dyrehave and bellevue

May 30, 2008

so the days are winding down…and i finally took the day trip i’ve been wanting to do all spring. i took my bike on the train and spent the day in/near klampenborg, visiting dyrehave and bellevue. jægersborg dyrehave (or ‘deer garden’) was once a private reserve for king frederick iii and is now managed as a forest park. about 2000 deer (of three different varieties! some albino…) live and roam free there (within the park boundaries) – it was really fun to be biking along and see them running through the woods. they’re not tame enough that you can walk right up to them, but are calm enough for a few action zoom photos. : ) after biking through dyrehave, i went to the beach at bellevue, where danish architect arne jacobsen designed a number of buildings in the 1930s, including some lovely and simple beach structures…which served as a nice background for some sunning and a little beach nap.

all of the park entrances have these official red gates

i’ve been told that peter liep’s house is a nice place to stop for a cup of hot chocolate in the park…but maybe not on such a gorgeous and sunny day. still, the decor is fitting…

also within the park is bakken, the world’s ‘oldest existing’ theme park…

the landscape in dyrehave is really great – lots of giant old trees…and some giant old tree ruin

my first close-up deer encounter

the lovely landscape…

…and the deerscape!

this was a great sight…two deer dashed out into the meadow in front of these riders

the ‘hermitage,’ a royal hunting lodge added by one of frederick’s successors

riders and the hermitage castle/detail of the lodge roof

on the other side of the hermitage, there were tons of schoolkids picnicking on the hill, looking out toward the øresund

landscape and hermitage/deer in the meadow, heading for the herd

deer crossing!

next stop was the harbour near klampenborg station…

explorer knud rasmussen looks out over the sound/looking down the beach toward bellevue

two residential typologies at bellevue

view of one of jacobsen’s beach structures

jacobsen structure details

changing/showering pavilions

beach-facing elevation detail – nice and simple! and white – very danish…

my napping spot…a perfect end to a lovely trip!


visiting bornholm’s round churches was one of the ‘themes’ of our trip. the collection of four churches is a kind of architectural icon for bornholm – they’re all similar in form, materials, and construction (though each has its own individual personality), and were all built between 1150 and 1250. they’re super practical buildings – the round shape of the churches allowed them to serve as storage places for grain and other commodities as well as to defend against viking raids during the unrest of the middle ages. there are also some theories afloat about a connection between the round churches and the knights templar, who were crusading around this time. the churches are two or three stories and are constructed of thick stone walls with central pillars that support circular barrel vaults on each floor. the conical roofs were added in 1600; before that, the churches were crowned with open battlements and embrasures (so they looked more like little castles). i really enjoyed visiting them – and they’re spaced out quite well on the island, so it gave us a chance to see a lot of the in-between. it was fun to search for them, because we could see the conical roofs from so far away…they’re definitely landmarks on the very rural island. and they’re lovely little buildings. so…here’s a mini-tour of bornholm’s round churches:


olsker church is the tallest and slimmest of the four churches – it’s on a hill and is so tall relative to its surroundings that it once served as a navigation point for fisherman at sea; it gets its name from the hero-king ‘olaf the holy,’ a major figure in a battle between the christians and the heathens

the buttresses were added in the 1800s to stabilize it/tiny apse

inside detail/outside detail

we got to climb up to the third level…via this wee door and steep staircase/the wooden roof construction is amazing!!

the round nave and tiny ship hanging from the ceiling; the upper part of the central column is painted with frescoes of biblical scenes/spiral stair to the choir


nyker church (‘new church’ or ‘all saints church’) was built from granite boulders, except for the central column, which was constructed using local limensgade stone

nyker was the smallest of the four churches, with only two stories (it used to have three, but the top level was removed with the battlements)

inside detail/outside detail

the frescoes on the central pillar at nyker church are from the 1300s

the round nave/view to the apse


østerlars (or ‘east st. lawrence’s’) is the largest (and i think most visited) of the four churches

its distinctive buttresses were added in the 1500s and 1600s to keep the walls from pushing outward/view looking straight up at the roof construction – crazy!

indoor detail/outdoor detail

the central pillar of østerlars church is so large that it is inhabitable – its nickname is ‘the oven’…the vaulted space is now used as a baptistery/view of the radiating pew boxes and the altarpiece

the lovely cemetery on the church’s exterior


nylars church is dedicated to st. nicholas

lovely site among the fields/cemetery churchyard

indoor detail/outdoor detail

view of the round nave and the choir…the frescoes on the central pillar of nylars church are the oldest preserved examples on bornholm and date to about 1250

i really liked the bluish color of the pillar stone (‘bornholm silurian limestone’)…and the frescoes depicting scenes from genesis: ‘the creation and fall of man in seven scenes’

here’s the promised landscape photo post…i just wanted to share these photos separately because i was so impressed/amazed by the variety of different (and picturesque) landscapes contained on a 590km² island (that’s 230 square miles for you u.s.’ers), of which we saw only half. needless to say, i made a LOT of photo stops while biking. there are additional photos on my flickr page, but these are my favorites. hope you enjoy them!

