Saturday, May 09, 2009

Kobenhavn - BBQ with Princess Mary

Just kidding, apparently she was out, so no BBQ or even an invite to afternoon tea for this bank holiday to Copenhagen. Finally we managed to arrange a holiday around a bank holiday long weekend.

We left London and a strangely not very busy Heathrow on Friday night and after a very short 1 ½ flight landed in Cophenhagen just as the sun was setting. It was lovely a bright red sunset just like home in Adelaide . Getting to the city was easy very simple and quick transport links helped too. Our hotel was right near the Opera house and the canals, so we quickly got settled into Hotel City Best Western and rugged up for a walk around, was a bit chilly being surrounded by canals and being close to the coast.

We didn’t see much at first but quickly found Nyhavn, which is a very picturesque restaurant and bar street right on the canal with lots of boats, very Amsterdam like. After a drink of yummy cider – Somersby, which is Carlsbergs branded cider – it was back off to rest up and plan for long weekends adventures.

Saturday morning we were in for breakfast at 9am, and it was delicious - more than delicious probably the best travel breakfast ever. Tasty tea/coffee, melt in your mouth Danish pastries (or Viennese pastries as they are called there), fresh fruit and yoghurt, tasty bread, ham and cheese, as well as bacon and eggs – oh and chocolate melted coated cornflakes. Yum.

We filled up and headed for the train station walking past the Copenhagen Opera house and right up the Stroget, which is the longest shopping strip in Europe (and very boring after the 10th time...not to mention depressing as the shops Sand and Malene Birger looked so very tempting) so we could head to Helsingnor (pronounced Elsinor). Its right on the coastal strip and very near Sweden, you can take the ferry there to Helsingbord, its only 2km away, we contemplated going, but were advised it was much of the same. Thinking back, not sure we could have as I am sure we would have needed our passports – which we didn’t have with us.

It was bright and sunny so we headed to Krongborg Castle - built by King Fredrick II in 1574. Its also known as Hamlets Castle, as what it is known as the original movie of Hamlet was filmed there and its also where the original stories of Hamlet came from, before Shakespeare time. Its a UNESCO world heritage site so its well preserved. We took a tour around the casemates and fortifications, very cold and damp and all under the castle quite deep too before taking another tour around the queens apartments, the ballroom was my favourite its 60 meters long.

Tours are quite good especially when you cannot read much in the way of the signs. Though my Danish has now improved – hahha – I can say a few words and will add those few words to my few that I can say for other languages too! Though my strong point is definitely the French and obviously the English, but they all spoke English well there so we were ok on communicating.

After wandering back into the town we found the town square and then a nice little place for lunch where we had local beer (me) and cider along with traditional fare of cold roast beef and pork with rye bread and coleslaw. All that walking had tired us out – are we getting too old for this – so we napped on the train back to Cophenhagen to get us ready for our late afternoon evening out.

A quick change back at the hotel then we headed to the Tivoli Gardens , which is a beautiful gardens with Theme Park built in that has existed since the 1800’s. It was just stunning lots of fairy lights, elaborate buildings (including a mini Taj Mahal), flowers, trees, ponds, lakes, open air theatres, bandstands, 40 odd restaurants and lots of ride for big and small kids – thus Mark was quite eager to get on the super speedy roller coaster! Its also very good for the environment with a big windmill that generates all the power for the rides and a cup deposit scheme.

We wandered around, me in photo heaven and Mark sussing out where to eat. We eventually chose a place that did ribs and steak, so had one of each to share. Again yum. I could not find fault with the food there, nothing was bad – not even the hotdogs they sell in stalls everywhere in Copenhagen (of which Mark had 3 on the last day). After dinner I did a few night shots (photos) and after listening to a proper band playing all the songs from Sound of Music (still cannot get them out of my head – but that’s ok will be in Salzburg in 3 weeks!) we plunged in and went on a ride – the sky flyer. Well its basically a chair lift that goes way up above the park, one of my favourite rides from growing up – but its high, it was night time (so pretty), but so so cold!! That was enough and after establishing that they no longer did fireworks (they used to every evening) we got ourselves a body warming coffee and headed back to our hotel.

Next morning back to the train station (on our 24 hour ticket, that was care of the helpful lady the day before this allowed us to get a cheap ticket, so we could travel to Helsingnor return and to Roskilde on the Sunday quite cheaply) we headed to Roskilde which is quite well known for the music festival it holds each year. It also has a very lovely church - Roskilde Domkirke - which is resting place of many of the Fredriks and Christians of Denmark along with their wives.

We firstly wandered past a sea of children and parents setting up stalls throughout the town for a mass toy jumble sale, before we made our way to the harbour for the Viking museum. This was actually really interesting and mostly for the fact that they re-created (almost painstakingly the same way) one of the boats they salvaged and actually sailed it between Copenhagen and Dublin . We did a little sailing trip, where we had to row like the vikings would have (hard work!!) and our captains both did the Dublin boat trip and said it was very hard work – and oh so cold. I can only imagine!

After yet more cider and traditional food sitting in the sunshine we returned to Cophenhagen. After more wandering and a drink we had every intention of going out for an early dinner, but we both fell asleep, woke up all grumpy, trekked across town to find a restaurant that no longer existed (in the RAIN!) and ended up just having a quiet drink - at a bar called Obeliks -before taking a taxi back to the hotel. Sigh....

Monday we packed up early, stuffed ourselves full of food and wandered to Christianstown to attempt to go to the Vor Freslers Kirke. At the church there is a gold spiral staircase on the outside of the steeple that you can walk up. Unfortunately despite the sign saying, that it was open (it only had re-opened after being closed for 3 years) on the Sunday, it was not open for us on the Monday – pooh. Oh well we consoled ourselves with coffee and more yummy pastries before taking a walk around the town.

We made our way through the centre to walk through the Kings gardens, where Rosenburg Castle is - it houses the crown jewels - then over past the Amelienborg to the Castellets (a 17th century fortification) where we walked around across the top. It was beautiful and sunny too. Then we returned for the changing of the guards at Amelienborg, which was good a there was a band because someone Royal was at home. Not Freddy and Mary though – they were out as their flag was down.

After that we had hotdogs, the first of 3 for Mark went to the *snore* Danish Design museum (which was rubbish – basically an exhibition about not using light bulbs!!). I was very disappointed as I expected so much more as there design is second to none really, well maybe Sweden. Then Mark had hotdog number 2 before we hit the shops for the rest of the afternoon.

I found one store that I really liked and the Illum department store and homewear shop was very cool – much of what I actually hoped to see at the Danish Design center really, shame my house to furnish is too far away in Australia. Finally we had time for a drink back at Nyhavn before making our way back to the airport for our flight back to London . On Monday I actually felt like I had been away ages, so I guess it was a trip worthwhile, not too stressful and we still did quite a bit too.

Oh pictures will come when my lovely brother in law provides me with stay tuned...this blog will get more interesting once I add pics!!

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