Published: August 7th 2012August 7th 2012
I didn't realize Copenhagen was spelled with a K in Danish. K is the
letter in Denmark. You know what else? The Danish make good danish. True story. Unlike Paris, where we know how to pronounce most words, even if we can't understand them, Danish is super hard to pronounce. It's fine when we are sure of our destination and can ask about it in English. Less fine when we are trying to ask about a train stop or a street. 19 consonants and an occasional vowel do not make for easy guessing. The joy of bakeries
We hit the Lagkagehuset bakery (see what I mean about pronouncing Danish words?) our Michigan friend recommended about 5 times total--including a stop at the airport before boarding our flight to Sweden. Scandinavians do know how to bake. We tried some really delish cinnamon rolls, some pastry with chocolate frosting and some with icing and sprinkles (Emily), we had a 30% seed bread that could also be used to break a window or patch up a brick wall in a pinch. I liked the healthy bread. I think I was the only one since we still have half a brick left and
we are now in Sweden.
Besides eating bread, we found time to explore the city. We weren't able to do it all, but we did a good amount in our short stay. On the second day we were not able to get the kids up early. But we eventually rolled out of the apartment and made our way to the train station. We were heading to Elsinore Castle, a famous castle where Shakespeare based Hamlet. In fact, they were having Shakespeare productions at the castle the week we were there but we didn't have time to see it, nor did we know about it in time to plan it (sorry, Grandpa Slaven). Castles and towers and views...
The castle grounds and the surrounding area are all on the water. It was beautiful and very Shakespearean. I think it was a good choice for a play setting. I really do see why he chose it. There were cannons, and a museum inside with replicas of ships. We climbed to the top of a tower and felt like we were back in Paris climbing our staircase to the apartment. The view from the top was pretty great. We toured
the very dark and damp catacombs and true Slaven fashion, I used my iPhone flashlight app rather than buying the torches (cheaply made, but not cheaply sold methinks flashlights). Stocking up for the next day
We made our way back to the train and back into town. We stopped at a fruit market and bought berries for the next day's breakfast. We also stopped at the bakery for dream cake. It was a white, moist cake with chocolate, sugar, butter and coconut on top. I tried to pretend it was coffee cake (I drank coffee with it). Nathan was once again in need of some down time so we let him stay home and Emily, Mark and I went off to have pizza at a local restaurant Mark found online. It turned out to be super yummy pizza and a really cool restaurant. The nice thing about Denmark is that everyone speaks English. It is the common language among travelers from various parts of Europe as well as English speaking countries. So it is really a non-issue. I remember this about Sweden when we did a quick stop 7 years ago. People are very relaxed, welcoming and helpful.
The kids had wanted to do some souvenir shopping but the stores closed really early and we knew most were closed on Sunday--the day we set aside for Legoland. We tried to calm their worries with promises that many cool things awaited them in Sweden. Journey forth to the land of Lego
Legoland was our last full day's plan while in Denmark. It is located in Billund which is where the Lego headquarters are too. I had tried to find a way to visit the factory or the offices but I wasn't successful. There are some very special tours but they are only in certain months and they are very expensive. So we settled for a drive-by on the bus that took us to the amusement park. Almost the same thing.
We left the apartment in the 6's to make our 7:20 train. Walking to the main train station, we passed several groups who were clearly still out from the night before. The streets were trashed. So incredibly dirty it's hard to believe how clean these same streets were the previous day.
Having our tickets already in hand we found our train and were on
our way. We had to take a train to a bus which drove us between a few stations with construction, and then get on a second train. After that, we had a second bus that took us to the park. You heard me: train, bus, train, bus. No problem. It all went fine, but took us about 5 hours total from start to finish. Our first train was at 7:20 AM and we arrived at the park around 12:30. We snoozed between tranfsers and we got there refreshed and ready for some fun.
