Friday, August 21, 2009

European Tour 2009 part 2: Helsingør/Kronborg


Day 2
26 July 2009
København - Hovedstaden - Denmark

Plan for today is simple: go north to Helsingør and bang around, investigate the crossing, maybe go over to Sweden, and see about getting another shirt or getting some distro done.

007. Typical Danish street view, including a statue I didn't shoot because there were too many locals around. Note the wide bike lane.

Because I didn't lug my to-this-point-accumulated change out, I couldn't get on the metro till I found a kiosk or something to break a bill at, and by the time I did, I was in "fuck it, I'll just walk to the Hbf" mode. So I did, and took some more pictures en route.

008. Some things are universal. Note that cinema=biografene. So maybe that A&E channel isn't so badly misnamed (provided they carry it here, that is).

009. This is also the name of the street that this old brick apartment house is on.

010. What are these bikes anchored to? Well, air, mostly -- air and communal trust. Either bike theft is uncommon or surplus used bikes are extremely so, so that nobody worries about theirs getting pinched too much. Later trips down this street found that maybe one bike in 10 was actually locked to something.

011. One of the ornaments in the Tivoli garden poking up over a building between me and the city center.

Tip: as alluded to above, if you don't like lines and come, like me, from a country with antiquated credit card security, break your Danish bills into coins as soon and as much as possible, or you will find yourself walking a lot. The ticket machines won't take even a 50-kroner bill, which is absurdly inconvenient. I didn't mind much, because I'm used to city hiking, and this turned out as a great way to toughen up for Wacken and Party.San, but those whose vacation plans don't include hauling a 40-pound pack over the countryside may want to avoid it.

Also tip: if you're going anywhere north of København on the Zealand coast, say you're going to Helsingborg. I saved about 25k by letting the teller win that argument, which is the cost of a beer (at retail, not the bar) and a rant about overspecificity in subsidy. Böshet.

Helsingør - Hovedstaden - Denmark

012. Side of the train station, Helsingør.

013. Plaza between the trains and the sea.

014. Oh, those Danes and their porno! These statues are, of course, completely innocent, but the abovementioned gas station also had a HUGE rack (floor to about 2m up, meter wide) of ridiculous hardcore porn DVDs browsable by anyone and averaging about $15 per. They are really serious about this "no undue regulation of pornography" business.

015. WWII monument, Helsingør.

016. Across to Sweden.

017. Same shot, full push. This isn't just possible, it's practical. The sea is pretty calm, even with heavy ferry traffic east-west and moderate container traffic north-south. Now to find some kayaks -- no run across on this trip (despite the number of later shots devoted to hydrography), but if someone will come along next time....

Kronborg, Helsingør

The former seat of the Danish royal family for several centuries and for much longer their official Jacking Fools Who Don't Pay Sound Dues Place, this castle/fortress complex is now a huge multipurpose museum and was also the setting of Shakespeare's Hamlet as well as Holger Danske's version of Arthur's Seat.

018. Entrance; the moat security has seen better days.

019. Sloping fortifications.

020. A minor point of disagreement. Ok, how old is this gate really?

021. Wide shot from the same place.

022. Up to the castle. Shot while trying to stay out of frame from a Japanese couple taking pictures of each other with various parts of the castle as backgrounds on an iPhone.

023. A small door and ventilation shafts, probably going to the outer works.

024. Latin inscription. I don't read Latin, but I know people who can; a lingua franca in its day much like the hanzi shot in Korea.

025. Inner courtyard.

Casemates, Kronborg

These are the actual underground fortifications below the castle, somewhat renovated, and somewhat just left. This is a must-crawl for anyone whose adolescence prominently featured the words "dungeons" or "Moria".

026. Entrance. Even medieval Danes were pretty big; I didn't have to duck much through the areas that saw high traffic, and I require a little under 2m in headroom.

027. Ventilation shaft up to the surface.

028. Sample corridor.

029. Same shot, natural lighting. In the next level down, there was even less light, which explains the vending machine full of flashlights by the main entrance to the area. Of course, I went without for a more natural experience....even though a real defender would have been not an idiot and packed a candle or an oil lamp or something.

