Archive for Denmark

Dec
31

My 10 Top Travel Photos of 2011

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2011 has again been a good year for me to discover wonderful new places in the world. Rather than bore you with a very brief and inadequate description, I thought I’d rely on the old saying of “a picture paints a thousand words” or rather in this case a photo. Here are my favourite photos I took during the last year.

Kronborg Castle

My first trip of the year was to the Danish capital of Copenhagen. I’ve been there many times and decided to head up the coast to Helsingor and the famous Kronborg Castle. It is said to be the setting for Shakespeare’s famous play “Hamlet”.

Kronborg Castle – One of Northern Europe’s finest Renaissance castles

 

Sveti Stefan

I spent a couple of days on the Montenegro coast at Sveti Stefan overlooking this iconic iselt.

Sveti Stefan – Famous visitors here include Elizabeth Taylor and Sophie Loren.

 

Mandarin Fish

My first diving trip to Manado was extremely rewarding. On a night dive I managed to capture a couple of pictures of the elusive Mandarin Fish on a night dive.

The elusive Mandarin Fish on Bunaken Island, Manado, Indonesia

 

Queens Colours 1/24th Regiment

The Battle of Isandlwana in 1879 was the greatest defeat a British force ever suffered at the hands of a native army. On that fateful January day, the Queens Colours of 1/24th Regiment were lost in the Buffalo River. Two weeks later, against all odds they were recovered. Queen Victoria added a wreath of immortals around the crown as reminder of what happened to those colours at Isandlwana. Today, they are hanging in the Havard side chapel in Brecon Cathedral, Wales.

Queens COlours of 1/24th Regiment that were lost and later found after the Battle of Isandlwana in January 1879.

 

Burning Bush / Fire Extinguisher

High in the Sinai Mountains in St Catherine’s Monastery. It is a hugely significant religious site and  this picture is of the Burning Bush. I found it slightly amusing that there is a fire extinguisher next to it…just in case.

In 2011, the Burning Bush is less of a safety risk that back in the days when it was described in the book of Exodus thanks to a fire extinguisher.

 

Soldier on guard, Hall of Valour

The Battle of Stalingrad was an horrendous fight to the death for hundreds of thousands of Russian and German soldiers. Today at the Hall of Valour at Mamayev Kurgan in Volgograd, there is a permanent guard.

A soldier stands guard in the Hall of Valour, Mamayev Kurgan, Volgograd

 

Petra through the Siq

The Siq at Petra is a long passage all visitors have to travel through to reach the famous Red City. As you approach the end, you get your first glimpse of the Treasury in Petra.

Nearing the end of the Siq and catching a first sight of the Treasury at Petra.

 

Kotor – cruise ship

The old walled town of Kotor in Montenegro is a popular cruise destination.

A cruise ship docked at Kotor, Montenegro

 

Pufferfish

This photo isn’t so much a favourite, I just want to highlight a problem (excuse the blurriness). When threatened, Pufferfish expand their bodies. Its a rare sight and is incredibly stressful for them. On this night dive in Aqaba, the guide annoyed this Pufferfish enough for it to puff out it’s body. I was really annoyed that someone meant to educate and protect the marine environment could do this. It was at a 5* PADI centre in a marine park.

This poor Pufferfish was annoyed by our dive guide and felt it had to expand it’s body to defend itself.

 

Ma’In Hotsprings

If you want to visit a fantastic spa resort in a stunning setting, the Ma’In Hotsprings 260m below sea level in Jordan will not disappoint.

The main waterfall at the fabulous Ma’In Hotsprings in Jordan.

 

I regularly update my Flickr account with my latest photos which you can find here:

http://www.flickr.com/bbmexplorer

Please feel free to add me as a contact.

Thats all from me for 2011, now I’m looking forward to 2012 which will take me to more new places and the Euro 2012 Championships in Ukraine.

