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March 13th 2010
Published: March 14th 2010
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Denmark and Sweden


Well, I made it to Copenhagen! The flight from Moline, IL to Detroit, MI on Thursday, March 11th wasn’t bad but the 8hr flight from Detroit to Amsterdam, Holland was a bit long. During the flight I watched the movie “Up” and tried unsuccessfully to get some sleep. Adjusting to the time change was FAR more difficult than I thought it would be; as I write this it is 2:45AM in Denmark / 8:50PM in Illinois. Luckily the flight from Amsterdam to Copenhagen was short and sweet!

The first day in Copenhagen was wonderful! Early afternoon we went to an informational presentation on the impact the use of bicycles as a primary means of transportation has had on the city and citizens of Copenhagen. It was pretty interesting to listen to the rep from the Copenhagen Municipality - Department of Traffic discuss the positive and negative impacts. Everywhere you go in Copenhagen you see cyclists and parked bicycles. It’s pretty cool, as well as economically and environmentally beneficial of course.

Friday evening we had a phenomenal buffet dinner at our hotel. We are staying at the Copenhagen Plaza Hotel, which is a ritzy hotel located right downtown. Aside from
The "Oops Ship:The "Oops Ship:The "Oops Ship:

The only Danish warship to ever fire a missile during war, hitting an unintended target. Now retired, resting in the Copenhagen harbor.
the great food it also has an upscale bar. A draft beer costs 50 Danish Kroner (approx $10US). Yes, I do like to drink and yes, it does add up quickly. The evening was a lot of fun. It was a nice chance to relax after a long day of traveling, eat good food, and get to know fellow travelers. After dinner we had a few drinks at the hotel bar, chatted with the bartender, then headed out to the bar district. The beers of choice in Copenhagen seem to be Carlsberg and Tuborg. I had my fare share of Carlsburg but much preferred Jacobsen Saaz Blonde.

We ended up drinking Guinness at an Irish pub while watching a two-person band with an American born lead singer (go figure, right?). The night really got interesting when I became separated from the group as I stood chatting with a nice Danish girl. I then proceeded to wander around for about a half an hour, eventually finding my way back to the hotel. The conversation was good and worth the feeling of panic one feels when they are lost in a foreign country. It was about 3:30AM when I finally went
Hotel Room BalconyHotel Room BalconyHotel Room Balcony

A view of downtown Copenhagen from our hotel room balcony.
to bed, after I stood in the lobby chatting with a hotel attendant for about an hour. I have thoroughly enjoyed conversing with the locals, discussing politics, culture, music. It’s interesting to get their perspective and they seem genuinely interested in hearing what I have to say as well. Good times all around and a great way to start the trip!

Saturday, March 13th we took a 3-hour guided tour around the city of Copenhagen. We got to see quite a lot; parliament, the royal place, the statue of the Little Mermaid, New Harbor, Marble Church, round tower, etc. The Danish people are very proud of Hans Christian Anderson. Copenhagen is a beautiful city with a very rich history, complemented by a very modern and trend-conscious population. The locals are friendly and accommodating. They will however rib you for being an American with what they perceive as being a low tolerance for alcohol. I defended our honor, explaining that the 7.1 alcohol contend of a bottle of Jacobsen was quite high by American standards; a bottle of Budweiser has a 5.0% alcohol content. In short - when in Europe pace yourself.

I'd had it in my mind since
Frederiks Kirke - CopenhagenFrederiks Kirke - CopenhagenFrederiks Kirke - Copenhagen

Also known as "The Marble Church." Construction started in 1749, opened in 1894.
deciding to go on the trip that I wanted to go to Sweden, which neighbors Denmark. I used the afternoon today to attempt to talk other DrakeSMART travelers into going with me. Once Dr. Meyer was sold on the idea, Dr. Noe and our travel guide Lew were on board as well. In the end 18 of us took a train from Copenhagen to Malmo, Sweden. Having attended Augustana College and taken Swedish to fulfill my foreign language requirement I have a learned appreciation for Swedish culture. Once in Malmo we split up into three groups so as to not overwhelm any one restaurant (no ugly Americans here!). My group ended up at a steakhouse where I had steak and lobster. Both the service and food were great, as were the drinks and conversation. I can’t tell you how glad I am that we went to Sweden and how much I would have regretted not going.

We ended the day with a few drinks at our hotel’s bar, listening to a live band. Sunday, March 14th we head for Hamburg, Germany. I love you Copenhagen, but tomorrow must bring a new adventure. Bring on Germany!



Additional photos below
Photos: 14, Displayed: 14


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Hotel RoomHotel Room
Hotel Room

Our hotel room in Copenhagen, Denmark
OperaenOperaen
Operaen

The national opera house of Denmark, and among the most modern opera houses in the world. It is also one of the most expensive opera houses ever built with construction costs well over 500 million U.S. dollars. It is located on the island of Holmen in the center of Copenhagen.
Royal Danish GuardRoyal Danish Guard
Royal Danish Guard

Just TRY and enter the Royal Palace, he dares you.
Danish GovernmentDanish Government
Danish Government

Another government building. Note the lack of a flag on the roof, as no members of the royal family are present.
Royal Danish GuardRoyal Danish Guard
Royal Danish Guard

The uniforms may be ceremonial, but those rifles aren't. These guys are more than window dressing.
Royal PalaceRoyal Palace
Royal Palace

The Danish flag being flown means the queen is present in the building.
The Little MermaidThe Little Mermaid
The Little Mermaid

A statue honoring the fairy tale by Danish author and poet Hans Christian Andersen; Langelinie Pier in Copenhagen
Train StationTrain Station
Train Station

Departing for our Swedish excursion!
Train StationTrain Station
Train Station

Team Sweden. Waiting patiently.
Steakhouse - Lilla TorgSteakhouse - Lilla Torg
Steakhouse - Lilla Torg

A wonderful restaurant in Malmo, Sweden.


14th March 2010

Wow!
Son, I am so thrilled for you - and of course, quite envious. Have the time of your life! I came home from the hospital Friday evening. Heart rate back down and back in rhythm. Miss you already. Love, mom
22nd March 2010

WOW
Hi Joe, Uncle Richard is forwarding your stuff to me, so you don't need to send it to me, too. I just wanted to say how happy I am that you got to take this trip. I do have one concern........... every other word relates to alcohol!!!!!!!!!!!! I don't care how old you are, you're still my little nephew!! Be careful and enjoy - it's an opportunity of a lifetime. Oh, have some of your fellow travelers include you in a picture. Otherwise, we'll never believe you were there.

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