Thursday, June 19, 2008

Tivoli, and out

So far our posts have been essentially in chronological order -- however, this has meant that we've 'missed' some trip highlights. If, and as, time allows, we will soon revisit some earlier scenes. So this will be our last post which appears in order, we think...

The Tivoli Gardens are one of the world's oldest still active 'amusement parks', originally opened in 1843. Unlike almost any other amusement park, I actually wanted to visit it because, according to our guidebook, it is a 'much-loved Danish institution' with a range of non-whizzy entertainments that seemed very interesting. And the Tivoli, unlike most other parks, offered a range of real food from basic self-service up to a Michelin starred restaurant. (Bev: -And you wonder how he convinced me to go? This I had to see!)

Apparently, Tivoli's founder, Georg Carstensen obtained a five-year charter to create Tivoli, by telling King Christian VIII that "when the people are amusing themselves, they do not think about politics". This, I think, tells you a lot about Carstensen, the King, and the Danes.

Also, interestingly, it operated throughout W.W.II when Denmark was occupied by the Germans, as shown by the poster above from the Danish Design Museum collection. In 1943 it was burnt down by Nazi sympathisers, but was temporarily rebuilt (within a matter of weeks) and the Danish carried on. You can see why it sounds interesting, I'm sure...

Some of the rides are very whizzy - as below, but I do like the Hugo Gernsback styling of them as well.

Others are dangerously twee or cute. This was a mannequin on the ride inspired by the Hans Christian Andersen stories: I think this one was from the story called 'The princess with the remarkable helmet-hair and noteworthy chest' - or something... As the cliché has it, popular with people from 6 to sixty - and further. (Bev: I called this the princess with the stuck-on boobs and smirky smile...)

While the biplane ride was a winner.

It looked rather cool, and though Bev was (understandably) slightly sceptical when I pointed out that some of the schemes were accurate - you be the judge:

(Curtiss P-6 Hawk of the 17th Pursuit Squadron US Army Air Corps - or a fairground ride?)

Even the old car ride had accurate model names, at least. Sadly, I was too big for either ride.

We could have had a go on the frog firing game (note Bev's excellent shot capturing a frog mid flight - natural history film-makers eat your heart out...) but we were just enjoying watching the others.

Bev was hit with Wellie Lust; amazingly, for an item in Denmark, they were affordable, and after some confusion over Continental/Australian/US shoe sizes, they were snapped up.

(Bev: And I stomped off into the sunshine in my spotty wellies. Note Bev now praying for rain as we continue through England...)

Some stuff was just pointlessly cool. The bubble tubes garden was just great to watch, if you were tired from too much touristing (as we were). Very inspiring of looking and thinking, thinking and looking and reflecting, and ZZzzzzzz...

While the newly refurbished 'Nimb' building had some classy chandeliers... (And that classy restaurant, which we didn't visit, but...)

One of the other stages reminded me a lot of London's 1950s South Bank complex.

When we arrived the smaller bandstand was occupied by the orchestra delivering a range of light classics, which they continued to do right through to our excellent terrace dinner in one of the very nice restaurants; good food, reasonable price, with excellent people-watching and ambiance.

After the Pantomime theatre, (see below) Bev had spotted that the Tivoli Big Band were due up - so we strolled over to the second bandstand where we enjoyed a top class variety of Big Band classics introduced in Danish where the only words we could make out were the composer/arranger and the title. 'Easy Street' appearing in the middle of a long Danish sentence is most disconcerting... And the drummer looked like James Cromwell - I keep expecting him to nail Kevin Spacey mid drum-roll!

But trumpeter-face is the same the world over...

...and was much enjoyed by all of the audience.

Bev wanted to see the lights come on (I did too) so we waited until it nearly got dark (sunset being very late at this time of year in Copenhagen) and we were treated to twinkling among the trees.

With two concerts, a meal, pantomime theatre and much relaxed strolling and watching, all in the middle of a capital city, it would have been hard to find a better au revoir to the Continent than this. Clearly the Danes know the value of a good time. (Bev: And it was a great date, too).

James (with commentary from Bev)

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