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Published: September 5th 2017
Geo: 55.6763, 12.5681
It's 4am and I'm wide awake. I can't go back to sleep. I try but I've been in bed for only 4 hours and I'm done with sleep. Just like our Christmas Markets trip in 2014, jet lag always kills me. It's light outside. Garbage and street cleaning trucks are running up and down the streets. The party people are now gone, replaced by the working people. I lay in bed thinking about today's activities until 5:30am and finally give up. Karen is awake too so she makes coffee and breakfast and I check messages. Our host, Anne, sent me the WiFi code last night. I try it and it gets me to several pages of forms, all in Danish. What? Boomer? Forget it. It's way to much work, even for a Dane and I don't have the information to fill in. Starbucks should be close by and I'll buy a small something for the use of the WiFi. Very small.
I download pictures to my first two blog days while Karen whips up a fancy breakfast. Special K with banana, juice, coffee and toast with honey. Mmmmm. And no bill. I'm liking this! Let's get to Starbucks and
then to the HOHO bus and boat. The HOHO thing starts around 10am.
Off we go to Starbucks. Actually, we're on our way to the HOHO Bus & Boat Combo. It's 490 DKK or about $80for both of us for 48 hours. We go on whatever we want whenever we want for 2 days. We've decided on the bus first. It's warmer and tomorrow's weather is calling for sun making a more pleasant ride in the boat. During the time that we've been walking and discussing this, we have reached the ticket office without ever coming across a Starbucks. Impossible, but true. Ok. We skip sending in the two blogs I've completed already and buy our tickets. After a brief wait we get on the red bus at stop #1. We drive through a couple of streets but before we get to Strøget, stop #2, there's a huge explosion and the bus lurches up, then drops down. Well, maybe not so much huge. Loud, yes loud, like a bang. I thought a tire blew but it was actually the air suspension system, a system which allows the bus to lower itself at stops for easier entry and egress of passengers.
The bus sits now just inches off the ground and the driver, a man of few words, especially in English, says, "Everybody off! Take next bus."
This was to be our transportation system for sightseeing around town. Now we are just using their map and going to the stops by walking to them. These guys are making money off of us and Mom's not liking it. We walk to Nyhavn, stop #3 on our map. The sign here says Nyhavn which means "new port". It was established by King Christian V (1646-1699), making these homes 350 years old. On the sunny side, the houses were built of wood, brick and plaster and were the most colorful and picturesque houses at Nyhavn, generally rented by poor and common residents. This location provided me with our blog cover photo.
The canal is packed with old wooden ships, creating a maritime atmosphere from around 1780-1810, when Nyhavn was the main center of all trade by ships from Copenhagen. Nyhavn, with its picturesque old houses on either side of the canal, offers a variety of restaurants, pubs, cafés with dancing and music 24 hours a day. Nyhavn is also called "The longest outdoor bar
in Scandinavia" because of its many restaurants, cafés and cozy eating places overlooking the canal. Hans Christian Andersen lived in Nyhavn at no. 20 from 1834-1838, where he wrote his first stories. We find that it truly is mostly restaurants here on the canal and we take some pictures of the colorful houses. We try a McDonalds here strictly for the WiFi but no luck. We continue walking to the stop #3 sign and wait a half hour for the next bus. Once aboard, we ride along until stop #6, the Little Mermaid, where they allow us to exit and take pictures. I get off but Mom is resting up, listening to this bit of history over the speaker system.
Unveiled in1913, the Little Mermaid was a gift from Danish brewer Carl Jacobsen to the City of Copenhagen.The sculpture is made of bronze and granite and was inspired by Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tale about a mermaid who gives up everything to be united with a young, handsome prince on land. Carl Jacobsen fell in love with the character after watching a ballet performance based on the fairy tale at the Royal Danish Theater in Copenhagen. The brewer was so captivated
by both the fairy tale and the ballet that he commissioned the sculptor Edvard Eriksen to create a sculpture of the mermaid.The sculpture was inspired by ballerina Ellen Price, who in 1909 danced the lead role in the ballet "The Little Mermaid" at the Royal Theater. However, Ellen Price would not model in the nude for sculptor Edvard Eriksen. Thus Eriksen's wife, Eline Eriksen, posed for the sculpture of The Little Mermaid. Several times it's been the victim of vandalism. Twice she has lost her head, once the arm was sawn off, and several times she has had paint poured on her. Every time she is rescued and restored, so she can stay in her place by the water and bid travelers welcome to Copenhagen harbor.