bornholm by bike

May 6, 2008

the gorgeous bornholm landscape (stay…posted…for a post with more landscape photos!)

over the may 1st holiday weekend, my friend cat and i took what ended up being one of my very favorite (if not THE favorite – maybe this one and ‘hakka roundhouse trip #1’) trips ever – to bornholm, a danish island in the baltic sea (waaay far east of the rest of denmark…it’s on the other side of the southernmost point of sweden, and has actually been part of sweden at a few different points in history). we brought our bikes with for transportation and spent three days exploring the island. i was thinking that it would be a nice place, since many danes vacation there, but it far exceeded my expectations – it was SO beautiful and we had absolutely perfect weather. cat was also an excellent travel companion, and very patient with my amateur biking status (she’s what i would call a ‘serious’ seattle biker…needless to say, i’m learning lots of new bike vocab). : ) it was very fun, and bicycle was the perfect way to get around the island – to me, it’s a very danish mode of transportation, and it allowed us to travel at our own pace and really take in all of the scenery (while stopping often to photograph it, of course). one of my danish friends told me that if i were to visit one place in denmark outside of copenhagen, it should be bornholm…and so we went. we covered 115km(!) in three days and were exhausted at the end of the trip, but very happy that we’d gone!

here’s the ferry that we took from ystad in sweden to bornholm (we took the train from copenhagen to ystad…and were able to bring our bikes on both the train and the ferry with special tickets)

cat and her lovely golden bike at the beginning of our trip

some photos that cat took of me doing ‘bike things’ and hauling the backpack…i was so impressed that my trusty second-hand city bike did such a good job!

some adjustments were made…

cat was a very good sport and visited all four of the island’s round churches with me (i’ll also post more specifically about these in the near future)

cat’s documentation of me documenting one of the round churches

although i was not the only one taking photos…

view of sandvig, the town outside of which our hostel was located

a very yummy second saturday breakfast of black coffee and fiskefrikadeller (fried danish fish meatball) – gotta keep up that energy level! this was enjoyed on a picnic table at a lovely seaside cafe : )

unlike the rest of denmark, bornholm is NOT flat…i was very, very happy to make it to the top of this hill…and many others…

we had a picnic lunch one day at the harbour in gudhjem (a town on the east coast of the island)

windmill in gudhjem/lighthouse at bornholm’s northern tip

a rogeri, or smokehouse, in gudhjem…smoked fishes and other seafood are one of the island’s specialties

on sunday, we visited the ruins of the fort at hammershus, northern europe’s largest medieval fortification. hammershus was built in the 1200’s on the island’s granite cliffs to the north (it was a really big deal to see cliffs in denmark…cat, who has seen a lot more of the country than me, couldn’t believe we were still in danish territory).

the fort was used as a base for the danish crusades and was conquered at various times by both sweden and lübeck. i liked all of the different window openings…perhaps strategically placed for defensive purposes?

stone and brick construction of the tower/remains of the fortress chapel

cat takes a break among the ruins

on our way from hammershus back to rønne to catch the ferry home, we rode along what is definitely the loveliest bicycle path i’ve ever been on…

…parts of which skirted the coast/me celebrating the successful completion of our trip with a triumphant (and delicious) ice cream cone in rønne : )

our scan|design group spent last weekend in nykøbing, north sjælland, where our mentor has a wonderful summer home. the best parts of the trip: bringing bikes on trains and ferries, smørrebrød, a sunny beach, cooking and eating with friends, and taking a break from thesis at the lovely ‘oasen.’ below is a selection of my favorite photos from the trip (photos 6, 9, 16, 22 + 24 courtesy heather burpee – thanks!).

pirates of the north

April 23, 2008

this boat, the ‘rana,’ sits in front of the museum. it was built in northern norway in 1892 and is known as one of the ‘last vikings’ because of the shape of its hull and its square sail (not shown here).

although the cathedral in roskilde was spectacular, the highlight of the trip was definitely the viking ship museum – both because it was just a great museum overall and also because of my irrational love of all things pirate, which now includes the norse marauders. i hadn’t really equated vikings with pirates before this trip, but as i learned at the museum, ‘viking’ was actually the word that described pirates in england and scandinavia initially (though it eventually expanded in meaning to include the entire period of viking history and the general viking way of life). so. pirates of the north. y’arrrrr!

the main museum building was built to house the remains of five original viking ships that date back to the 11th century as well as a handful of supporting exhibits about the life and times of the viking. the five ships were recovered from roskilde fjord (on the shores of which the town and museum are located), where they had been sunken, or ‘scuttled,’ around the year 1070 as part of blockade to close off one of the fjord’s three shipping channels to unwanted visitors. the five boats were preserved in the water and mud of the fjord until they were excavated in 1962.

an archaeological drawing that shows how the five ships were arranged on the floor of the fjord.

