Traveling with Grace: Denmark Part 2

This week, Grace continues through Denmark, then heads back to Sweden and prepares for her return home. Special thanks go to JMM volunteer Harold Toppall for his transcriptions of Grace’s travel diary.

To read more of Grace’s travels, click here. 

August 3, 1950

En Route to Copenhagen

Left Odense at 11, had breakfast in a little café in Nybotg while waiting for the ferry which took about an hour & ¼ to cross Store-Baelt to Korsov. Then thru Slagelse, Soro, Ringsted, Roskille, the latter a very old town & all interesting. The country too is extremely pretty. I never tire of looking at the broad tree-line highways, the little old-world houses with their neat gardens, the fine forests. Returning to Copenhagen we went first to the American Ex. to arrange for trip to Bornhohm, then to Hotel Alexandra for tea (we have to give coupons for all repasts).

National Scala, 1882. Via.

Tonight we dined well at the National Scala, a very old, large & beautiful restaurant in Daquav House & saw a most entertaining & clever stage show (8:30 to 11:30) the main features being 2 very good ballet dancers & a wonderful marionette show. It was equally interesting to watch the very cosmopolitan crowd, all ranks of society.

August 4, 1950


Crown of King Christian IV of Denmark, on display at Rosenborg Castle. Via.

This morning we visited the sumptuous Palace of Rosenborg with its frescoed, hand carved ceilings, paneled walls, gorgeous chandeliers, indescribable collections of paintings, jewels, bibelots & objects d’art of every kind. The crown jewels were outstanding. Then we had lunch at [W………….] facing the Westerbrogade with its constantly streaming throngs.

Vintage postcard, Thorvaldsens Museum, Denmark. Via.

Then we visited Thorvaldsen’s museum, building in roman style with Pompeian frescoes all around. Thornvaldsen is buried in simple grave in central courtyard. Magnificent collection of statues of heroic [s……………], mythological & historic figures and plaques of smaller, daintier, exquisitely fine figures.

Grundtvig Memorial Church façade. Via.

Then rode out to see the Grundtvig Memorial Church, most modern in design of yellow brick thruout (match surrounding houses) whose lines suggest pipes of an organ hanging from ceiling a large ship model. Helene & I had supper in our magnificent suite tonight.

August 5, 1950

Hotel d’Angleterre, Copenhagen, 1755. Via.

Had lunch on the Angleterre terrace & watched the world walk by. This is a sort of crossroads & the crowd interesting to watch so we lingered over our meal. Later took a walk up Ostergade & looked at the pretty things in the shop windows. Tonight, we gave a dinner party at the Angleterre. The table was gorgeous. Rows of little Danish roses ran down & across the cloth & filled the many-branded silver flower holders. Little Copenhagen porcelain figures stood between the vases. There were silver lay plates. Everything was delicious. Ices were served in a horseshoe of ice trimmed with illuminated roses.

Our guests were: Mr & Mrs. Jergensen, Mr. & Mrs. Moller Sr., Mr. & Mrs. Moller Jr., Mr. Lindegaard, Mrs. Hillemann, Mr. Anderson & the 3 of us. After dinner we repaired to our parlor for coffee, cigarettes & cordials. We all sang a song which Anne’s sister Tecla wrote to welcome her back to Denmark & Mr. Moller Sr. who is an amateur photographer took all our pictures by flashlight.

Description of Suite: 60 x 25 ft. fancy molded ceiling with huge sparkling crystal lustie in center. Parquette floor covered overall with Persian rug, 4 double French doors, handmade lace curtains draped in pink, green & gold brocade, 3 large gold tables with marble tops, fine lace center pieces, roses sent by Mrs. Hillemann on one, carnations from Mr. Lindegaard on another & gladiolas furnished by the hotel on the 3rd. A lovely gold writing table, petit point chairs & sofas, marble bust on pedestal, French prints on damask covered walls, a large fire place with brass audirons & logs with electric lights between, porcelain figures on mantel piece, more ornaments in a fancy cabinet, several lamps with beautiful shades: bedroom similarly furnished with large wardrobe, dressing table, commodes, broadloom carpet, large chandelier etc. also a long wide porch the whole length of the apt.

August 6, 1950

Cyclists, 1955, taken on Strandvejen. Via.

Left at 10 this morning accompanied by Mr. & Mrs. Kellemann. Rode out Strandvej. Saw beautiful villas (each with name thereon) & many beaches, crowded on this beautiful morning, many cyclists leading this way. We first visited Hunlebaek a pretty little place where lives Mr. Lindegaard”s sister & 2 sons whom we met & who invited us to tea in their pretty blue & white villas rose garden. It was from Hunlebaek during the war that many Jews were smuggled over to Sweden because there were only 2 German officers stationed here.

Kronborg Castle in Helsingor, Denmark. Via.

Thence to Helsingore and Kronborg Castle (of the Hamlet legend) a formidable pile of stone with dungeons all around & impressive green topped towers. There is a pretty fountain in Helsingore with 3 girls dancing lightly around a jet of water. We continued along the coast (Kattegat) to Gilleleje, where we saw an attractive looking place marked in large red, white & blue letter AMERICAN ICE FOUNTAIN.

Gisselfeld, 1872. Via.

