Bel and Phil's Adventures

Our adventures through Europe, America and Asia

Posts from the ‘Copenhagen, Denmark’ category

Copenhagen, Denmark

Friday 6th July 2018

Our final day in Copenhagen. We met Kim for our last breakfast together. Phil and I had planned to go on a walking tour from the information office with Red Badge Guides. We needed to be at the information office at 10:00 am. We helped Kim to the station with her bags, where she was getting the train to the airport. We farewelled Kim and then headed to the information office.

We met Charlotte, our guide at the office along with a lovely couple from Great Britain. She asked if we were desperate to get to the Palace for the changing of the guard – which we weren’t and neither were the other couple. We had a great time on this tour as Charlotte explained how people lived and also took us to the sites away from the usual tourist traffic, so we got to see more of the real Copenhagen.

We went across the road from our hotel to the Town Hall where there were many brides arriving to get married. After Charlotte explained some more things, we headed across the road. Here she started talking to a mum and started telling us about maternity leave in Copenhagen. Child care is government funded as are university fees. However tax is incredibly high with the lowest wage earners paying 39% tax. Even people on unemployment benefits pay tax. This combined with the goods and services tax of 25% make it very expensive to live there.

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Happy Danish boy

One other thing that has been pointed out regularly is that Copenhagen is working hard to be carbon neutral by 2025. To that end all roads have dedicated bicycle lanes and all of the trains have carriages that the bikes can go into. When you buy any bottle of drink, when you recycle it, you earn some money back off your next purchase. There is a recycling facility across the water from Copenhagen where waste is burnt. During this process water is heated for power and then that warm water is sent to homes to heat the homes using this super hot water. All of the Danish people that we met were on board to work towards achieving this goal. It is really fascinating.

After the encounter with the lady and her baby by the side of the road, we then went down St Peter’s Street (not it’s Danish name by the way – the English translation). This is an older area with a lot of residential homes. We were heading towards the ‘Latin Quarter’ as determined by Charlotte. As we were walking Charlotte stopped and started talking to an older lady who was watering the roses out the front of her house. Charlotte asked if we could see the private garden that belonged to the block of units and she invited us in. It was so beautiful to find this pretty oasis in the heart of one of Europe’s bustling cities.

After here, we headed down towards the German church after Charlotte had shouted us a taste of a special treat – a particular Danish pastry that I can’t remember the name of. It was mouthwateringly amazing.

We wandered through alleys and came out at the old University of Copenhagen buildings, where scholars used to learn Latin – hence Charlotte’s nickname of the ‘Latin Quarter’. The University has all but moved to an area out near the airport with only the administration still housed in the centre of Copenhagen. Two of her children have already attended the University here and her third child is still in high school.

The old buildings of the university are so pretty. She took us to an area where the library used to be. She pointed out the drains where the water comes through the dog’s heads into other gutters. Luckily for us, the day was beautiful so we didn’t get to see the gutters working.

As we were walking past the Jewish synagogue, there were police stationed outside. Charlotte explained that there had been a terrorist who tried to attack an outspoken writer and had then gone to this Jewish synagogue to attack the worshipping population. A guard on duty had been killed by this man. The police arrived and killed the terrorist. The terrorist had been born in Copenhagen to parents who were from overseas. Ever since then there has been either police or military guards on duty there.

Charlotte had explained at the beginning of the day that most Danish people don’t care about your partner choices so long as you are a nice person and you obey the law. They are quite open about discussing anything and everything.

As we were walking around we went into this courtyard which was built in 1733! The floor through the building (into the courtyard) was made of wood because that was better for the horses! It was so pretty. The buildings in this part of Copenhagen looked quite old (which they were), but so beautiful.

After here, we found ourselves on the main tourist pedestrian shopping streets. Although we didn’t stay on it for long, instead veering off to walk on a parallel street. We found the main theatre building with so much detail. Walking further along we found ourselves back at Nyhavn (New Harbour) with the coloured houses overlooking the water.

We continued on to the Amalienborg Palace, although we had missed the changing of the guard by several hours. The palace guards were on duty though and we did see the change over of these guards. Charlotte was explaining different things to us about the Royal Family.

