Personal Journeys


December 14, 2003|By SPECIAL TO THE SUN


No day-off blues, thanks to planning

By Gail Lynn Goldberg

Overheard while relaxing on a lounge chair shortly after boarding our cruise ship out of Copenhagen:

"How did you like Copenhagen?"

"I didn't. There was nothing to do. We arrived on Sunday, and everything was closed on Monday."

Another traveler suffering from museum-less Mondays, I thought to myself. Luckily, I'd done my homework, checked ahead of time the hours of all the sites we wanted to visit and had a game plan for Copenhagen that addressed the problem of Monday.

While the art-starved wandered the charming streets of Copenhagen that Monday, my husband and I took a train north to the small town of Humleboek, on what is called the Danish Riviera (the coastline that stretches from Copenhagen to Helsingor). From the train station, a short walk through a residential area and some shady woods took us to the Louisiana Museum for Moderne Kunst.

From the museum's sweeping windows and terraces, verdant woods and bright gardens compete for attention with a world-class collection of paintings and sculpture. Even those whose tastes may not run to modern art will find the visit worthwhile.

Set amid the open grounds are works by such sculptors as Calder, Moore, Giacometti and Miro. Museum visitors are not only permitted but encouraged to bring a picnic and enjoy the harmonious commingling of art and nature.

At day's end, before heading back to the train station, we detoured along a short, narrow path down to the rocky beach. Though lacking towels or suits, we shed our shoes just to get our feet wet in the surprisingly mild water.

Back in the city, a pleasant walk along the Strget (Copenhagen's famous "strolling street") rounded out our Monday, which was not museum-less after all.

A week later we were in Helsinki for the day. Here too, most of the city museums (including the Ateneum and the Kiasma, the museum of modern art) are closed on Mondays. Our solution there took a different turn.

Instead of spending time at the Market Square, perusing all the woolen items and wooden crafts for sale, or strolling the city's cosmopolitan shopping streets, we boarded a ferry that in 20 minutes took us to the sea fortress islands of Soumelinna.

There, we wandered along 250-year-old stone ramparts and explored this former guardian of Helsinki. The excursion still left us time to visit Senate Square and to see the Temppeliaukion (Rock Church), carved from rock and crowned with a plate-like copper dome.

Most of our fellow cruise passengers returned to the ship that afternoon laden with shopping bags; we returned with the satisfaction of another Monday well-spent.

Gail Lynn Goldberg lives in Baltimore.


Fancy meeting you here

By Dave Hedland, Edgewater

While hiking in the Chugach Mountains near Anchorage, Alaska - exploring an area near my favorite salmon fishing stream - I came across these Dall sheep on a rocky outcropping above the Turnagain Arm of Cook Inlet. One of the sheep seemed as surprised to see me as I was to see them.


Peterhof, Russia

Rhonda Rust, Elkridge

My summer trip to Russia started in St. Petersburg and ended in Moscow. The royal family spent their winters in St. Petersburg, and Peterhof (shown) served as one of the summer palaces. Peterhof has been restored since World War II, and the main buildings are breathtaking. Fountains extend over acres of the property, and a channel extends from the Baltic Sea right up to the palace. Visitors can still arrive by hydrofoil.

Canadian Rockies

Gordon and Mary Strauss, Fallston

My wife recently retired from teaching, and to celebrate we took a trip to the Canadian Rockies in September - when school starts. The weather was cool, but the scenery was magnificent, and the people were friendly. We met old college friends in Banff and had a wonderful time. And my wife spent no time on lesson plans.


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