No, I am not talking about the guy next door… I mean it in a larger-scale level. Like country-level neighbour. Yes – I’m talking about Denmark. It had been a while since I last went there and I had been meaning to check Helsingør for ages. It’s the Danish town that’s right across from where I live now (Helsingborg) and it’s super close – I can see well details on a clear day. And there is the ferry which takes leaves every 15 minutes and takes only 20 minutes to get on the other side.
So, I finally decided to do it last week since the forecast was promising sun and pretty decent weather for the season. I talked to a friend and we decided to pay a visit to Louisiana too. No, we did not space-jump to USA – Louisiana is a well-known Danish museum of modern art located in Humlebæk (a small town 35 km away from Copenhagen and only 10 min by train from Helsingør), that is the most visited museum in the country and no wonder. We were aiming at a temporary exhibition called the Arctic that tells and shows a lot of interesting information about the most northern part of Earth but since none of us had been to the museum before we also wanted to check out the permanent exhibitions and the sculpture garden. After a short pleasant walk from the train station, we got to a small-looking place with a rather surprising queue in front. We patiently waited to get to the ticket desk and then ventured into the Arctic exhibition. I won’t bore you with the many amazing things I saw – go see for yourself. However, there are a few points I’d like to share. First, polar bears are huuuuuuge! I know, I know, they are the biggest bears bla bla bla but it’s quite an experience to see from a close distance what a magnificent beast they are… I sure was surprised. Second, those Inuits must have it really hard… so cold all the time (the average temperature in the Arctic region never gets above 10 degrees) and they have to eat raw seals and sleep huddled together to keep warm and a 1000 other things we can’t even think about in our cosy warm homes. But they do have some amazing toys they craft for their kids – I saw a doll made of skin with no face but a hoodie crevice instead, and some tiny fish-shaped thingies carved from bone with very sharp looking teeth. Third, air baloon to go to the Arctic…what were they thinking?! It was unsuccessful attempt of course. And last, they were showing a video from one of the old Superman movies – cool, eh? I have not seen that one but apparently Superman went to the Arctic and fought a bad guy there.
After that we went around to check the permanent stuff. First was a special lights exhibition in a dark room with mirrors which was just magical! Then we checked out the sculpture garden, which is situated just above the sea and offers magnificent view. The weather had unfortunately changed to cloudy and very windy but we took a quick walk, enjoying most Joan Miro’s little ET-like creature. We also saw some South American pottery that had pretty patterns and I totally wouldn’t mind to have a few at home. Last, we went around the permanent art exhibition which included works by Pablo Picasso, Henry Moore, Kiefer and others. I even found a Bulgarian guy’s (Christo – never heard of him…) work. One of the most unexpected things was a couple of whole dry trees in a big hall that created somehow magical atmosphere. Last, we came to a room full of Asger Jorn’s (famous Danish 20th-century artist) work. I was impressed by a painting that looked similar to Joan Miro’s colorful things (some of my favourite art).
On the way back, while waiting for the train, I managed to finish my Danish chocolate milk (yumm!)
It was already getting late in the afternoon (Louisiana took us around 3-4 hours!) so we took a quick walk around the streets of Helsingør. I couldn’t help but notice that even if it is so close, it’s quite different from Sweden in terms of architecture and somehow atmosphere. There were some tiny narrow streets that made it charmingly old-fashioned, the town hall looked like a castle (again…they seemed to like castle architecture a lot around here!), the churches were huge, there were a lot of red-brick buildings, and we passed by a pub with an impressive beer “glass” collection and a couple of bright wall paintings depicting famous Danish characters. We also checked out the modern-looking culture house by the water and a few baby swans that seemed to have fun time lifting their butts up in the air.
It was then time for the castle – the biggest attraction in the town, since Kronborg castle is the set for Shakespeare’s Hamlet. I can’t help but wonder if Shakespeare has ever been there but the castle itself is like a jewel. We walked around it and got nice glimpses from all sides, some of them revealing the castle prettily bathed in the setting sun. Even the ongoing reconstruction work didn’t take off much from its charm. And we got to touch old stones from the castle itself with engraved patterns.
After a last glimpse at the castle in the pink light of the sunset, it was time to do some last shopping and go home. I found a huge cheese shop but it was unfortunately closed, as most of the other things on an early Saturday evening. We finally went back to the supermarket by the train station and I went home happily with some yumm Danish cinnamon pastry, cheese doodles and a bottle of South African wine (since alcohol is way cheaper in Denmark than in Sweden it’s a crime not to buy anything while I’m there anyway and I didn’t want to do that ).