Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Kastellet- A Star shaped Fortress in Copenhagen-Winter vs Summer!

Kastellet is a small star shaped fortress located in Copenhagen, Denmark. It is one of the best preserved one in Northern Europe. Kastellet is located near Osterport station. It is right behind little mermaid statue that every tourist to Copenhagen stops by.
I had visited Kastellet area during my previous visits to Copenhagen and had taken some photos on my mobile. That was summer time and the lazy me had not blogged about it yet. This time I visited it again in winter, right after a night full of snowfall. Seeing Kastellet in all white snow cover was a totally different experience. Finally happy I am able to compose a post about Kastellet- using photos from both winter and summer which will help you get both the perspectives.

Kastellet was constructed in 1626 on the orders of King Christian IV as a defense against any attack from the ocean. The star shaped campus has a water body separating it from mainland, connected by two bridges. Inside the campus there's a windmill, few residential buildings- meant for soldiers and storage facilities and a church.

The entrance:
Next few photos show the entrance of Kastellet in different angles, in winter and in summer.

Above: Summer View
Below: The other entrance

A soldier's statue near the entrance and foot marks on snow

The Kastellet Star Fortress has seen many battles, including the Sweden-Denmark war during 1658 (Sweden won), Battle of Copenhagen with England in 1807 and as late as 1940 when Germany invaded Denmark during the world war.

Some key facilities inside the Kastellet star fortress
1. The Windmill

2. Commander's House
 3. The church

The Powder House (Black gun powder used to be stored here)

The rows (Residences)- where military barracks were. Now used for residential purposes.

Play area

Walking areas in the outer periphery

Yellow flowers in snow

Current Usage:
Today Kastellet Fortress is used as a recreational area- locals enjoy taking a walk here and tourists who visit Little Mermaid and have extra time walk around the campus too. We can find many cars parked in the campus- the buildings must be housing people- not sure who stays here- my guess few families of military personnel connected to the Fortress.

The global headquarters of AP Moller Maersk, world's No. 1 shipping company is adjacent to the Kastellet fortress. Maersk foundation has reportedly donated generous money to help renovate this fortress towards the end of 20th century.

During my summer visit I could walk on the inner walls and get close to the windmill. During winter (at least when I visited) the same path is out of bounds for visitors- most probably because of the risk involved in walking over snow- one may slip and fall into the canal below.

 A stone found in the campus- Kongens Bastion means King's Bastion. Each corner of the star shaped fort is given a name. King's Bastion, Queen's Bastion, Price's Bastion, Princess Bastion and The Count's Bastion.
 A summer view
No entry fee to visit Kastellet. Free toilet facilities are also available. But no shops or cafes inside.

Best view of Kastellet fort complex is from the top, which I can't provide, google for some pics. Wikipedia page has more details of the fort.

Reaching Kastellet: Take S train to Osterport from Copenhagen Central or Norreport, Kastellet is walkable from there. If you're visiting Nyhavn, Kastellet is about 1.5 kms from there, walk would be best if you can. Hop on Hop off buses do stop near Kastellet.

Nearby attractions: Little Mermaid * Church * Nyhavn

Other Star shaped forts I have seen: Star fort in Matara, Srilanka * Manjarabad Fort, Sakaleshpura, India *
Indian Bloggers

Monday, February 27, 2017

Cosmic Space 2003 Glass and Mirror art installation, DK

While I was walking across the kissing bridge in Copenhagen, I found a small installation. Out of curiosity I went inside and I was treated to this great experience. GoPro click below.
Apparently it is an art installation set up by an artist named Trondur Patursson. Details of the description below
 Spent a few minutes clicking some photos inside

 How the Cosmic Space 2003 looks on the outside- doesn't give any clue as to what's there inside...

