Map of North Sealand
2 May 1999
Set out early with a 24 hours unlimited travel ticket for Copenhagen
and North Zealand. We took the train to Helsingør to visit
the Kronborg Castle, more famously known as Hamlet's Castle. This
massive structure lies in the northern part of Zealand facing Sweden's
Helsingborg, also the narrowest point of the Baltic Sea. A few cannons
here would block Russia's exit to the North Sea. Erik of Pomerania,
who became king in 1412, built the castle to collect dues from passing
ships – the sort of thing neighbourhood bullies do from time immemorial.
(To be fair, most governments anywhere do such things as well). Today,
most of the people hanging around this monastery-like fortress (adorned
with beautiful sculptures and spires - unlike fortress elsewhere) are families
on outings and fishing enthusiasts.
Grabbed a quick sandwich and off we were to Hillerod And its most famous
attraction, the Frederiksborg Castle. Built by King Christian IV
on a small lake with some ducks and other waterbirds, this beautiful red-bricked
castle was a pleasant sight. Baroque, Gothic and Romanesque influences
in architecture were evident. Inside, walls were full of beautiful
frescoes and paintings. In the Royal Chapel, I was particularly attracted
to the numerous coats of arms belonging to visiting foreign dignitaries.
After exploring the castle and its extensive Baroque gardens, we spent
1/2 hour trying to take a decent picture of a duck and its egg-filled nest.
There was still time when we decided to leave Hillerod, and we took the train to the end of the line in Koge. This was noted in the Lonely Planet as a nice old town with half-timbered houses. We went there and found a dead town with a few not-too-impressive houses scattered among more modern counterparts. We were bored and decided to return to Copenhagen. This must be an off-the-beaten-track part of Denmark, as locals were staring at us. A group of five teenagers actually greeted us in Japanese and bowed in a respectable manner as they left the train.
Dinner was at a Singapore restaurant at the heart of Strøget. The owner was obviously proud of being Singaporean, when a picture of our prime minister at the restaurant as well as lots of fresh orchids, our national flower. It was a long day and we returned to the hotel after the dinner.
Click here to send your comments to Tan Wee Cheng, Singapore
Click herec to visit the author's homepage, Nomadic Tales