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Published: September 14th 2019
I set the alarm for 6am. We went to bed the night before and we're hoping the day would go according to plan. Thankfully, the sunshine was already shining! We quickly got dressed and hurried down to breakfast which started at 6:30. I have promised myself that I will talk about the hotel and breakfast in a later post. There is just too much to cover! So! We ate our usual, oatmeat, an egg and bacon, croissant and tea. Off we headed before most people were up and moving! Beep! Beep! We've got things to do, people!
It's hard to judge exactly how far each place is on the map. More than distance, we concern ourselves with the amount of time it will take us to go to each attraction. We are heading to the iconic Little Mermaid statue. We had seen the back of her on our canal cruise but, of course, I needed to see the front! There are very few people out and about this morning. It's too early to head to work so we mainly see the bikers and the runners out for their morning exercise.
Thankfully, she is actually closer than it seemed she would be and, best of all, we had her all to ourselves for a few moments! The sun was coming up behind her making the water gleam and sparkle. It was a wonderful moment. Some tourist had place a small bunch of roses at the base and it added a nice touch. I took a selfie with her (just for me) and we were quickly on our way back to shower and finish packing.
We had roughly 6 hours left in Copenhagen before we needed to meet the rest of the group to get our taxis to the port. We were still hoping to fit 2 more stops into our day.
We packed the last of our toiletries, double checked to ensure we hadn't forgotten anything and carried our bags down to check out. The hotel has a baggage storage room and we left our bags and started walking toward the Kings Garden.
As wish most big European cities the best parks always seem to have belonged to the king at one time. The Botanical Garden and Palm House is located in such a park. We arrived just a few minutes before the Palm House opened and looked around the garden. They had lots of cactus and I'm surprised that they aren't over watered with all the rain the city seems to receive. Apparently, I'm not a botanist. What do I know?
Anyway, 3 rooms of tropical/jungle plants and suddenly we enter a room that you can tell is taller than the rest. The center of the Palm House is designed as the centerpiece. It reminded me of the Krohn conservatory in Cincinnati. At any rate, lots of palms.....let me get through this quickly.....Ooooooo, a circular stairway! Oh my! TWO circular stairways! Are they teasing me? I'm gonna get over there to those stairways and will there be a chain with a sign I can't read that essentially tells me that I'm shit out of luck. No climbing. No entry. Jerks!
They actually encourage you to climb the stairs to get a view from the top! You don't have to ask me twice! Now, one thing I already mentioned is that we arrived just as the Palm House was opening. We were the first people into this room (because if all I'm gonna look at are big jungle-y leaves *shush, my blog, my word* then I'm breezing right through) and I yelled for Mom.
Up we went!
It was leafy up there! I liked the view from halfway up much better but the walkway went all the way around the top of the glass room. Again, just like Tivoli Gardens, your personal safety is your own damn responsibility. If you happen to fall from the 100 year old walkway 50 feet up, that's your problem. Darwin wins in Denmark.
After coming back down and sprinting through another 2 rooms, we find ourselves trying to figure out where we are heading next. The ticket office said we were supposed to see the Palm House and the Butterfly House. Where were the signs? If I have ONE complaint about Copenhagen, it's that if there ARE directional signs, I haven't been able to locate them. Finding entrances and where to head next has been a challenge.
Well, we just HAPPENED to stumble upon the entrance to the Butterfly House. If we were on the Amazing Race, we would fail this leg. Anyway, we walked in to a room FILLED with cacti. Not exactly what I'd call butterfly habitat. I also mentioned that I had already seen a great deal of cacti. I think these people are obsessed with what they don't ever get to see. There are literally 1000 cactus species in this room. Guess what? There was a big sign that warned people not to touch! So we warn people about pricking a finger but not falling to their deaths? Greeeeeaaaaatttttt!
However, on the other side of Prickerville, was the Butterfly House! Finally! They were everywhere! Gorgeous butterflies and I even found the cutest tiny blue striped frog. I took a ton of pictures that no one, even me, will care about once I get home but it was fun trying to photograph them before they fly off. The only one I didn't get was the biggest ones there. They were blue and stunning! A little iridescent even! They very rarely landed and when they did, forget about it! They flew off again before you could even get your camera near them!
Ok, time to wind up the Botanical Gardens. A big thumbs up! On to the Rosenborg!
The Rosenborg, you ask?
Yes! Medieval castle. Think dark wood, wonderful fireplaces, lacquered wood, a mirrored room with a secret closet for the King's erotica, a collection of weaponry and the Royal jewels! (Not the Kings jewels, actual jewels!) This was a great castle and I would highly recommend it should you or someone you know travel to Copenhagen. It wasn't the biggest castle that I'd ever seen but I was a wonderful example of royal opulence and grandeur. The armory and jewels were spectacular. The intricate detail in all of it was astounding.
