined the edge of the changing water, still and reflective one moment before the wind whipped it up the next. Before we knew it we were in the car and heading away from the city, the rest of our day was going to be spent giant hunting!
The Six Forgotten Giants were made from scrap wood with the help of local volunteers, and is the first chapter of Thomas Dambo’s on-going story: “The great story of the little people and the giant trolls”. They are scattered around, lurking in lush forests, meadows and by calm waters in suburban Copenhagen. The idea behind the sculptures was to bring art out of the museum to show the beautiful and often overlooked nature spots around these areas. We set out of for the day with our little treasure map to try and find as many of the giants as we could before having to head to the airport to travel home.
Little Tilde was our first of the day, walking through a beautiful green parkland, the pond in the middle twinkled blue with the reflection of the bright sky, the fluffy white clouds rolling away in their usual fashion above us. Skirting the edge of the pond a small track broke off and disappeared into the trees. The dirt track meandered through close woodland before breaking out into a clearing surrounded by much larger trees. This is where we found Little Tilde, stood between two trees gazing out through a gap in the foliage to the water beyond. She was probably the cutest of them; she had an endearing face, a rounded physique and a longish tail. Standing just 11ft tall she was also the smallest of the bunch.
Thomas on the Mountain was our second, not too far from Little Tilde we continued on the main footpath around the parkland before once again breaking off into the trees. Autumn was just starting to set in, there was a sprinkling of leaves on the ground and more falling in the breeze. We walked through the trees, up a small steep track to the top of a wee hill where, through the last few spindly trees, we could see the large figure of Thomas sprawled out on the ground. He was a pot-bellied, long legged creature leaning back on his elbows with his legs stretched far out ahead of him. We sat on his shoulders peering down the hill, his permanent view, watching the world go by below.
Teddy Friendly was our third – he was a drive away from the first two and once we found somewhere to leave the car we found ourselves exploring another obscure area of greenery in outer Copenhagen. The overgrown grass was swaying in the breeze as we made our way to the water’s edge, mostly hidden by trees and shrubs we could just make out small patches of it shining through. Teddy Friendly was a short legged, rather stout character with exceptionally long arms. One arm lay out ahead of him creating a footbridge over the muddy stream which trickled into the river (or pond, we never did find out!) He had a fantastic beard, jagged and random, pointing in every direction. We sat and enjoyed the sunshine for a while, with the ducks swimming past us in the glinting water.
Oscar Under the Bridge was our fourth – and personally my least favourite. On the coast a wide gravel track ran parallel to the Køje Bugt in the Baltic Sea, which wasn’t visible due to the sand dunes which lay between. We passed a field of Heelan Coos and a few small patches of woodland before making a right turn onto the bridge. It didn’t take long to locate Oscar as his huge wooden hand was reaching up over the edge of the bridge, hanging on to the railing. Making our way down to the bank we were confronted with a mass of twiggy hair, he was sat in a rather ungainly manner (you couldn’t help but stand right between his legs) and he had an unfriendly face… ergo my least favourite!
Our return from Oscar Under the Bridge was pretty eventful, just as we were passing the highland cows again a French bulldog ran across the path straight into the field and started chasing the small herd around, yapping at their hooves. The frantic owners weren’t too far behind but there was really nothing they could do. The dog was ignoring the calls and you would be stupid to go into a field with huge beasts with even huger horns running around in a panic. We tried to help for a while but time wore on and we ended up having to leave them to it – we felt pretty bad for the situation as the dog had been trodden on a number of times and the cows were obviously stressed. Sadly we will never know the outcome, hopefully the dog got tired and relented…
Hill-Top Trine was our fifth – in another obscure piece of greenery nestled in a fairly built up, urban area we once again left the car and wandered along a grassy track. Strolling through the empty field, through a copse of trees and out the other side we came across Hill-Top Trine perched on a slope ahead of us. She had an almost sad face and a small amount of twiggy hair, her hands stretched out in front of her created a small platform. Climbing up on her shoulders and walking along her arms we sat down in her hands which had created a perfect seat, big enough for two! We sat for a while talking about how the day was drawing to a close and it was nearly time to go home, we just had one more giant left to find.
Sleeping Louis was our sixth and final – walking through a recreational park we entered a small clump of dense trees. It was early evening and the day had clouded over, the park wasn’t busy but we could hear voices in the distance. In the middle of the trees was a clearing and there, stretched out on the ground, was Sleeping Louis with his mouth agape and eyes tight shut. His long limbs lay out on the ground and his cavernous mouth created a tunnel into his body. The end to a successful day of giant hunting!
All that was left of our day was to make sure our baggage was in order and then head to the airport. We got ourselves a few snacks for the plane, checked our bags in and proceeded to read our books in the airport until our departure. It was a late but pain-free flight and although it was incredibly sad leaving Denmark behind after an incredible week of exploring a new country, it was nice to get back to the van and make for the Lakes and home.