Welcome back to my vacation blog. As I said in an earlier post, May 14th and 15th blended together into the longest day, but come May 16th, I was back to normal, well as normal as I ever am. Our hotel, one of two Radisson Blu in Copenhagen provided us with a free, full breakfast and I mean full–bacon, eggs, ham, salmon, yogurt, fruit, omelets, you name it. Coffee was good and strong, too. Together with Mike and Penny, a Cornwall couple we know well, we set off to explore the downtown part of the city. Copenhagen is a gorgeous city filled with incredible architecture, but it also has a multitude of trees, green space and fountains. Intersections are large, but surprisingly silent. We learned later in the visit that it’s illegal to blow your horn unless there is imminent danger. Think of it–all that traffic and not one horn blowing. .
One thing I really need to mention was that, included with our trip, was a 48 hour Copenhagen Card, which allowed us to take the transit and visit a number of museums and other places of interest free of charge. I’m sure the cost was built into the vacation package, but for us it was well worth it. We walked a block and took a short bus ride to the main station where we got out, not too far from the City Hall pictured above, and walked toward the water, along cobblestone streets that are a lot harder to walk on than people think!
When I spoke about the spires, I deliberately left this one out. Right at one of the main intersections, you’ll find what I called the Brink Building. This young lady is a weather indicator. If the weather is good, she’s out on her bike–along with several thousand other Danes. In fact, you’ve got a better chance of being hit by a bicycle than a car. Sidewalks are divided for walkers and riders–with the rider side being much larger. It didn’t take us long to figure it out. On rainy days, she comes out with an umbrella. Kind of neat, don’t you think?
As we walked along the street, the thing that struck me the most was the juxtaposition of old and new. Copenhagen is a city in flux with lots of construction happening.
This unusual complex, which will house a mix of office space, stores, and apartments, sits directly across the street from the main gate to Tivoli Gardens, one of the world’s oldest amusement parks and botanical gardens in the world.
As we walked along, ever vigilant for the Kamikaze cyclists, we were surprised to see that most of the shops weren’t open. Wouldn’t you know it? My only full day in the city and it was a National Holiday. The streets in this business sector were all but deserted at mid-morning. As we trudged along, we noticed the different buildings and stores. Narrow streets reminded me of Stockholm and Quebec City. The farther we walked, the more we saw signs of life appear. Several cafes with streetside seating areas were opening up for the day, while others stores were closed, secured behind the typical big-city steel gates. Too bad! I really wanted to visit the “Wunderwear” store!
This small snack place was doing a steady business with danish pasty almost flying off the counters.
As we walked along, I was reminded by more than one storefront that LEGO was developed in Denmark. My grandson would’ve loved the chance to play with some of these giant toys! Imagine royal guards four feet tall. It’s enough to make a seven-year-old Lego fan drool. And don’t even get me started on some of the other incredible constructions they had, which included a ten-foot dragon suspended from the ceiling. Sadly, because the store was closed, we couldn’t even get the free toy they were giving away. He’d have loved building that cute little bird or anyone of the sets below!
We continued walking along the street, admiring the various cafes and stores. Some cafes were hidden away in courtyards like this one. What a name–Royal Smushi Cafe! While others were getting ready for the lunch crowd.
You have to admire the ingenuity of some owners–Fish and Kiss? Le President Bistro? Do you see the blankets on the chairs? All the outdoor restaurants had them–and heaters–for their patrons’ comfort. What a neat idea!
As we moved along the street, still heading toward the water, we passed a subway station. From the clothes the native Copenhagen residents are wearing, you can see it was a cool morning. In the background a Chinese restaurant gets a makeover, something else we saw a lot of. Not only are there new buildings under construction, but the older buildings are constantly maintained and restored as necessary. I love the imperial lions on this office building’s small balcony.
While my hubby and I walked at least three times a week, nothing prepared us for walking on cobblestones for miles. In all honesty i can say when this holiday ended, I was and am in far better shape than I’ve been in years. Scandinavian people enjoy being outside and exercising–whether it’s walking or biking. Have a look at this parking lot! We saw dozens just like it. I’ve never seen so many bikes in my entire life! There are some there you can rent with a credit card. Sadly, my cycling days are over–let’s be truthful, they’ve been over for years!
As we moved past the bikes, we watched street vendors setting up their stalls, tables, and trucks for lunch. Some had music blaring. The food smelled fantastic, but we had other plans! We were on our way to take a canal cruise.
The one thing I love to do is to be on the water, and canal/river cruises give you a new and unique perspective. Our Copenhagen cards covered the cost of the cruise which would’ve been about 16 USD. Below are a selection of images taken from the cruise.
There were several bridges under which we had to pass, some so narrow you could touch the side. The tour guide was constantly asking people to sit down. The Danish military ship’s claim to fame was that the last time it fired its guns, it did so accidentally at a series of warehouses on shore and set fire to them. OOPS! The cruise ship in the distance is the one we’d take the following day.
Well, that’s it for the morning of the 16th. When the cruise ended, we opted for lunch. It was cool and misty, so we chose to eat indoors at a busy little pub called The Dubliner. The food was fantastic. Out Scottish waitress did her best to make us feel at home. The beer was cold, the food delicious, but be warned–the portions are HUGE!.
Next time, I’ll take you on a tour of one of Copenhagen’s many palaces before we go and visit Tivoli Garden. The day is young and it won’t get dark until almost midnight.