Sunday, December 4, 2016

OUR EUROPEAN HOLIDAY - DAY 17 - A VISIT TO FREDERIKSBORG CASTLE

A rather bleak start to the day today as it was raining.... However it was bleak in more ways that one as today we said goodbye to Sarah, Willow, Max and Brenda as they left this beautiful country.  We were really going to miss them.  We have had such a wonderful time all together over here and the long awaited family holiday was finally coming to an end.  It seems hard that months of anticipation could be gone already. 

Steve went out to the airport with them to see them off and sort out the car.  It was after lunch by the time he returned home. 

The weather had started to clear by now so we thought it might be nice to get out of the house and do something rather than feel a little sad and miserable at home.  Peter thought it might be nice to go for a drive out into the country and visit Frederiksborg Castle.   He had never been there before so it was also a new adventure for him also.  He didn't think there would be too much to see or too much walking so we dressed pretty casually and headed off.  Oh how wrong he was....

What an IMPRESSIVE Castle.  The outside blew us away long before we got to go inside.  We spent a good hour just walking around checking out the moats, fountains, sculptures, statues,  taking lots of photos of course......

Our first glimpse of Frederiksborg Castle

 If we thought the outside of the Castle was impressive,  the inside totally blew us away.  It was breathtaking...  in fact it was literally breathtaking...   I think the biggest thrill for both Peter and I was to witness Steve's reaction.  It was his first trip over to Europe so he was not at all familiar with all the Castles and Churches, and as we walked it side this castle,  his jaw actually dropped, and all he could do was stare in awe.....  He was in awe of it all, and he really didn't know where to look.
Our first glimpses inside Frederiksborg Castle....
This chapel was unbelievable

Just when we thought nothing could equal what we had seen, we'd go into another room that was even bigger and grander  and would totally blow us away..  The photos just do not do it justice...
They are just a small glimpse of what we saw, but somehow words just can't describe the emotions and history and stories of this magnificent castle...
 I thing Steve was totally blown away by the number of man hours that was invested into building a castle like this.  The castle itself took 100 years to build.  It is hard to fathom in this day and age that someone would start a project like this and not be around to see it's completion.

We only had a couple of hours in the castle so we had to rush  it slightly but we were so glad that we got to see it, and you can be guaranteed that when next we visit Denmark, it will be on our list of places to explore and a full day will be designated to it next time.  

The Grand Ball room was amazing..... the ceiling was completely covered in the most ornate paintings and we spent a long time just looking at the detail and studying it.  The main hours that had gone into painting this ceiling alone were amazing, but the whole castle had works of art like this.
 We spent every spare moment we could inside the palace and were some of the last to leave.  Fortunately the days were long so we still had plenty of time to check out the amazing gardens at Frederiksborg Castle.  Every area of this castle was breathtaking and the gardens were as well.  We spent a couple of hours just wandering around these also. 
Frederiksborg Castle from the Gardens...

These gardens were stunning  in their own right, and even if you never got to go inside the Castle, it was worth the drive up to Hillerod just to check out these gardens...  By this stage we had been on our feet for a few hours and my back was really starting to ache, as there was no where inside the castle where you could sit down.  The cobbled stones and uneven surfaces were also playing havoc with my back so I was just keen to find somewhere to sit down for a minute or two.   Steve and Pete did a long walk up to the fountain in the gardens...

After I managed to sit for 15 minutes,  I was back on my feet.  I somehow managed to endure the pain, because I too wanted to explore some of the beautiful gardens and fountains in these grounds.  The views back over the gardens and lakes and moats to the Castle were really quite breathtaking and I am so glad that I made the effort to walk up and check them all out...
 I think the thing that stood out to us was the history,  just the organ in the church was over 400 years old.  This is almost twice the age of our whole countries history.

The walk back to the car was through a beautiful wooded forest.  Stunning would describe it,  lovely water ways, quite different also with lots of woven sides holding in the water.
By the time we got back to the car,  I was in agony, but even in this much pain, I wouldn't have missed this experience for anything...  This castle is definitely on my list of places to come back and visit....

We arrived home late, tired, sore but happy.  Very chilled out evening when we got home...
I am somehow thinking that tomorrow might need to be a chilled out day.  

OUR EUROPEAN HOLIDAY - DAY 16 - A VISIT TO TIVOLI...

Today was the girls last full day in Copenhagen...
Steve had to return our hire car so Sarah went with him so that she knew what to do the following day when she returned hers.
Whilst they were doing that Pete took Brenda for a bike ride to Christinia, the hippie commune.  They spent the morning riding around there.

We met them just after lunch at Tivoli, the giant amusement park in the centre of Copenhagen.  WOW what a place.  They had the most amazing gardens full of flowering and exotic plants.  The rides were awesome.



They also had a Monstrum play ground here which was just amazing.  In fact it was so amazing that Willow didn't want to leave.... We had a hard time convincing here that there were other really exciting things to do at Tivoli as well.  She would have been happy to have played in the playground all afternoon.

 We finally convinced her to leave and go on some rides but only after we promised to bring her back for another play here....

The first ride she enjoyed with Poppy, Mummy and her Aunty Brenda was the little roller coaster.  She loved it...