Our tour ended there, although Charlotte and the British couple were going for a coffee. We needed to have some lunch though and so we headed back to Nyhavn to get our lunch. We tried a different restaurant to the one that we had tried a couple of days ago. We really enjoyed our tour with Charlotte and if you are planning on going to Copenhagen and want an insight into life in Copenhagen, I would highly recommend getting in touch with Red Badge Guides.

After lunch, we had decided to use our hop on hop off tickets and go on a canal tour around Copenhagen. It essentially covered the same route as the hop on / hop off boat – just with someone talking at the front, instead of having the same information on your headphones.

When we finished the tour, we walked back up the shopping street. We were looking for a very small souvenir for us. We checked out the Disney shop and were disappointed – it wasn’t as good as Dublin.

We got back to the hotel and relaxed in the lounge for a while and got some snacks. We packed our bags and had an exceptionally early night as we need to be up at 3:30 am for our flight to the airport in the morning.

We have both enjoyed Copenhagen and will hopefully be back here again in the future.

 

Copenhagen – Roskilde, Denmark

Thursday 5th July 2018

Today we had planned to go to Roskilde, a suburb about 20 minutes out of Copenhagen to go to the Viking Museum. We had discussed this plan with our cab driver who had picked us up from the ship in Copenhagen. He had suggested we also check out the Church there as it is an important church for the royal family. Kim had done some research yesterday and determined that she definitely wanted to go to the church as well. Possibly even Helsinger too, depending upon how we went for time.

We decided to catch the train there and went over the train station, which was only about a 10 minute walk from our hotel. We found a staff member who showed us which tickets we needed and how to get them. She also told us which platform to go to. It was so easy – once we knew how. The train came and we got on and went upstairs. It was first class. We didn’t know if we had first class seats or not, so we sat in there. The ticket collector man came along, checked our tickets and continued on his way. We were rather chuffed and felt quite special.

We got off at Roskilde and managed to make our way towards the Viking Museum. Luckily for us there were plenty of signs around directing the way. Unfortunately for us the weather was grey and gloomy, with a chance of rain. We walked down the main street of Roskilde and came upon this gorgeous square, which even in the grey gloomy morning looked beautiful.

We had agreed to go to the Viking Museum first, as we had tickets for a boat sail at 11:00 am and a query with a problem with payments. We walked there through a park that had a beautiful green tunnel to arrive at the Viking Museum. It was a working museum where you can see how the items were made in the time of the Vikings or in traditional Nordic times. There were shipwrights there creating boats in the same way that the Vikings would have over 1000 years ago. It was fascinating. It started raining and we felt a little guilty wishing it would stop as they haven’t had very much rain lately at all.

We had tickets to the 11:00 am sailing, so just wandered around the working museum component. There was a lady there preparing to weave baskets, using traditional methods. She was splitting the reeds in preparation for weaving. Next we wandered into the shipyards, where the shipwrights were preparing a new boat. It was interesting to see how they were bending the wood and the problems that they were fixing as they went.

We headed over to prepare to go into our boat. It was a traditional Nordic boat like they used over 1000 years ago – so there was no motor. We were the motor! We had to row the boat out into the Fjord area. From there we could raise the sail and let the wind do the work. It was exhilarating and much quicker than we had anticipated. We loved being out on the water and had a great time. All too soon, we headed back for shore, again letting the wind do the work. We sailed back into the harbour and collected our belongings.

We then went over to the museum as they had an English tour starting in a couple of minutes. We just made it, although the tour guide was very difficult to understand. These boats were discovered out in the water between Roskilde and the sea. They have pretty much been left in the condition where they were found, with steel frames to place the wood into. The information from these boats meant that the current boats in the harbour and the scale models are actual replicas of these original boats. After the tour, we saw the same boat that we had been on sail into the harbour.

After a little longer looking around the museum we decided to head back up into Roskilde to check out the church. We are so glad that we did this. We were so pleased that the taxi driver had given us this advice. This church is where Danish royalty have their crypts over many years. There were some amazing areas. There is also a mechanical clock where St George kills the dragon (some imagination is required) on the hour. It is really pretty.

