(4.6) (28 votes)
July 15th, 2003
All sorts of things to do and explore
It is Friday and we are currently in Copenhagen. I have officially
crossed the line from dorky to full-on dork. Before moving from
Chicago, I bought a folding keyboard for my Palm Pilot, so I am
now typing on my Palm Pilot. It's actually pretty small, about the
size of a Palm Pilot when folded up and a regular keyboard when
unfolded. I plan on hot-synching this onto the computer at home
when we return to A'dam and then cutting and pasting it from there
into the T-Pod. I told you I am a loser.
But these T-Pods have taken on a life of their own and have become
completely addictive. I thought that once Julie arrived they would
slow down but I think the opposite has happened, especially as we
are doing a lot more interesting things now that she is here. But
while the portable keyboard is awfully dorky, we are able to write
as things are happening now. At the moment, Julie is showering so
I have nothing else to do anyways.
We happen to be in Copenhagen for the biggest weekend of the year,
the Copenhagen Jazz Festival. While it was not planned to coincide
with music, the atmosphere is a lot different than at Rock Werchter
so Julie is having a much more pleasant trip. We also have only
been doing tourist stuff thus far and yet to see any music so that
makes a big difference. Anyways, we plan on finding a free outdoor
jazz performance later this afternoon (they are all over the place
so it shouldn't be hard) where we will relax, have a beer or two,
listen to some music, and people-watch while we write postcards
and bust out the portable keyboard to do a little T-Poding (see
Picture 31 of me typing this T-Pod at an outdoor cafe). The Europeans
never mix work with pleasure so I'm sure I'll get a few looks as
they won't know exactly what we are doing - in fact, I have yet
to see a single laptop in the 3 months I've been here.
So with that, here is Copenhagen...
Having taken Thursday and Friday off, Julie and I awoke at 4:15
to shower before heading to Schiphol Airport. We grabbed our bags
and headed down the 50-some stairs from our apartment and left for
Copenhagen. Incidentally, it is beginning to get easier to walk
up and down the stairs, finally.
We headed to the train station. This walk is one I have made a number
of times. This might not sound too odd to those in Chicago but to
those who live in areas of the country where your newest leased
status symbol is needed to get you to the airport, we took public
transportation to the airport. First we walked from our apartment
to Central Station - about 30 minutes - where we took a train to
Schiphol Airport - about 10 minutes, E5 per person roundtrip. As
we walked, I noticed that the sun was already up. I'm sure in the
winter, it will be different but in the middle of the summer, A'dam
gets extremely long days so we were benefiting from the early morning
light. I also couldn't help but notice the large number of beggars
on the street. They all approach, ask for some cash - in English
- and after being ignored for a few moments, move on. The bulk of
them are druggies and it seems like they are there all hours of
the day, however they seem to stand out a bit more early in the
morning when there is nobody else on the street.
As Julie and I continued walking to the train, dragging our wheeled
luggage behind us, we talked about how weird it seemed that we would
be leaving the country in a few hours. It had taken us about 10
minutes to pack the night before and we did very little to plan
this trip. It didn't seem real that we would soon be in another
country. We had no local currency (see Picture 54 of a GWBush-look-a-like
on the DK 100 bill). We had no itinerary or even an idea of what
there was to do. All we had was a Lonely Planet on Scandinavia (about
6 pages of text on Copenhagen) and a hotel reservation. I think
part of that is because when leaving the country from Chicago, you
are really going on a journey whereas when leaving the country from
A'dam, it involves a short 3-hour drive or 1-hour flight. It doesn't
matter which direction you go, because of the size of the country,
you are abroad in no time. As a result, we didn't feel like we were
about to take a significant journey. I think the other reason is
that since most people here take weeks for vacation, taking 2 vacation
days is nothing.
The last thing I noticed on the walk was just how dirty a city A'dam
is. There were eaten chicken bones, papers, and the smell of urine
all over. Remember, A'dam is a large city and with that, it gets
dirty but when there is nobody on the street except for a handful
of beggars, it seems dirtier.