Poppy then took her on the merry go round a few times,  she was keen to go again and again.  It was really nice that he got to do this with her as it has always been me that has had the fun of taking her to an amusement park in the past.  


I looked after the children whilst the older ones went on some of the more scary rides.   Willow took Poppy off to ride the merry go round with her again, this time they rode a big camel....

It was feed time for Max so we took Willow back to the children's play area and whilst she fed Max, Willow and I played in the playground.  It really is a well designed and interesting playground.  Sarah loved the playground so much that once she had finished feeding Max, I got to babysit him whilst she went off and played with Willow.  Willow loved Sarah joining her, and I had a ball seeing her delight as she showed her mum how to get around.   Oh to have young children so that you have the chance to become a child all over again.  It was after 8.30pm by the time the others joined us here. 



We still hadn't had dinner or fed the kids so it was off to find some food.  We had dinner in the Chinese section of Tivoli... pulled pork burgers with fries and a drink.

By now it was after 9.30pm, so Steve, Maria and I decided to take the children home and get them to bed whilst Pete, Sarah and Brenda had some adult time to enjoy some more of the adult rides in the park.


Maria needed an early night as she had to be up at 5am to start work.  By the time Steve and I got the kids home, bathed and into bed it was after 10.30pm.... a very late night for them..
What a great way to end our holiday with them though.... Some fun family times to remember...

We were pretty exhausted our selves, so I am not sure what time the others got in, but it was going to be an early start in the morning, as Sarah, the children and Brenda had to be at the airport early as they were flying home.... A very sad thought.  We had looked forward to this family holiday all year... It was hard to believe that it had come and was now almost gone....

OUR EUROPEAN HOLIDAY - DAY 15 - VISITING THE VIKINGS TODAY...

One of the things that Sarah wanted to do whilst we were in Denmark was visit a Viking Museum, so this is what we decided to do today....

We decided to head to Roskilde ( a 40 minute drive from Copenhagen) to visit the Viking Museum.  Maria and her sisters were going to join us, but Dudi wasn't feeling well so in the end she decided to stay home and rest. 

Willow was hyped up this morning and terribly uncooperative.  The poor child had been on the go constantly and I think she was just plain exhausted, so I decided that I would stay home with her so that Sarah wouldn't miss out and I know this was the one thing she wanted to do whilst visiting Denmark. 

In the end Maria and Hanna decided that they would have a girls day at home and they would babysit the children, so that the rest of us could still go.   It was really lovely of them and we really appreciated their kindness. 

We left home around 11am.  The drive to Roskilde was lovely,  The Viking Museum was a real treat and it was a shame that Willow missed it as she would have really loved it.   There were heaps of activities for the children to do. 


We also got to check out the Museum and check out the six Viking ships that have been archeologically found and reconstructed.  There was plenty of written material about the history of the Vikings which made for interesting reading telling us about Viking times. 
They also had some Viking dress up clothes which allowed us to become real Vikings for a small amount of time... long enough to document it all

 There were lots of activities to do and both Sarah and Brenda pressed a Viking coin and made a bracelet to use it on.. Just a small memento of their Viking experience.
 We decided to pay a little extra and have a real Viking experience by going out onto the harbor in a Viking boat.We all had to row our way out, and the Steve got to hoist the sail.  The sail around the harbour lasted approximately an hour, and it was something that I really enjoyed..
 There were lots of hands on things that you could do here,  and Sarah decided to have a go at boat building....  She had a guide that explained the different techniques to here and showed her what to do... Of course we documented it all.
 We were going to have lunch here but rain out of time, so had an ice cream instead.
 We pretty much had to leave straight after our Viking boat cruise as we had to be back in Copenhagen as we were having dinner at Heidi's and Rune's place (Maria's brother and sister in laws place).  They had planned an early dinner (5pm) to cater for the children.  We arrived home at a little after 4.30pm which then made it a bit of a rush to be bathed, dressed and organised for us to be at Heidi's and Runes for dinner,

Maria came in the car with us to show us where to go... Rune and Heidi's place is probably smaller than Peter and Maria's place but the hospitality was enormous.  Willow and their Max had a wonderful time playing together.  Willow especially loved Max's cubby house which was built above his bed.

Heidi is a fantastic cook.  We had a wonderful meal at their place.  Roast Chicken, and some of the most amazing roasted home grown vegetables.  It was fantastic...
The boys took both the children for a walk to the lolly shop and allowed them to buy their own bag of lollies each.  This is a real treat for Willow.

After dinner Rune and Heidi decided to treat us to Copenhagen's best ice cream.  The ice cream was really GOOD. It is so good that people line up right down the street to get some...  Apparently it is always like that at this store...

In Denmark, every time you buy an ice cream, they put Guf on top.  This is like a very sticky sweet melted marshmallow.  Some places it is nicer that other places,  so places it is just s sickly sweet.  This shop had one of the nicer ones which just tasted like uncooked pavlova.

It was almost 10pm by the time we left here.  We had to make a quick dash back to Rune and Heidi's to collect our gear.  It was a really late night for the children.  There is just no routine for them over here.... They are coping remarkably well considering there is very little routine...

It is hard to believe that Sarah and the children only had one full day left in Copenhagen.  This past fortnight has just flown.  We are going to be sad to have to say goodbye to them..

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