I arrive at the spot where the driver said that the statue was. It's not there. It's actually 100 yards to the right, covered with people climbing on it to get their picture taken next to it. One guy attempts to traverse the moss-covered boulders separating the monument from sightseers, falls in the water and pretends that it was all part of his plan. Everyone laughed and I liked that. I take a couple of
pics including a selfie and return to the bus. I notice that this bus seems much nicer with upholstered seats and no crowds. Looking around, I don't see Mom. Oh! This isn't my bus! Where's my bus, or more importantly, where's Mom? This is not good.
I quickly get off the bus and here she comes, not wearing her happy face. I tell her, "I got some good shots of the Mermaid". That's not working so I let her go on until she calms down. She says the driver left after a 10 minute stop but I don't think I was gone that long. After asking the driver to wait a bit more, she got her answer, "Take next bus!", and she exits. I offer to take a picture of her on a bicycle that she doesn't have to actually ride. We're OK now. We catch the next bus in half an hour so now she gets to see the Little Mermaid too.
Our new bus comes. It's the guy whose bus earlier blew a hose line. We take it and remain on for the rest of this route, just taking in the sights and listening to the commentary. Eventually returning to
stop #1, we switch to the purple route for a tour of a different part of the city. Mom has been resting for a while now and I allow her to wear her sunglasses, despite the fact that it's cloudy. I know she's sleeping but, after the mermaid incident, I need to let it go. I want to get off at stop #35, Christianshavn, but she's reluctant. I know we've had only 4 hours sleep but I press on and she finally relents. Exiting the sanctuary of the bus with its comfy seats, we head into the "hippy" village. Big Mom is not the fastest walker but this afternoon her speed has dropped dramatically. She's now walking like those people we see in the movies, stumbling through the desert for days mumbling, "Water! Help me!"
The Christianshavn quarters and neighborhood is an architectural gem for tourist and visitors that can experience houses and buildings with a rich historic heritage. The Free City Christiania was established in 1971 by a group of homeless citizens that occupied the old empty military barracks. I would call them "Hippies". I read that it was cool just to walk through and Christiania is a great
tourist attraction. There's lots of colorful graffiti on the walls and fences, people smoking stuff everywhere and selling "supplies" to the locals. They frown on photos with signs posted everywhere so I'm discrete with our cameras but I'm glad we stopped.
After walking and shuffling along for an hour, we return to stop #35, pick up our purple bus and decide to continue all the way back to stop #1 and call it a day. Oh yes, the bus driver. It's the guy that left me at the mermaid! "You won't be leaving me this time, pal. I'm not getting off", my challenge to him. So I think. I keep the ear buds in to make me feel like I'm sightseeing but I'm nodding off myself and Mom is out completely. That is, until our driver yells out the usual, "Everybody out. Take next bus." Is this all these guys can say? We're near the Tivoli Amusement Park, waiting for a green bus which soon returns to stop 1. It's 5pm. We'll save Tivoli for tomorrow but we check out a souvenir shop, where Mom behaves herself. I need some Danish cash but I can't find a bank ATM, only ATMs
by Forex and others. The exchange rate sucks but I have no choice. Mom "window shops" as we walk back through the Strøget shopping street towards our apartment.
Our apartment is less than one block from the "Strøget" - The Pedestrian Street. When the volume of traffic increased in the beginning of the 60s in the inner part of the old town, the narrow streets and the expanding shopping areas around central Copenhagen became more and more crowded with cars and pedestrians. Copenhagen's City Council decided in 1962 to establish a car free pedestrian zone called "Strøget” which also includes a maze of small streets and historical squares that fan out from “Strøget” and the medieval part of Copenhagen, having a total length of almost 2 miles. Here in Copenhagen, it's hailed as being the oldest and longest pedestrian street system in the world. Well, we've found that not to be totally accurate but we won't be picky.
Karen and I agree to have a simple dinner tonight and patronize the establishment located directly below our apartment, It's Restaurant Nova for some fish and chips. We order still water, which they charge us $3 for, and our food. I notice they
offer free WiFi and get the code. It doesn't work. It try but cannot connect. I ask for help from two different servers but they have no clue. Reluctantly, we return to the apartment where I try several times more that night to no avail. After showering and cleaning up a little, we hit the bed at 9pm. One thing strange, our windows have no screens and stay open day and night for fresh air yet we have never seen a fly, gnat, mosquito, moth or any flying insect for that matter. I don't know why. What pests we do see are in the street now, posing as young adults. It's noisy outside but nothing can stop us from falling asleep now. Or can it?
Today's high. 67F cloudy all day
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