030. Holger Danske in natural light.

031. Holger again with flash. This sculpture is obviously 20th century, but the legends go back to the pre-viking days.

032. Looking back to the outer courtyard, through windows that can be seen above in shot 021.

033. Pitchblack kvlt dungeon.

034. Musketeer mannequin by a rifle port. In the dark, unawares, you don't know if it's a mannequin or maybe a historical interpreter until the flash goes off. Very cool.

035. Grain storage bins. Somehow 034 and 035 disappeared in the original hand-written notes (not on a page-break or anything, mind you, making it extra weird) and this was numbered as 036, with the preceding being 033 because I forgot about 005 when I was writing notes. No matter, we're refuckingnumbering.

036. Graffiti in soot from when the electric lamp below was oil. The soot is that old, the graffiti, probably not, though there are dates in the 1700s in some of the masonry elsewhere, probably from the Swedish occupation, because Danes wouldn't scratch their tags in their king's house.

037. Over the centuries, people prefer to step in the middle, not on the cracks. See the Great Wall.

038. A later memorial to Billy Shakes -- HAMLET SET HERE.

039. A big lock on the bulkhead next to where I originally wrote this section up.

Castle chapel, Kronborg, or, Adventures In Natural Lighting

From my experiences with the Frauenkirche in Dresden, I prefer to shoot Baroque and later churches on natural, because the designers planned for them to be lit from the outside, which was not the case in the Renaissance and earlier. This place, no exception, despite the smaller windows.

040. Inscription in German blackletter. Nearly everything in this chapel was auf Deutsch -- Latin for Lutherans? In fairness, the Danish royal family at the time had significant ties to the German state of Magdeburg, so this is probably also a decent explanation.

041. Hymn board. The chapel is still in use once a month for regular services and occasionally for weddings and the like.

042. Royal ikon.

043. Baroque-styled organ. They may be Protestants, but they're not Calvinists.

044. Decorative arch over the royal pew on the second story.

045. Pulpit. With flash.

046. Altar tryptich, shot on natural. Seconds after this took, someone shot flash behind me. Noobs.

047. Badly out-of-focus donation jar. As a lapsed Catholic (and thus in no way either active or Lutheran), I had no motivation to donate, but it's also kind of weird to take a picture of; hence no flash and bad shake because it's poorly lit, because nobody figured it would be photo-worthy. I don't know if it was just the weird shape that made it pic-worthy, or the incongruity of having a small, beat-up donation jar in the royal chapel of a country with a state church. I mean, whut?

048. Water pump in the courtyard.

Royal Apartments, Kronborg

Anywhere else, this is a mid-brow condo development with kitschy painted half-timber fronts and an overly annoying association that still can't keep the tennis court swept; here, it's the other main part of the castle museum.

049. Flag and battery, out towards the Sound.

050. Where those ventilation shafts (see shot 026 above) come up.

051. An attempt to get some kayakers messing about in the water north of the castle.

052. Scaffolding, and the reason for it. I don't know if this is bad modern air or crappy original stone.

053. Model of the original courtyard fountain, since jacked by some Swedes. There is some debate about the accuracy of the details, since the Swedes made it into belt buckles and stuff after they got tired of having five tons of Danish bronze statuary sitting around in their yard not being a functional fountain, but this badly blurred shot probably works well as a close approximation due to not preserving much of the original detail.

054. Explanation of the Cyrus series featured in the tapestry exhibit (some samples may appear in later shots). Read it all, then go wat.

055. Painted ceiling panel in the royal chambers.

056. Wide shot of a doorway, same room.

057. Original table. Note the NO TOUCH sign.

058. Original from China or imitation from Meissen? Despite having been to both areas, I'm not a pottery appraiser and can't tell.

059. Tapestry; note the very humanoid face on the lion in the lower left.

060. Dresser with an inscription indicating year of manufacture.

061. Original silver mirror, not silvered glass. Shot side-on to minimize backflash; there was a fair bit of tarnish on the surface, but it was still mostly functional.

062. Tagging has a long history. Here we have the monogram of Christian IV, alias C4. Bombärstil!

063. A note to set up the next picture.

064. Picture this with alternating blue and yellow boards as described above. There's a word for that, and it's HYPE. This was the corridor leading from the royal chambers (previous pics) to the grand ballroom (coming up).

