europe · Travel

Wonderful Wonderful Copenhagen? (Part 1)

So I guess there was a little bit of a spoiler here about how we didn’t find Copenhagen as wonderful wonderful as Danny Kaye suggested in the song.  However, we didn’t spend the entire three days always grumbling about the construction/weather/expense.  In fact we actually quite enjoyed some of it…

hans-christian-stories

 

Arrival Day:

Birmingham to Manchester, Manchester to Copenhagen.  Copenhagen airport is huge, and as luck would have it, we are about as far from the baggage hall as you can get.  That’s what you get when you fly with Easyjet.  And of course, our baggage carousel is the furthest one away.  The good news is that our suitcase is happily making its way around the carousel by the time we get there, wondering where we have been and why it’s taken so long. (Note.  We have bravely graduated to one suitcase between two.  We’re still not ready to try the “just carry-on” thing just yet.)

Reunited with our clothing and other essentials we confidently head towards the metro station.  The ticket machines are easy-peasy, helped by my research that we need a three-zone ticket to head into the centre of Copenhagen.  I make many attempts to validate my tickets against the little blue “check-in” lights before Mr Fletche points out that there is nothing on our tickets to scan against.  I board the M2 Metro, scared that our tickets aren’t validated and we will get a hefty fine if spotted by an inspector.  It takes two days for me to realise that the individual trip tickets are timed from purchase, and do not need validating.  Multi-trip tickets do of course require validating.

It’s a 15 minute journey over- and under-ground before we arrive at Kongens Nytorv.  We emerge blinking in the daylight to – a view that I don’t recognise from my Google Street View research.  This square should have greenery and benches and trees and flowers and statues.  Instead it’s a – what we will discover to be one of many – construction site.  They’re extending the metro links, which I’m sure will be very handy when they’re finally completed but at the moment is a tourist’s nightmare.  I bet the locals aren’t too chuffed either.  We drag our suitcase around the outside of the screens blocking our view of the big hole in the ground and find our way to Bredgade.  Our hotel is about a 10 minute walk from the station (less if we could have gone straight across the square…) and they’re ripping up the street opposite too.  However, we’re not perturbed and check in and unpack in our tiny first floor room.  We have a view of the street outside (mercifully not a construction site) and the top of a spire peeping over the buildings opposite.

Kongens Nytorv, Copenhagen
Kongens Nytorv. What it should look like.
Constructions site
What it actually looks like…

We’ve arrived in plenty of time for the final canal boat tour of the day at 18:05 so we take a stroll down and get our first look at Nyhavn – this 17th century harbour is not as “new” as the “ny” in its name suggests.  It is as picturesque as the many postcards suggest though, with its brightly coloured buildings and permanently moored boats bobbing on the water.  Now this is pretty.  The buildings on the northern side of the canal have mostly been converted into bars, cafes and restaurants, and the big outdoor heaters and cosy blankets look inviting.  But we have a boat to catch.

The Netto-Badene tours are 40DKK per person (about £4.50) for an hour’s tour on a partially covered boat.  It’s a bit grey and drizzly but we get to see some of Copenhagen’s most famous sites from the water, including the Opera House, Little Mermaid (or at least, the back of the Little Mermaid), Amalienborg Palace, the “Black Diamond”, various church spires.  I’m quite jealous of our fellow passengers who had the forethought to bring beer aboard with them.  Everyone spoke English on the tour so our tour guide only had to explain everything once.  It’s a great way to see all the sights at once, and if you only have one day in Copenhagen I’d highly recommend.

 

The temperature has dropped considerably after an hour on the water.  We decide to go back to the hotel to add more layers before venturing out for food.  As a huge fan of street food back home in Brum, we were excited to try out the Copenhagen Street Food offering at Papirøen – only open on the Sunday night during our visit.  But there is a fatal flaw in this plan.  We can see it there across the waterfront.  People are sitting outside enjoying their duck fat fries and smørrebrød and craft beer.  We can hear the funky music playing.  But we cannot get over there.  Well, yes we can, but it’s about an hour’s walk from where we are via a complex and convoluted route comprising many islands and many bridges.  If only there was a nice pedestrianised bridge… Oh, there is!  Only, it’s not quite finished yet.  Not quite finished meaning that the two sides don’t quite meet and there’s a bloody great big hole in the middle.  We consider finding a bus and encouraging the driver to do a “Keanu Reeves in Speed”-style stunt.

 

We give up on the idea of Copenhagen Street Food.  We instead are lured by the warm comforting glow coming from the outdoor heaters of one of those Nyhavn restaurants that we know will cost an arm, a leg and several other body parts.  Mr Fletche opts for an Erdinger and I try the local brew (also known as Carlsberg…you may have heard of it?).  We’re not overly hungry so decide to share a plate of nachos.  We’re not stingy, but this was the cheapest thing on the menu.  And was 145DKK.  That’s about £16 for a plate of nachos.  Don’t get me wrong, it was a mountain of nachos, and was very nice (the salsa was amazing), but this is our first taste of just how expensive it is to eat and drink here in Copenhagen.  It’s another 124DKK for the drinks, so we’ve spent almost thirty quid on a snack.  We’d usually linger and have a drink or two but we’re going to have to watch our pennies if we don’t want to blow our entire year’s travelling budget on a couple of days in Denmark.

Nyhavn, Copenhagen
Nyhavn at night. Home of the overpriced nachos.

We stroll past the now floodlit construction site of Kongens Nytorv and make our way along Strøget towards Rådhuspladsen (City Hall Square) to check where we will pick up our walking tour in the morning.  We’re still looking for a place to grab a cheap(er) drink and stumble across Heidi’s Bier Bar.  Now I’m sure this won’t feature in any “must-visit” guides but this Tyrolean themed bar (including “Heidi” on the telly and a barman in lederhosen) provided us with a two for one offering whilst assaulting our ears with 80s rock and europop.  This will do nicely.  So nicely that when we leave we promptly decide to take a different route back to our hotel and find ourselves slightly lost in the back streets of the city.  Never fear, we stumble (almost literally) onto the Rundetaarn and use this as our focal point to get us back to Kongens Nytorv and our hotel.

A quick glance at the weather app promises us a nice and clear day tomorrow so we look forward to seeing the best of what Copenhagen can offer in daylight.

Copenhagen 2

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