On the near side of the bridge there are two waterrelated statues, one of which is not immediately visible. Look over the side of Højbro Bridge to find the Mermaid with Seven Sons playing hide-and-seek with tourists from its home beneath the water. This is best seen at night, when it is attractively illuminated.
On the corner of Gammel Strand and Højbro Plads stands the Fishwife (Fiskerkone), erected in 1940. Dressed in a headscarf, shawl, and stout apron, she is clasping a fish. This public art is more than symbolic, as a water pump by its side indicates. For over 800 years the city’s fishmongers – traditionally women – have worked from this point. It may seem, today, a strange place for fishmongers to work, but there is a reason for it. Gammel Strand means “old beach”; this is where the coastline was in the early Middle Ages, and the area has been associated with the water and fish ever since..
These days, Gammel Strand is a popular place for dining establishments and bars, including the ultraelegant Krogs, the city’s finest seafood restaurant and the first to boast a sommelier. The strand is also home to a flea market every Saturday morning, as well as being one of the two principal starting-points for canal boat tours, the other being in Nyhavn. And, immediately across the canal is a distinctive, square-arched, yellow-ochre building with a Classical-style frieze; for more information about this monument to the great Danish sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen.
There really is no set route from here back to Rådhuspladsen, as the maze of narrow streets is home to an untold number of antique stores, boutiques and other such places, as well as tempting restaurants, cafés and bars; just meander and explore whatever attracts your attention.
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