After a good two weeks in Berlin we were off travelling again, this time in a Scandinavian direction. There were a few differences on this stage of our adventure firstly we had our two new team members with us and secondly the weather was now freezing- after nearly a year of summer this was a bit of a shock to the system. With our new heavy winter clothes jammed into our backpacks, Albert and Ronald would have their work cut out for them to stay in the good books- good luck boys. First stop Copenhagen!
Our flight from Berlin landed in Copenhagen bright and early at 8:30am. Unfortunately we couldn’t check into our apartment until 12:00pm so we did what any Melbournian would have done and found a café with good coffee and breakfast to pass the time away. This first food experience gave us a taste (excuse the pun) of what we could expect in Denmark in terms of food and beverages costs… $6 for a coffee… mum/dad is it your shout? Luckily we had found super cheap accommodation on Airbnb in a great location (Nørrebro) that helped offset some of the food costs. We all loved the apartment it was full of cool Danish furniture and design and the rooms were large and spacious… well all the rooms except for one- the bathroom. To call it a room would be putting it kindly, the “bathroom” was actually a cupboard with a toilet in it. After some confusion and a last hopeful search for a secret hidden shower we reluctantly accepted that this cupboard was our bathroom and to shower you had to stand over the toilet with a handheld nozzle and hope for the best. Quite amusing and something none of us had ever experienced before; at least no one could complain about anyone spending too long in the bathroom it was in and out.
Copenhagen was beautiful it’s canals, cobblestone squares, architecture, cafes, restaurants, shops, fashion, design and attractive people riding bikes made us all fall in love with the city. We spent a lot of our days walking around the city centre and also our suburb Nørrebro enjoying the beauty and atmosphere of the city. Upon Drew’s request we also spent an afternoon at the National Museum of Denmark mainly to visit the temporary exhibition "Viking" that included in its display the hull of the longest Viking ship ever found- I have to admit it was pretty amazing.
One of our favourite tourist activities was the canal tour we did on our first day, which allowed us to see all of Copenhagen’s sites from the waterfront. Some highlights of our canal tour included: the Nyhavn canal, The Little Mermaid, the Royal Residence, Church of Our Saviour, the Black Diamond and the Royal Danish Playhouse. It was interesting to see all of Copenhagen’s old buildings and architecture mixed in with the new modern designs of the prominent art and culture buildings. After the canal tour we headed down to Nyhavn the 17th century waterfront to further explore its colourful buildings, boats and restaurants- this quickly became our favourite spot in Copenhagen.
Another highlight was visiting the Church of Our Saviour and climbing the 400 steps up its amazing black and gold spire. This was possible one of the scariest things we have done on the trip so far; the strong winds, slanting oak floors, narrow steps and not so high railings during the climb did nothing to help the situation. Luckily the views of Copenhagen below were worth the terror of the climb although most of my photos were taken from a seated position, it felt a lot safer sitting down. Drew and I managed to complete the “manhood test” and touch the gold globe at the top but I think we lost mum and dad just before the last narrow climb on the outside of the spire due to mum retreating, “legs are jelly” I believe she kept saying- I hear you Mum!
One other memorable moment was the day we witnessed the changing of the guards at Amalienborg Palace. The highlight was not so much the ceremony itself but rather the fact that during our walk to the palace we coincidently came across the starting point of the guards march and got to follow the procession through the streets of Copenhagen- a pretty great thing to experience.
A huge milestone happened to fall on our last day in Copenhagen and that was my parent’s 40th wedding anniversary wowee! Drew and I were very kindly invited along/tagged along and therefore got to enjoy all the benefits of this momentous occasion. We spent this day celebrating in style eating delicious food, drinking amazing wine and cocktails and then spending the night at the luxurious Copenhagen Admiral Hotel (we can never go back to a hostel again). Thank you Mum and Dad happy anniversary!
We decided that as well as experiencing Denmark’s capital city we would also like to get out and explore the countryside and so we hired a car and drove to Denmark’s middle Island Funen. Due to our last hire care experience in the South of France, Drew and I made a pact not to enter an epic-screaming match about directions… we do not know if we succeeded as we tend to block car moments from our memories so you’ll have to ask my parents how they found the journey. Regardless of decibel levels our journey cross-country was an enjoyable one beginning with our trip over one of the world’s longest suspension bridge (the Great Belt Bridge) that runs 18km across the sea- pretty amazing.
On our way to our BnB we stopped off in the gorgeous town of Odense, Funen’s 1000-year old capital and the birthplace of the much-loved Dane Hans Christian Anderson. After visiting Andersons’ resting place in Copenhagen, Odense provided us with the rest of the HCA tour where we got to visit his childhood home and view him as a statue, the walking man on the light crossings and basically anywhere Odense could put him- he was everywhere!
We stayed in the most beautiful loft style BnB located on a farm in the small town of Brenderup. The owners were lovely, the surrounds were peaceful and the loft was so beautifully designed that we all wished we could have stayed longer than our two nights.
On our last day in Funen we travelled two hours down south to visit the beautiful Egeskov Castle and historic gardens. The $40 admission fee for each of us was a bit of a shock, even by Denmark standards, especially as we thought we would only be there for an hour or so. Luckily, we ended up spending about half a day at the site enjoying the castle and gardens as well as the various exhibitions including vintage cars, historic dresses and the world’s biggest dollhouse; so in the end it was well worth the admission fee and we would highly recommend visiting this beautiful site.
Unfortunately we didn’t make it across to the last of Denmark’s island to visit LEGOLAND. Someone was very disappointed about this but handled himself very well despite his inner turmoil- we will get there next time Mr Lego!
Thank you Denmark - next stop London Town!
Top 5 Observations of Denmark
1. Denmark was full of amazing architecture, furniture, fashion and design- Danish design really is some of the worlds best
2. The Danes are really happy people and are always willing to help you out
3. A cafe and restaurant culture that could rival Melbourne, if only it was a little bit cheaper
4. Tiny cupboard bathrooms, which are quite common apparently (as confirmed by the many people we asked in disbelief)
5. There were bikes everywhere and the bike lanes were as wide as the road, bikes rule!