Julie adds: I feel Stephen misrepresented Amsterdam by describing
it as dirty. The street we walk down to get to Central Station is
full of pot shops, bars, and casinos. It is very seedy. We believe
some people who come to Amsterdam never make it further then a block
from Central Station, since all they came to A'dam for is sex and
drugs. The rest of the city is not like this at all.
As we rode the train to the airport, we noticed 2 Dutch about our
age. They each had backpacks that appeared to be stuffed to full
capacity. Attached to the woman's pack was a tent. I looked at Julie
and asked if she wanted to go camping. She quickly rejected the
idea. It is still strange to me how much the Dutch love to camp.
I think a big part of that is because they are a very thrifty group.
They tend to travel abroad (often, I might add) and then camp in
the outskirts of town. Julie and I were both happy to be heading
to Copenhagen where a nice hotel was awaiting our arrival rather
than a campsite.
We arrived at the airport and followed the signs to the check-in
counter. We waited about 30 minutes in a line with 2 others in it.
The agents were getting the computers turned on and I was displaying
my best attempt at European patience. Finally, we were invited to
the counter where the employee told us that we had been waiting
in the wrong line. I had suspected this but wasn't sure. Also, we
were instructed to wait there so we did. It was an odd feeling to
have waited for 30 minutes in the wrong line and to have not been
angry afterwards. We just shrugged it off and went to the right
line. I guess the whole Dutch thing is beginning to wear off on
me a little bit.
But the highlight of my trip to Schiphol happened just after we
checked in. We waited to pass the metal detector. I thought I had
completely emptied my pants of all metal but apparently not. I was
frisked by this Dutch guy and boy, was he thorough. I am fairly
confident that in addition to checking for weapons, he also checked
to see if I had testicular cancer and gave me a free anal cavity
search to go along with that. I felt completely violated but was
also strangely a bit happy to see that they take security serious
here – then again, he might have just found me attractive.
Once through having sex with the airport security guy, we looked
for food. We found a nice place where we got sandwiches with hard-boiled
egg and cheese. We were both fairly surprised to see how many people
were drinking beer at 6 in the morning. And these were not soccer
hooligans; these appeared to be middle-class men and women our parents’
age. It was shocking.
We also saw a group of 5 or 6 20-something year olds strutting around
the KLM terminal wearing the same exact shirts and carrying a blasting
radio. What else would they be listening to but techno? The more
techno we hear, the more it begins to sound like the soundtrack
to the Super Mario Bros. video game. I felt like I needed to grab
the mushroom and save the princess – if timed just right,
I would get 5 fireworks!
We entered the waiting room with one dumb question – the sign
at our gate didn't say "Copenhagen" and since we had already
waited for 30 minutes in the wrong line, I asked the KLM employee
"where's Copenhagen" which he, of course, responded by
pointing outside and said "head that way for 100 miles, turn
left...". You ask a stupid question, you get a stupid answer
(see Picture 1 of KLM planes ready for departure at Schiphol Airport).
Things were beginning to go well for us until some guy entered the
waiting room with the absolute worst B.O. It was so bad, he cleared
out the whole room. With my luck, I was certain I would be sitting
next to him, but fortunately not.
On the plane, we sat in the emergency exit row - I like the extra
legroom. The hostess asked that we put our things in the overhead
bin or in the magazine holder, not allowing us to hold anything
or even put it under the seat in front of us. That was different
as I had never been asked this before but I agreed, as I was not
interested in giving her any incentive to give me another frisking.
Before we took off, I fell asleep and awoke in Copenhagen.
Julie adds: The flight to Copenhagen is only an hour and therefore
the plane doesn't fly very high. Stephen missed a lot of great scenery.
Before leaving A’dam, everyone I had told that we would be
in Copenhagen for the weekend said, in this order, it is clean and
expensive. Upon arriving, it was obvious that it is clean. The train
is so clean, it looks like the train car is on it’s first
ever run. The seats are absent of chewed gum and other mystery gooiness
that I've become so used to seeing on other trains. The Danish trains
even offer drinks from vending machines. It was nice to see how
the residents respect their public facilities.
We arrived at Copenhagen Central Station after a 10-minute ride
– DK 45 (roughly DK 7.5 = $1) per person roundtrip. We began
making our way to the hotel, along the way noticing that the Danes
also have a fondness for bicycles. There were bikes everywhere,
although not as prevalent as in A'dam. Two things we noticed about
the bikes were 1, nobody locks them and 2, it is fairly common to
see riders wearing helmets.
