Originally published 26 December, 2016
The Nyhavn waterfront area, Copenhagen Denmark
We arose this morning at the totally unrealistic hour of 5:15 a.m. I was unamused, but it was necessary. We had packed last night so we could head out at several hours before the crack of dawn, and catch the bus to the airport. Public transportation in Berlin is fantastic, and we picked up the night bus at 6:02 a.m. sharp, transferred to the airport bus, and arrived in plenty of time.
We were flying Air Berlin today, a new airline for us. They are the second largest German airline and are considered to be a "bargain" airline. As with most of the bargain airlines, everything is pay as you go. This includes food and drinks, early boarding, selecting a seat, and checking a bag.
While is sounds kinda cheap.....well....it is. But that doesn't make it bad. The terminal was actually a converted cargo hanger, with walls scabbed up to separate the passengers from the folks on the other side of security. While no great shakes, it had a restaurant or two, a couple of stores, seats, and your standard airport stuff. Our airfare, which included an extra fee for a checked bag.......total for both of us from Berlin to Copenhagen.....$178.
We wait for our flight, and they come get us in a bus and drive us out to the plane. We board, and after 45 minutes in the air, we're in Denmark. We get off the plane, pick up our bags, go through no passport control, and out the door. We buy transit passes from a machine with a credit card, and get on the Metro to where we're staying.
Laurie fends off the cold with the aid of Hot Chocolate....spiked with a shot of Bailey's. One must admire what can be bought from a street stand here!
The metro has no operator or driver. It is fully automated and you get on and it goes down the tracks. From the airport to where we're staying took about 20 minutes. While odd having no operator, it does seem to work well though.
We get to the apartment and it is in a residential part of Copenhagen. We have the entire second floor of a house for what a hotel room costs here. It's nice, and has a real, full kitchen along with a loft and a bedroom. It has a full bath, a balcony, all appliances....pretty spiffy!
We drop our packs and go grocery shopping. I love doing that in foreign places as it throws you right in with the locals. You are actually doing a normal thing for whoever lives there....which helps you better understand the folks you're around. It's also quite fun as the language is different and you have to translate things. It's like working a puzzle.
We take our groceries back to the apartment and put them away, then head into town. We stop at a place for a very Danish lunch, Laurie getting the pickled herring and myself getting a roast beef plate. Both come with multiple condiments, vegetables, pickles, bread, butter, and lard.
Our wonderful lunch restaurant
You take either butter or lard, and spread it on the bread. You then put your pickled herring (or roast beef as was my case) on a small piece of the bread, along with one or all of the condiments. Mine consisted of a curry and vegetable spread, dried onion crisps, shredded horseradish root, and Danish pickles. While we ate it as novelty, it turns out that It was a lot better than we expected. Especially the herring.
From here we headed to Nyhaven, the old port area that has since been gentrified and is now a tourist area. We wander through, and had aebleskiver, which are Danish pancake balls and Laurie had a hot chocolate with a shot of Baileys. She liked it very much! We kept moving as a storm was coming in and at 2:30 in the afternoon....it was almost dark.
We wandered a bit fighting the wind and cold. We actually boarded a water bus and took a ride up the river just to get out of the wind for a while. The wind became so bad that they cut off service for the water bus and put us ashore.
We ran across a little coffeehouse run by a guy who used to be a ballet dancer with the royal ballet. The draw of a warm place out of the weather and a hot drink were too hard to pass up, and we enjoyed chatting with him! Laurie had something called Glogg, a Danish mulled wine with chopped almonds in the bottom of the glass. Having been up since 5:15, I opted for coffee. I tasted Laurie's glogg and wish I had gotten that.....it was really awesome!
We wander from there several blocks in the rain and driving wind. It's so cold it just cuts through you. We finally reach the shelter of the train station and started trying to figure out which train to take. A young Danish girl asked if we needed help and pointed us in the right direction. We boarded the proper train and headed to another part of town.
Copenhagen's equivalent to Times Square
We arrive and begin our wanderings. We stop to study the map in a doorway and a young girl with blue hair looks at us and says "is that a map?" I reply yes and she says she's lost and can't find her way back to her hotel. We figure out the proper path and we all walk together towards where she is staying. We chat with her and she's actually from Sweden and was flying out in the morning for Vancouver.
Eventually, we part ways and wish her a safe trip. At this point, we're on the Stroget, It is one of Europes longest pedestrian shopping streets at 1.1 KM. It is lined with stores, restaurants, and people. It's kind of a shopping and social hub, kinda like a mall, but outside in the street. We wander most of it's length, and stop at a Chinese restaurant for dinner.
DInner is good. But in Denmark, eating out for dinner is not the norm, nor is it cheap. You can figure at least $30 per person for a sit down dinner at a standard restaurant. Lunch was about half that. A trip to the grocery store was about 20 percent more than in Germany, so our breakfasts will be a place we save money. While Denmark is the cheapest place in Scandinavia, it's still not cheap. At least not cheap like Berlin.
During dinner, we chatted with a couple at the table next to us, their teen age son, and his girlfriend. The father was from London, the mother from Denmark. We talked about traveling to London, and how we liked Denmark, and normal pleasant small talk about where we were from.
They were quite nice and we enjoyed our conversation with them. We then headed back to the apartment, which we found nice and warm. It was a Danish word which I will not even try to mangle the pronunciation of.....hygge. It basically means cozy, something they practice during the long, cold, and dark winter months.
The waterbus. Public transportation is versatile here!
Today's title refers to things I read, heard, or was told before traveling here. I remember a writer talking about how reserved the Danish are, and how they may come off as abrupt or unfriendly. It was explained that they aren't trying to be that way, it's just how they are.
Another I read was about conduct on public transit, and that is was very quiet and people didn't chat or talk to each other. It was said that they would view it as an invasion of privacy. It said they would help if asked but normally wouldn't be outgoing. I read that wait staff were not overly attentive as there was no tipping and no reason for them to be attentive.
In sports, they would call this going O and 3. We have found none of this to be true. People were helpful, and offered to help even when we didn't ask. They pointed out things, were friendly, and it seemed that they all chatted it up on public transit. Our waitress at lunch was quite friendly, chatted with us about where we were from, gave us pointers about the area, and talked to us quite a bit.
My opinion of the Danish people is simple. They're just like everybody else. If you're nice, they're nice. They're friendly and try to help. We've been treated well since we arrived. This may change tomorrow....but today, my opinion stands. Travel with an open mind......you'll be surprised in positive ways.
More adventures tomorrow! Goodnight everyone.
Copenhagen Slide Show Day One
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