Friday, April 15, 2011


Today I was working "at home" in Vesterbro and went out for a walk mid-day with my camera to enjoy the sunshine.I had been planning to go to Copenhagen's City Museum, right next door. But instead I contented myself with taking a picture of the model city (1580) in its courtyard.

I walked up Frederiksberg Alle to the large gardens and park and then back along Gammel Kongevej. Two Danish women artists I've written about, Emilie Mundt and Marie Luplau, had their home and art school on the fourth floor of number 136. A door or two away is a used music store where I found a CD set of Leonard Bernstein conducting Carl Nielsen. Although I love the Blomstedt recordings, Bernstein really captures the spirit of Nielsen, especially in the opening bars. Gammel Kongevej reminds me of the Upper West Side--a quieter version. Lots of people out and sitting around in cafes with faces turned toward the sun. Chocolate shops full of Easter eggs and bunnies. Flower shops in abundance.

Last night around eleven I was sitting here reading a thriller (Liza Marklund) and all of a sudden: bang, bang, bang. It sounded like gun shots in the street. I looked out the window and a short distance away, fireworks shot up into the sky. Why? The Queen's birthday? But that's on Saturday.

No, it was Tivoli. Celebrating its opening April 14th.

A star magnolia at Frederiksberg Have

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Moler cliffs of Fur

Raining steadily in Copenhagen. I’m staying at a friend’s flat while he’s away, high up in  a converted apartment in Vesterbro. Even though the sun’s not shining it is light here and a pleasant place to be writing up my notes from research at the National Archives.

Time to post a photograph of a brighter day a week or more ago, on the island of Fur in the Limford. Part of my novel about Emilie Demant Hatt takes place there. I’ve long been fascinated by the geological story of Fur and its fossils. The cliff formations of ash and clay date from the Eocene. Read more about Fur here. 

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Sunday in Copenhagen

I've been working hard the last couple of days in the National Archives here in Copenhagen, reading through Emilie Demant Hatt's letters. It was time to take a break today. My friend Lis took me to Ingolf's Kaffeebar for brunch. The Danes are now into brunch big time; if you order it, a plate of small delicacies arrives, everything from gravlax to scrambled eggs to cheese slices and homebaked bread. We sat outside in the back terrace in the sunshine. It was easily in the 60s today. Blissfully spring.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Encouragement from the Dalai Lama at the Skive train station

You know how it goes. You get to the train station in a foreign country and the print-out you have of a schedule turns out to be wrong. Instead of waiting twenty minutes for the train, it turns out you have to wait over an hour. And the waiting room isn't possible, because the cleaner has poured soap and wax all over the floors and wants to get on with doing a nice scrub while no one is around. So you go down to the platform (this was in Skive, Denmark, and I was on my way to Aarhus this morning to retrieve a suitcase and then to Odense) and it's windy and chill.

And suddenly you see a Danish railway poster with a cheering recommendation to be kind and you look more closely and it's a quote by the Dalai Lama and there's even a fun picture of him. The message, translated is:

Be kind and friendly
when it's possible.
It is always possible.

I like Denmark for so many reasons. This is one of them.

Friday, April 1, 2011


Back in Denmark on a pale spring day in Aarhus and heading over to the Limfjord for several days on the island of Fur. One of the problems, at least for me, with trying to keep up a blog while traveling is that so much energy is consumed getting from place to place. I've been either flying on Icelandic or SAS and in one Scandinavian airport after another. I always imagine myself writing interesting posts about new experiences and thoughts, but in fact I've either been talking with people, working in archives, or sleeping. Or walking down long airport corridors.

Yesterday en route through Copenhagen's Kastrup Airport from Stockholm to Aarhus I was struck by the otherworldly look of this endless corridor to Gate A25.