We walked about 15 minutes to the hotel. It was a slightly longer
walk as nobody seemed to J-walk, all waiting very patiently at the
red light until it granted permission to proceed. Most of the hotels
are just west of Central Station with ours being one of the furthest
out. As it turns out, I am pretty happy with the location of ours
as it isn't that far and it's also in a slightly more native and
relaxed area than those right next to the train station. It would
be similar to staying at the Days Inn in Lincoln Park instead of
on Michigan Avenue, only a lot nicer and much more convenient to
the "tourist attractions".
We checked into the Hotel Guldsmeden (www.hotel.guldsmeden.dk) for
just under DK 1000 per night. The hotel is really nice, a 50-room
independent that was built in 2001 so everything is brand new. The
staff is very helpful and the room includes a nice breakfast complete
with fresh fruit, breads, jams, cheeses, meats, and drinks. When
we checked into the hotel, we were both a tad surprised that they
did not take our credit card. In fact, we didn't even have to provide
any information, including our passport, only our name. Very different
than in the US where they take every bit of info, with the exception
of your blood type. Maybe the hotel staff had heard about my clean
record from the security guard at Schiphol Airport. Needless to
say, the hotel clerk handed us the keys and we proceeded to drop
off our luggage. The room is very nice (see Picture 2 of our hotel
But we didn't come to Copenhagen to relax in the room so we headed
out, roughly 11:30. As we walked back towards Central Station –
most of the tourist attractions run east from Central Station –
we noticed a few 7-Elevens. I could swear that it is a US franchise
but I'm beginning to wonder. In the 3 months since getting to Europe,
we have seen the expected franchises - McDonalds, Burger King, KFC
- but haven't seen any convenient stores until now. I think by the
end of the day, we must've seen about a dozen 7-Elevens within city
center. And with the much smaller portions in Europe, I really want
to see what the ‘Big Gulp’ looks like but so far, haven’t
taken the opportunity.
After touring all the 7-Elevens, we arrived at the main pedestrian
street, Stroget (see Picture 4 of the Radhuspladsen (City Hall)
at the entrance to the Stroget). It looks just like the Kalverstraat
in A'dam, full of chain clothing stores, British pubs, schwarma
stands (the unofficial food of Europe), and tourist shops selling
every piece of crap they can fit the face of a Viking on (see Picture
3 of Julie with a Julie-sized viking at one of the souvenir shops).
Prior to this trip, I thought that Carlsberg beer was English as
it seems to be served at every pub I've ever been to but it became
obvious that the Danes are very proud of their local brew, Carlsberg.
Before leaving, my friend Steve had told me about his favorite marketing
genius – Steve, the sign is still there (see Picture 33 of
Carlsberg's marketing campaign).
Ok, so if you were beginning to think that we are lame for spending
our whole trip writing this T-Pod, we are now home and our writings
barely made it farther than checking into the hotel. We are now
back in A’dam and will continue writing, now in past tense.
As I was saying...
As we continued to walk down the Stroget, we noticed a large number
of street vendors selling hot dogs. They were an odd color of red,
something that certainly didn’t look natural – as if
hot dogs are any bit natural. The carts, similar to those in Library
Mall in Madison, sell 10 or so different types of hot dogs (see
Picture 47 of a typical hot dog cart). I was fairly certain that
they were not Hebrew National so I never got to try one, although
strangely I wanted to, but it seemed as if Julie and I were the
only ones who didn’t sample. We later spoke to Chris and Melanie
who incidentally were also in Copenhagen this weekend (unfortunately
we didn’t see them except for at the airport on our way home)
and they also didn’t try the hotdogs. They lived in NY for
a number of years and said the hot dog stands just reminded them
too much of NYC dirty water dogs. My father loves those so I’m
sure he and Joel would have had a blast in Copenhagen trying all
10 different styles, stomachache and all.