We have just enough time left to grab a quick bite to eat before we have to meet the group at the hotel for our taxi ride to the ferry. We walked back to the big square near Nyhavn canal and thought that we would just pop in to the McDonald's for cheap eats. We had just a few Danish Krone left and wanted to spend them before we sailed for Norway. Well, that plan backfired when we saw the line! Uh, I wouldn't wait in that line in the US, I'm certainly not doing it in Denmark!
The nearest hot dog stand will have to do! Hot dogs? Yep! Scandinavian people apparently love hot dogs! Who am I to tell them differently! There are hot dog carts on every corner. Some of the hot dogs are more like sausage but every cart seems to have at least 8 or 9 different style wieners. We buy two dogs, a water and a coke with precisely 8 krone to spare!
Back to the hotel, where we meet the group and get taxis to the harbor and the ferry. The ferry! It's huge! More like a cruise ship than I was expecting but with semi trucks being loaded underneath! We boarded the ferry and went to find our cabin. 7th deck with a window. Two little bottles of bubbly and two bottles of water were in the refrigerator. We quickly stowed our bags, put on a heavier jacket and went to find our way up to the top deck. The Mermaid Bar on the 11th deck provided a great vantage point to look out over the harbor and see the steeples throughout the city.
The ferry departed on time and we were off on our next adventure across the North Sea to Oslo, Norway! The wind was a little brisk so we returned to the cabin and watched out our window. We already had a full day of sightseeing so this ferry ride was the perfect excuse to wind down and relax.
There were 4 restaurants on the boat to choose from for dinner and not wanting to splurge on steak, we choose Italian. Mom ordered a pizza and I ordered ravioli in brown butter and hazelnuts and a caprese salad. Not only was the food excellent but my ravioli dish was big enough to feed a small army.
About the time our food arrived, the ship started to roll a bit. Not too much. Just enough to know you were on the water. We laughed about it and joked about the time we were on a family cruise and we would all exaggerate our staggering movements to watch others turn green. Good times!
Well, by the time we were finished the ship was rocking. A gentleman walking down the hallway by the restaurant lost his balance and really banged into the glass partition which separated the restaurant from the hall. I looked at Mom with big eyes. I've heard stories about the North Sea. I said a little prayer that it didn't get any rougher.
By the time we went through the duty free store (with a wide legged stance) and back to the room, the only thing to do was get on the bed and make the best of it. We had the window with the horizon but that only works if you can see it and it was getting dark! I was dealing with it much better than Mom. In fact, as a true loving daughter, I laughed a lot about the rolling of the ship. Mom did not get sick but she said it's the closest she's ever come to being seasick. The only time you want to be lower on the ship instead of higher is when there are rough seas.
I told Mom to try to sleep as I tried to type out a blog entry. My plan had been to try to get 2 or 3 entries complete but there was no way I could concentrate with the ship rolling like Ocean Motion at Cedar Point. Eventually, around midnight, the seas calmed and I could finally try to sleep, thankful that Mom had continued to sleep through the worst of it.
North Sea: "Did you say 'worst of it'? Hold my beer, sweetheart!"
I wake up about 3 am to a ship moving like a metronome! Back and forth. Back and forth. It actually makes me nauseous to think about it now than it did then. I had to pee and I was afraid to go for fear I'd wake Mom up and if she could sleep through this, that would be a blessing.
We were moving so far from side to side that the curtains would move about 6-8 inches from the window and then back. Out and back. Out and back. There was just enough light coming through the window that you couldn't ignore it. Ugh! Even with my eyes closed I could feel them move.
About an hour after waking, Mom woke up enough that I felt safe to use the restroom. As soon as I got back in bed I, thankfully, fell asleep. I'm not sure Mom was ever wide awake enough to feel nauseous again. Whichever Norse god I have to thank for that, I'll drink a beer in his honor when we are safely in Norway.
The next morning we had entered the fjord leading us into Oslo even though we still had a couple of hours before we docked. Now, this was not a FJORD fjord but there was land on both sides, forested and every so often a house here or there.
The closer we got the houses and boats became more plentiful. THIS is the Norway I've wanted to see. I am so excited that we quickly shower so we can head up to take a look from both sides of the ship.
Before long, we were docking in Oslo and thrilled to be on dry land. I would have appreciated a "well done" sticker or some such award. A participation trophy, if you will! (I also felt the effects of a rolling ship the entire day, enough so that I even had to lie down in the late afternoon to try to get my head right)
Here we are, Norway! Two seasoned sailors ready for more adventure!
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