Also check: Copenhagen Sand festival 
Indian Bloggers

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Hotel Review: Radisson Blu Scandinavia, Copenhagen Denmark

I stayed at Radisson Blu Scandinavia Copenhagen for 4 nights. The 19th floor Business Class room had amazing view and overall stay was great. This post is a quick review of Radisson Blu Scandinavia Hotel, should you wish to consider this hotel for your stay in Copenhagen. My previous experience with Radisson Blu was in Noida- during Honda Jazz event in 2015.

Radisson Blu Scandinavia is just one of the two hotels in Copenhagen that has Casino. You can trust me that is not the reason why I chose to stay here.

A Gopro view of the below
Check-in: Was quick and efficient. No upgrade, had to take a room with 2 single beds instead of one large bed, as I was told this is the only room that was ready at 12.30 PM (standard check-in time is 2 PM)

The Room: Spacious. Well stocked and equipped. I stayed in Business Class rooms, which is mid range. There're cheaper rooms and expensive ones. Cheaper rooms will be facing the opposite direction and will not have the view of the city as shown in this post.

The views

Restaurants: There's a Thai, Italian and a Japanese restaurant inside Radisson Blu. Sadly nothing Indian. Breakfast opens at 6.30 in the morning, but as a vegetarian I wasn't very happy because my options were limited.

Billing: Amount was blocked on my card durnig check-in, which was fine. But instead of releasing the same, during check-out a fresh charge was made. Now I need to wait about 10 working days for the blocked amount to be released and because of this double charge, my card is running in negative balance and I can't use it any more, till the charge is reversed.

Many airline staff, including Qatar stay here. I am told in Summer the hotel is always full, but in winter not so much. Don't expect much considerations w.r.t early check-in/late check-out or upgrade in summer. I got late check-out till 4 PM as rooms were available.

Good things about Hotel Radisson Blu Scandinavia Copenhagen:
  1. About 1.8 kms from India Palace restaurant, for good Indian food.
  2. Tivoli, Copenhagen Central etc are about 1.5 km away
  3. Very quiet location
  4. Islands Brugge is the nearest Metro station. 
  5. Great view of the city (Half the rooms have this view, other half face the opposite side- check next photo for view on the other side
  6. Rooms are fully loaded with iron table, dryer, safety locker and so on (Business Class rooms)
  7. The fuel station next to Radisson Blu Scandinavia has a convenience store, from where you can buy essentials stuff at MRP, than having to use the mini bar or having to take taxi to city etc.
  8. Getting a taxi is not a problem. At any time a few taxis will be waiting at hotel entrance. You can easily save 10-20 DKK if you go to main road and hail one instead of getting into the taxi at hotel entrance (because of long turn about)

Above: View on the other side- not as exciting as city view
Below: Live lift status indicator- seems to be running fine on Windows XP
Points to Note: Note that there's one more Radisson Blu in Copenhagen - in Fredriksberg which is different. Be careful which one you select- one in Fredriskberg is more recommended if you wish to see places, need many shops and restaurants around.

Possible Improvements:
  • Moment keycard is taken out, power goes off. Most modern hotels provide a 15-30 second delay, so that there's some light till the guests go out and lock the door.
  • Heavy Door: I find the door hinges relatively heavier, requiring more effort to open it.
  • Reception staff have no chairs to sit. They need to stand all day. Wonder what's wrong if they are provided with a chair, so that they can sit when there're no guests
  • Shops, Restaurants etc are 1.5 kms away. This is usually fine, but if it is raining or too cold you will have to rent taxi for everything (say to go out for dinner) costing extra money (A 2 km taxi ride can set you back by 70-75 DKK, around 800 INR, USD 12). Take Bus 5 A instead- takes more time but you can reach for 24 DKK one way or you can buy 80 DKK all day 4 zone pass.
  • Radisson Blu is not the most cost effective hotel in town. If you are constrained by money, you can look elsewhere- there are many cheaper options available
  • The coffee cup design is irritating-very hard to grip
I didn't have the time to explore their gym and other facilities. Overall my stay was fine. You can book Radisson Blu Scandinavia on at cheap rates here

Read other Denmark posts here.  Indian Restaurants in Copenhagen detailed in this post.