There are also a number of vegetable stands throughout town selling
various fresh fruits and veggies. Many people were buying what looked
like string beans and eating them right there on the street. There
were even vendors who sold nothing but these string beans (see Picture
51 of a pea pod salesman). They would peel them open, use their
thumb to scoop the 7 or so beans into the palm of their hand and
shovel them into their mouths. Later in the trip, we bought a bag
(DK 15) and actually really enjoyed them.
Although we weren’t really heading anywhere, just kinda walking,
we arrived at Nyhavn. Nyhavn is an area of town, basically 2 blocks
long that has tons of bars and restaurants lining the water. The
buildings are a really great rainbow of colors that look like they
should be in the Caribbean somewhere. The pastels are similar to
what we had seen in old San Juan, Puerto Rico and Charleston, South
Carolina (see Picture 7 of the colorful buildings at Nyhavn). Historically
speaking, one side of the water was the nicest area of all of Copenhagen
where the wealthiest lived while the other side was the sleaziest
area of town. Now, it is all beautiful and built up to be a huge
tourist attraction – which it is. Nevertheless, we found a
nice table at one of the many outdoor cafés (Nyhavns Hereford
House) and ordered a beer and some lunch. Lunch was nothing special,
a piece of salmon on a salad for me and chicken salad for Julie
– DK 260 (the beers cost DK 45 each – really expensive).
Julie adds: We stopped for ice cream after lunch because as we had
lunch we saw all these people walk by with really yummy ice cream
cones. At the ice cream shop you could get our cone dipped in chocolate
sauce (like at Dairy Queen) or in chocolate powder. Since I have
never had a cone dipped into powder I went for that. The vanilla
soft serve was dipped into basically sugary cocoa -- like a Swiss
Miss packet of cocoa. It was sooooo good. I discovered a new dessert.
From there, with the weather being absolutely gorgeous – roughly
65 degrees – we decided to take a 1-hour boat tour of Copenhagen.
It was very nice but in comparison to A’dam’s canal
system, Copenhagen was seriously lacking. The tour took us all along
town, allowing us to view some beautiful neighborhoods and buildings.
Copenhagen is very flat and has a lot of churches so it seemed as
if everywhere we looked was a church spire (see Picture 8 of a church
spire from our boat ride). The tour was very relaxing and a wonderful
way to get a general idea of the city’s layout.
The canal cruise finished up and we headed out on foot towards some
of the spots we had seen from the water on the tour. First we walked
along the water to the Amalienborg Palace (see Picture 9 of the
fountain outside of the Amalienborg Palace). This was really nice
but we didn’t spend much time there. We have seen many palaces
throughout our travels and being that neither of us have a real
knowledge of palaces, we walked around outside for a bit before
moving on. We did watch the guards for some time – they seemed
to be very young and not quite sharp, at least in comparison to
the guards at Buckingham Palace in London (see Picture 14 of the
guards at Amalienborg Palace.
We continued along the waterfront, visiting the Frederik's Kirke
(church) before Julie made me leave after I discovered the echo
following an accidental sneeze – now pinch-hitting for Pedro
Borbon, Manny-y-y-y Mota-a-a-a.
We finally arrived at the biggest tourist attraction in all of Copenhagen,
a statue of ‘The Little Mermaid’, inspired by the story
by Copenhagen’s favorite son, Hans Christen Andersen. I’m
not sure why all these stupid statues become THE attractions of
the city (i.e. Manekin Pis in Brussels) but people lined up to take
a picture with the thing. Of course, to prove we had actually visited
Copenhagen, we also took our pictures with the statue (see Pictures
10 and 11 of us with the Little Mermaid statue). Julie didn’t
want to climb on the rocks to get to the statue. Considering she
is a former gymnast, I have not been too impressed with her balance
and grace of late. Her decision not to scale the moss-covered rocks
was probably a good idea as after about 15 minutes of watching tourist
after tourist climb the rocks in the water to get a picture with
the statue, we almost lost it completely when an Asian businessman
in his suit, slipped into the water. He didn’t get completely
submerged, only wading in the water to his knees. He tried to play
it off but it didn’t work. He was there with 5 or 6 colleagues
and I think between the 7 of them, they had to have taken about
100 pictures in total. Falling into the water just add to the comedy
of the situation.
