One thing that must be appreciated about Denmark is how quickly one can reach the other side. The first weekend outing to Roskilde and the second weekend outing to Hamlet’s castle were both reached within an hour by train. This is mainly due to Denmark’s small size, but I like to think it’s more about a very long history of effective transportation: from Viking ships to high-speed rail. We left for Hamlet’s castle late Sunday morning, arriving in time to eat brunch on the adorable stone streets of the adjacent town. Certain members of our touring astronomy team ate fish on toast with beer and schnapps for brunch. They will go unnamed. I ate a chicken (faux) panini.
After brunch and scouting out all the ice cream shops, we headed out to the castle, a mere 15 minute walk away on the edge of the ocean. The castle was actually constructed in part to keep pirates out of the bay, since the route was popular for trading ships.
Since we were not pirates, they let us in. The more interesting part of the castle was actually in the basement, where military troops used to live; the rooms were kept very dark to let their natural creepiness come through. One particularly dark room that was in a lower level of the basement (only reached by narrow dark stairs) had a mannequin of a soldier that, I believe, was supposed to look like he was keeping watch. Unfortunately the mannequin was held up by a rope to the ceiling, so it looked more like the soldier had tried to hang himself. It all added to the creepiness, so I didn’t mind.
The upstairs of the castle was slightly less depressing, especially if you ignore the fact that the castle often went unused back in the day. The museum displays tried to emphasize this fact by showing little dollhouse-like recreations of what the castle looked like inside when the king was and wasn’t visiting. Apparently the castle was so empty normally that the king had to bring his own pots and pans.
The outside of the castle was just breathtaking, a combination of old stone, green beach grass, and blue ocean bay. We sat on the edge of the beach and dangled our feet in the chilly water. The water was warmer than in Santa Barbara, but I guess that isn’t saying too much. I foraged for tiny seashells and watched a couple of young boys try to ride their bikes into the water until a group of slightly older boys told them off (for what, I don’t know). The sky was blue, the grass was green, it was time for a lie-down, but instead we ate ice cream.