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Published: July 22nd 2016
We have woken this morning and cannot believe our good fortune with the sun shining brightly and a lovely blue sky free of any visible cloud. What a cracker of a day to head off and explore Copenhagen and make the most of our short stay in a city that we have waited a while to see.
Having done a bit of research we have worked out that the main city sights are within a fairly compact area and to gain an appreciation of them we are going to take the 1 hour Grand Canal Boat trip.
We can then decide what we want to walk to on foot and go back and see from dry land.
By the time we were ready to leave a couple of hours later after breakfast the sky was starting to cloud over and it looked like it was going to be another ‘European summers day ‘of cloudiness with perhaps a bit of sun.
We followed the two streets we did last night down to the supermarket and past the ‘old Eastern European ‘style buildings and turned to the combined train and subway station. Our hosts advised us that the subway
was faster and that there was a stop that would put us within a short walk of the canal boat terminal to get our sightseeing underway.
Buying tickets on the platform is usually an easy affair but we didn’t have quite enough coin in Dkr for the two tickets and the machine didn’t for some reason take notes, which we had. So it had to be the credit card.
Trains were leaving on the two lines that the city currently has every few minutes, one to the airport on the other side of town and the other to who knows where. It didn’t matter which was in the platform, both would take us to the station we needed. We wondered why no driver appeared when a train pulled into the platform, Vanlose where we were catching the train from is the terminal.
We discovered why when we got on. The trains are driverless!
We were just too late to get the front seats which looked like a good experience sitting up the front watching as the train hurtled along at a good pace, first over ground between 3 stations and then the train plunged underground and
a further 3 stops before we had to get off.
It certainly proved an efficient way of getting to the city and from the look of the parking availability it saved us spending time finding a car park near to where we wanted to be.
We found the canal boat ride terminal easily enough and had out ticket bought in a couple of minutes. Boats seemed to be departing every few minutes.
When the sales woman asked if we wanted the combined Tivoli Gardens ticket Gretchen said yes as this was where the statue of the Little Mermaid is and the ticket would save us queuing which in itself sounded a little suspicious.
We later found that the woman had done a grand up sell job on us as we didn’t really need a ticket at all to see the statue and what we had bought was a ticket to the fun park and leisure gardens. More about that later.
The boat we boarded was full but we got the seats we wanted at the stern which didn’t have a roof over it and gave us a better view of the sights the boat passed
on its meander around the canals.
We had a couple who looked to be Turkish sitting across from us. She only saw about half of what was on offer as she kept dozing off to sleep regularly and every so often he would give her a gentle dig in the ribs to wake her up. Then he would doze off too. He had about three cell phone calls too that he made in the one hour trip. Perhaps, if they were Turkish, they may have been checking on relatives back home because of course there had been an attempted coup to overthrow the Government by some of the military. But we still can’t understand why people need to be on their cell phones when they are taking a short sightseeing trip and miss the sights they are passing.
The commentary came in three languages so you can imagine there wasn’t a lot of time when the young woman with the microphone wasn’t talking which was a bit distracting and wasn’t conducive to using the video camera as you could never know if the background commentary was going to be in English, German or Danish.
We cruised pass
all the sights we had on our list including the most famous of them all in Copenhagen and that was the Little Mermaid most well known because of the Hans Christian Andersen book.
On the canal you pass under many very low bridges and at each one the young woman with the microphone repeated the same message ‘stayed seated and do not stand up, if you have to, until we are through the other side’.
So we thought we had a walking tour planned by the time the one hour was up and we had passed by most of the sights we wanted to see on the water and so we struck out on what we thought was going to be the grand circle which would bring us back to the subway station for the ride home.
The furtherest sight we had planned was The Little Mermaid statue just beyond the Kastellet, a military fort that the public has access through.
One of the problems with Copenhagen is that it is flat, real flat with not even a hill of any description that you can set your sights on and say that that is a certain
direction. To add to that the streets are often not named on the corners where you might expect them to be. The city streets were not laid out on a grid system which is surprising given that the land is so flat. Even the tourist directional signs to the main sights were did not point in a true direction which meant you could start off down a street only to find that it should have been the other street that went off on just a slight angle to where you started but the end result took you away from where you wanted to be. The result can bet as we discovered, finding a route that would take you to where you wanted to be easily.
So we wandered around not really knowing where we were and as he wrote the book we thought we were on to it.We were seeing different major buildings, statues and the like but just not in the order we thought they might come up on our tour.
We did however find the statue of H C Andersen opposite Tivoli Gardens where Gretchen was sure the Little Mermaid statue was.