We left the Mermaid statue and walked back towards Nyhavn and onward
to our hotel for a midday nap. Along the way, we stopped at Kastellet,
a 17-century citadel surrounded by a moat (see Pictures 12 and 13
of Kastellet). It used to be an army base that guarded the city
but is now administrative offices. It was pretty cool and regardless
of being paved in cobblestones, appeared to be a popular place for
the Danes to jog.
As we made our way back to the hotel, we stopped at a few souvenir
stands to pick up some postcards. It became apparent that after
just a few hours in Copenhagen, we had seen almost all of the "attractions".
I tend to think that A’dam is a pretty small city with not
too many "attractions", mostly just a cool city to relax
in. This is not to say that everyone who visits A’dam should
not see the Van Gough museum, the Ann Frank House, and the Red-Light
District, but I think if you’ve seen that, you can say you’ve
seen A’dam’s "attractions". In Copenhagen,
after a few hours, I felt as if I was able to say "I had seen
Having seen an entire city’s "attractions" in a
few hours, we were looking forward to a small nap. We also decided
that we NEEDED to try and take it a little slower for the rest of
the trip, and on future trips in general. We did make a conscience
effort to slow down and enjoy the rest of our time in a more relaxed
way but it was hard. I tend to like to run myself into the ground
seeing everything I can while on vacation and Julie’s inherited
her mother's hyper behavior as well as she has difficulty staying
still while on vacation as well. While we really tried to slow things
down, we still have some work to do. All I know is that after 4
days in Copenhagen, we were both exhausted and I think that a 3-week
vacation in South Africa could land us both in an asylum if we’re
After a 2-hour nap, which could’ve gone all night and morning
had we not arranged for a wake-up call, we went out for dinner.
Having gotten used to late dinners in A’dam, we were surprised
to find that most restaurants were either closing or we were the
only and last diners of the night at 8:30. We decided to stay near
the hotel and ate at a small café (Det Gule Hus). I was not
really hungry so I just had some nachos, Julie had a hamburger (DK
165 total). Afterwards, around 10:00, we went back to the hotel
to rest up for a slower-paced day of sightseeing.
Attempting our new strategy of not rushing things, we awoke at around
9:00 for breakfast, which ends at 10:00. We took our time, enjoying
all the fresh food.
We headed out, making our way past the Christiansborg Palace (see
Pictures 15 and 16 of the Christiansborg Palace) before getting
to the Frihedsmuseet (Resistance Museum). No, this is not a museum
highlighting South Park’s war against the Canadians (La Resistance).
It was a very interesting museum detailing the Danish resistance
to the Nazis (see Picture 17 of me next to a tank that reads "Free
Denmark" in Danish). While the Danish Jewish population was
very small, only 53 died in the concentration camps. Most lived
in Denmark throughout most of the occupation and were smuggled into
neutral Sweden when things got very bad. It was a pretty interesting
museum however Julie and I wondered what the pro-German museum would
have been like if the Germans had won.
The point being, I’m sure the general population was probably
fairly split between those who supported the Germans and those who
didn’t with the vast majority hoping their loved ones stayed
away from trouble so I don't know how active people were in general
supporting or fighting the Germans. This of course is not a critism,
just a comment on human nature.
For the most part though, the Danes were able to live a normal life,
complete with their own political system and king, which commonly
rode his horse throughout town to give the impression to his subjects
that things were as always. I am a very slow reader so I only made
it through half the museum in nearly 3 hours when we left.
Afterwards, we bought sandwiches at a small takeaway and headed
back to Nyhavn where we sat at one of the squares and listened to
a little bit of jazz. It was really nice and relaxing.
Next, we headed across the canal to the island of Christianshavn
to visit the Vor Frelsers Kirke (church). We had seen this church
on the boat cruise the day before and decided that it would be a
good idea to visit, which later we both agreed was a horrible, horrible
idea. Why? Because of the approximately 400 stairs we climbed to
the top of the church spire, about the last 150 spiraled upwards
on the outside. It was so scary! Everyone as dumb as us followed
the person in front of them up, with only a thin handrail on the
outside separating us from making a BIG mistake (see Picture 30
of the spiral stairs with the simple rail of the Vor Frelsers Kirke).
