Copin’ In København

My train departed late, and it seemed like at every stop we were getting further and further behind.  When I woke up in Hamburg, it was because of the train guy informing me that it was running so late now that I had to get off and then take a different train.  So now, rather than my 10am arrival in Denmark, it would be something closer to 3pm.  Thanks for that.  I wasn’t very impressed with ‘German engineering’ thus far.

When my new train departed, I passed out again, only to again be woken by Mr. Train telling me that I needed to head up on deck.  ….What?!  Apparently whilst in the depths of my slumber, my entire train had just parked itself on a ferry.  Crossing the Baltic Sea by boat was totally unexpected, but definately cooler and quicker than taking the tunnel.  After another hour or so, I was pulling up to my stop in Denmark.  The first thing that struck my senses as I walked through the station was the smell of warm cinnamon.

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I had to exchange some money, and I was overjoyed to use something other than the Euro.  I wouldn’t say that the Danish Kroner are all that eye catching, but most are better than the garbage used through the Eurozone.  I checked into my hostel and had some sticker shock there, with a single night’s stay using my entire day’s budget…  These Scandanavian countries are rediculously expensive, so I just made sure to keep my consumption to a minimum.

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It was already late in the afternoon, but the weather was perfect and and I wanted to get out and take a few pictures of the town before I lost the opportunity.  The next two days looked to have some cloud cover, so it was now or never.  I walked out to one of the most photogenic stretches of the along a canal, called Nyvern.

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Following that, I returned back to the hostel where they were having some sort of special event.  This included some really good faw fish sandwiches, mediocre Danish beer and live music all free of charge.  I tried to make those the most of this deal, and around the time it was done I was exhausted.  I ended up passing out for a very early night.  One thing that I have noticed lately is that no matter how much I sleep I get, I never arise feeling rested.  Not sure is that is due to my constant go go go, or the sub par places that I rest my eyes.  Travel is indeed draining.

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That next morning I got myself ready to go for another walking tour.  This time any interested parties were again collected from the hostel and led over to a large square.  There was a good sized group of people gathering for this, despite the relentless wind and chilling cold.  This was definitely the coldest day of my trip so far, and even with my hands buried into my pockets, I was just freezing.  I’m sure that it got worse and worse throughout my stay there.

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The recurring theme about almost every building throughout the tour was that it had burned down.  Despite the prevalence of water, Copenhagen has proven rather flammable throughout history. Still, the architecture here was unique to what I had seen on my trip thus far, and I was glad to be taking it all in.  There were a couple of churches, and museums and the state opera house and this and that.  I did like the Royal Palace, which is made of four connected wings around a traffic circle where the royal family does actually live.  I was really surprised that people were free to drive around the road so close to these royal residences.  The flags weren’t up, so nobody was home.

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One of the cool things about this area though were the guards, who roamed around stoically.  Unlike the ones at Buckingham Palace, these guys are free to strut around, yell at people being disrespectful of the area, or else shove them away if they are posing too closely for a photo.  I’ve never seen such majestic hats on any guard before, and I envied their warmth.

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Of the tour guides I had had thus far, this one was probably the least captivating.  Her stories were only as good as I could have made them, though she was nice and happy to answer my questions.  The walk around town finished up at another large church, and then two Taiwanese girls and myself went over to see The Little Mermaid Statue.  This was built in honor of Hans Christian Anderson and his famous stories.  Our guide had already warned us that it was voted the second most disappointing tourist spot in Europe, but agreed that a visit to Copenhagen would have been incomplete without it.  I had to battle through swathes of Asian tourists, but I was able to appreciate the greatest statue ever.

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After that I returned to the hostel to get warmed up a bit.  I just hung around and eventually met back up with the Taiwanese girls for a dinner.  One of them ended up going somewhere really fancy, but I split a jar of jam and fresh baguette with the other.  Around this time we met with a girl from Cologne who was just checking in for the night.  She was a really cool person, so the three of us ended up getting a few drinks and hanging out for the rest of the evening.

That next day was my last before I had to hit the ol’ dusty trail, so Deutch and myself walked around a bit before parting ways.  The weather was so much warmer than the day before, although the sky drab, and there were some nice places along the canals left to discover.  I thought that this spire was unique, and at least worth the photo.

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One of the perks of a country with high taxes is that the people have more benefits, and what I reaped was free entry to the National Museum.  I walked through rooms and rooms of old stuff, and also went into a more interesting exhibit about the Vikings.  What did I learn you ask?  Welp, did you know that ‘Viking’ means “on a raid”?  Or that they served as bodyguards in Constantinople? Or that they were the first Europeans to actually discover the Americas?  It was cool to learn a bit of history about these people, since really my knowledge before this visit was almost nonexistent.

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Following my time at the museum, I didn’t have much more to do than walk over to the train station and get ready for another overnight ride.  I had a really nice time in this country, and while my coming here came at the expense of a few days in Croatia it was definitely the right decision.  Sure, that may have been nice down there, but it was starting to get a bit cool for the beach and I figured Copenhagen was meant to be cold.  I’ll save that remaining block in the Balkans for another day.  The architecture was noticeably different, as was the language and the history, so what I got out of my time here was likely more than anywhere else.  I will look forward to returning to Scandanavia someday, presumably when I have a whole lot more disposable income than I do now…

One more picture for you: This is what happens when you combine sensibility and a bike-based culture.

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