Tivoli Gardens, Copenhagen
Photos from my trip to the Kingdom of Denmark in 2001.
Now to be truthful I had already decided that I did not want to visit Tivoli. The guide book described it thusly, if as it turned out, somewhat inadequately!
In 1841 an enterprising journalist George Carstensen persuaded King Christian VIII that building a fabulous theme park might take people's mind off sedition and insurrection. The only proviso was that it contain be nothing ignoble or degrading ... mmm that would seem to rule out most things people generally regard as fun!
My noble companion would not be deterred however and so it was we found ourselves entering Tivoli from the back, squeezing through turnstiles and stripped of about 100 Kr. each!
First impressions were not calculated to improve my mood. Battling throngs of noisy children and parents wandering about with prams set on seek-and-destroy steering mode was not my idea of a pleasant Sunday afternoon.
Battling through the masses we passed the "Haunted Viking House", "Gut Wrenching Roller Coaster", the "Be raised to the top of a massive pole and then dropped" rides. I was determined not to stop, but my companion was even more determined and so we found ourselves queuing for the "Gut Wrenching Roller Coaster".
As is the way with these things the wait in line was 25 times longer than the ride itself. In line with my policy of "don't lower your standards and enjoy stupid entertainments" I held my viscera firmly in place as we tumbled through tunnels and careened over chasms. (NOTE - this is not the recommended way to enjoy roller coaster rides.)
Making our escape from amusement ride hell we reached the central area of Tivoli. There we found a lake with inviting benches where we sat a while and I sent a Hot Dog down to ascertain that my gut was indeed still there!
This was nice. More civilised. Young couples, families, sitting relatively quietly conversing with the ducks.
Once again whole we set out towards the main entrance. Aha - escape! - I thought as I saw the safe environs of Copenhagen beckoning beyond the walls of this amusement park purgatory. But no, no, no, my companion informed my and clutched in her iron grip I was escorted towards a small, empty stage. "You have to get here early", she informed me.
"Early for what?".
To my surprise and delight a chamber orchestra took the stage and launched into a series of joyous overtures. They weren't Mozart but in that style, classical era and quite delightful, apparently written by a Danish contemporary. This was fun. This was civilised. This was why I had come to Europe - the seat of culture - not the seat of a roller coaster!
Copenhagen - Tivoli - The ballet.
The delightful performance over I engaged autopilot and locked on to the exit. "No no no - we have to see the ballet."
"The ballet? OK - ballet could be good. But ballet in an amusement park? Come on, how good could that be?".
We headed to the main stage and secured two seats. Now this is all open-air mind you. The performers are protected from the elements but not the audience - so I guess summer is really the time to enjoy this style of entertainment. Well those seats filled up real quick.
The classic love triangle - conductor included!
And what a delightful performance it was. The small orchestra who obviously perform day in day out, performed with gusto. Not that you could see them as they were in the pit, but you could see the conductor and he was having a great old time! The crowd loved it, young and old they all screamed, laughed and applauded. I did too.
Apparently the costumes and sets were designed by the Queen of Denmark - not the expected theattrical queen - the real Queen! The dear lady I sat next to informed me of this fact, it was obviously very important to her.
The Danish Queen lives in Denmark - this alone is a novel concept for an Australian - and apparently is a popular and creative type of person. The costumes were nice.
My determination to find the profound in every aspect of European daily life led me to notice that the main fountain in Tivoli was designed by Niels Bohr!
Niels was one of the fathers of Quantum Mechanics, a branch of physics which describes the behaviour of sub-atomic particles. Very important stuff for Nuclear Physics and Astronomers, not understood one whit by most of the world. I imagined that Niels was attempting to illuminate an aspect of his arcane mathematics with these objects:
They are vertical glass tubes filled with water and bubbles of air rising through them. Mmmm... I stood there and pondered. Pondered two questions. Firstly what is Quantum Mechanics about?, and secondly: what was Niels trying to demonstrate here ?
In answer to the first I managed to dredge up snippets from Fritjov Capra's "The Tao of Physics" which had shed some light on the subject for me many years back. Wave/particle duality, 'fuzziness', mmmm not much more sprung to mind except a "quant"ity of mental fuzziness. So to the second question - what on earth was Niels trying to display?
As I watched the bubbles gurgling upward, the only thing that seemed relevant was the mathematics of turbulence. Very complicated stuff of which I understand nothing but I know folks who use it daily as they investigate airflow over aircraft wings and the flow baby food through pipes. Perhaps Niels was interested in turbulence? The fountain is in front of the "Moorish Palace" - could it be inspired by the fountains and flowing water often found in Moorish Palaces...?
The tubes looked like the air filters you see in aquariums.
Later on I looked in my Guide to Denmark and found this quote:
"This is an unusual sculpture designed by the Danish Physicist Niels Bohr. Bohr was inspired by gazing at his aquarium."