Throwback Thursday – Helsingør

Looking out over the Øresund strait from the ramparts of Kronborg.
Looking out over the Øresund strait from the ramparts of Kronborg.

I suspect that Hamlet must’ve been smoking something hallucinogenic, because I couldn’t find a single thing rotten in Denmark while I was there. It’s a country full of impossibly beautiful people, breathtaking coastal scenery, and a relaxed, accessible cultural vibe that I fell in love with. One of my friends once remarked to me, “If you really want to achieve the American dream, move to Denmark.”

A sign that tells it how it is.
A sign that tells it how it is.

The area near the train station in Helsingør.

The area near the train station in Helsingør.
For some reason, I'd expected Denmark's late summer to be chilly since it was farther north, but it ended up being perfect beach weather.
For some reason, I’d expected Denmark’s late summer to be chilly since it was farther north, but it ended up being perfect beach weather.

Though most of my time in Denmark was spent in Copenhagen, I also made a day trip out to Elsinore (or Helsingør, in Danish), a city that’s about forty-five minutes away by train. Helsingør is charming and worth a trip in its own right, but its biggest claim to fame is the UNESCO Heritage Site of Kronborg Castle, which is particularly famous for being the setting of Shakespeare’s classic tragedy, Hamlet, and so my literary geek brain placed it at the top of my “to see” list.

Kronborg from a distance.
Kronborg from a distance.
Crossing the moat to Kronborg Castle.
Crossing the moat to Kronborg Castle.
A smaller scale model of the castle and its grounds.
A smaller scale model of the castle and its grounds.
This was one of my favorite features of the castles: the outline of Denmark, with some of the main cities marked, was laid in metal on one of the lawns.
This was one of my favorite features of the castles: the outline of Denmark, with some of the main cities marked, was laid in metal on one of the lawns.
Perhaps Kronborg is home to some hobbits, too?
Perhaps Kronborg is home to some hobbits, too?
It's not a proper castle without some cannons for good measure.
It’s not a proper castle without some cannons for good measure.
On the ramparts around the castle.
On the ramparts around the castle.
Smørrebrød for lunch...
Smørrebrød for lunch…
...eaten in the shadow of Hamlet's castle. The food- and literature-loving parts of my brain were satisfied completely.
…eaten in the shadow of Hamlet’s castle. The food- and literature-loving parts of my brain were satisfied completely.
Much to my disappointment, I'd missed the end of the famous Shakespeare festival, which features both international and Danish troupes, by one day.
Much to my disappointment, I’d missed the end of the famous Shakespeare festival, which features both international and Danish troupes, by one day.

Helsingør is right on the northern coast of Denmark; it’s the closest city to Sweden, and it’s easy enough to hop across the Øresund strait via ferry. I was content, though, to just spend my day wandering around the castle grounds and through the city’s old cobblestone streets before heading back to Copenhagen.

The massive red-brick Helsingør Domkirke (cathedral).
The massive red-brick Helsingør Domkirke (cathedral).
Street art in the old city.
Street art in the old city.
Breezing through one of the city's streets.
Breezing through one of the city’s streets.

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