We awake still not 100% sure of the plan for the day. So we get stuck into breakfast.
Dolores is disappointed by the lack of herring. “I thought they always had herring in Scandinavia?” She has to make do with cake instead. Of which there‘s a good selection. My disappointment comes in fried form. Or rather the lack of it. I content myself with a boiled egg.
As we’re getting out of the lift we bump – pretty much literally – into Jay Brooks and his wife Sarah. He doesn’t have much more clue of the day’s plan than we do. Other than that someone from Carlsberg should be here at ten.
Which is indeed the case. I get a call from reception to tell me of her arrival. We trail downstairs and find a very nice young lady called Caroline, who outlines what will be happening. Starting at noon, when we’ll be picked up by a bus and taken to the Glyptotek. Which gives us a couple of hours.
Dolores fancies taking a look at Christiansborg Slot, a royal palace that isn’t far away. So off we set.
It’s another beautiful summer day, the sky and water brilliant blue again. The city looks wonderful in bright sunlight.
We pass a church on our way and Dolores suggest we take a look inside. It’s a bit tardis-like, seeming much bigger inside that it appears from the street. There’s a model ship hanging from the ceiling.
“I’ve never seen a ship in a church before.” Dolores remarks. Neither have I. And I assume the other visitors haven’t either, as they’re all snapping it.
Someone is playing the organ which adds nicely to the atmosphere. As we’re leaving I notice a poster advertising an organ recital every Wednesday morning. Mmm. It hadn’t drawn much of a crowd.
As we wait at the traffic lights to cross over to the palace, something strikes me.
“They don’t seem to have perfected the Amsterdam cyclist’s method of negotiating traffic lights. They actually stop when the light is red. Amateurs!” I say to Dolores.
“Have you noticed something else about the cyclists here? Loads are wearing helmets. No-one over six wears a helmet in Amsterdam.”
Being cheapskates, we don’t plan entering the palace, just having a nose around outside. There’s a lovely little garden around the back of the national library. With a wonderful show of dazzling yellow flowers that glow in the sun. Very relaxing.
Looking at a map of the complex, I notice something called Christian IV’s Bryghus.
“Oh look, Dolores, there’s a brewery.”
“I suppose you want to go and look at it.”
“How did you guess?”
It isn’t far. Handsome and substantial, is how I’d describe the red brick edifice. It looks like German buildings of the period, with its massive roof. Christian IV was king from 1588 to 1648, so it was probably built in the early 17th century.
Currently it houses a lapidarium. Isn’t that a collection of butterflies. A quick glance through the windows reveals that it’s really a collection of statues. We can’t go in because it doesn’t open until noon.
Back at the hotel, we’ve time to make ourselves beautiful before going downstairs for the bus. First destination is the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, a museum built by Carl Jacobsen, son of Carlsberg’s founder, to house his art collection. It’s weird thinking that I’ve handled documents written by Carl Jacobsen.
As the bus inches through the city’s traffic, we chat with Caroline. She’s only been with Carlsberg for three weeks, working as an intern. Before that she spent six months as an exchange student in Amsterdam. Which gives us lots to talk about. Like the crazy behaviour of Dutch cyclists.
There’s a mob of people hanging around outside the museum. Including an unruly gang of British beer writers. Martyn Cornell, Adrian Tierney-Jones, Tim Hampson, Roger Protz, Matt Curtis and Mark Dredge. Obviously all people I know.
We’re in the museum for a TEDx talk. No idea what that is*. They’ve brought back J. C. Jacobsen, Carlsberg founder, for the first talk. In hologram form. We’re led through the museum to the room where the talks will happen. Very attractive it is, too. Though the statue in the fountain is a little disturbing.
We walk past lots and lots of ancient sculptures, mostly Greek and Roman it looks like.
They’re handing out cider and beer. I’m not going to say no.
“How did you get a full glass?” Roger Protz asks me. “Easy, I poured two into one.” I’ve been to events like this before.
It’s quite hot. And some of the older members of our party soon look like they’re dozing off.
The general theme is uncertainty. One speaker says how he and a few mates regularly go away for the weekend. They get another friend to plan and book everything, and only discover their destination when they get to the airport. A bit weird, I think. Then I realise that I sort of do that with my US trips. Several places I visited on my Midwest trip weren’t really planned. Just where someone offered to hold an event.
After three talks, it’s time for lunch. Though I think I’ll pass on the snack insects in the box that was on our seats. We’re dining al fresco in the garden at the back of the museum. It’s quite pleasant, given the lovely weather. And there’s plenty of Carlsberg to drink. I wouldn’t normally drink their Pils. But it’s free. And it’s hot. And I’m thirsty.
* Andrew was shocked that we’d never heard of it. He’s watched some of the TEDx talks on the internet.
Disclaimer: Carlsberg paid for two return flights, two nights in the Strand Hotel, a lunch, a dinner and various beers.
Holmens Kanal 21,
1060 København K.
Tel.: +45 33 13 61 78
Prins Jørgens Gård 1,
Christian 4.s Bryghus,
Frederiksholms Kanal 39,
1220 København K.
Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek
Dantes Plads 7,