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Published: September 10th 2019
We got off the plane well rested and ready for an adventure. The airport, just like Iceland's, looks like the IKEA catelog. Everything is crisp, clean and efficient looking. The one thing I notice is the FREE Starbucks kiosk as we walk down the hall. Medium roast and tea bags. I don't know many that would pass that up except the Whitson women. We've got things to do and places to see! **Actually, it's because we'd have to carry the cup with us or stand and drink it and neither one of us could manage to juggle our luggage AND a hot cup.**
We walk straight out since we've already been through customs in Iceland and we don't have anything to declare. The ticket machines for the Metro are easy to find and after asking the agent a couple of questions because I'm using Danish Krone, I buy the tickets and we're off! Our first impressions of Denmark are better than the ones we had in Paris. It seems clean and there isn't much graffiti on metro stations or the walls as we head into the capital city. The cars fill up and just as we start to worry about how we're gonna get through the crowd, everyone gets off at the same stop as us.
We head up the escalator and out into the middle of a large square. I dig out my cell phone to pull up the newest app I downloaded after reading about it on the Conde Nast or Travel & Leisure facebook page. "10 Best Travel Apps" was correct about Maps.Me. I downloaded the Copenhagen maps to my phone before I left the US. When I opened it up, it showed me where I was located and the route we needed to walk to the hotel. We were only a few blocks away.
We were so excited to see that our hotel was located right on the harbor! (We knew it beforehand but it's different when you see it for yourself.) The front desk was ready for us and we were on our way upstairs within minutes.
Now, we might have been well rested but we had been traveling for 24 hours and were desperate for a shower before we tried to tackle the city. Our room was wonderful. Small but cozy with a good size bathroom. It's always amusing the first time we attempt to turn on a shower and this time was no different. There is a wand (hand held shower) and a rainfall shower head. The hot and cold knobs are independent of each other and there is a handle to switch from wand to shower head. There is also a button that you must push to send the water from the tub to the shower. Sounds easy. Should be easy. *side eye glance* Oh, and I forgot to mention that there is no shower curtain. There is only a little half wall of glass that swings outward so you can get close to the knobs.
Wooooooshhhhhhhhh!! Out comes water from the wand straight at the open bathroom door! Crap! Yep, by the time I figured it out, there was water all over the bathroom floor and the room. Ha! I'll figure it out right when we leave!
I did a little bit of research before we got here because I worry about food and where to get it. The Torvehallerne market is the place that pops up in every list about street foods. Mom and I decide that we need head in that direction.
As is always the case with a new city, it takes day or two to figure out exactly how to navigate a city. We ended up taking the metro up one stop because often people look at us like we're crazy when we say we're walking someplace. If someone tells us that a destination is 20 minutes away, there is a good chance we'll do it in 15 minutes or less. The Danes ride bikes, the Whitsons walk.
Needless to say, the Torvehallerne market did not disappoint in its selection of food and flowers. Each booth or store had something different except sushi. There is a LOT of sushi. We both had a sandwich and visited Summerbird for their chocolates, bought a small bag and ate it as we wandered the buildings.
It was getting to be late afternoon and as it was Sunday, our options for touristy attractions and businesses is limited. The one place I had wanted to go that was open later than most was Tivoli Gardens, the 2nd oldest amusement park in the world. I had read about it, checked Trip Advisor and talked it through with Mom. I didn't want to pass up my chance of going and it was within walking distance so off we went!
As we neared Tivoli, Mom looked across the street and wondered about the HUGE building with people streaming in and out. She wanted to check it out. It was their central train station. It was cavernous, made of enormous timbered beams and looked like an upside down ship. The center of the station held shops and restaurants and the walkways/tunnels to different tracks fed off the sides of the buildings like an octopus. We walked the complete square to see what we could and headed back out again. Tivoli was calling.
The girl at the entry booth was very helpful. You can buy an entrance ticket for about $20. Ride tickets are about $5 apiece and rides take 1-3 tickets or you can buy a ride bracelet for $35. There's no asking us twice! Gimme my ride bracelet!
Right inside the entry gate is the line for Rutschebanen, a wooden roller coaster that still has a brakeman ride from the middle of each train in order to stop it from going too fast. We immediately hopped in line. Unlike American amusement parks, the queue line was short. It was maybe 2 1/2 back and forths before you got to the turnstile. As Mom and I watched the loading and unloading, we noticed one thing. There wasn't any open regard for personal safety. The train would pull in but there was no "behind the yellow line", no gates of any sort, no seat belts just a lap bar that didn't come down the whole way and no time before he pulled away again even if people were still getting in or getting adjusted! We even saw a young girl jump into the front seat as it went by so she could have it even though there was someone waiting at the part of the platform. Unreal. I've never seen anything like it. Clearly, Denmark is not a litigious happy country. I saw 20 lawsuits just waiting to happen had we been in the US.
Before long, Mom and I were at the turnstile and he had stopped us before the last train. We had a decision to make. Front or back?! Ha! We were hoping for a little "air" a la the Blue Streak before it was ruined by new seats, rough track and seat belts. We were not disappointed. It was the smoothest wooden coaster I've ever ridden. We got so much air going over the small hills that we laughed and laughed until we got to one hill where we nearly stood straight up and we smacked back down of the wooden plank seat so hard it snapped us back into reality for one quick moment before we were belly laughing again. What a ride! The guys operating it were clearly amused as we were the last ones off and still giggling like two schoolgirls! We would have done it again but we had no idea what else we needed to see!
On we went to the old ferris wheel, a water ride where you shot a laser at targets and a Hans Christian Anderson inspired "It's a Small World" where many of his stories were captured in scenes as you rode by in a "car". I then convinced Mom to ride the Star Flyer. It's a swing ride that literally makes me nauseous just looking at it. The last time I rode something similar, I nearly had a panic attack and had to close my eyes and restrain myself. Don't ask me why I wanted to do it. Once in a lifetime, I guess. Stupidity.
It went so fast and so high that after a few times around I had to close my eyes and start praying that a chain didn't snap sending me crashing down into a city street. I prayed and somehow we came back to Earth safely.
We then rode the miniature cars and TWO merry-go-rounds! The first was a normal merry-go-round with horses that go up and down and it was 2 stories. The second had jungle animals that were HUGE and had ladders to climb up on them! So much fun!
After the rides, we were free to wander the gardens and look at all the different restaurants. Nobody should ever go hungry in Copenhagen. There is food everywhere. But the gardens are the real centerpiece of the park. The flowers flow down pathways, surround band stands and concert halls. Just when you thing you've seen something especially beautiful, you go around a bend in the path and there are more flowers even prettier and more stunning than the last and when the lights come on at night it's even more magical.
Before long, we decide to head back to the hotel. We are walking and even though Copenhagen is a safe city, we don't want to tempt fate by walking alone too late. We walk along the canal, reveling in another perfect day abroad and knowing how blessed we are to be able to experience it together.
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