A ‘Wonderful Copenhagen’ by Kath Sharrot of Arbury D 6
After a good flight on Saturday 2nd May we arrived at Hotel Danmark which was in a perfect position at the centre of the city and, we discovered, only a 20 minute walk from the Tivoli Congress Centre.
We viewed a firework display from our bedrooms just before midnight on both Saturdays. This was taking place in Tivoli Gardens which we visited on Wednesday morning and again to see it lit up in the evening.
In typical tourist mode a 48 hour ticket was purchased allowing the use of the ‘Hop on Hop off’ Bus and the boat trip round the harbour and canals. Alighting at one stop on the ‘red route’ a pleasant walk through a park, visiting an English Church built in memory of Edward V11, the little Mermaid came into view sitting upon her rock.
Investigating our route and distance to Tivoli Congress Centre, Pam McConell and Tom with Jean Moulson emerged from the building site nearby and stopped for a chat!
Continuing our journey by bus to Amelienborg Royal Palace, a walk in the gardens led us to our highlight of the day – the Changing of the Guard. Photos taken of District 6 members in empty sentry boxes were not appreciated, neither was a group of students marching and singing La Marseillaise.
After a Danish ‘smorgasbord’ lunch we changed to the ‘purple’ route going via the magnificent Opera House to Christiana where we passed an area which was formally a rebellious squatters enclave and also an interesting allotment holiday village. Finally the ‘green’ bus route took us through the splendid Elephant Gate at the Carlsberg Brewery.
On the Monday evening we were privileged to witness a long procession of lighted torches being carried by people on foot or bicycles from the Town Hall Square to celebrate the 70 year anniversary of the liberation of Denmark from Germany.
‘Hopping’ on and off buses was an ideal way to see Churches and Museums and a bakery with a delicious selection of Danish pastries!
Happy Hour (free drink at the hotel) followed by a two minute walk down to the Karla Restaurant where we Arbury members had organised a District 6 meal which was duly enjoyed by all 12 of us on Tuesday evening.
Only the shops remained for the Convention tourists so in amidst the browsing in Stroget (“one mile of history”) we found the cathedral where a service had taken placeto celebrate the liberation of Denmark 70 years ago. We enjoyed another lunch break at Andersons Bakery then spent a couple of hours in the Tivoli Gardens. This is a fantasticplace, full of spring flowers, fountains, lakes, theatres, highly decorated buildings and hair raising rides.
Registration, exchange of banners and a hot buffet was next on the timetable. This proved to be noisy but friendly and we spoke and laughed with many people from the various countries from all around the world. There was quite a buffet battle and standing room only at the rather high tables!
Back to Tivoli Gardens in the twilight and, as it became dark there were lights sparkling everywhere, on the rides, the theatre, the trees, fountains and the lake. It was well worth the second visit.
On Thursday we attended the opening session of the Convention. Information was given that 2,190 members from 55 different countries were present and there are 33,000 in India and more than 70 non districted clubs. After the Flag Ceremony President Abha Gupta welcomed all present, lit the Candle of Friendship and announced the 16th International Convention open.
A special visitor arrived. Princess Benedikte, a sister of the Danish Royal Queen, who named the ‘Inner Wheel Forever’ rose and watered it with a glass of ‘pink champagne’.
It was a brilliant cultural programme with entertainment provided by a girls choir and dancers from the Danish Royal Ballet. ‘Hans Christian Anderson’ and children acted parts of the Emperor’s New Clothes, Thumbelina and showed the original pea, and stated Copenhagen to be the ‘Fairy capital of the world’. Tivoli Gardens Youth Marching Band who opened the programme with (to the delight of the English present) ‘It’s a long way to Tipperary’!
An actress from the H C Anderson theatre read an HCA story about ‘The Henhouse’.
The Keynote speaker, LeneEsperson, is a very talented lady, has held many responsible positions. As one of three young lady MPs she was nicknamed the ‘Talking cleavage’, was called an unnatural mother when she returned to work only 5 weeks after childbirth. She believed self- esteem is important, ‘believe in yourself’.
Lunch was provided for all. It was a very tasty box containing two courses, a different and varied international menu each day.
Hospitality evening consisted of a fleet of coaches to transport members to ‘Copenhagen Fur’, Dragor Fort, Danish Agriculture and Food Council, Docken and Copenhagen Street Food. Food, wine and much chat flowed freely at each event.
Friday was a purely business day, delegates debating and voting on the proposals previously put before the meeting. Tension was relieved in the evening by a very substantial 3-course Gala dinner, again with wine flowing freely. A young girls’ marching band followed by a dance band provided some entertainment. This all took place in a former cattle market where everything was on site to cater for two and a half thousand people! It was a very impressive banquet. Members were scattered, encouraging conversation with many other clubs. My table included ladies from Nigeria, Germany, Denmark, Sweden - and Devon.
After the conclusion of business by lunchtime on Saturday the closing ceremony was again spectacular in the afternoon. There was a presentation by three young IW members who stressed leadership, the importance of values in IW and peace. The richest people are ones with values,the education of values should be a priority.
The new International Social Project for the next 3 years was announced and we were introduced to the IIW Executives and Board Directors for 2015/16.
The colour and energy of the dancers which took part in the concluding ceremony was second to none. The choir of IW members from Denmark sang ‘Friendship’, ‘What a wonderful World’ and a South African song ‘Peace’, all very befitting to conclude a very successful International Convention.
Finally there was great excitement in the crowd of members from Down Under when the City of Melbourne was announced as venue for the 2018 Convention.
Kath Sharrot of Arbury D 6