Saturday, 30 July 2011

Postcards from the Bryghus

BryghusI didn't spend all of my spare time in Denmark visiting museums, even though I have blogged about going to the Glyptotek, the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, and the Rosenborg Castle. No, I also got out to quaff a couple of cool ones fresh from the bryghus! Bryghus in Danish is "brew" (bryg) and "house" (hus), which is literally "brewhouse", but more properly translated as "brewery".

If you are ever in Copenhagen, the Carlsberg Bryghus is a must see, even if you have already been on a brewery tour. This one is different. Oh, the beer part is the same, thankfully, but in this case it is the environment that sets this brewery apart from any other brewery you may have visited.

As you approach the brewery, you can see that the building complex is really something else. Now these are not buildings from the original Carlsberg company. Rather they are from of the Ny Carlsberg (New Carlsberg), a company that Carl set up when he and his father, J.C. Jacobsen, had a very serious falling out. In fact, there were two Carlsberg companies for some time, because J.C. decided that upon his death, the original Carlsberg company would be owned by his Carlsberg Foundation rather than by his son. It wasn't until 1906 that the two Carlsberg companies merged, with Carl at the helm.

Maybe one of the things that distanced father and son was that J.C. was heavily into politics, whereas Carl loved art. You can see clearly how much time, energy and resources Carl directed towards esthetics when building the Ny Carlsberg complex. Here is the famous Elephant Gate that links two buildings in the old brewery.

Bryghus

There are four granite elephants "holding up" this tower. Carl Jacobsen requested Hans Peder Pedersen-Dans to sculpt the the elephants for the base of the tower. Carl named them after his four children: Theodora, Paula, Helge and Vagn.

Bryghus

Bryghus


On the inside of the courtyard, partway up the tower is Ludvig Brandstrup's bronze of Carl Jacobsen and his wife, Ottilia Jacobsen. The statues are placed such that they look out over the Ny Carlsberg complex.

Bryghus


You can see another gate through the Elephant Gate. This second gate is called the "Dipylon" (double gate) at the other end of the "courtyard". The Dipylon has two rounded arches, unlike the single rectangular gateway of the Elephant Gate. The Dipylon was built first, in 1892, and the Elephant Gate came later, in 1901. Both were done by the same architect, Vilhelm Dahlerup.

On one side of the Diplyon is a tile frieze with nine figures. Carl, his wife, and his son are three of the figures, with some of the brewery staff making up the rest.

Bryghus


The style of these gates and surrounding buildings is very eclectic and very refreshing. For example, here is a detail of the iron grating over one of the windows.

Bryghus


Just down from these two gates is a smokestack with its own very interesting design. The bricks were laid in a twisting fashion and the lower part of the stack is decorated with white statues.

Bryghus


Past this smokestack and closer to the visitor centre is an entirely modern-looking building that has a massive amount of white rope tied to the ceiling. I cannot imagine what this is used for. Any guesses?

Bryghus


Closer still to the visitor centre is a small garden, with a replica of the Little Mermaid. Carl Jacobsen donated the original Little Mermaid to the City of Copenhagen and apparently also kept a copy for himself.

Bryghus


In the square of the visitor centre is a small collection of old automobiles that were used by Carlsberg to deliver beer to market. The exhibit gave me a chance to add to my old car portfolio.

Bryghus

Bryghus


While the more mainstream Ford and Chevy are welcome additions to my collection, I really lucked out with the rare (to me) Morris and Bedford trucks.

Bryghus

Bryghus


Just inside the visitor centre square is an exhibit of an even older form of transportation: horses. Just as Budweiser has the Clydesdales, Carlsberg has the Jutlands.

Bryghus


These are massive horses and I can imagine they do a fantastic job at pulling heavy loads.

Bryghus


Another thing that sets this brewery tour apart from others is the "world's largest collection of beer bottles" exhibit. At the moment, there are over 20,000 bottles from all over the world!

Bryghus

Bryghus

Bryghus


Of course there is the traditional brewery equipment to see. It all looks alike to me, so I just concentrated on the shapes, tones and moods as I walked through the brewery.

