diamond geezer

 Thursday, July 11, 2019

København: Tivoli

Copenhagen's amusement gardens, the second oldest in the world, have been serving up joy since 1843. A local entrepreneur called Georg Carstensen was granted permission to open up a pleasure garden just outside the city's Western Gate (as a distraction from the everyday political situation), and thousands have been flocking daily ever since. Tivoli remains a genteel treat rather than a white knuckle thriller, although big rides exist for those who crave heights and speed. It's this mix that's helped keep Tivoli amongst Europe's top five busiest theme parks, this and its ridiculously convenient location in the heart of a capital city between its main square and its main railway station. [8 photos]

Opening hours: 11am - 11pm (until midnight on Fridays and Saturdays)
Summer opening: April-September (also 3 weeks for Hallowe'en and 7 weeks for Christmas)
Entrance: £16 weekdays, £17 weekends, £24 Friday evenings
Entrance with unlimited rides: £46 (or individual rides £4-£11)

Our busy schedule meant we had to visit on a Friday evening, so we got to pay full whack, plus we hadn't read the smallprint which said that rides start closing at 9.45pm, which didn't leave long. The higher admission price is because Tivoli hosts a big open air concert at 10pm every Friday evening in the summer, so the place was packed out with Danes come to enjoy the music. It was so packed that we never made it to the centre of the gardens and could only walk around the rest, but at least that's where all the rides were. Basically we could have picked a much better time to visit. We did our best.

The ride I really wanted to go on was the Rutschebanen, which is Danish for rollercoaster. This is one of the world's oldest operational wooden rollercoasters and still requires a brakesperson to ride aboard the carriages to dampen the speed on the descents. Now there's a job! The coaster has a mountaineering theme, which means careering round (and inside) two unconvincing peaks and circling an Alpine cow at the top of the first climb. The drops are good but relatively short, and the mechanical rattle adds a frisson you just don't get on more modern rides. When we entered darkness towards the end I worried we might be heading for an unseen drop, then I remembered they didn't do that kind of thing 100 years ago and was proved correct. And then I went round again.

Other rides include a dinky ferris wheel, a cyberpunk 3D waltzer and several tall swirly things. The Star Tower is the tallest swirly thing on site, its golden globe easily visible across the city, intermittently seen with tiny people spinning underneath on individually threaded chairs. The Demon is a 'proper' floorless rollercoaster with three inversions (and a VR headset) to satisfy the most demanding fairgoer. But there are also a whole load of milder rides aimed at children, or rather families with children, making this a theme park local residents love to return to. It's not daytrippers frequenting the many sit-down dining locations across the gardens, it's those with a full season pass.

At dusk the whole place lights up (which at this time of year is very late in the day). Thousands of bulbs brighten the buildings, rides and walkways, with the area around the boating lake singled out for exceptional illumination. Danish artist Olafur Eliasson has been drafted in to add 33 flying triangular things in the trees, but it was already fairyland enough without them. What really struck me about Tivoli is how classily everything's done - the very antithesis of Hyde Park's Winter Wonderland - and you can fully understand how Walt Disney might have been inspired by a visit to go away and build something similar.

Most of the music acts which perform on Friday evenings are local and/or minor stars. But last Friday evening an absolute superstar turned up, namely Sir Tom Jones, and proceeded to deliver a storming 1¾ hour set to an audience of thrilled Copenhageners. They poured in early to fill the seats on the lawn in front of the stage, and all the paths and piazzas roundabout, indeed every single cranny with a view, and numbered several thousand well before curtain up. We couldn't see a thing, but still hung around for a listen.

It was great to be able to wander Tivoli's illuminated outskirts with Delilah ringing out across the lake. Sex Bomb had one lady in the heart of the crowd waving a pair of red knickers overhead. What's New Pussycat encouraged the loudest singalong from the audience, even the under 50s. The lights on stage turned purple for a lively rendition of Kiss. The Green Green Grass Of Home proved an exhilarating pre-encore. But the song I was waiting for was It's Not Unusual, which Sir Tom eventually delivered with gusto, which means I can now claim to have heard the song which was number 1 on the day I was born sung live by the man who originally sang it. It's proper memorable is Tivoli.

<< click for Newer posts

click for Older Posts >>

click to return to the main page

...or read more in my monthly archives
Jan20  Feb20  Mar20  Apr20  May20  Jun20  Jul20  Aug20  Sep20  Oct20  Nov20  Dec20
Jan19  Feb19  Mar19  Apr19  May19  Jun19  Jul19  Aug19  Sep19  Oct19  Nov19  Dec19
Jan18  Feb18  Mar18  Apr18  May18  Jun18  Jul18  Aug18  Sep18  Oct18  Nov18  Dec18
Jan17  Feb17  Mar17  Apr17  May17  Jun17  Jul17  Aug17  Sep17  Oct17  Nov17  Dec17
Jan16  Feb16  Mar16  Apr16  May16  Jun16  Jul16  Aug16  Sep16  Oct16  Nov16  Dec16
Jan15  Feb15  Mar15  Apr15  May15  Jun15  Jul15  Aug15  Sep15  Oct15  Nov15  Dec15
Jan14  Feb14  Mar14  Apr14  May14  Jun14  Jul14  Aug14  Sep14  Oct14  Nov14  Dec14
Jan13  Feb13  Mar13  Apr13  May13  Jun13  Jul13  Aug13  Sep13  Oct13  Nov13  Dec13
Jan12  Feb12  Mar12  Apr12  May12  Jun12  Jul12  Aug12  Sep12  Oct12  Nov12  Dec12
Jan11  Feb11  Mar11  Apr11  May11  Jun11  Jul11  Aug11  Sep11  Oct11  Nov11  Dec11
Jan10  Feb10  Mar10  Apr10  May10  Jun10  Jul10  Aug10  Sep10  Oct10  Nov10  Dec10 
Jan09  Feb09  Mar09  Apr09  May09  Jun09  Jul09  Aug09  Sep09  Oct09  Nov09  Dec09
Jan08  Feb08  Mar08  Apr08  May08  Jun08  Jul08  Aug08  Sep08  Oct08  Nov08  Dec08
Jan07  Feb07  Mar07  Apr07  May07  Jun07  Jul07  Aug07  Sep07  Oct07  Nov07  Dec07
Jan06  Feb06  Mar06  Apr06  May06  Jun06  Jul06  Aug06  Sep06  Oct06  Nov06  Dec06
Jan05  Feb05  Mar05  Apr05  May05  Jun05  Jul05  Aug05  Sep05  Oct05  Nov05  Dec05
Jan04  Feb04  Mar04  Apr04  May04  Jun04  Jul04  Aug04  Sep04  Oct04  Nov04  Dec04
Jan03  Feb03  Mar03  Apr03  May03  Jun03  Jul03  Aug03  Sep03  Oct03  Nov03  Dec03
 Jan02  Feb02  Mar02  Apr02  May02  Jun02  Jul02 Aug02  Sep02  Oct02  Nov02  Dec02 

eXTReMe Tracker
jack of diamonds
Life viewed from London E3

» email me
» follow me on twitter
» follow the blog on Twitter
» follow the blog on RSS

my flickr photostream