Sunshine and rain

July 8th, 2012 , 17:38

We planned for a later train to Esbjerg – 12.25. So up and coffee at the hotel then checked out and headed out to the station. Got there in plenty of time to have a danish while waiting for the train. Then found the proper spot on the platform to go to Esbjerg and not one of the other places the other carriages on the train were going!

Denmark is similar to the UK by train. But we had fun watching the scenery and people – and very very glad we booked seats! There were only two carriages off to Esbjerg and they were full.

Once in Esbjerg it was off to find the ferry port. Not easy by foot from the station, but we got there and checked in but then had to wait until 17.45 to board. It’s more a car ferry than foot passanger, but the cabin was nice and we got reservations to the restaurant for 19.30. So up on deck to watch the rest of the cars load and then leave the port. Stayed out watching the shore go past until dinner time. Had a lovely meal. The tables are really close together so we had dinner with another couple – they were travelling from Sweden to the UK for a three week drive around, hoping to go to Wales. Then we were back on deck watching the sun set.

Next morning were woken up with an annoucement at 8am! Got up and found coffee then stood on deck watching the UK go past. It was raining but then stopped. Then we got to Harwich to get off the ferry it was raining again. Then stopped. Got to Manningtree and, yep, rain again! It rained off and on to London and then started to rain just as we were getting close to home. So got our coats out, but as we walked home it stopped raining. Got home, dropped bags, Joe went to get milk, and just as he got home the skies opened and it poured rain. Now it’s sunny.

Frog Blog

Rainy day

July 6th, 2012 , 15:46

First corrections from yesterday – it’s the arts and crafts movement I liked at the museum and we saw a pantomime at Tivoli – and that’s what I get for typing while tired!

The forecast for today was rain. We’ve been really lucky with the weather all week; even when the forecast says rain showers it’s been dry. But today’s forecast was grim. So we slept in. When we got up it was still raining but not hard and by the time we headed out it was down to a drizzle. So we walked up the shopping street and found somewhere for breakfast. It was a bakery, where the tour buses stop, but it was very good. Joe got pancakes and fruit, they were what I would call crepes but served with a huge stack of fruit and looked very good. I got eggs and bacon and it was far too much food – wish I’d got the fruit! But the bread was wonderful. We then headed for the train station by way of the Art and Christmas shop (nifty place). We got it just right, he was getting ready to close as his son is graduating as an MD. We then got to the train station where we got in the slowest queue (of course) to get our tickets to Esbjerg. We are off tomorrow for Esbjerg and the ferry back to Harwich and that is now all sorted.

Then a walk back to the National Museum where we did the ‘Stories from Denmark’ exhibit. Really interesting, just everyday items from Denmark from 1600 to today. And toys! And doll houses!

Now we’re just having a rest day. Our feet are sore and we’re tired and it’s grey and damp out.

Frog Blog

Modern design to old pleasure park

July 5th, 2012 , 21:47

We decided to start today with a visit to a Danish Design Museum (another place full of chairs you can’t sit on, this may be a theme in Denmark) (K – but they were lovely and well designed chairs!) The museum didn’t open until 11, so we looked for a place to get breakfast which today ended up being coffee and a cream cheese bagel in a little cafe near the museum. After breakfast we still had half an hour to kill, but we noticed across the road from the cafe rows of identical ochre terraced houses. These turned out to be 18th century copies of one of the Danish Kings earlier town planning exercises of which there was one original block left which we found. There is a museum in there, but only open on Sundays. (K – History stuff, it’s Nyboder, built by Christian IV, so early 1600s, for free housing for his sailors. The planning was apparently well ahead of its time, with wide streets and an open grid pattern. But the originals were tiny, not much larger when a second story was added in the 17th century, rather than the 18th!)

So we got to the Danish Design Museum and as predicted lots of chairs and other stuff. K – right this was my choice and it was the Kunsindustrimuseet (Danish Museum of Art and Design), down by the Kastellet, rather than the newer design museum near Tivoli. Yes, there are two. Or more. Joe scowled when he learned that so I limited myself to the one. Which started with early design and moved through to the 20th century – even had an English room! Yes, with chairs you couldn’t sit in. The Danish design information was good and the items really lovely – one of my favourite pieces was the Art Nouveau cupboard, really lovely. Also all the art and design pieces. We only did the ground floor then headed out.

We headed to the Round Tower, which is a tower that is round. Not much in it, has a church, a library, and an observatory (K – all the good medieval scholar needs! Along with the two priveys.). But the library was closed as they were setting up an exhibition. There was also a little room (K – the bell tower) with stuff they’d found during renovations. The only other interesting thing of note about the tower itself is that it is a brick spiral slope with only stairs at the very top. We went up and had a look as the observatory was closed and had a good view over the city from the top – could even see the bridge to Malmo (K – and Sweden!) K – another building built by Christian IV – he got everywhere. This one build around 1640.

