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Published: February 12th 2019
We flew from Heathrow's Terminal 5 to Copenhagen where we were met by our darling Katherine and Sienna, then it was off to their place to be reunited with Evie, Isabella and Thomas before finally settling ourselves into our Frederiksberg apartment. It was an apartment which we'd swapped with the owners - Aida and Adis - who were in our house while we were in their apartment; plus we had use of their car while they had use of ours. There was a large Christmas tree across the road from the apartment which, once it was dark (and that occurred before 5pm) was lit up with lights and with a star at the top of it. We could see it from our lounge room and two of the bedrooms on that side of the apartment which made it feel quite Christmassy.
Our on first day, with Thomas at work and the kids on school holidays, Kev looked after Sienna, Evie and Isabella while Katherine and I went Christmas shopping. We arrived not long after the shops opened at 10am so it wasn't too busy while we were there. Besides which it was a huge shopping centre. I have to admit
that the nicest part of the exercise was the coffee and chat which Katherine and I had..
Kerrii, Seb, Grace and Rupert were to share the Frederiksberg apartment with Kev and I but they didn't arrive from Stockholm - where they'd travelled to on 18 December - until the 22nd, the day after Ross arrived from Tokyo. Nicola meanwhile had arrived in Copenhagen on 13 December staying with Katherine until she too caught the train to Stockholm together with Kerrii, Seb, Grace and Rupert.
By 22 December - our darling Katherine's 35th birthday - it was beginning to snow in Copenhagen covering the Christmas tree across the road; thankfully it didn't keep snowing so before long the snow had melted. Katherine, Thomas, Sienna, Evie, Isabella, Ross and Nicola arrived at our apartment for an afternoon tea celebration for the birthday girl culminating in Katherine cutting us all a slice of the gorgeous birthday cake which Nicola had bought. Kerrii, Seb, Grace and Rupert didn't arrive from Stockholm until late afternoon, a bit later than expected as their train was delayed for some reason.
But they didn't miss out on the evening's fun when all of us -
except Sienna, Evie and Isabella who were at home with a babysitter - headed off to a restaurant called Bazaar for Katherine's main birthday celebration where we all enjoyed a scrumptious meal. The atmosphere was great, the service top notch and we were all in a great birthday party mood so a good time was had be all. Finally Kerrii, Seb, Grace, Rupert, Kev and I headed back to our apartment while Katherine, Thomas, Nicola and Ross finished the evening at Tivoli before calling it a night.
While we were enjoying festivities in Copenhagen, Andrea had arrived home on 23 December to send a few days in 14A before heading off to Tasmania. When she arrived she discovered that the pool was green and smelling putrid so contacted us by email to give us the sad news. It turned out that since the major storm had hit Sydney - which caused a 30 hour power blackout - the pool pump hadn't come back on when the power did. So, with her trusty iPad and with the help of FaceTime, Andrea took us down to the pool shed where Kev was able to talk her into getting the pump going
again. Andrea also cleaned out some of the main leaves and branches around the place plus many which were in the pool Itself. Messages between us and Amanda across the road resulted in her taking a sample of the water to Swimart at Baulkham Hills where she bought some of the necessary chemicals to try to get it back to a swimable state. But it turned out that it was too far gone without being vacuumed which was way too complicated to be explained via FaceTime so, unfortunately for Aida, Adis (who's been attending to it every day), and their daughters Sara and Emma plus Amanda, Rupert and the kids from across the road, they weren't able to have swims. It wasn't possible to fix it until we arrived home. And, as it was the first three days of our return Kev worked five hours each day on it to get it back to normal. Such a pity but the major storm which occurred after we'd left, and which brought down half of the Liquid Amber tree in the back garden, was a once in a lifetime event (hopefully!) and it was just rotten luck especially as it had been
rather warm in Sydney.
With Christmas Eve being the main day Christmas is celebrated in Denmark when the family get together, share presents and have a celebratory meal together, two days after the birthday celebrations most of the adult family members were helping to cook up a storm for our Christmas Eve dinner although admittedly Katherine did the major kitchen preparation - with some help from her dad and siblings - and did us all proud for which we were all very grateful. And it was delicious; roast duck and lots of yummy vegetables followed by a traditional Danish rice pudding with hot cherry sauce which is a speciality for Christmas time. And it was such a bonus to have all the grandkids together; a fantastic occasion. Such fun!
Kerrii, Seb, Grace and Rupert stayed the night on Christmas Eve so that the cousins were all together for some more present opening early in the morning after Santa had visited as they all had stockings to empty on Christmas morning. Kev and I arrived there later in the morning so more Christmas present opening was the order of the day!
Another day of hard work in the
Cuddles with Grandpa
While Sienna concentrates of what's on the television!
kitchen - thanks to Katherine and the team! The Christmas Day effort produced Roast Pork and other lovely veggies followed by Christmas trifle and Ice Cream Christmas Pudding which the kids had helped to make. I made two trifles but with not enough room in the fridge for them, thankfully it was cold enough outside just to leave them on a table there. More pressie opening as well! It was such a pleasure to spend time with most of the family together.