Bryghus

Bryghus

Bryghus


I rate this as another excellent place to visit if you are ever in Copenhagen.

Here are links to all of my posts from this visit:
Faces of Copenhagen
Copenhagen Postcards
Copenhagen Walkabout - Oddities
Postcards from the Bryghus
Postcards from Louisiana MoMA
A Game of Thrones
Postcards from the Glyptotek

Read more...

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Postcards from Louisiana MoMA

Louisiana 3The most visited art museum in Denmark is the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art. Getting so many visitors is no small feat for them, given that they are located well outside of Copenhagen and (if my experience is the norm) extremely hard to get to. It is supposed to be a short 20 minute train ride from Copenhagen, plus a 10 minute walk. Well, it didn't turn out to be that easy.

First, we could not figure out what train to take. This was the first time in all of our European travels that Angie and I couldn't get the trains sorted. It could have been the Danish train signs, which are so different from the rest of Europe. It could have been the conductors, who didn't seem to know anything about any train except theirs (we heard "It may be the next one" several times). Whatever it was, I felt like a Muggle looking for Platform 9¾

Louisiana 1


Then, after we finally got on the correct train, we had to get off again after only a few stops and take a bus. It seems the line to Louisiana was out of service and the only way to get there was to take a detour by bus. We thought we would just follow the crowd, since everyone seemed to be going to Louisiana anyway. At least they kept asking the drivers something about "Louisiana" (which was all the Danish we knew). We had to wait as several buses came and went. All the while none of the passengers knew which bus to take. I gathered from the gestures and facial expressions that the drivers were saying "I am not sure. Maybe the next one"! Do the Danes have a sense of style? Absolutely! Do they have a sense of public transportation? No.

When we finally arrived at Louisiana, there was a large crowd queuing to get in. We were looking at a good 30 minute wait. That is, until we spied a side entrance through the gift shop and cut the queue. This almost made up for the lost time travelling to get there! By the way, we were able to take this shortcut because when we bought our train tickets in Copenhagen, we bought tickets to Louisiana at the same time. So in the end, not only did we save a bit on the price of the ticket, but we saved the wait time to get in. A tip worth knowing if you are in Copenhagen and are looking to go to Louisiana.

We browsed through the gift shop (I always pick up postcards for Anne when I travel), we took a short tour through the main garden where there was a large exhibit. It was made of construction lumber painted high-visibility orange. I'm afraid the artistic merit is lost on me. My interpretation of what I saw is a bit garish, to say the least!

Louisiana 2


Back inside, we saw several of the Picasso exhibits. I'm not really a fan of Picasso. Like the art above, it is too chaotic for me. There is nothing inspiring or surprising in it, and it simply doesn't hold my attention. But since we were in such a famous museum, and since the Glyptotek held such pleasant surprises, we toured the exhibit halls to see what was on display.

One of the exhibits was of Alberto Giacometti's work. It was in a large room with a glass wall overlooking a pond. A tour group was in the gallery and the guide was explaining the exhibit to his tour group.

Louisiana 5


As I was watching the guide explain about the work, I started thinking about the fact that there are always tour laggards. These are people who hang behind the main group as it moves from place to place. I thought that there would be a chance I might catch "the laggards" either looking at the exhibit, or out the window. This, I thought, might make for a good composition if I could frame it properly using the walls and the windows. So I ran down the stairs and waited until the group moved on. Sure enough, three people stayed behind to look out the window. My anticipation paid off with a nice capture.

Louisiana 3


By now you are probably wondering why we went to Louisiana in the first place, given that we don't like Picasso or much of the modern art. It was because there was an exhibit of David Hockney's me draw on Ipad. Angie's husband and my son are iPad nuts. We thought it would be cool to go see this exhibit and report back to them on the use of an iPad as an art tool.

The Hockney exhibit was fabulous. David has created hundreds of drawings using either an iPhone or an iPad. The museum had installed 20 iPads and 20 iPhones around an exhibit hall. Hockney's art was displayed on these devices. I would characterize the drawings as simplistic, very colourful, and absolutely captivating. The museum also displayed a short video of David using the iPad to create one of the drawings on display.

