Wednesday, May 11, 2011


We head to Nyhavn (the New Harbor, dug in the 1670s to allow ships to sail into the center of Copenhagen) for lunch – I’m eager to be by the water and my cousins (who have been here more recently) assure me it is a lovely area filled with restaurants.


I wander around to the other side of the canal to photograph the scene while the light is good, leaving the others to choose a restaurant.

On one side the canal is lined with restaurants, a continuous wave of outdoor seating that spills along the entire length of the canal. On the other side of the canal (which actually provides a more scenic view), I find a quiet, almost empty street, with no activity to speak of and no outdoor seating.

Why? What is it that turns one side a daily festival while the other remains forlorn and nearly empty?

The side with the prettiest buildings is where the restaurants are and is best viewed from the empty street across the canal, although there are some larger boats tied there that limit the view somewhat and create a barrier between the street and the water. Neither side of the canal benefits from better pedestrian access, although the side with all the restaurants is a pedestrian-only zone while the other street does have a few cars. By early afternoon the sun is hot on the restaurant side, while the street across the canal is bathed in cool shadow. Does one of these things make all the difference? Is it some combination of them? Or is it something else completely?

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