Copenhagen for Thanksgiving
With the year slowly coming to a close, I wanted to add another country to my list. So Copenhagen, Denmark makes European country #17. With Mario away on business and already visited Copenhagen and the dogs at the sitter, I decided to travel solo.
I have signed up and taken tours with companies numerous times where I didn’t know anyone, even traveled overseas. But this is the first time from start to finish I planned my whole trip and carried it out by myself. It was last minute decision so I didn’t get the best deals, but was looking forward to this new adventure. I definitely enjoy researching and planning trips to new places. One helpful piece of technology is I mark all the places I want to visit into my google map account and then use the map to explore the new city. I still get a paper map for my scrapbook.
I left Thanksgiving morning and after a layover and two small propeller planes I arrived early afternoon in Copenhagen. On my second flight I sat next to a girl who is from Austria, but studying abroad in Copenhagen. She gave me some pointers on things to see and do. After we parted at arrivals, I had to smile. It seems like I always find someone to talk to when I travel.
Before I boarded my train for city center, I had to pick up my Copenhagen Card which gave me 48 hrs of public transportation and admissions and discount to tons of attractions. Before I arrived I downloaded Copenhagen's public transportation app called DOT, so I was able to buy the train ticket from my phone. Gotta love technology sometimes! After I got my ticket, I headed to Copenhagen train station. My hotel, the Grand Hotel, was 2 blocks from the train station, perfect location. Attached to the hotel was a money exchange place. Denmark's currency is called Kroner. The lady at the money exchange, who was extremely nice, said 100 Kroner was about $15. Things are expensive there, so my $60 US didn’t go far sadly.
After unpacking and taking a quick breather, I was ready to explore. The only bad part of exploring in the winter is it gets dark so early, so some of pictures aren't the greatest.. So I just wondered around and saw some sites along the way. I headed toward the shopping street of Vestergade where I stumbled upon my first three Christmas markets of the year. The city of Copenhagen has numerous markets spread out throughout the city.
With it being winter most attractions don’t open till 10 or 11, which limits how much I can see in one day. After a quick breakfast at the hotel, which was your typical European breakfast of cold cuts, yogurt, bread and pastries, I headed toward Assistens Cemetery which is where Hans Christian Anderson is buried. He was born in Odense which is in the outskirts of Copenhagen but spent time in Copenhagen. Since the time to walk or take the bus was similar I figured I would get my morning walk in. It was 30 minute walk each way and I got to see things along the way.
I headed to the main train station and caught a train to Helsingør, which is about 40 minutes by train from Copenhagen. On the train I sat with two ladies from the outskirts of London who were retired teachers here on holiday. Helsingør is the home to Kronborg Castle which is where Shakespeare “Hamlet” took place. In the summer, performances of Hamlet happen on the castle grounds. Once I disembarked the train I enjoy the views as I walked towards the castle. On a clear day you can see across the sea or sound to Sweden. It wasn’t clear rather gloomy but you can make out Sweden.
Kronborg Castle pamphlet states " In 1585, Frederick II builds Kronborg Castle and for over 400 years the fortress benefits from its strategic position at the entrance to Øresund. With its threatening cannons pointing directly towards the ships in Øresund, sailors were too afraid not to pay the king's profitable sound Dues. The castle becomes one of the finest Renaissance castles in Northern Europe."
I explored the Cannon Tower, Chapel, King's Apartment, and the Casemates which were dark and spooky.
From there I explore the M&S Maritime museum which is build into a pier/dock. The museum explores the history of ship building. Established in 1915, its collections cover Danish trade and shipping from the 15th century to the present day.
I caught the afternoon train back to Copenhagen. I got off at the train station before the main station which is called Nørreport so I could see some sites. I walked to The Round Tower or Rundetaarn which was built as a platform for the university observatory and for centuries was the center of Danish astronomy. It was built by King Christian IV. From the top you can enjoy views of Copenhagen.
From there I headed to Nyhavn Harbor and took in another Christmas market. On the way back to the hotel I explored Guinness World of Records Museum, Ripley’s Believe It or Not and Hans Christian Anderson Fairy Tale House.
After a quick dinner I came back to the hotel to relax and warm up before heading back out to explore Tivoli Garden, which was decorated for Christmas. Tivoli Gardens is an amusement park and in which opened on 15 August 1843 and is the second-oldest operating amusement park in the world. It is a mix of amusement park and Disney. It’s like Europa Park for all my friends in Germany and like Epcot for state-side friends. Riding the rides were extra so I walked around and took in the sites.
Saturday was my last full day in Copenhagen so I wanted to see as much as I could. So I started with the places that didn’t really have opening/closing times and worked my way towards those that did. After breakfast, I walked two blocks and got on the metro and took it to the next stop. From there I walked about 15 mins to the Little Mermaid Statue. Along the way I saw the Nyboder, which is one of the oldest neighborhood in Copenhagen which was first build as naval barracks during King Christian IV. With getting to the statue early I missed the crowds, but sadly a tour bus had beat me there. But still able to get some pictures.
Then I walked towards the Kastellet (the citadel or fortress) which was built in 17th century and one of Europe’s finest and best preserved fortifications. Today it is used as a military establishment.
From there I walked another 15 minutes and arrived at Amalienborg which is the Queen's winter residence. I was too early to tour it, so pictures will do. Around lunch they do a changing of the guards ceremony. Across the street was Frederik's Church, a 18th century Lutheran church, which just opened when I got there so I went inside.
From there was a short walk to Rosenberg which houses some of Denmark’s greatest treasures. I took a quick tour.
It was a little before noon, so decided to take the metro towards another castle on my list. Fredericksburg Slot or castle is in Hillerød about 45 minutes north. With it being Saturday took a little over an hour. There is a bus from the train station to the castle but I couldn’t figure which direction I needed, so I walked the 20 minutes. On the way back I walked through the shopping street which was decorated for the holidays. The castle was built in the early 17th century by King Christian 4. It has a garden in the back and I bet they are pretty in the summer. After exploring the castle, I walked back to the train station, made a quick stop in a Seven Eleven, yes they are everywhere in Copenhagen, for some water and just made my train back to Copenhagen.
I got off at the main train station and walked the few blocks to Glyptotek which is an art museum. A neat part is it has a winter garden/courtyard full of plants which connects the different buildings. After exploring I found a bench and took in the view.
It was late afternoon so I figured it won’t be too crowded to eat at Hard Rock Cafe. I know the food is expensive but it was nice to relax and watch some music videos. As I walked back to the hotel I passed Tivoli Gardens and the lines to get in were huge so glad I went the night before when I walked right up to the ticket booth and got my ticket.
Early Sunday morning I took the bus to the metro station. Then took the train to the airport. After a quick layover and 2 propeller planes later I was back in Germany! I boarded a train then a bus and then walked to the car. It was a quick weekend of sightseeing, but another great trip in the books!
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A teacher who loves traveling the world.