Originally published 27 December, 2016
Breakfast in our cozy Danish apartment
When arriving in a new place, the first day tends to go a little slow. You're figuring out where things are, how they work, unpacking, getting new money, and all the things to get settled in. We got here early enough to get out and about and see a few things. On day two, you're comfortable and have figured things out. Your get your feet under you and start running.....we kicked into overdrive. What a day we had!
We walk to the metro, a block or so from our apartment, board, and head to town. We got off at Norrebro station and started walking down the Stroget shopping street again. We decided to do it again, in daylight. The bulk of the stores were not open yesterday as it was still a semi holiday, but were open today. Being the trendy guy that I am, I bought a travel size shampoo and a souvenir pin!
Lego is a Danish institution, founded and headquartered here. A Lego store is along Stroget and we went in and saw the amazing Lego things they had built. They included a lot of Starwars stuff, life size figures, you name it they had it. After poking around a bit and taking a few pictures, we started walking again.
We get to the end of Stroget, which is at the Copenhagen City Hall. City Hall Plaza is probably the equivalent to NYC's time square, with animated and neon signs, albeit on a smaller scale. They are on the tops of buildings and down the sides, advertising everything from McDonalds to cell phones. While colorful and bright at night, the area looks much more conventional and "Danish" by day.
Laurie in the Lego store
We venture into the City Hall and take photos of the grand old building. After that, Laurie had expressed great interest in going to the Glyptoteket, an art museum bankrolled many years ago by the brewer who made Carlsburg beer. Laurie will comment on the art she saw and such.....it's way out of my league and I wouldn't even attempt to comment on it. It is, however, something she has a great deal of knowledge about.
While Laurie was in the museum, I wandered the area, still dodging the wind and cold when I could. I did have to put on a balaclava (a kind of hood) that I brought for skiing. It made a huge difference in dealing with the cold and I was much more comfortable. I still, from time to time, took breaks and got in somewhere warm.
I went into the train station and checked out where the baggage lockers are. on the day we leave here (Thursday), we have to check out at 11 am, but our flight out isn't until 9 pm. We plan on putting our packs in a locker at the train station, then going a few places during the day. We'll pick them up around 6:30 pm and get to the airport around 7 pm. I'm just doing the groundwork and finding out where things are so things run smoothly.
I exited the train station and across the street was a bar that had a banner that said "The number 3 bar in all of Copenhagen!" Businesses usually don't advertise about coming in third. They did have a sign in the window that said "we have fantastic coffee!" I figured I would duck in and get out of the cold for a while and have a cup of coffee.
A sea of bicycles parked at the train station
I was greeted by a wave of cigarette smoke rolling out the door. I looked around inside and it was populated mostly by hookers and guys who were drinking beer at noon....and they all looked like the kind of guys who drink beer at noon. While able to fit in about anywhere, and not at all worried about my safety, I did not want all my clothes smelling like cigarettes. I headed elsewhere for my coffee.
I did take a few photos around the train station. There are bicycles ringing the train station, and multi level racks full of probably 1000 or more bicycles around the station. Most people who live in Copenhagen do not own a car. It is a very densely populated place and instead of dealing with parking and traffic, they use bicycles.
There are bikes with cargo baskets on front, seats for the little kids to ride with the parents, and they ride in all weather. There are more bicycles in Copenhagen than people, with people having one to ride from their home to the train station, then another on the other end to ride from the destination train station to work. Over 50 percent of the people commute via bicycle. It has much in common with Amsterdam on this front.
In my wandering, I stopped at a jobsite. I talked with two of the guys working there and told them I was a project manager in the United States. We talked about the differences in how we do things and some of the cool things they do that we do not do in the states. One of the coolest is their modular offices and storage facilities.
Their jobsite "trailers" are shipping containers that have been outfitted as offices. They have heat and air, and some are even plumbed and have bathrooms. Spacing being an issue in many cities, they go up instead of out. I have seen them stacked 3 or 4 high, with stair towers running up between the offices. A really cool way to do things if you ask me.
We had Denmark's National Dish..........eh.
Laurie texted me and told me she was done at the museum. I went to meet her and we planned on getting some lunch. I had seen a sign offering an "all you can eat" of Denmark's national dish, fried pork and potatoes. It sounded interesting, and we like to try the food where we're visiting, so we give it a throw.
I expected something like a fried pork steak. What I got was a massive pile of what we in the mountains call "fatback". And I mean massive, probably 2 pounds. While expectations ran high with this much bacon, it didn't live up to my expectations. It was very fatty, like most fatback, but I just ate around that and had the lean.
