Nyhavn once was a bustling port where ships loaded and unloaded cargo. Sailors drank in the taverns and ladies of the night looked for those sailors. Today, photographs of Nyhavn serve as the establishing shot in travel essays about Copenhagen. The line of three and four-story row-houses runs along the north side of the harbor could easily be used as a color wheel. When the light is right, the scene is admittedly magical.
What surprised me was the harbor's size: It's no more than three blocks long and a quarter of a city block wide. It does not open onto the sea, as I expected. Instead, it snakes its way into what the maps refer to as a main harbor, but that is best described as a river. From the decks of the bridge over the harbor, Nyhavn's opening is barely visible, which probably speaks to the modern water front development encroaching on Nyhavn, creating what is really a small inlet.
Upon encountering all the color, I was puzzled about the guidebook photographs, which always portray this strip as devoid of people and boats, with the focus on the colors. Some versions do include a boat or two, anchored at otherwise empty docks. Nothing could be further from the truth. The channel is lined with boats of all sizes and the walkways are so crowded that the narrow street becomes a dangerous alternative. Who's zooming who? Lots of bikes are zooming pedestrians, who quickly learn one thing about Copenhagen: Stay out of the designated bike lanes. By and large bicyclists stay off the sidewalks and stop at red lights, but when they have the right-of-way, they own it.
Maybe those photographs are taken in winter, but I assume the harbor freezes over. In any event, the photographers are using wide angle lenses
Nyhavn is certainly worth an hour or two, but after my first encounter, I avoided the area when traveling from my hotel (several blocks to the north) to the southern parts of the city, although that is difficult to do because the harbor walk cuts in, forcing everyone to pass over one of the bridges that spans Nyhavn's waterway.
On this walk, I headed west toward the Black Diamond, which is the descriptive moniker given to the new addition to the Royal Copenhagen Library. Along the way, I encountered a reggae bar with kayak rentals along another waterway and the Knippelsbro Bridge--bridge is redundant because "bro" means bridge in Danish, but I assume most readers don't speak Danish.
While at the Black Diamond, I visited the National Photography Museum's special exhibit gallery located in the lower level, where a nice exhibit of photographer Kent Klich's work are on display carrying the title Gaza Works. His photojournalistic efforts are phenomenal, honoring Magnum photographer Robert Capa's adage, "If your pictures are not good enough, you are not close enough." Klich was clearly close enough.
From the library, I found my way to Christensborg Palace, which is where the Danish Parliament now resides. Part of the palace includes the city's tallest tower. The Danes are so civil. No need to climb fifteen or so flights of stairs. There is an elevator to the observation deck, which provides spectacular 360-degree views of the city.
I finished the walk with dinner at an excellent restaurant (Søren K) located in the Black Diamond. It was cod and asparagus for dinner, with excellent bread and a glass of Sancerre.
[Click on a photograph to enlarge it]
A Self-Referential Photograph In Front of a Nyhavn Gentlemen's Club
A Smoke and a Splash
The Long View
The Padlock and Green Screen Culture
Two Skies and the Knippelsbro Bridge House
Looking Out I
Looking Out II
My Only Encounter With Trump in Denmark or Norway
Light, Shadow, and Bicyclist
The Tower Guardian
Overview I (NW)
Overview II (NW)
Overview III (N)
Overlook IV (NE)
The National Library of Denmark: Outside the Old Reading Room
Sunset Over Nyhavn
Blood Red in Nehavn at Sunset