Missing Mermaid


Copenhagen, Denmark

While in Denmark one lovely May, we decided to pay a visit to the iconic mermaid sculpture.  It was based on Hans Christian Andersen’s tale, The Little Mermaid, and has become quite a tourist attraction for those who visit Copenhagen.


Hans Christian Andersen's Little Mermaid in Copenhagen, Denmark

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.


And yet, when we arrived at the site — well marked on city maps, in guidebooks, and by signs around the area — what we found instead was this:


What devilry is this!?


Oh, nooes!  While we took a vacation, SHE went on one, too!  To CHINA of all places!  Instead of growing legs, she apparently grew wings and flew off to Shanghai for a big ol' expo.  Le sigh.


Thoughtful as ever, the people of Denmark provided a live video feed to the Expo.


Sitting in the exhibition hall, gazing thoughtfully at Chinese people and other visitors.


Helpful Dario stands helpfully next to the helpful sign.


However, we were NOT DETERRED!  Between the two of us we are quite clever and can solve most tourist-related dilemmas.  In short order, we had secured a replacement and brilliantly adjusted the perspective so she looks full-sized and everything!  She’s probably even shinier and in better condition than the original.


Really, without reading this, you’d never have known it wasn’t the real thing.


So let that be a lesson to you, kids!  If you don’t have time to call ahead — and things are not quite as you expect when you arrive — improvise!  Sometimes fiction is better than reality.


What improvisational genius have you encountered on your travels?


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  1. I think she travels her fair share, this mermaid (she certainly moves around a lot for someone with not legs). I’m going to Copenhagen in October, and I’m not even really expecting her to be there.

  2. Haha, love this! I wish I would have thought about it when I was there in Nov 2011 as she was in China then too.

    1. Wait, what? Did she go AGAIN — come back, spend the warm summer months at home, then set off for somewhere warmer during the winter — or was she still there? …are you telling me she *migrates*?

  3. Kinda crazy they moved it though! Who does that??

    1. I know, right? A replica makes more sense. Still, if they hadn’t been so nonsensical, we couldn’t have been, either. ;)

  4. I would have been so disappointed, but it sounds like you guys knew how to make the best of the situation! I wouldn’t have thought that they’d be allowed to even do such a thing as send her to China. Fun post and pics!

    1. To promote tourism? They could send her to the moon! Also, she has had some terrible things done to her over the years. Used to be nigh sacrosanct, but has apparently had her head and arms removed a few times. May even have been kidnapped at one point, but my memory’s a little fuzzy on the details.

      In any case, this became one of my favorite memories of Copenhagen. I’m so glad the souvenir stand was there! :D

  5. Haha. Funny and a great lesson for life and travel!

    1. Thanks, Christy! …You think this would work with the dam at Lake Havasu? Might need a glass of water to make it look more real. ;)

  6. What would be really funny would be if every time you visited some place with an iconic statue of monument, each would be on temporary loan to somewhere else.

    1. Y’know, that could be a great blogging idea: Missing Monuments — Where Did They Go? And I could have lots and lots of pictures of Dario holding up models of the relevant landmarks. We already went to Pisa, but I’m sure we could go back and pick up a little keychain fob or something, then go to a field somewhere in Italy… Of course, that would be fake and unworthy of my journalistic integrity and photoshopping skills. But it’s an idea!

  7. I’m so excited because I’m sure the Eiffel Tower is coming to Maryland next week…

    1. HAHAHAHA! …just in case it gets lost and ends up stranded and broke in New Jersey, let me know. I have connections in Paris who can probably hook you up with a photo-ready replacement. ;)

  8. I love your solution to this disappointing tourist problem. The expo in China looks pretty cool– you should trek there to see the statue!

    1. I believe she’s home now, but that doesn’t mean I won’t go to Asia anyway! I’ll be honest and say that, as much as I’d love to see parts of China, I am wary of the government’s human rights record and that is giving me pause. But I’m questioning a lot of things about politics lately — can’t say the US is anywhere near pristine when it comes to morals and values — so the question is not yet decided!

  9. She was missing when I went there too, alas!

    1. Dang! We should ask for our Kroner back. ;)

  10. Too funny… and awful at the same time! You turned what could have been a sad dramatic situation, into such a fun day. that’s the type of traveler I like to be surrounded by!

    1. Aww, thanks, Jade. We don’t always succeed at silly and cheerful, but we do try. It’s so much more fun that way! :)

  11. Too funny! That stand-in blonde version is definitely not doing it for me.

    1. I know, right? Can’t even imagine her singing a Disney tune, come to that! ;)

      Just took a peek at your blog, Janel. Thought of a cool lady I met at a blogger conference here in Ireland. Her name is Lily and she writes http://www.amexicancookinireland.com/. Mexican rather than Spanish food, but still pretty tasty! Oh, and just because Spain is one of the crossroads of the world, and you may also find yourself heading to Morocco, here is Amanda’s blog: http://marocmama.com/. She’s an American married to a Moroccan guy and really knows delish food from across the straits.

      Let me know when you set up a Facebook fan page so I can go become a fan!

  12. They sent the statue overseas? An outdoor statue? How bizarre! Betcha wouldn’t have bought a little statue had it been there though – now you can take it home with you =)

    1. You’re absolutely right! We would never have bought one if she’d been there. And in fact we bought 3 or 4 because they were cheap, small, and funny souvenirs for family. :D

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