We have been to Legoland in San Diego and it's a fun park. This was similar but I think it was a bit better. It seemed to have more creations overall and the mini cities were very sophisticated. Airplanes and cars and boats all moving around their respective areas. There were more rides too and some were scream worthy. They had a boat ride similar to Disney's Pirates one but all the characters were made out of bricks. Pretty fun. Emily had as much fun as Nathan and they both found a few things at the biggest Lego store I've ever seen.
made up this fun song while walking around the miniland part of the park: "People always say I'm smaller than I really am…Well, that's a compliment if I lived in Legoland." I think she's onto the start of a fantastic song. Hopefully more verses will follow. Home again?
Then it was time to go back to the bus and then take a train to Copenhagen. We had assumed the bus would be near the stop we got off at on our way to Legoland. However, the bus stop made no mention of the bus departure time printed on our ticket. We were concerned. I asked someone at the bus stop for help and she told me she was Swedish but helped us decipher the ticket details. The part that was of concern was "walk 11 minutes" to the bus stop. We started hoofing it back the way we came, remembering that there was a bus stop before Legoland and that seemed like the place we needed to go.
Somehow, we made a wrong turn or missed a turn or turned wrongly? because we were super far from the bus stop and we had 5 minutes. Mark started
running and we all started to run too but we were tired, we were wearing sandals and we had nothing left to give. We missed the bus. Dripping with sweat, some of us making noises about dying (not naming names) we made our way toward a grocery store. I took charge (nobody in my party would argue this point) and decided we'd have to take a taxi to the train station. It was that or miss the train and be at risk of missing our flight the next day to Sweden.
I went inside and asked a teenage store worker to help us get a taxi. He looked up the number for me and then offered me his phone to write down the number. I said "um. can you also call and ask the taxi to come here?" He said no problem and we were set. If you gotta pay, this is the way
I was already sad that we'd broken our no-taxi streak thus far on the trip. But I was also relieved to see that fancy black Mercedes roll up with leather interior and a "free wifi" sign. We were spent. We'd run about 15
minutes with bags and fear in our hearts (I blame Mark and his threats of sleeping on a park bench if we missed that bus). Calmed and breathing normally, we rode toward the train station and watched the meter grow higher and higher. Mark used the free wifi to look up tipping rules in Denmark. No tip for taxis. Yay. The total for the trip was 500 Danish Kroner (DKK) which is about $80 USD. Boo. That was not cool. Free wifi or not. Too much Kroner. I used the wifi to check Facebook. If you haven't caught on, Mark is the man when it comes to maps and directions (mishap about bus not included. We all make mistakes). I am the woman when it comes to all verbal communication (phone, in person and ad hoc direction asking of strangers). It has worked for the last 20+ years. We each benefit from the other's strengths.
Upon arriving at the train station, I snapped a picture of our luxury ride and we headed to the nearby pizza place because guess what? Emily was STARVING again. They place was closing up but I saw they had pizza by the slice. I
asked if we could buy some to go and we ended up getting all the rest of the pizza for 50 DKK. Finally a deal in this crazy expensive country.
We grabbed some giant cans of Danish beer, drinks for the kids and headed to our train. We were about 15 minutes early. No sleeping in the train station for us. Final leg
We were happily settled into our reserved seats after I asked a young man sititng in one of them politely to move it on out and we were glad to be on a train that was direct--no crazy stops. Just Billund to Copenhagen. Or so we thought. We were all dozing off at times, but during one of my lucid moments, Mark said we'd been delayed for 90 minutes. Something was wrong with the track switching mechanism. It took nearly 2 hours to fix. Luckily someone nearby told us that we could get a refund for our tickets--something that was announced in Danish over the speakers but we would never have known. I got the form. We'll see if we bother to try to mail it in later with our bank info and try
to get the money. It would be nice since we had taken that crazy taxi.
We got off the train after 1 AM. The streets were crowded with young people and the kids were exhausted and staggered not unlike some of the people we saw at that late hour. We made it home and into bed. Another day's adventure Slaven style.
We had to pack in the morning but we weren't trying to leave for the train to the airport until 9. No problem. We're Slavens.
Note: lots of pics at bottom. Just scroll down.
There are more photos below