Friday, 18 April 2014

Trip to Scandinavia! [Part 2]

Part 1 here.

Having arrived in a windy Copenhagen with a bump, the journey through security and out the airport was fast and buying train tickets in Copenhagen easy using the ticket machines. Straight down on the platform, and on to a waiting train, all in all about 15 minutes from plane to train! So here's part 2, a long post about the day in Copenhagen...

After a 20 minute train journey, we arrived at Copenhagen Central Station.
Lots of bikes in Denmark, as in the Netherlands! We walked around the station, past the entrance to the world famous Tivoli Gardens amusement park.
We didn't go in as theme parks weren't our thing. We walked all the way round the station and got a hotdog for lunch (with mustard, ketchup, dried onion and pickled cucumber, a Danish specialty and very nice too!). After checking in at the hotel (the Copenhagen Star, highly recommended with friendly staff, good rooms and at a reasonable price) we dumped our stuff and headed out for a walking tour of the city! The Eurovision Song Contest is being held in Copenhagen this year (final is on the 10th May) having been held across the sea in Malmo, Sweden, last year.
First, we headed to the Rundertarn (Roundtower) via the longest shopping street in Europe, Strøget. 
Amongst the standard international brands were a few oddities, including of course Lego shops!
Using just a printed map (and not GPS!) we got slightly lost and ended up in the Rosenborg Palace gardens:
But looking back we realised we'd walked straight past the Rundertarn! Backtracking, we went into this amazing building for 25 DKK (about £2.50). It was built as an astronomical observation tower in the 1600's, and still has a telescope installed at the top today. It has the unusual design feature of a spiral ramp rather than stairs, to allow horses to carry books and equipment to the library and telescope at the top.
The tower is attatched to the church next door and the old library (above the church) has been converted into an art gallery. I normally find galleries incredibly dull but this one, filled with works by Otto Frello, was fairly interesting, as he is an unusual artist - some of the paintings were in 3D! The view from the top was why we visited through...
View toward the airport and Ă˜resund bridge
Airport...
...and the bridge to Sweden!
As you can see, stunning panoramic views over the city make the Rundertarn a must see in Copenhagen. Next, we walked to Nyhavn, the old harbour, filled with 'viking' ships and restaurants:
We had a nice but very pricey meal at one of these restaurants. We drank cactus cider (yes, cactus!) and I tried to have Carlsberg, Copenhagen being it's home, but they didn't have any?! Like a Dublin pub not having Guinness surely? Anyway, the cactus cider, by a company called Somersby, we were sure was from Somerset. The waitress said it was Swedish. I've since checked, turns out it's a subsidary of Carlsberg but the apples/cacti come from... Herefordshire. Anyway, after an ice cream we headed back along the central 'Kanal' via the Danish Parliament and Royal residence...
So that concluded the day in Denmark. Honestly, Copenhagen was the nicest city I've ever visited, anywhere. Everyone was friendly, the place was remarkably clean and the buildings were nice. Also everyone spoke English fluently (even to each other it seems overhearing conversations?!). A really nice place for city break and I'd be tempted to go back in the summertime and canoe round the city, which we didn't do this time due to the fact it was freezing!! 

So that was our day in the Danish capital. Tomorrow in part 3... Malmo, in Sweden! 

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