Feb
12

Visiting Kronborg Castle from Copenhagen

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About 30 miles heading north up the coast from the Danish capital, Copenhagen is Kronborg Castle. It is was of the most important Renaissance castles in Northern Europe and was the scene for Shakespeare’s play “The Tragedy of Hamlet: Prince of Denmark”. Kronborg dates back to 1429 and ships passing though the sound had to pay a tax. This was a very lucrative business making the Kings very rich.

It’s a very easy day out from Copenhagen with trains running regularly to Helsingor. From there, it’s a 10 minute walk to the castle which you can see almost as soon as you get off the train. The train ticket system around Copenhagen can be a little confusing so if you aren’t sure, just ask at the ticket office at the main station in Copenhagen. The journey takes around 45 minutes and there were around 3 trains an hour.

Helsingor is the end of the train line so there is no danger of missing your stop. Once you arrive at Kronborg, you cross over the bridge and make your way to the inner courtyard. There is no charge at this point and there are also wi-fi points at various spots where you can connect your phone and listen to MP3 audio tours.

If you want to explore the inside of Kronborg, you’ll need to purchase a ticket which includes a guided tour. There are various prices depending on which parts of the castle you want to visit and the most expensive ticket is 95DKK (around 11GBP).

The castle chapel is beautifully decorated inside and was originally consecrated in 1528. It escaped undamaged in the fire of 1629 and the vivid colours give you an idea what the castle was like in its heyday.

The first part of the guided tour takes you under the castle where you meet Holger the Dane. He is said to be the protector of Denmark and is an important symbol for the Danish people. There are a series of passages and dark corridors which were once home to the soldiers who lived here.

The next part of the tour takes in the various living areas of the castle including the Royal Chambers and the Ballroom. The decoration inside the castle is wonderful and there are various items of furniture and art on display.

The Danish Maritime Museum is also based at Kronborg but for some reason, I managed to miss out going there. As day trips go, visiting Kronborg from Copenhagen is definitely worth while. If possible go during summer as you will also have access to the Telegraph Tower which offers stunning views over the sound.

A few years ago, I was lucky enough to live close enough to the city of Copenhagen to spend time there. Although most visitors fly into Copenhagen, it is also easily accessible by train from the Swedish cities of Malmo and Gothenburg. The train crosses the Oresund Bridge from Sweden into Denmark where it stops at Kastrup airport. From there, its a short trip straight to the centre of Copenhagen.

Once in the centre, there are plenty of hotels to choose from with a number of cheaper options located close to the station as well as a good selection of higher grade hotels too. The Marriott was always a place I enjoyed staying. However, the best of Copenhagen is not in the hotels, its around this fascinating city.

One of the most popular places to visit is Tivoli Gardens. It is mainly a summer attraction as it isn’t open all year round but I’ve been there just before Christmas and its a magical place at this time of year too. If you reverse the letters Tivoli, you get “I Lov It” and its a place you simply have to see.

The Nyhavn is one of Copenhagen’s most recognisable places. The multicoloured buildings are the back drop to a small dock. There are some lovely bars and restaurants here and its a wonderful place to sit and watch the world go by in the long summer evenings.

Not far from Nyhavn is the Royal Winter Palace of Amalienborg. The Royal family stay here during the winter and visitors can wander around outside and in the past, I’ve watch the changing of the guard here.

Heading further north out of the city, you will find the famous Little Mermaid at Langelinie. It is one of the most photographed statues in the world and has been the subject of a number of thefts. The Little Mermaid was the subject of a fairytale written by Hans Christian Andersen, one of the most famous people to come from the city.

Back in the centre, you will find the Stroget. This pedestrianised street is the main shopping area in Copenhagen. In addition to the many world class shops, there are plenty of bars, cafes, restaurants along the way. The Stroget links the Radhuspladsen near Tivoli with the Kongens Nytorv next Nyhavn.

Of course, there is much more to see in Copenhagen not least the Carlsberg brewery where tours are available all year round. As with many cities, a Copenhagen Card is available giving free entry and discounts to many of the cities attractions.

Categories : Copenhagen, Denmark, Europe
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