Pride and Rain

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Europe » Denmark
August 30th 2014
Published: June 12th 2017
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Geo: 55.6763, 12.5681

We were making very good time after getting off the ferry. The skies were getting progressively darker, but we still had no rain. As we got closer to Copenhagen, however, the traffic started. It seemed as though every single overpass on this highway was being replaced, so we hit long stretches of construction and very slow traffic. As we hit the suburbs, traffic really got bad, and we joked that we might as well be in DC given the bumper-to-bumper traffic. It all seemed very strange for a Saturday afternoon. We finally hit the city itself, but traffic only worsened. We inched along as I anxiously saw that the GPS was having us turn at the next light. As that light turned yellow, I quickly turned onto a major cross street and was immediately struck by the sight of hundreds of people lining the sidewalks. K said there must have been an accident, and asked me to look in my rearview mirror, where I could see a firetruck and police car with their lights on a block back of where I turned. We were the only car on the road it seemed, and then we slowly started to notice a sea of rainbow flags in the crowds and on the buildings. Turns out that we had just arrived in the midst of Copenhagen's Gay Pride day, and we'd been one of, if not the last car allowed to turn onto the parade route before it was blocked off completely. We kept driving and the crowds only got deeper. It was surreal and felt as if they might be lined up to cheer us. I was happy when we finally turned off, but more construction meant the path to the hotel was not as clear as originally hoped. All of sudden we lost a lane in the road and only buses could proceed straight (where the GPS was pointing). I turned, only to be "trapped" on a one-way road leading into a pay parking garage. There was no way to turn around and cars were quickly lining up behind me. I had no choice but to enter the garage, grab a ticket, and try to find the closest exit. Thinking we might be allowed to exit without paying, I was unfortunately mistaken. Everything was automated so there was no one with whom to appeal, so I had to insert my credit card to exit, and I think this particular little detour cost us about $10 for our 2 minutes in the garage. Welcome to Copenhagen, which I swear must be the Danish word for "expensive."

We got back on track and finally arrived at our hotel, which was located just north of town, near the old fortress and iconic Little Mermaid statue. We were all very happy to check-in, drop our bags, park the car, and head out to salvage what we could of the afternoon for sightseeing.

Being so close to the Little Mermaid, we walked down there to catch a hop-on/hop-off bus, which would at least allow us to get an overview of the city. Our only planned stop was to try and visit the "flagship" Trollbead store downtown, which K really wanted to see.

We boarded the double-decker tour bus, which had its roof rolled back, and enjoyed the tour. As we got back downtown, the parade had ended and there were thousands of people jamming the streets and squares for various concerts and Pride events. The driver did the best he could, but getting through was slow and tedious. We got off the bus at the main stopping street and headed straight for the Trollbead store. We arrived at 4:50pm only to find them closed. We still don't know if they closed early or perhaps never opened. Whatever the case, K was disappointed but there was nothing we could do. We debated grabbing one of the last hop-on-/hop-off buses and heading back toward the hotel to eat, or staying in the very busy (and nice) shopping area to look around, grab a bite, and then walk home. We elected to eat there and walk. No sooner, however, had we sat down at an outside table when it started to sprinkle. We moved inside, to a cellar dining area, and watched through the windows as the rain got progressively heavier and heavier, with no signs of letting up. We'd left the hotel without any rain gear, perhaps spoiled by all of our good weather luck during the proceeding week.

After our meal we elected to start walking, and I tried to keep us on track using a map I was trying desperately to keep somewhat dry. I failed on both fronts. There were large construction projects along the way, which forced us in directions I didn't want to go, and all the while the rain was getting heavier and heavier. We were quickly soaked through. After about 20 minutes of walking, we sought refuge in a tourist shop, where we bought an overpriced souvenir umbrella and asked the clerk to reorient us on the map; we were dismayed to see that the unexpected detour meant that we had quite a ways to walk. K and I had waterproof jackets at least, but poor Anna was soaked to the bone. Still, she never complained and pressed onward. I kept apologizing and she kept saying that "it is fun." Nonetheless, we were very happy to finally reach the hotel. I sent K and Anna on to get the wet clothes and shoes into the dryer in our room, and for Anna to hop in the shower and warm up, while I stopped into a grocery store to get us some deserved snacks for the evening.

After everyone showered, we were all glad to crawl under our featherbeds, snack, and turn in early. Meanwhile, the rain only got worse and strong thunderstorms started to roll through.

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