the five ships are all different sizes and were used for different purposes – represented in the museum are an ocean-going trading vessel, a coastal trader, a small longship, a large longship, and a fishing boat.

metal framework holds the remaining fragments of the excavated ships – you can see the oar holes in the photo on the right. a few words about the museum building before we move on: i really like the interior space – it’s simple concrete construction with great light, and the entire north side (to the right-hand side of the left-hand photo) is made up of windows overlooking roskilde fjord (so – if you stand on the south side of the museum and look at the ships, you see them silhouetted against the fjord…it’s really nice).

a model of what the small longship would have looked like in viking days.

this is a model of the excellently-named ‘sea stallion from glendalough,’ a reconstruction of the large longship exhibited at the museum. in 2007, the (full-scale) ‘thoroughbred of the sea’ was sailed from roskilde to dublin, where the original ship was built in 1042. the ship will begin the six-week voyage back to roskilde this summer and will receive its official welcome (and what sounds like a giant viking-themed party) at the museum harbour in august.

if you want, you can dress up like a viking and sit in a reconstructed ship (or tempt certain death by handing over the edge as this girl is doing)/or you can just look at the diorama version of the same thing…

view of the viking ship museum from the museum harbour (i liked the inside better than the outside)

the bridge to the museum island, where you can embark on sailing trips around the harbour (yes – in a reconstructed viking vessel) or watch viking shipbuilding in progress in the boatyard

the bridge again/view of the dock and boatyard (see roskilde cathedral looming in the distance)

the boat on the left is the ‘helge ask,’ an oak, pine, and ash reconstruction of a small viking warship from the 11th century. it was built in the museum boatyard in 1991. the boat on the right…i’m not sure what it is, but if you look very carefully, you can see its tiny red pirate flag. ; )

part of the boatyard on the museum island

i kind of liked the architecture of the buildings on the museum island – nothing too fancy, but they seemed to form a nice little maritime-y ‘village.’ the structures house educational facilities as well as both boat-building and archaeological workshops.

here’s the boat-building workshop. this guy is working on a 5.5-meter oak dinghy modeled after an early 20th century norwegian fishing boat…although this one is for sale and is apparently intended for yachting, so it comes without a fishing well…

i thought this boat had the second best name (after ‘sea stallion’) – it’s called the ‘roar edge,’ and is a reconstruction of the small trading ship found at the bottom of the fjord. it has a square sail, though its six oars can be used in harbours or in calm weather.

two more photos of the ‘roar edge’ – you can see the shadow of the prow (left) and the oar openings (right)

this was great – as i was leaving the museum island, i happened to catch the shipbuilders on their lunch break…and was happy to see none other than the jolly roger tacked to the door of their building. pirates, indeed.

roskilde cathedral

April 21, 2008

i took a (wonderful) day off from thesis to go to roskilde, a town about half an hour west of copenhagen by train (some might know it as home to the annual-and-very-famous-in-denmark summertime roskilde festival). i’ve been excited to visit roskilde for two reasons: the cathedral and the viking ship museum – which will get its own post because it was so great. stay tuned for viking ships. so, back to the cathedral…which is very historic, as churches have been constructed on this site for more than 1000 years. the first one was wooden, built by harald bluetooth. the present-day brick gothic/romanesque church has existed in more or less the same form since 1280. and, surprise, it is on unesco’s world heritage list (i think i’m going to make a new category just for all of the unesco sites i’ve visited…done!). it really is a dramatic building – you can see the trademark copper spires from very far away, and the cathedral is situated at the high point of the town, overlooking roskilde fjord. seen from below, it looms over the ridge in a rather imposing sort of way.

view from roskilde’s town hall square of the copper spires in the distance/model i found of the city circa 1400…you can see how the cathedral really dominates the townscape (unfortunately someone has absconded with the trademark copper spires…)

oblique view of the cathedral/cathedral in the distance…view from the beautiful ‘byparken’ that leads down to the fjord

the cathedral is undergoing restoration…it’s getting a new roof over the crossing and new copper roofing on its spires

exterior brick detail/the cathedral square and the side chapels

there is restoration happening on the interior, too/view of the nave

cross-vaulting details

more cross-vaulting…i really liked the painted designs on the ceiling and the contrast of the white surface with dark brick accents

roskilde cathedral is perhaps most famous as the burial place for danish royalty – all kings and most queens have been buried here since the reformation, and many have special individual chapels (left: the tomb of king christian ix and queen louise). and here’s the story behind the mechanical clock (right) from the official cathedral site:

The late 15th century clock with the mechanical figures is unique in Denmark. To the left is the knight Saint George. According to legend, he saved a city in Asia Minor from damnation. A dragon had the city in its thrall and refused to spare it unless it was fed with a virgin every year. Once, when it was the turn of the King’s daughter to be the next victim, Saint George arrived on horseback and slayed the dragon. Being a true saint, he would not accept the princess and half the kingdom as his reward – he had to move on and keep fighting evil elsewhere in the world.

st. george slays the dragon on the hour. it’s pretty cool.

next time…viking ships!