When someone made it to the top, they would turn around, sidestep
the person in the way, and head back to land. Before we left the
lobby, I had decided I would count the steps and can’t tell
you exactly how many there are because as I got to 324, I lost track
as I chickened out and retreated back inside before getting brave
again and attempting the climb again. When I first told Julie I
was not happy, going back downstairs, I didn’t even wait long
enough for Julie to respond. It didn’t take her long to agree
and cower back inside with me. I hung out by the door, took a few
deep breaths, regained my composure, and headed back outside. I
eventually made the full climb and the view was amazing (see Pictures
18 through 23 of the view from the top of Vor Frelsers Kirke).
I had never experienced a fear of heights before and don’t
know why this freaked me out so much. I like roller coasters, I
have no problem flying, I have bungee-jumped, but for some reason,
this completely freaked me out. I suppose I was just very uncomfortable
with the spire having a simple yellow handrail and not having a
separate place for those people heading down to go, separate from
those waiting to ascend (see Picture 24 of the view straight down
from the top of Vor Frelsers Kirke with people seen descending the
stairs and Picture 25 of me holding onto the rail for dear life.
At the bottom, we regained the color in our faces and played around
in the church again, getting an up close look at the naked statues
and tickling the feet of the angles (see Pictures 27 and 28 of us
goofing off in the Vor Frelsers Kirke). We are so immature. The
church did have an amazing organ, which was being played at the
time of our visit, with a guy visible in the middle of the wooden
hanging instrument (see Picture 26 of the organ with the musician
sitting in the first level opening). It was pretty cool. The alter
was also really pretty (see Picture 29 of the alter in the Vor Frelsers
We continued walking around the island of Christianshavn to a small
commune called Freetown. The island used to be military property
and was abandoned sometime in the 70s. At that time, a bunch of
hippies moved to the island and claimed it as theirs. Over time,
they have been given the right to run this island as an independent
area complete with its own school, government representatives, and
newspapers. I really wanted to see this place but Julie was not
as thrilled. We first entered and it looked like a Phish show. There
were people all over the place with dreadlocks who looked as if
they hadn’t showered or slept somewhere other than a makeshift
tent in a very, very long time.
I convinced Julie that it was safe when we looked up the dirt road
and saw that everyone walking around had maps and cameras and were
obviously tourists. We walked around and were impressed by many
of the homes, some even had satellite dishes (very Che-esque).
Then we got to the heart of Freetown, Pusherstreet. It was obvious
why the main thoroughfare was called Pusherstreet – there
were about 50 stalls openly selling marijuana and marijuana products
and paraphernalia. There were even plants available for sale. It
was an amazing sight. It was as if Copenhagen was in complete denial
that this area existed, but also allowed it to exist as long as
it was quiet and under control. There were signs everywhere with
the marijuana leaf on it with the slogan “say no to hard drugs”.
Maybe the city did not want to attract the type of tourist who visits
A’dam. I don’t know but it also seemed a lot more open
in Freetown than even in A’dam.
I wish we had pictures to share but there is a strict “no
pictures” rule and I even got yelled at trying to take a picture
of the ‘Pusherstreet’ sign because I thought the name
was so comical. We spent a bunch of time in the beer garden, taking
in the scene and having a beer. The music was mellow. The beer garden
offered free backgammon so everywhere we looked were people, all
colors, languages, and socioeconomic level, relaxing, drinking,
playing backgammon, and listening to music. Obviously, most were
smoking as well.
I tried to trick Julie into eating some ‘chocolate’
but she’s too smart and figured out the special ingredients.
Preizlers, I would never have let her have any – don’t
The weather started to change and it looked like it was going to
rain any moment. And it did. Luckily for Julie, we made it back
to the Stroget and the only rain-free place was in the stores. Julie
did a little shopping but didn’t find anything too special
(see Picture 32 of Julie shopping for a new shirt).
The rain continued so we decided to finish our night at a really
great Asian restaurant near our hotel (Le Le) that we had tried
to go to the night before but were told they were not seating any
new tables. When we got to the restaurant on our second attempt,
we were told the same thing again. I told the hostess that we were
Americans and therefore eat quickly. After some discussion, she
agreed to let us eat at the counter. It was so worth it. I had a
really great veggie thing and Julie had a nice chicken with rice
dish and spring rolls (DK 350 total). One odd thing about the restaurant
was that there was a man in the kitchen smoking a cigarette. Things
here are not quiet as they are in the States, and we are trying
to get used to that, but restaurant cleanliness is one of those
things that will probably take some more time getting used to. Regardless,
dinner was great and we headed off to bed around midnight.