Louisiana 4


Go here to see some samples of his work at the Louisiana MoMA site. His work was interesting enough to turn a lousy excursion into a good one, even when the return trip to Copenhagen was as fraught with travel hassles as the trip up.

Here are links to all of my posts from this visit:
Faces of Copenhagen
Copenhagen Postcards
Copenhagen Walkabout - Oddities
Postcards from the Bryghus
Postcards from Louisiana MoMA
A Game of Thrones
Postcards from the Glyptotek

Read more...

Saturday, 23 July 2011

My Oslo Is...

My Oslo...Oslo (and Norway) is one of my favourite places, probably because it reminds me so much of Canada. It is a "home away from home" and literally a breath of fresh air when I am in claustrophobic Europe.

I hope these photos give you a sense of what kind of city Oslo is, because my Oslo is not in the images I see on television today. It is not a city of devastation and blown-out buildings. It is not a city of people laying bleeding in the streets. No, my Oslo is....

... a city where even the dogs get dressed up for a parade.

My Oslo is....


... a city where kids can laugh and smile.

My Oslo is....


.... a city that respects its war heros, as only a city that has been occupied can.

My Oslo is....


... a city where litte girls hug their Moms while watching a parade.

My Oslo is....


... a city where little girls ride on their Dad's shoulders to watch a parade.

My Oslo is....


.... a city of storybook colour.

My Oslo...

My Oslo is....

My Oslo is....


... a city that is colourful even in the dark, pouring rain.

Oslo Lights (2)


... a city that is colourful as the sun goes down.

Oslo 7


... a city where young and old love sports.

My Oslo...

My Oslo...


... a city where the wonder of the outdoors is not lost.

My Oslo...


... a city where high school kids dress up in national colours and hand out their personal "trading cards" to little kids (who collect them). That has to be one of the nicest high school grad traditions I have ever seen.

My Oslo...


This is my Oslo. Please cross-post and share this version of Oslo with your friends.

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Sunday, 17 July 2011

A Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones 2Rosenborg Castle is where the House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Gl├╝cksburg keep their family chair. Margrethe II, the current head of the House, also keeps her Crown Jewels there as well.

With a name that long, you would think she would need a huge vault to store her goodies. Not so. Rosenborg Castle is a nice, but smallish, Dutch Renaissance building in the middle of Copenhagen. It was built by Christian 4, whom I find very notable for the use of the Arabic '4' instead of the Roman 'IV' like all of his peers used. This is but one tidbit of interesting information I got from the guide we hired to walk us through the Castle and the surrounding neighborhoods.

As with any building constructed in the 1600's, there is not a lot of light in the rooms, which are small to start with. This makes the building a bit claustrophobic. The darkness, along with the usual ban on photography using a flash (light kills the historical artifacts) or a tripod (people trip over them), meant I wasn't able to get many photographs while inside.

One exception to the 'darkness' was the Long Hall on the third floor. It has many large windows, a white ceiling, and some white tiles as well. This helps brighten the room considerably. I can imagine that when the tapestries were new, this was a very, very colourful room.

Long Hall


The throne, made of silver and a royal red fabric, stands at one end of the room.

Game of Thrones 1


I really like the contrast in the silver and the red.

Game of Thrones 3

Game of Thrones 2


You cannot see it in the photo of the Long Hall, but one of the tiles is purposely mislaid. The workers were a bit superstitious and thought that only God could be perfect, so they would intentionally make a 'mistake' somewhere in their work. They did they same thing in the washroom on the main floor, where one single tile is turned sideways.

Imperfection


If there was an imperfection in these 'toy soliders', I couldn't see it. But then I also couldn't imagine getting close enough to look in that level of detail with toys that are worth a king's ransom.

Toy Soldiers


Our last stop was to see the crowns themselves. Of course we didn't get to touch them; they were well secured behind glass. Yes, that is Angie in the background.

Crowns

Here are links to all of my posts from this visit:
Faces of Copenhagen
Copenhagen Postcards
Copenhagen Walkabout - Oddities
Postcards from the Bryghus
Postcards from Louisiana MoMA
A Game of Thrones
Postcards from the Glyptotek

Read more...