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Copenhagen is known as a city of spires: the skyline of its medieval core is punctuated only by the steeples of churches and towers of palaces, though a modern building boom has overtaken other parts of the city. Today’s Copenhagen is known for its excellent quality of life and environmental consciousness – with many parks, it is green both literally and in today’s sense of the word. It is also bicycle-friendly, with bike paths lining almost every major street. After a ride or wander through the old town, stop for a local repast of Smørrebrød, traditional open-face sandwiches, or a mouthwatering Danish pastry.
Your first glimpse of this quaint town will be of the old Hanseatic Wharf, lined with narrow peak-roofed buildings in various colors. Many old wooden houses survive here, making an exploration of the narrow lanes a worthwhile pursuit. A funicular will take you from the city center to the top of Mt. Floyen, for an expansive view of the city below, and the surrounding mountains and fjords. If you are feeling energetic you can walk back down, enjoying the clear air and delights of nature, all the way to the bustle of the fish market, with its large selection of the freshest of seafood.
Stavanger is a fascinating blend of old and new – from the Middle Ages when Vikings ruled the seas to today’s North Sea drilling platforms that have made Norway one of the world’s leading oil producers. Echoing this duality is the contrast of modern architecture and trendy, stylish cafés with ancient cobblestone walkways, and rows of 18th-century whitewashed wooden houses. As you wander around town, keep your eyes open for the 23 identical cast iron figures by sculptor Antony Gormley that are scattered about. They are six feet tall and all face 10° west.
Arendal is a city in Agder county, Norway. The city is the administrative centre of the municipality of Arendal and the seat of the County Governor of Agder. The city also includes a small area in the neighboring municipality of Grimstad as well.
Norway’s capital is an intriguing blend of historic and contemporary – its striking new Opera House playing counterpoint to the charming old Damstredet, a narrow, well-preserved street of brightly painted and carved wooden houses. Norwegians are justly proud of their maritime heritage, dating back to the 9th century, when Viking long ships with distinctive curved bows left colonies in their wake across northern Europe, and later sailed on to Greenland and America almost 500 years before Columbus. Some of these intriguing craft can be found amidst the parks of the Bygdøy Peninsula, along with other historic vessels, including Amundsen’s polar ship Fram, and Heyerdahl’s raft, Kon Tiki.
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