From Julie :
On Friday, we stopped by the visitor center to find out about day
trips and decided to go to Roskilde and take a short boat tour of
the fjord there. When we awoke on Saturday, that's where we headed.
We took a 30-minute train ride from Central Station to Roskilde,
a small town with the church at the center (see Picture 42 of the
church overlooking the town). We got there at about 11 AM and the
streets were packed with shoppers and street musicians. We walked
through the main street of town looking for the tourist office so
we would know where to get the boat. The main street is a promenade
with tons of shops. We got all the way to the end and never found
the tourist office. Stephen suggested we walk to the water and we
would be able to find the boat from there. Stephen has a good sense
of direction so he knew which way to go to find water. We walked
downhill through the neighborhood of really neat old homes to the
water (see Pictures 40 and 41 of 2 typical old homes with thatched
roofs). Stephen was right, find the water and you will find the
There were too options of boats, a small ferry that served lunch
and drinks or the cheaper river taxi-esque type boat. We chose the
cheaper boat of course. We had 2 hours until the boat left so we
went back up the hill to town to find lunch.
Stephen adds: The boat we chose advertised as a narrated tour of
the fjord, that's why I wanted to take it.
Stephen remembered seeing a bakery, so we headed there to get sandwiches
to take on the boat. There were tons of danishes and they had Kringles
(coffee cake rings that can also be found at a bakery in Racine,
WI). I chose something that looked nice and sugary with strawberries
on it (see Picture 35 of the danish Julie selected). Stephen chose
a chocolate filled croissant. We spent the rest of the time walking
through an outdoor market where Stephen got giant peas in a pod
(see Picture 34 of the street market).
Stephen adds: I was beginning to think that the Danish eat danishes
as often as American eat American soufflé, as Julie pointed
out last week. It's not a marketing thing, they do actually eat
them although for me, I would rather have some Entenmann's.
We headed back to our boat - The Badfart. No joke, that is what
the tour company was called. Being that Stephen and I are so immature,
you can imagine the jokes we were coming up with (see Picture 38
of me with a 'Badfart').
About 10 other people came on board for the 2-hour cruise (see Picture
37 of Julie with the 'Badfart'). We thought that tour was guided,
one reason we chose it. Well we were wrong. The driver of the boat
pushed play on the CD-player and on came a Danish voice saying who
knows what. This happened about 4 other times during the cruise.
It was a cool and cloudy day so we sat inside (the windows were
plastic so we could see out) and ate our lunch as we pulled away
(see Picture 36 of Julie diggin' into her danish). Stephen and I
were expecting really pretty scenery, but we didn't see anything
at all. It was so boring and the rocking of the boat put Stephen
to sleep. Fjords my ass - we saw unimpressive shore line.
Stephen adds: To be fair, I think we had unfairly expected to see
majestic fjords similar to what we had seen last summer on an Alaskan
cruise with my family. Nonetheless, it was pretty boring. The highlight,
other than the fact that we were riding a Badfart, was the Danish
guy that talked to Julie. He didn't really say much, we both think
he just wanted to practice his English. We also enjoyed laughing
at the 2 women who refused to come inside, choosing to sit outside
and be pounded about 30 times by crashing waves that come over the
side of the boat as it hit the choppy water. It was pretty funny,
almost like riding the water rides at Six Flags.
After the boat ride we walked slowly around the neighborhood homes
(see Picture 39 of Julie walking around town). When we returned
to the main part of town it was completely empty. It was 3 PM and
everything was closed and the streets were deserted. It was really
weird, just a few hours earlier it was packed. Given there was nothing
left to do in Roskilde we got on the train back to Copenhagen.
Earlier in the spring I suffered from shin splints and all the walking
we did in Copenhagen brought them back and I could hardly walk,
so we headed back to the hotel for a nap.