065. The ballroom, now hosting the modern part of the tapestry exhibition.

066. Not a cheap takeoff on the HSV flag.

067. Proper artist credit, still disputing the source.

068. Most of a piece called, in English, "Nothing".

069. "Fireworks at San Antonio Castellano", not by Frazetta.

070. Dudes' junk: NSFDRF. (Not Safe For Danish Royal Family).

071. An old globe showing the poorly-explored northern Pacific.

072. An old stove of monstrously inefficient design, showing why Ben Franklin originally got his genius cred.

073. Furnished royal apartments.

074. Some amazing inlay work.

075. Another royal room.

Maritime Museum and telegraph tower

In this last section of the castle museum, you get some nice Danish maritime history, a bit of Greenland, your obligatory indoor mountain climbing, and then more goddamned model ships than any one reasonable person might ever want to come in contact with.

076. What the hell is it with me and going to museums where people save old crappy bread? (Last old crappy bread museum here.)

077. Renaissance-era scribbling in brick.

078. Someone else's photo of the Emma Maersk, currently the world's largest container ship, under construction.

079. The Emma Maersk in about 1:300 scale or so. At nearly 400 meters in beam, you could technically play out a group stage on top of the containers long as you're prepared to lose a lot of balls overboard.

080. Native Greenlandic art. Now Lovecraft picking Greenland as a site of the survival of the Cthulhu cult makes a lot of sense.

081. Rifle modified to fire salvage rockets.

082. Mini-bombard set up likewise. If the other option is breaking up, you'll take a few small holes in your ship to put lines in.

083. A not-open door, on the way up the tower.

084. It's not Europe if you don't do some indoor mountainclimbing. Looking back down the steps from the top.

085. Harbor view from the roof.

086. Looking back into town.

087. The copper-clad roof, and some weird pointy parts.

088. Marina to the north. Any serious crossing will probably have one of its legs start here, in some heavier surf.

089. That way to Norway. Maybe another time....

090. Trumpeters' Tower (not open) from the roof of the telegraph tower.

091. Incomplete graffiti. Write faster noob!

092. Door to the royal pew (after coming back down and going past a horde of model ships). I resisted the urge to intrude.

093. Original floor pattern. When the old medieval castle was converted into a Renaissance palace, the floors were all done up like this.

094. You're out of ticket parts! Go eat lunch or something! This museum took a little more than five hours to go through completely; getting lost in the casemates or having any kind of interest in model ships would significantly increase this figure.

095. Postcard shot of the castle, leaving.

096. It didn't come out, but this is probably the most-photographed-by-native-English-speakers sign in Helsingør. It says Hamlet, and is thus guaranteed to make native Anglophones over the age of about 16 take a picture, though why and to what use is anyone's guess.

097. You can almost reach out and touch it.... (with typical navigation hazard)

098. Low high-water line and soft breakers indicate an excellent launch point and usually calm seas.

At this point, I wanted to take a shot of the castle from this beach, but the camera batteries ran out, and I stupidly did not bring my spares. Time to go try to buy some more; Sweden can wait till tomorrow.

Luckily for the guy, I was out of battery when I saw my youngest brother's double waiting for the train back to København. Unluckily for me, I was also out of battery while walking around in "real Helsingør". local shops! cool houses! Priestergaerde! strip club! And no batteries for sale in the one open kiosk. Sundays. Well, there's always tomorrow, and expensive reloads at the 7-11/ticket office at the station. Yes, instead of having a permanent ticket office for the train, they added tickets to the stock of the 7-11 in the station building. Got to go there.

099. In addition to being a nice beer, they also have a solid revenue stream locked in if Nintendo ever makes a brewing game.

There are a lot of 'out' metalheads here; not even in transit to/from fests, just going about their daily business in HammerFall, Megadeth, and Cattle Decapitation shirts. And Nordhavn (never hit from the ground on this trip, unfortunately, just the train) looks like a cool place to work....and there's a lot of stuff floating around to the effect that Denmark doesn't have enough workers for their economy.....

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