After we had finished in the church, time for a quick stop at a cafe to have some cinnamon scrolls, that they are apparently quite famous for, before catching the train back to Copenhagen. It was after 4:00 pm by the time we got back to Copenhagen and so decided to call it a day and head back to the hotel. Helsinge will be on the list for the next time that we visit Copenhagen.

We headed up to the lounge so that I could update the blog, Kim could work on her phonebook and Phil could get up to date with Twitter and other world news. We then ‘helped’ Kim pack her bag (with the stuff that she was taking back for us which we were /  are VERY appreciative about). We went out for dinner and went to an Irish pub! It was called Rose McGee’s and was very close to our hotel. It was lovely food. We did get a surprise when we received the bill and found there was a charge of 25%. One of the waiters was an Australian, from Sydney even and we asked him and he explained it was a Goods and Services Tax. Wow! He said it was on every restaurant. This is something to be aware of.

We went back to the hotel and crashed. Kim is going back home tomorrow and we are off exploring Copenhagen again.

 

Copenhagen, Denmark

Wednesday 4thJuly 2018

Copenhagen and American Independence Day

We had organised our bags the night before and our bags were due to be ready at 9:30am. We had called the hotel to book a car for us and they said that they would.

We had breakfast, found our bags really easily and got out of the terminal. There were people everywhere. Anyway, we found a cab (not as easy as that though) and got to the hotel.

The sun was shining and it was pretty warm – well by Copenhagen’s standards anyway. We had checked in, but the room wasn’t going to be ready for quite some time. Phil and I decided to head out and get on one of the hop on – hop off buses. Kim pointed us in the direction of the tourist information centre and off we went.

When we were looking at the prices, we found that it wasn’t that more expensive to get the 3 day option, which will also give us the chance to explore more on Friday. Whilst waiting for the bus, Phil had bought 2 bottles of water for us. He was shocked when he worked out that they were $5 AUD each.

As typical for Phil, we needed to sit up the top. This was fine, at first. I was okay as next to the window there was some shade and I had my hat on. Phil only had his cap and was sitting in the blazing sun. We did the whole loop and Phil was starting to feel the heat. We ended up sitting downstairs and got off at Nyhavn (translated to New Harbour) which is a 17thCentury waterfront area of Copenhagen. It has coloured houses on each side of the canal and looked just beautiful from the bus on the first time around. We had a late lunch and something to drink, eating in the shade as well, so we cooled off considerably.

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Nyhavn, Copenhagen

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Nyhavn, Copenhgen

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Nyhavn, Copenhagen

I wanted to get photos of The Little Mermaid, so we chose to get on the Hop On / Hop Off boat. This way we could also see Copenhagen from the water. It was magical. Phil is always in his happy place out on the water and this was no exception. The city is so beautiful. We got off at The Little Mermaid, which to be honest, was a little underwhelming. It was really small, although not as small as The Iron Boy. We took some photos and Phil wanted some ice-cream. The scoop ice-cream was really expensive, so we bought 2 Magnum classics for essentially the same price. Just as we finished our ice-cream, the boat came. Perfect timing.

We got back on the boat and finished our tour on the hop on and hop off boat. We went into some of the quieter canals (although they were full of boat traffic due to the perfect weather). It truly is a pretty city. We went in a trip down the canal in Christianshavn, an area of Copenhagen that had a lot of boats moored in the canal. Interestingly there was a lively bar moored in the canal with patrons drinking in both the sunshine, the water views and their cold beers.

We ended up getting off near the dragon spires and walking back to our hotel, with the use of Google maps as we were both so tired, we didn’t want to get lost. It took us about 20 minutes to walk back and we met Kim in the lounge. We had something to drink and some snacks. She had been doing some research on Roskilde and had also found out about Helsinge, which also looked really cool. Phil and I were exhausted so we opted for an easy dinner. Kim volunteered to get Mcdonalds and we agreed. The fillet of fish I had was exactly the same as the one I get locally.

We had an early night as we were off to Roskilde tomorrow (and Helsinge depending upon if we have time).

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