After our nap, we walked to dinner. We found a nice restaurant (Thorvaldsens
Hus) and had a fancy meal with a 2-piece jazz ensemble playing in
the background. Stephen ordered a beer and they brought him a keg,
it was huge (see Picture 43 of my giant beer). We had a really nice
dinner. We shared a salmon appetizer and a salad, I ate veal, and
Stephen had Cod (DK 715 total). It was really great. Afterwards,
we stopped for ice cream dipped in chocolate powder (this was less
like cocoa and more like chocolate flakes) and headed back to the
From Stephen :
Sunday morning we awoke and walked around town, trying to walk in
the direction of the places we hadn't yet been able to see. We walked
through the Stroget some more and bought a few souvenirs (see Picture
5 of a fountain in a plaza along Stroget). We spent some time at
gardens outside of the Rosenborg Palace (see Pictures 45 and 46
of us in the rose garden at Rosenborg Palace). We decided that instead
of going into the palace, we would head right to the gift shop to
see the abbreviated tour (see Picture 44 of Julie holding a postcard
of the Danish Crown Jewels). We spent about 45 minutes relaxing
in the gorgeous rose garden. The weather was so magnificent.
We headed back to Nyhavn one last time where we got some typical
Danish food at Leonore Christine (see Picture 48 of us at lunch).
Julie had a smorrebrod, which is like a sampling of 3 different
things served with dark bread, almost like rye, with seeds (see
Picture 49 of Julie's lunch). The 3 foods were pickled herring,
chicken salad, and salmon and cod cakes. I ordered the salmon cakes
(see Picture 50 of Stephen's lunch). Lunch was really good and cost
DK 280 total.
We sat for a while at Nyhavn, relaxing a bit more, enjoying some
more sun, and listening to some more music. Incidentally, the Rolling
Stones (yes, THE greatest rock and roll band of all time) were in
town that night but we didn’t know this when planning our
flights so we would not be able to go but the city was crawling
with Rolling Stones fans, all dressed in their favorite concert
shirt. It was pretty impressive.
We also watched some of the street performers for a while. There
was a really funny guy who would do things to unsuspecting people
as they passed him. It was similar to a candid-camera. He would
spray a water bottle at people and we'd all laugh when they would
look up. He would be behind them looking up as well. He would take
a little brush and sweep the top of bald men's heads. When a tourist
would be walking his bike, he would blow on his whistle and point
in the other direction causing the person to think he was not allowed
to walk his bike there. The bike walker would turn around to go
the other direction until he would hear everyone laughing. The guy
was really funny. There were a few other good entertainers (see
Picture 6 of a juggler performing at the Stroget) and some less-talented
street performers as well. This is a side note but if I had spend
time learning to juggle or play the bagpipes or something and saw
that some idiot who painted himself silver was standing still and
everyone was watching his 'talent' over mine, I would probably loose
it. I'm sorry but I don't see anything interesting about some guy
who cut a hole in a table so that he can stick his head through
it and hold an apple in his mouth while everyone watches and gives
him money. When did that become interesting?
Anyways, from there we headed back to the hotel to get our bags
and headed back, past all the 7-Elevens, to Central Station where
we rode the clean trains back to the airport (see Picture 52 of
Julie asleep on the train back to Copenhagen Airport) where I was
hoping not to get frisked. We spent a little time looking at the
duty-free shops (see Picture 53 of Julie modeling the latest in
Prada fanny bags ala Christy's) before we ran into Chris and Melanie.
We compared our respective trips and thoughts of Copenhagen, but
were all unified in being excited to get back to A’dam.
I really enjoyed Copenhagen but think that because it is so similar
to A’dam, we might have enjoyed it more if we had gone later
in our experience. A quick observation, I would instinctively want
to speak the few Dutch words I know to everyone around town. It
was like I recognized that people weren’t speaking English
so subconsciously, I thought “they must be speaking Dutch”.
Obviously, that was not the case but it was my initial feeling.
I think A’dam as a whole is a much prettier city with a bit
more to do. A’dam also seems like a much smaller city. I might
be biased as I am really happy in A’dam but that remains to
be seen as we continue to visit other European cities.
I hope all is well with everyone and that you are getting a chance
to enjoy the summer weather. Speak to you soon.