HCA was pointing
across the road to Tivoli Gardens. Remember we had been ‘up sold’ a ticket each to the Gardens. The park was opened in 1843 and is the second oldest amusement park in the world.
We could see from the outside that this was also a fun park, like a mini Disneyland. And so we entered and spent some time wandering along watching families taking the various rides including a fast roller coaster that came close overhead a couple of times as we walked. A facility like this right in the city must be a tremendous bonus for the city and tourists but it wasn’t what we needed.
Up until now we had had only the sightseeing boat map to go by which had no street names on it although the sights we were looking for where numbered and had the streets run as this guide showed then we might have made a better success of finding the route we wanted to take, but it didn’t.
We exited the park and by chance picked up a directional sign taking us to the Tourist Office where we got ourselves a full street map of the city. We had started
out to do this when we got off the subway this morning but had found the cruise boat departure first and of course took that.
Now we were in business and step by step we got ourselves on track although we were both starting to feel a bit exhausted.
A boost of sugar was needed as we hadn’t stopped for lunch and that time was well passed.
So, what do you fill yourself up on in this city when you need sugar and recharge of energy? A Copenhagen Cone with two scoops of different flavoured ice cream. These cones are double the size of a normal cone so you can imagine how much ice cream can be scooped into one of them. You certainly don’t need a three or four scoop option that was also on offer unless your sugar level was all but completely gone!
As we walked we passed a big Lego store but the crowds around the huge examples of what you can make with Lego blocks were just too great to get a photo clear of people standing next to them. So we finally got a clear shot of two young women
in the shop window, Lego women that is!
Our grandson Lachie, not to mention his father of course, would have been in seventh heaven here!
It was now well into the afternoon and the city was very busy with crowds of locals and tourists both independent travellers like us and those off the 4 or 5 cruise ships that we could see tied up.
We were getting closer to the outer end of our walk and called into the church that the Royal Family uses. It was a building that had been around a while but the interior was unlike those you see in say Italy or France with what you might describe as ‘clean lines of sight ‘and everything in its place.
We knew we were close to the Little Mermaid when we made the Kastellet, the fort built s part of the city’s defences. There wasn’t much to see here so we emerged the other side of the pathway and there she was.
Made famous in the HCA fairy tale the statue was donated to the city in 1913 by a local brewer and is the most photographed sight in the city.
We were fortunate as there was just a couple of bus groups stopped there and it was easy enough to get an angle of the statue that has her back to the water sitting on a tall stone to take a photo and some video.
She of course appears in the wedding photos of many couples who marry in the city and today was no different with a wedding couple’s photographer trying to get the right spot in front of the statue without his photos being ‘bombed ‘by tourists.
With that achieved we lifted our weary feet again for the return journey towards the subway station and the trip home with just one more sight to divert slightly for first.
The stroll along the water was pleasant and again we passed by many of the places we wanted to see from the outside.
Our Saviours Church built in 1752 is unusual in that the serpentine spire of the structure has been a popular place to climb the 400 steps for a magnificent view of the flat city. The last 150 steps are wrapped around the outside of the tower and clearly would prove a challenge if
we were to take it on in our current state of weariness.
However, we were relieved in a way when we arrived at the church as it was closed and we didn’t have to make the decision to climb or not. It was a bit disappointing however not to get a look inside.
A bonus though was that was a subway station just a few metres away and we wouldn’t have to walk back across the river to where we had intended to catch the subway train home.
It was now close to 6pm and the train that pulled in to the station was chock a block full and we only just managed to squeeze in so the doors could close.
This led to the biggest problem or incident that any of the BBA’s have ever encountered and would consume our lives for the next four days!!!More about that as each day unfolds in blogs to come.
We had enough strength, just, to drag ourselves into the supermarket at Vanlose station to buy more wine to help revive ourselves after what was probably our biggest day out on the BBA V3.
We estimated, after
looking at the map, that we had walked well over 12kms without more than a few minutes break here and there. It had been unwise and we should have stopped to have a rest for half an hour or so to have a late lunch and we might have also sorted out where we were going a bit better sitting down rather than trying to do it on our feet.
We did however get to view all we wanted to and enjoyed the sights of Copenhagen enabling it to be ticked off the bucket list.
Sleep came very easily which was just as well because the drama that was to unfold the next morning was going to take all our energies to get us through.
PS:Enjoy Danny Kaye and his original rendition of Wonderful Copenhagen,I believe his only hit record in Britain.Copenhagen was a 'wonderful' city to us until we discovered what had happened as our day came to a close.More tomorrow.On Youtube as usual
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