my second day in Copenhagen and I find myself at the computer
with a little time on my hands to write a letter.
trip has been improving steadily, which is just as well
because the first night was rock bottom! The security
at Heathrow took for ever to get through and then my
flight was delayed so it was quite late by the time
I checked in to my hotel. Although the public areas
of the hotel were nice enough, my heart sank like a
stone when I opened the door to my room, accompanied
by the porter. It had been quite an effort to get up
to Room 505 (shades of Room 101 - it should have been
a premonition) as I had to climb 25 steps and walk along
endless corridors before even arriving at the lift.
So I had secured the services of the sweet porter who
was as shocked as I was when confronted with the hotel
room in its full glory.
say that the air was thick with smoke is an understatement
and I said to the porter I'm sorry, I really can't sleep
in here. He nodded vigorously and said No, you can't!
So he obtained another key and we made our way to the
new room with trepidation.
second room was not substantially better, except that
it did not reek of old smoke. It was not exactly luxurious,
nor even comfortable! The lights did not work properly,
the carpets were dirty, and the bed had no sheet covering
the mattress - if that was, indeed, what it was! A series
of uncomfortable springs surrounded by a bit of wadding
was nearer the mark.
There was no way I was going to stay in this hotel any
longer than necessary and resolved to move to another
one in the morning.
spent a painful night getting to know each spring in
the mattress intimately and woke unrefreshed in the
morning with the prospect of a lengthy rehearsal in
front of me. A quick check with reception provided me
with the interesting information that, due to my very
late arrival, my room had been taken and I had been
put in the old part of the hotel. Nevertheless, my patience
with that particular hostelry was at an end and I have
now moved to an extremely nice hotel with which I am
rehearsal went well and although I was very tired and
my 'warm up' room was freezing cold (so much so that
it was debatable whether my warm up was having the required
effect!), we all attacked the Mendelssohn concerto with
as much enthusiasm as the early hour could produce.
I like my conductor, who is good, very amenable and
technically efficient. Tonight is our first concert
which is out in the provinces and requires a two-hour
the rehearsal, I decided that some fresh air would be
the thing to wake me up and I went for a walk in the
sunshine. It's cold but bright so nice conditions for
a walk with a bit of gentle retail therapy thrown in!
After a light lunch of local herring, I wandered into
the sunshine once more and past the Gothic town hall
and to the Strøget area which is a succession
of pedestrianized streets. The atmosphere was very enjoyable
as the sunshine brought the street musicians out so
I watched a guitarist for a little while. On my way
back to the hotel, by the Town Hall, I stumbled cross
a very friendly demonstration by teachers who were all
singing along in unison about how much better the school
system could be! Obviously, a tune a day does the trick...
having consumed local herring earlier I didn't fancy
more of the same and actually ended up in an Australian
restaurant for my dinner. For those who have an affection
for cuddly animals, look away now, as I ordered kangaroo
in a delicious sauce on a bed of sweet potato. It was
a nice way to end my day and I felt much more relaxed
with the prospect of a better hotel room to sleep in.
to my previous night, I slept very soundly and have
had a lovely morning playing the tourist. I walked towards
the parliament buildings and palace - only to find that
they were closed (well, hopefully not the parliament,
but it wasn't open to the public!). So I walked on to
the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, which is a lovely museum
that I remember visiting on my first trip to Copenhagen...
er... nineteen years ago..! I remembered a stunning
conservatory building and Etruscan vases and Egyptian
mummies so made my way in to the building to find that
it is being renovated. However, my favourite exhibits
were still on display and I saw some terrific items.
descended some ominous dark steps towards the basement
where the mummies are kept and was suitably impressed
by the array of sarcophagi. Upstairs, there were the
Etruscan sculptures, Greek portraits and Roman antiquities.
There were also remnants of objects found in Egyptian
tombs, including Wadjet-hotep's tomb at Sedment dating
around 2100 BC. I have always found it quite odd the
way that Egyptian sculptures always portray their countrymen
with rigidly straight arms at their sides, rather like
the Irish dancers from Riverdance. Did they have some
problem with their elbow joints, I wondered...
the second floor, I found the French impressionists
and Post-Impressionists, with paintings by my favourite
Renoir, as well as Pissarro, Monet, ballerinas by Degas
and a lovely painting in Pointilliste style by Signac.
I have never been much of a fan of pointillism but,
at the sight of this picture, I was tempted to review
my opinion. It was a simple painting of the French countryside
with sunshine on water and I was riveted by the way
the picture went in and out of focus according to where
I was standing. Feeling pseudo-profound at the time,
I drew a parallel with life and decided that the further
one is away from something, the clearer it is.
swiftly on.. it's now time for lunch and then to prepare
for the concert tonight. If I get a chance to write
again tomorrow, I will update you. But, for now, it's
Au Revoir from Copenhagen.