So…..? Do mermaids really exist?……
World knew almost nothing about mermaids until Hans Christian told about them in 1836. The Saga begins as, far out in the ocean where water is blue and very, very deep there lived a mermaid who fell in love with a prince on land.
The prince loved watching her dance every day but didn’t love her since he was betrothed with the girl who, he believed, once saved his life. The prince got married and went away. Yet little mermaid would swim everyday to surface from bottom of sea and sit on a rock hoping to catch a glimpse of her love.
Broken-heart mermaid was lured by her sisters and sea-witch that if she drops the prince’s blood on her feet, she would achieve eternal life. But little mermaid didn’t choose to kill her love and eventually died turning into sea foam.
Legendary, but the tale has introduced a creature which has become much popular in literature and fantasy world.
I was in Langelinie, Copenhagen harbour, standing in front of little mermaid. She was calmly sitting on a waterside rock, looking towards vast sea and seemed still waiting for her lost love. She had both legs laid bent on the rock. Her cautious posture made me think that she would leisurely jump back into sea and disappear if someone dared to get closer.
This is world’s first and original sculpture of little mermaid made in 1913. The gentleman behind idea of this sculpture was inspired by a ballet performance of 1909 which was based on the actual tale. He fell in love with little mermaid and hired a well-known sculptor to produce little mermaid’s statue. Interestingly the ballerina who actually danced as little mermaid in the ballet refused to model in nude hence the sculptor’s wife volunteered to pose for the sculpture.
The legacy of the little mermaid, today….
The story doesn’t end here. Legacy still continues and today statue of little mermaid has become number one attraction of Denmark. Yearly more than a million tourists visit this masterpiece and it is also brought for appearances in exhibitions around the world.
The place where the little mermaid is kept is full of other ‘to visit’ places and ‘to do’ things. Therefore leaving behind the love tale, we set off for next destination Amalienborg, a 17th century palaces square located two kilometres away. It was early evening of that fine day so we decided to head on by foot. Walking along the Copenhagen harbour and redeeming the sensation of fresh air mixed with blue water droplets, we reached at Amalienborg entrance in fewer minutes.
This was a gates free entrance just beside the harbour. It was so wide that I thought several bears-driven carts would have easily passed together if it were age of Vikings. The moment we crossed entrance we found ourselves stepping into a courtyard surrounded by four palaces. A panorama of glorious Rococco architecture was in front of us.
Amalienborg consists of four identical palaces front facing each other in a way that a central courtyard with octagon shape is formed. Precisely, in middle of courtyard was the statue of King Frederik V overlooking Copenhagen opera house across the harbour. These palaces were built for four families of nobility and are presently used as Danish royal residence.
Royal guards of the palace…
Outside the palaces were roaming the royal guards who looked brothers to guards of Buckingham palace because they we similar in appearance. However, their blue and black outfits distinguish them from their British counterparts.
If you are fascinated by royal customs then the scene of changing of guards is right choice for you. They start marching from their barracks in Gothersgade, pass through the streets of Copenhagen and finally end up at Amalienborg, sharply at 12:00 noon.
Shakespeare’s Hamlet is also around…
Located few kilometres from Amalienborg is one of Europe’s finest renaissance castle Kronborg also known as Hamlet Castle. Built during 15th century, this is the castle which Shakespeare set in his renowned tragedy Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, which he wrote around year 1600. The play is world’s most performed of all times and is still performed live in Kronborg castle.
It is believed, though still an unsolved mystery, that Shakespeare actually visited this castle for making it centre of his writing.
‘This land is full of mysteries’ I thought and moved forward.
Luckily the hotel we were staying was located just a few minutes’ walk from Tivoli Gardens which was once a frequently visiting place of fairy tales writer Hans Christian Andersen, Walt Disney and many other big names.
Tivoli is a grand site amusement park where it becomes very hard not to find anything that couldn’t interest to person of any age. If you ever visit Copenhagen you will not like to miss Tivoli because of its striking architecture, gardens and dazzling coloured lights creating a fairy tale atmosphere at night.
The park hosts the oldest running wooden roller coasters in the world built in 1914. The park’s Vertigo is one of faster rides rotating at 100 km/h. Though I had the experience of riding world’s fastest roller coaster Formulae Rossa in UAE with speed of 240 km/h hence really didn’t feel any desire for trying the ride.
Finally, the Danes…
A remarkable thing I noticed about Danish people is that they are crazily health-conscious. I said so because many of the pedestrian places I saw were occupied with people doing running, cycling and exercising. Copenhagen ranks second in the world with most bicycles on the road preceded by Amsterdam where there are more bicycles than people.
My expatriate friend narrated that people form groups of interest on social websites, gather on agreed spots and do physical activities together. In this way they socialize as well as exercise. These are the reasons that even I tried but couldn’t find anyone with obesity and realized why Danish are happiest people in the world.