Way back in August, and with half the Ashe clan in tow, we visited Helsingør for the first time. Better known as Elsinore, it’s castle Kronborg provides the setting for Hamlet. We planned our visit to coincide with the annual summer Shakespeare Festival, because we are very cultured and learned (NB: I have never actually read Hamlet), but somehow got lucky and turned up on the same day as the annual Sundtoldsmarked.
The Sundtoldsmarked is a historical market day, with traditional foods and crafts taking over the area near the docks (Skibsklarerergaarden). It was very Old Sydney Town, right down to the fake lashing of criminal types, so perfect for anyone like me who is still lamenting the demise of that classic school excursion venue.
They had so many tasty foods, the most attention seeking being the smoked fish.
Damn, they were so smoky and great. We also smashed some hearty Skipperlabskovs, which is a stodgy mush of potato and beef served with pickled beetroot, the ever present rugbrød, and chased with a shot of Akvavit. In hindsight I think we decided it might have a been a bit punishingly early for the Akvavit, but when in Danmark…
There was really a lot going on in the town, not least of all this all-girl marching band – the Helsingør Pigegarde – parading around. I can imagine myself as a kid desperately trying to overcome my musical deficiencies just to get this outfit.
As distracting as the olden-days festivities were, we had some token Shakespeare to watch, so eventually made our way to Kronborg.
The festival involved various scenes from Hamlet being acted out periodically in different locations throughout the castle. It was a little disjointed, and meant walking in a lot of circles around the castle, but was pretty well done.
The look on the faces of the two girls in the photos above never gets old. The performances were a lot better than their look implies!
Apart from being home to Hamlet, Kronborg is also home to Holger Danske, aka Holger the Dane. According to legend, Holger is a bad-ass Danish prince who was captured as a child and raised in France, but now sleeps in Kronborg and will wake up if and when Denmark needs him.
I wouldn’t want to be the reason he wakes up, that’s for sure.
That’s about all we got up to in Helsingør. It was lovely and historical and super nautical, so I’m a big fan. I’ll end with some final pics of the nice scenery.