Rain alters the way we see life.
I wrote about that phenomenon earlier this year in Sydney (sydney as london). The city my friends Roy and Nancy wanted me to love never showed up. Sydney hid behind a wet London impersonation.
I am glad I saw Copenhagen yesterday in full sunlight. Danes have told me the day was an exception for this time of year. Usually, the sky is overcast with bits of drizzle now and then.
Today was the norm -- with overcast skies and drizzle. So, the three women in our group decided it would be a great day to go shopping.
Copenhagen has a street dedicated to shoppers who want to buy high-end items. Louis Vuitton. Hermes. And a lot of middle brow stores. Victoria's Secret. Foot Locker. The type of retailers you can find in any decent strip mall.
And the shop fronts could be almost anywhere. Until you turn around and look at the view. That steeple is quintessentially Danish Lutheran.
Our shopping tour gave me an opportunity to share an interesting fact about Copenhagen. It is a city filled with bicycles, and bicycles reign in the pecking order with their special lanes and high-speed commuting. Pedestrians are far more likely to be hit by a bicycle than by a car.
The bicycle parking lot is in the midst of several food tents. While the rest of our group enjoyed Danish hot dogs, I visited a salami and cheese stand staffed by Dutch merchants.
And I came away sated. With three pepper salami sausages and a wedge of cheese stuffed with very spicy chili. I managed to eat most of it before I got back to my apartment.
Yesterday, I told you Copenhagen has had the opportunity to rebuild itself after two major fires. But they were not the only fires that damaged Copenhagen's historic buildings.
Christiansborg Palace has been the home to the Danish parliament since 1849. Before that, it was the residence of the Danish monarch.
The current monarch, Queen Margrethe II, still uses the palace's chapel, whose architecture is pure Danish Lutheranism. Like the palace, the chapel has been rebuilt several times due to changes in fashion or as a result of fires.
The latest chapel fire in 1992 caused the dome and ceiling to collapse. The art of building this type of architecture has almost been lost. But, by referring to old records, the restoration was completed using original materials. And here is the result.
But there are two figures that we have not yet visited that define Denmark for outsiders. The first is Hans Christian Andersen, the author of such stories as "The Emperor's New Clothes," "The Little Mermaid," and "The Ugly Duckling." All of them built around rather conservative moral lessons.
He is honored with a statue in front of the City Hall. So many people have sat on his lap or rubbed his knee that his trousers are looking a bit brassy.
The second Copenhagen institution is Tivoli Gardens, the second oldest amusement park in the world. The oldest is Dyrehavsbakken, started in 1583 -- also in Denmark. By that standard Tivoli is a youngster, having opened in 1843. Apparently, Walt Disney visited the park in the early 1950s to get ideas for his own parks.
There are two rules of life. The first is that change is always good. The second is that new is not always an improvement. That is certainly true of amusement parks.
Compared with Disney parks, Tivoli is quaint and charming. It is not snazzy and spiffy. It is just fun. And its recipe for amusing people is what has kept it running since James Polk was president of the United States.
Tivoli was dressed in its Halloween finery during our visit tonight.
Many amusement parks decked out their sites with electric arches when light bulbs were introduced. It is a tradition that still thrives at Tivoli.
And then there are rides. A couple are modern. But most retain the park's traditional amusements that seem just a bit quaint. But still endearing. If not thrilling.
I managed to avoid any emotional response until I saw the bumper cars. My brother and I spent hours on the bumper cars at Jantzen Beach and Oaks Park. The smell of the electricity arcing off of the metal ceiling brought back pleasant memories. Most of them built around revenge.
There are also ranks of restaurants in the park -- an idea Walt Disney slipped into his establishments. I am convinced that all foods cost the same in Disneyland. Do you want a large Diet Coke? That will be $40. A five-course Cajun meal? $40. I did not look at the Tivoli menus to see if that is where Disney developed his food hegemony.
For a day that began (and ended) in the drizzle, Tivoli managed to put a nice spin on the day. And, isn't that what an amusement park is supposed to do?