Thursday, April 8, 2010

Hamlet is Not MacBeth

Have you ever started to describe something and you realize, "Hmmm, what I am saying is completely nonsensical but I can't quite figure out why?" It's happened to me once or twice before but I think what is a more likely occurrence is describing something ridiculous and having no insight. An example of the former is when I mixed up tamarind and tahini when both cooking and describing a dinner party dish. An example of the later is what happened yesterday.

Ed and I were at Kronborg Slot in Helsingor, Denmark. Ed asked why, exactly, was this "Hamlet's Castle." I told him it was just a setting Shakespeare picked. Then I started going into the plot details of the downfall of Hamlet in the hands of a man "not born of a woman" and supported by the "moving forests of Elsinore." Ed looked at me and said, "That's MacBeth." The embarrassing thing was, it still took me a few minutes to believe him that I was completely and totally backwards. Not only that, the way I remembered the plot was more from recalling Tom Stoppard's "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead" rather than the actual "Hamlet." And I've read all three I swear. But now I am old so that was about 12 years ago now. [Aside: how was high school that long ago? At the same time, it also feels like it was hundreds of years ago. P.S. It's the moving forests of Dusinane and the man was MacDuff, born by a C-section. Even though when I think MacDuff, I think of the cartoon "Duck Tales"]

ANYway, Denmark is awesome. I arrived on Tuesday and went for a run. I got super lost, but managed to find my way back after stopping in a hotel. It's always a bad sign when you end up back from a run with a map in your hands. Copenhagen is beautiful and I love all of the artificial waterways, initially built for defense. Mom and I went to a tapas bar called Panzon (pants on!) that was delicious! We had a glass of wine each and a really nice mixed plate of cheese, meat and spreads.

On Wednesday, I went to Amalienborg Castle and saw the changing of the guard. Then I met up with Mom and Ed at Ida Davidsen's for lunch. It was a delicious Smorebrod feast! The base bread was on the small side and quite hearty and dense. On top, there was lox, dill mayonnaise and Greenland shrimp with dill. My second course, which should be meat by tradition, was another fish dish that Ida called her Spring specialty. It was asparagus in a Gruyere sauce on a plate topped with Rockland shrimp. Soft white bread was served on the side. Mom and Ed had great smorebrod as well and we all shared.

Afterwards, Ed and I went to Rosenborg Slot, a castle significantly redone by Christian IV. The crown jewels and treasury are there as well. The surrounding grounds were beautiful and I'm sure once everything is in bloom in the next few weeks, it will be stunning.

That night, Mom, Ed and I went to Figaro, another cozy bar where we had a beer. I broke the footrest on a stool, but the welding had come loose and I'm sure it was broken before. But nothing like pushing off the footrest and having it clatter to the floor. I love being inconspicuous!

Yesterday, Ed and I took a trip north to Kronborg Slot. It was awesome, mixed-up Shakespeare references aside. I really wanted to go up Telegraph Tower but it is only open May-September. My favorite part was the casements, or underground cellars/bunkers. Their main purpose was to serve as places to hunker down and survive a siege. There were holding cells, exercise rooms, storage bins. It was awesome and so cold! 7 degrees C! Brrr! That type of chill feels like it would just set up in one's bones.

We ate lunch in the town at Radmand Davids Hus, a cute restored house with more smorebord!

Next, we went to Klambenborg and biked through Dyrehaven and went to the Bakken amusement park, which is the oldest operating amusement park in the world! We rode the Rutschebanen, a rickety wooden roller coaster around since 1932. The whole place was more carnival than huge amusement park, but it was cute. It was pretty empty, patron-wise, but all the rides were open. It's sweet that there's no quota of people needed for allowing a good time.

Pjerrot is the mascot clown, of whom I snapped an illegal picture according to Ed (I didn't see a cashier charging for pics but Ed said that was the whole point of the clown sitting at the house. Hmmmm).

Next, we went to Bellevue beach and saw a cute lifeguard tower by Arne Jacobsen. It was raining and fairly dreary but I decided I wanted to bike home along the Strandvejen 12 km back to Copenhagen. Ed politely declined and took the train home. I got drenched but I love seeing the Whiskey Belt homes and outskirts of Copenhagen.

We ate dinner at home and then went to bed. Today, I need to go over the swearing in ceremony with one of the embassy Marines followed by a few sights in Copenhagen and a trip out to Roskilde to see the Viking Museum. Tonight, Ed, Mom and I are going to Louisiana, a contemporary arts museum slightly north of Copenhagen.

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