The thing I didn't like is that it wasn't cured and didn't have much flavor. It's a shame to get all that bacon and find out that it really didn't taste that great. It lacked all the salt and nitrates that make American bacon the Cadillac of meats! It came with a parsley cream sauce, that while nice, was no substitute for all that salt....and flavor. Laurie didn't like it much either. I don't think it was cooked wrong or poorly, it was just something that we didn't like very much.
Being densely populated, we saw some unusual apartments on our walks. One apartment house was a refitted cargo ship. It was essentially a floating apartment building. It was an interesting way to recycle an old ship. Pretty smart if you ask me. It takes up little or no land, and you've got waterfront! It's a win/win!
Laurie wants to go to the Jewish museum, so I drop her off and continue wandering. I have a coffee, wander through another neighborhood, and take photos of the sunset off of a bridge. At 3:30 pm. Laurie takes personal insult with it getting dark this early in the day.
We're very far north here, much closer to the arctic circle than we are in the U.S. The sun is very low in the southern sky, often times not even clearing the buildings. Some spots do not see direct sunlight for many months. It pretty much gets light here around 8:30, and is pitch dark by 4 pm.
We walk towards our next destination. We're very far north, it is windy and cold, and it's the middle of winter. Let's go to an amusement park! It's called Tivoli Gardens and is a historically notable attraction. It is decorated for Christmas, and in our observations, everybody in Copenhagen was there.
Tivoli was FANTASTIC!!!
They charge 110 Krone (about 15 bucks) to get in. This doesn't include rides, but we didn't really care about that. The place itself is amazing to see. Everything is decorated, there are all kinds of Christmas drinks and foods, and half the people in Denmark are there. It is right in the middle of town, right across from the train station. It was built in the mid 1800's by the king, who found that if you kept the people happy and occupied, they were less likely to riot and depose you. It worked.
There are all kinds of restaurants with great food, dealers selling candy, carnival games, rides, and all matters of things to see and do.....even a casino! Laurie bought a container of chocolate covered liquorice, She has had to hide it from herself in fear of eating it all. We watched the people, took photos, and enjoyed the lights. It was just fantastic! If you're in Copenhagen, this is a must see. There are a bunch of photos and the place was so visually stimulating.
We had dinner at a place called Ristorante il Ponte, and Italian place. I'll say right now it's probably the best restaurant in Copenhagen. The food was phenomenal, Laurie having linguini with a tomato sauce with beef. I had tortellini and it was fantastic. We had a very nice red wine with dinner and finished it out with an incredible Tiramisu. Wow. Just wow.
Bargain shots in Denmark....a recipe for trouble!
We headed back towards the apartment and passed a bar called "Billy Booze-Copenhagen's discount bar!" A window advertising 10 Krone shots (about $1.50) told us that no matter how interesting this place looked, we should stay away. It's sort of like John Mullany's comedy bit about a bar that sells nickel shots. When a buddy suggested it, he said "no, we shouldn't go there....because if we do, we might.....die. It's just not safe to have nickel shots." We agreed with him and didn't go in.
After getting back to our stop, we walked a bit and found a laundromat. We plan on doing wash tomorrow night....because tomorrow, we run out of clothes! Prior to that, however, we have lots more planned.
Laurie wanted to say a few things about the museums she saw and her take on the day...and that's below. We'll see more tomorrow....and have more stories to tell!
The Glypototeket museum is an impressive building. It has a central atrium with palm trees, statues and places to sit. The exhibitions are all around the atrium on 3 floors. They have a very extensive collection of ancient art from Greece and the middle east.
There was also a smaller but pleasantly thorough collection of French Impressionists. I can't ever get too much of them. A special collection of Degas sculptures that don't exist elsewhere was a treat. He was such a master of movement, gesture and tension in both his paintings and sculptures.
The Jewish museum was very small. It was also an interesting building. The architect, Daniel Libeskind, made it into the shape of the Hebrew word for mitzvah. It actually resembled the one in Berlin he did but on a much smaller scale. I kind of wish it was more extensive.
Jews came to Denmark as early as the 1500s. Denmark has always been unique in their acceptance of Jews into their society, allowing them to become full members of trade guilds early on, which changed the shape of jewish society. Even during the war, Denmark tried to protect its Jewish citizens while being occupied. There is a museum of the Danish resistance here but it's closed because of a fire.
It has been interesting just walking around this city. People have told me that the interesting, old part of the city is pretty small and that's actually true. We have 2 more days here and I don't think we will have trouble seeing what I wanted to see.
Although I have enjoyed some of the food here, I really liked the Italian restaurant we found tonight. I'm really looking forward to the food in Venice if tonight was an indication.
Copenhagen Slide show, Day two
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