Despite the fact that Nicola made her usual Christmas cake for us all back home in Sydney which then travelled around the world to Denmark where the grandkids helped to decorate it and Grace made a Christmas Gingerbread House, we were all way too full to tackle either of those until a couple of so days later.
After all the Christmas celebrations, and dressed as snow bunnies, Kev and I joined Kerrii, Seb, Grace, Rupert, Katherine, Thomas, Sienna, Evie, Isabella & Ross on a visit to Tivoli Gardens. Opened on August 1843 and one of the oldest pleasure gardens in the world it is situated opposite Copenhagen's central station which wasn't built until 1911. Loved by
many, including Hans Christian Andersen who was inspired to write the fairy tale 'Nightingale', we spent many hours there staying until after the nightly fireworks display. Evie, who'd received a camera for Christmas snapped loads of photos of us all. While she went on many of the rides her main occupation seemed to be the taking of photos! But before Kev and I met the others at the entrance to Tivoli, we met my NSW Dickens Society friend Chris - who was herself holidaying in this part of the world, and was in CPH for a couple of days - for coffee and a chat.
Then on 31 December, with beautiful blue skies in Copenhagen Kerrii, Seb, Grace, Rupert and I visited two art galleries; the Kunsthal Charlotteborg and SMK the National Gallery of Denmark where Nicola joined by us and we all had lunch together. I was rather disappointed, when I bought something from the SMK shop that there were no paper bags there, only plastic. Those who know me won't be surprised that I refused a plastic bag, instead producing the fold up bag I always carry with me! By the time we caught the bus back
to our apartment it was dark and Tivoli was ablaze with lights!
Our NYE began quite sedately with Grace and Evie making Brownies as part of our evening meal while Kev and Thomas - who earlier went to buy some fireworks to let off later in the evening - put together Evie's new bed which proved to be a great attraction once the job was done. Katherine once again put on another celebratory dinner on what was Nicola's last meal with us all.
With Sydney eleven hours in front of Copenhagen we watched the live coverage of the fireworks on the television which made me feel quite homesick. In Sydney, about eight tonnes of fireworks produced 100,000 pyrotechnic effects as the sky exploded in a riot of colour and light. With an estimated audience of a million people, and with almost 45% of those watching around the harbour international tourists it's estimated that the approximately $7 million spent on the NYE fireworks generates spending of more than double that amount.
After our NYE meal we all trooped outside to watch the fireworks Kev and Thomas had bought earlier together with others people in the street let off.
But we didn't stay with Katherine, Thomas and the girls until midnight, going back to our respective apartments and hotel for the main event! Everyone here lights their own fireworks and they must spend a fortune on them since the great majority were super duper. And they were constantly going off all around us; from midnight they carried on non-stop until 1.10am! I wouldn't be at all surprised if the cumulative amount people in CPH spend would be roughly what Sydney spends on fireworks!
Before Nicola left Copenhagen, bound for Melbourne on 1 January, she joined Katherine and I at Nimb Hotel - which is part of Tivoli - where their Bar offers an afternoon tea which the three of us enjoyed. Then, the following day, with school and kindy having started again for Sienna, Evie and Isabella the rest of the gang went to the meat packing district - now an area which includes various eateries - for our last lunch together. In the evening before Kerrii, Seb, Grace & Rupert left for their flight back to Melbourne on 3 January but not before we gathered at our Frederiksberg apartment for our last supper with all the grandchildren.
Rundetaarn Round Tower
This 17th C tower is the oldest functioning observatory in Europe
Once Nicola has left, after sharing the Airbnb apartment with her Ross moved into a hotel for his last three days which was in the centre of the city overlooking a square which, like George Street in Sydney, was a construction site for a new Metro, work which has been going on since Katherine, Thomas and the girls moved to Copenhagen to live over five years ago. So it's not just Sydney that's a mess!
As Sienna, Evie & Isabella were back at school, Katherine drove Ross, Kev & I to Strandvejen where we had a lovely lunch the Charlottenlund Fort Restaurant. The Charlottenlund Fort is amongst the best fortification in Europe forming a ring around Copenhagen which comprises a number of fortresses and batteries and a flooding system. After Denmark's severe defeat in the war against Germany in 1864 many feared that the country would not survive as an independent state and nation which inspired the idea to build a large scale fortification surrounding Copenhagen. It was all very interesting on what was a beautiful winter's day... and our lunch was delicious! From lunch we then went back to the centre of Copenhagen to meet Ingrid &
Carsten for afternoon tea at Perchs Tea House. It was lovely to see Ingrid again and to meet Carsten...and have some more to eat!!
Before Ross had to head back to the airport to fly back to Tokyo, together with Katherine, Sienna, Evie & Isabella we went to the Tivoli Food Hall for lunch before saying our fond farewells. With Ross gone Kev and I decided to go to Stockholm for a couple of days.
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