We then headed down to the Danish equivalent of the Tower of London – i.e. where the royals store their jewels (K – Rosenborg Slot, which is more a small stately home than a large tower or castle). More paintings, tapestries, and stuff; unfortunatley we hadn’t bought the guidebook before we went in so even though everything was numbered we have no idea what we were looking at! (K – the 25K guidebook has no pictures, just a list of numbers with descriptions; but if you want to know what you’re looking at in detail, buy it! Actually, if you just want to know what you’re looking at, buy it,  there are no descriptions in the rooms. Though you can use your mobile phone for a guided tour.) We had a quick look a the jewels and crowns before making our way to the final destination of the day – Tivoli.

We were quite exhausted after all the walking, museums, slots, and walking so we perused the various restaurants looking for somewhere we could sit and eat; however, quite a few weren’t serving evening meals until 5pm. We found one that would allow us to sit and have a drink the 10 minutes before 5pm. We ordered quite a nice meal before leaving just before 7pm to catch the 7pm show at the Chinese Theatre (K – or Peacock Theatre, not sure what it’s actually called, just looked Chinese with a large peacock curtain which was nifty). We then wandered around looking at the rides and side shows before having an ice cream and wandering back to the hotel and resting feet! K – Joe makes it sound like we were there for an hour or so! We didn’t leave until 9.30pm or so! Dinner was lovely, the show was fun – a dance, walking around was nifty, there were bands playing and lots of people. Would have liked to ride the rides but they were expensive – the really nifty rides were almost £10 a go! But by the time we left we were tired. Going to sleep soon, though can hear music playing on the waterfront from our room now!

Happy 4th July!

July 4th, 2012 , 20:44

So today was out of Copenhagen – up early, well earlyish. Last night was noisy so when the alarm went off we decided to stay in bed for a bit. Still got the train we wanted to catch, the 8.55 to Helsingør (yay – copy paste works for the extra Danish letters!) Got to Helsingør about 9.45 and headed for the  Øresundsakvariet (aquarium with animals from the  Øresund area; which is much like the marine animals you’ll find around the UK! It is very small, but has lots in it. Unfortunately it also had a lot of very small children so we didn’t last long in there! (Kathleen’s found how to do o with lines in them in the blog).

Then off to Kronborg – the castle that supposedly Shakespeare used for the setting for Hamlet! Very nice place with lots to see. We had another wonderful day, lots of sunshine and hot, so we ended up not walking around the ramparts. We did however see everything inside! Started with the chapel and the royal apartments (more large rooms with paintings and tapestries and seats you can’t sit on) then the Maritime Museum which was quite intersting very UK in feel and evolution. We also headed up the tower, then down to the casements (where it was quite cold!) and trying to imagine 1000 other people packed in there with only oil lamps. The tower gave great view of the area, including Sweden. Didn’t need to go up the tower to see Sweden though, could see it when we got off the train! Having walked our legs off, we then headed for Louisiana.

That’s Louisiana the modern art museum rather than the state in the US! It’s a lovely museum with lots to see; we managed the exhibit on Nordic design, mainly architecture (New Nordic – Architecture and Identity) and went through Pink Caviar, the exhibit of new items, but we were getting so tired that we had to give up and head back to Copenhagen! I really wanted to see more of the gardens but we just couldn’t manage to walk any more.

So got the train back, but the one we aimed for was late and then very very slow, so we got back a bit later than we expected. Still in time to go to Els for dinner; we’d seen it last night but weren’t hungry enough to eat there. Tonight we were hungry and realised we’d missed meals in the day! So we had a three course dinner and it was very nice.

Now back at the hotel for a final drink then bed.

COPENhagen Card

July 3rd, 2012 , 20:56

So we bought the Copenhagen card (or cOPENhagen as it’s called) yesterday and used it for the first time today. First I had to wake up Joe – if you lie very still and just stare at a sleepy person they squinch their eyes shut! Having got Joe up we headed out to the Nationalmuseet – Danish National Museum. It’s a bit of a cheat putting it on the card as it’s a free museum! But we wanted to see the Viking things (as the Viking museum is in Roskilde so we won’t get there this trip). We just spent the time in the ancient Danish areas of the museum, so barely saw a fifth of the place!

Our feet were tired and we wanted something where we could sit for a while, so we headed for the canal boat trips and only just missed the 12.20 boat, which was mostly empty. Drat. So we went and had a coffee and watched the people go by until the 13.00 boat, which was pretty much full, drat. But it’s a nice trip and we can do it again (that is included in the card!) It took all over the waterways of Copenhagen. We really must walk into the areas away from the sea at some point! We did go past the Little Mermaid but it wasn’t a good view as it was on the other side of the boat! (Travel tip – sit on the starboard side of the boat as that’s the best view of most things!)

After the boat trip we headed into the shopping area looking for lunch. We were thinking a quick light lunch but ended up in a pub with sandwiches. They were very good – Joe was after a snack but ended up with a huge burger! We passed the round tower but decided to do that later and instead headed for Christiansborg, the original city of Haven and the castles. We headed for the ruins under the castle and then into the reception rooms with the modern tapestries. Very colourful.