From here thru the town of Hillerod, along Roskilde Fjord thru Ringsted to Naestved where we lunched at Hotel Vinhuset, & Mr. Lindegaard visited a niece & her husband. Next we went to an old estate called “Sparrensholm” where Mr. Lundegaard’s brother is farmer-overseer. He & his wife & sons entertained us with wine & cakes & showed us their very attractive apt. decorated with many horns of fallow deer which bound in these parts. Then we passed thru the grounds & viewed the exteriors of 2 beautiful old castles “Gieselfeldt” belonging to Count Danneskiold-Samso] (he married an American) & “Bregentved” owned by Count Moltke where they have a big stud farm & we saw some beautiful horses.

Vallo Castle. Via.

We next paid a visit to Vallo Castle, an old Danish castle for spinster ladies of the nobility. They are registered to enter from infancy (Danish women far outnumber the men) but if they marry, they lose their eligibility. Each has a beautiful housekeeping apt. of 4 or 5 rooms & each has her prized possessions, lovely heirlooms of furniture, silver, objects d’art. Miss Ellen Obelitz, the matron, is a sister-in-law of Mr. Lindegaard who was most cordial, took us to her apt. offered us tea & asked us to dinner (which we declined).

She introduced us to a Miss Garstensen (former lady-in-waiting to Queen Maud of Norway, who taught her English) & she in turn took us to her apt. & showed us some of her treasures. She is 76 yrs. old, surprisingly active & young looking, an amateur painter (she started painting at the age of 70) & showed us a very pretty still life she was working on. She was very perturbed about an article recently printed the New York Herald-Tribune magazine supplement which they claim gave a misleading account of this place. They immediately asked if any of us were journalists (reporters are henceforth anathema to them). Vallo is run by an endowment fund plus revenue from extensive landholding. The “guests” pay nothing for their rent & board which included fresh vegetables from the garden & game from the nearby woods.

Vintage Danish travel poster, c. 1950s showing the fireworks at Tivoli Gardens. Via.

After a very pleasant visit here we returned by a different route to Copenhagen where we visited Mr. Else Hellemann in her attractive modern apt. She served delicious cherry brandy in her living room & later we went into the dining room, where her maid, a beautiful young girl, brought us tea & sandwiches. She had made a wonderful marmalade out of a certain kind of rose apple (hyben) which grows here, a distinctive Danish product. To wind up the evening we rode into Tivoli about midnight to see the pretty fireworks always the closing attraction.

August 7, 1950

En route to Bornholm, Denmark

At 10 A.M. we boarded the Frem, a very pleasant boat, which took a leisurely course to Bornholm. We had breakfast & lunch on board & spent the day watching the coastline which at times seemed to be close enough to touch. We also went thru some locks. At first the trip was quite smooth but in the afternoon the sea started kicking up & some of the passengers got sick but we struck to our comfortable chairs in the dining saloon & slept part of the time as we are very tired. We met a jolly group of American college girls who are living on the experimental international plan with some Danish families, each learning the other’s language (10 America & 10 Danish girls) & they are touring Scandinavia on bicycles.

Arrived in Bornholm about 5, were met at the boat by an old fashioned taxi which took us to the Dams Hotel in Ronne capital of the island, where we found comfortable accommodations & a good dinner, with music in the evening.

August 8, 1950

A private car called for us at 10 A.M. and took us all around this fascinating island, starting at Ronne, a very quaint town with colorful picturesque homes & darling flower gardens fig trees also grow & bear fruit here (one section had been bombed by the Russians & Sweden sent a block of wooden prefabricated houses as a gift) we rode thru beautiful forests to Hasle, Jons, Kapel, Helligpeder, Hammershus where we saw the ruins of a medieval cathedral built by the Bishop of Lund & which was destroyed during successive wars, riding along the shore line we went thru several tiny fishing villages (herring is the important catch & they have special racks everywhere for drying them before they are smoked). The harbors are full of tiny fishing smades & there are sea walls (on one was painted in fresco the face of a beautiful woman, apparently patroness of fishermen) & the coast hereabouts is very rocky fringed with high granite cliffs against which the waves dash wildly.

For a distance we drove on the beach. Across meadows & farmlands (cows, chickens, geese, sheep, pink pigs are chiefly in evidence) uphill & down dale to Allinge, Tejiy, lunched at the Hilligdommen Hotel with fine view of the sea, visited the ancient Osterlars Kirke (round white stone structure, combination of fortress & church) thru Gudhjem, Svaneke (hilly little town with pretty shops where we did some purchasing. They have ceramic figures to attach to curtain pulls so they appear to be climbing up the cords. Bornholm has an attractive & distinctive pottery) then Aarsdale, Nekso & back to Ronne where we had dinner before embarking on the [“Hammersluis”,] night boat with very good accommodations, for Copenhagen, & this time the trip was quite smooth.

Thanks for reading “Traveling with Grace,” a series where we’re sharing (and annotating) posts from the travel diaries of Grace Amelia Hecht, native Baltimorean, b. 1897 and d. 1955. As mentioned in my introductory post transcription errors sometimes occur and I’ve made my best guesses where possible, denoted by [brackets]. – Rachel Kassman, marketing manager






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