Wednesday, June 13, 2018


After covering the multiple cites in France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Portugal, Greece etc, Scandinavian capitals were the most obvious choice for me. After much research, we settled on 3 days for Copenhagen, 4 for Stockholm and 4 for Oslo & Bergen. However, the train tickets to Oslo were all sold out, so we dropped Oslo and instead added Paris to the itinerary.

We landed in Copenhagen around 3 pm and finally reached our AirBnb around 4:30 pm. The bags took forever to arrive - but the journey on Metro & S-tog was eventless. The pain was ofcourse lugging our 12-15 kg suitcases to the 4th floor without elevator (80 odd steps). We were sweating profusely with the effort and also because it was the hottest May experienced by Copenhagen in 150 years. Just our luck :) - thankfully I had packed couple of summer dresses as well.

Around 5:30 pm, we left the apartment for Nyhavn (New Harbour) and found that canal tours were still on. We had purchased Copenhagen Card at the airport (93 Euros for 72 hours including transport and all key attractions) and we got on the 6:30 pm cruise using same. It was 6:30 pm but sun was really strong -  the water and the breeze helped cool us down. The one hour canal cruise covered all key attractions including 'The Little Mermaid' - which as I had expected was a bit of a let down (thankfully we hadn't walked 1 km to see the same)

After the cruise, we started walking around, looking for a good place for some drinks and dinner. We finally landed in a square with a bunch of good options - including Dubliner (an Irish pub). Craving an Irish Ale, I chose the same and we sat down for a dinner of fish & chips. The time was now 8:30 pm and sun was still out but weather had cooled down considerably (i felt it was a bit nippy). So we decided to take the direct bus back to our AirBnb and were back in about 20 minutes.

Next day, after my morning run, we started the day with a visit to Rosenborg Castle (early 17th century) that also houses the Royal Treasury. It is a beautiful castle and the Crown Jewels were mind blowing. It is the only place (that I have visited) where one is allowed to click pictures of crown jewels.
Rosenborg Castle Exterior & Gardens
Danish Crown Jewels

After a small meal at the Castle cafeteria, we headed for our beer experience at "Visit Carlsberg". It was a sunny afternoon and perfect for downing a beer or two - we of course had much more thanks to the beer tasting we signed up for after the exhibition and imbibing the beer included with it. Our Cicerone (same as wine sommelier) for the beer tasting was well informed and really funny. He had us in splits throughout the tasting with his style and anecdotes. We mostly tasted Jacobsen beers that are not available anywhere else. We also bought some of these for consumption later.

After the many many drinks (I lost count after a few) we decided to head back to our room for an afternoon siesta - honestly nothing else was possible!!!

The massive beer collection at 'Visit Carlsberg'

In the late evening (around 6 pm), we headed out again to visit the Round Tower followed by dinner. The tower has very few steps, just sloping path all the way up and a decent view of the city.

The last day also started with a 3 mile run but it was a cold morning and it took me almost a mile before I started to sweat. The day that started cold, was nice and warm by the time we left for Christianborg palace. There was some construction going on the main road and it took us a while to find the entrance to it. There is no audio-guide for the palace but one can download (using free wifi) an audio-guide to the Queen's tapestries in the grand hall. The tapestry series depicts 1000 years of Danish history - it takes about 30 minutes to cover them all but its totally worth it.

The Alexandra Hall used for official dinners
10000 (of the total 90000) books of the Queen's library

The kitchen that heats and serves the food (it isn't  geared up for cooking)

It is a beautiful palace, not as old as other European palaces but still impressive - the visitors have to wear disposable shoe covers for visiting the Royal Reception Rooms.

After the palace, we had a short lunch and walked over to the National Museum. It is a small museum (compared to the likes of Louvre) but has some impressive exhibitions from the Stone Age, the Viking Age, the Middle Ages, the Renaissance and Modern Danish History. We managed to get a free guided tour here and were able to understand the key attractions better as there is no audio guide here as well. After the guided tour, we spent a good amount of time in the doll house collection. Definitely worth visiting if one has kids - though adults enjoy it equally :)
A doll house (top left) and 3 of its rooms up close
It was quite hot again and hence it was beer o'clock. We visited 'Bastard cafe' where one can play board games while one drinks and eats. Tried scrabble but the tiles were made for Danish script and had very few vowels - so we gave up and enjoyed our beer instead.

Last on our Copenhagen itinerary was Tivoli Gardens but the heat was scorching and it didn't make sense to visit an amusement park so we went back to our room for some rest and to pack (had an early start for Stockholm next day). We reached Tivoli around 8:45 pm, and found that Fridays are concert evenings and hence all rides stop by 10 pm. So we didn't buy a ride pass - we just strolled around the park, did some souvenir shopping, enjoyed our weird reflections in the carnival mirrors and watched a bit of the concert.

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