We then decided to hop on the bus that had conveniently stopped right by where we were standing and was heading for the Little Mermaid. So we had a ride out to the cruise ship area, walked along the tacky shops, then through the gardens along the water until we got to the Little Mermaid. Surprisingly the crowds weren’t there – a few people around but Joe managed to get several photos without anyone in them! We also got two Hans Christian Anderson tales in one – there was a family of swans swimming around the statue. We then took a slow walk along the harbour wall and then popped in to see the sand sculptures. They were interesting. Then back to the hotel to wash off sand, drop off bags, and go out for a light meal.

Frog Blog

Sparkling Rhubarb

July 2nd, 2012 , 18:52

A lazy start to the day, after the train journey. Once up a quick trip next door for coffee and a plan for the day. The plan is to walk Christianshavn and Christiania by the nature reserve, then back down via the opera house. This we did. So out to where the old fortifications are and start walking along the top (started at Lille Molle), soon you get to a wooden fence across the path that says you have reached the border of Christiania. So we carry on an look in at a permanent Glastonbury festival in look and feel. Further on still following the water is more like Port peroth meets out back USA. Small odd shacks and houses all along the water front and hidden back in the woods, with people popping up and little signs every where. After an hour or so we cut across and on to the main road and follow this round to the Naval station at the top of the island (Ed – the whole area is a series of small islands and to the north is the Naval station), to the art, design and film schools located in the old barracks just across from the Opera house. Here we spy a boat and floating platform cafe where we stop for lunch.

Lunch was good – got sandwiches but the really good bit was the pudding we shared. We were told ‘chocolate cake with rhubarb sauce’ which sounded nice, so we got one with two spoons. Start eating and the sauce fizzes and then pops! It had space rocks (pop rocks) sprinkled in which was a very nice surprise.

Having fortified ourselves with fizzy rhubarb, we then start the retun trip passing along the front of the Opera House and along the water way, then working in to the front of Christiania and across the harbour from our hotel. Once on the main strip we find a bench and sit for some people watching. We then headed to the train station to check prices & times. We pass Tivoli again much more active and we can see the rides that go above the fence. Trains checked and prices, we swing by the tourst info and pick up our three day Copenhagn pass and a large book of what it lets us do. We then follow the main shopping street to the end of Nyhavn (the main food street) to the hotel. There was nothing really diffent in the shopping street (though there was a huge Lego shop, actually a couple of Lego shops). After dropping off the camera and bag off we popped out to Mac coys for a evening snack, which was very nice and started to plan the next three days in detail with our new Copenhagen book.

Evening update

July 1st, 2012 , 21:23

So headed out and Joe immediately heads towards the football. As I hadn’t done the walk around the Playhouse, we headed that way and got to the beach and screen just as the match was starting. So we watched the start and Joe got a photo, then we escaped.

Walked for a bit, then found a hot dog stand near the hotel (oh dear). So had hotdogs and ice cream for dinner.

I have decided I really like Copenhagen – they have an outdoor cafe culture, lots of museums, art shows, theatres, bookshops, and at the outdoor cafes each seat has a fleece blanket to wrap up in!

Frog Blog

Classic picture of Copenhagen

July 1st, 2012 , 19:22

Turns out the toddler wasn’t the main problem, it was the parents that woke up us. They apparently weren’t aware that  everyone could hear them and then they started winding up the toddler – yay! Especially after a normal night on a train. Changes in a modern train journey through Europe – you no longer know you’ve entered a new country by having to get up and show your passport at 3am. Instead you hear a series of chirps as everyone’s phone receives a text saying they’ve changed networks! I only got up once though – while we were stopped at Hamburg. So I got to see a little of Hamburg as the sky was getting light – have no idea what time that was!

So up early got breakfast and a wash, then watched Denmark passing. Nifty long bridge and tunnel, and lots of farms until we finally arrived at Copenhagen, tired and wanting a shower. Check in at the hotel was 3pm, but we had decided we could at least leave our bags, then go get lunch while waiting to get our room. So we headed out of the station, got our bearings and started to walk to the hotel. Remember yesterday we walked all over Eindhoven? Yeah, our feet remembered. It was a straight forward walk but we were tired with sore feet before we’d even started! Still we got to the area where the hotel is and saw this:

So we’re in Copenhagen!
Got to the hotel, got to reception and heard the best thing all day – our room was ready and we could go right up! Hooray! So up to the room and shower and then get dressed and out to find lunch. After a brief walk we just picked an interesting looking place and had a huge meal which was good. Then headed out to look at tacky tourist shops and walk along the harbour wall, before crashing out in the room for a few hours. Getting ready now to find a snack before just giving up and going to bed – if the football fans let us sleep tonight. There’s a very large screen and bar area near the hotel!