Three Easy Trips from Copenhagen
By Candyce H. Stapen
Three very different gems, all within an hour’s drive north of Copenhagen, reward travelers: an impressive, contemporary art museum; the bucolic home of one of Denmark’s most well-known writers and a 150-room, Renaissance castle, among the nation’s most beautiful.
The Louisiana Museum of Modern Art,in Humlebæk about 19 miles north of Copenhagen, surprises us. Sculptures by Henry Moore, Joan Miró, Jean Arp, Alexander Calder and other twentieth century icons bloom on the lawns that overlook the Øresund, the sound separating Denmark and Sweden. Set among elms, firs and beeches, the works seem as natural as the trees.
The lawn also provides plenty of romping room for kids. They chase each other around the Calders outside the café and run downhill from a prominent Henry Moore to a waterside sculpture by Jack Shapiro. At the Louisiana’s Børnehaus, a three-level, children’s area, kids make collages, craft mobiles, build Lego structures as well as sculpt and paint.
Glass hallways connect the museum’s wings, allowing added views of the sculpture, trees and water. The indoor galleries showcase works by Giacometti, Dubuffet, Picasso as well as many Scandinavian artists.
Nearby Rungstedlund is the home of Karen Blixen, better known to U.S. readers as Isak Dinesen, author of “Out of Africa” and six other works. At her farmhouse in Rungsted along the coast, 13 miles north of Copenhagen, Blixen wrote several novels. She tapped away on her portable Corona typewriter, now on view in the facility’s second floor museum. Exhibits touch on Blixen’s writing career, her years in Kenya and other aspects of her theatrical personality. Café Karen Blixen serves fresh salads,sandwiches and homemade soups.
Despite suburban encroachment, the 40-acre property still exudes a bucolic charm. That’s because Blixen set-up a foundation to preserve the estate as a bird sanctuary. Bird houses hang under the building’s eaves as well as on trees. Strolling the dirt trails, past the pond and flower gardens to Blixen’s simple grave, we hear the songs of hundreds of birds, a fitting tribute to Blixen, who admired landscapes, flowers and wildlife.
The gardens at Frederiksborg Castle, Hillerød, are grand. Yews and lime trees define promenades, boxwoods take fanciful shapes and a fountain sprays from the lake. The imposing, Dutch Renaissance style, brick castle, constructed between 1580-1620, features more than 150 rooms, scores of which are hung with portraits of kings, nobles and their families as part of the castle’s Museum of National History.
Visit not so much for the portraits, which get boring fast, but for the gardens and grand rooms, some of which were reconstructed after a 19th century fire. It’s easy to imagine lords and ladies dining in the Knights’ Room with its elaborate plasterwork, dancing in the Great Hall lined with tapestries and witnessing the anointing of kings in the elaborate, gilded chapel. The castle is about 22 miles northwest of Copenhagen.
SAS Airlines flies non-stop to Copenhagen from Washington, D.C., New York City (Newark, N.J). and Chicago, IL. If you can, treat yourself to an Economy Extra seat. One inch wider and pitched to have six more inches of leg room than seats in coach, an Economy Extra perch comes with an outlet for laptops, a choice of entrees and a comfortable quilt to wrap yourself in while you dream of castles, gardens and world-class art.