Monday, April 15, 2013

Eurotrip: Copenhagen & Malmo

Eurotrip 2013 has officially begun! First stop: Copenhagen, Denmark

Angie, Joe & I headed to the Barcelona airport early Saturday morning after I said a quick final goodbye to our apartment. Since Joe had a fancy first class ticket, he was able to take my last big suitcase back with him and leave me with a nice travel bag for the last month. After saying our goodbyes, Angie and I headed to our Vueling gate to begin our journey.

We both were impressed with Copenhagen as soon as we deboarded the plane. The airport seemed like a model of clean, Scandinavian design. We (foolishly) bought tickets to the main train station, and and made it to our close-by hotel in very little time. I say foolishly because we have the Eurail pass which means we get to ride without buying tickets. Rookie mistake! Anyway, when we got to our hotel, we realized that it was not manned and instead we had to use an e-mailed code to get through multiple doors and access our pre-assigned room. Talk about efficient! Unfortunately, this meant we couldn't access our room early and thus had two monsterous backpacks that needed a temporary home. It seemed our only option was to pay about $10 each to store them at the attached restaurant, and this seemed rather silly for just two hours. So, we wandered to a hotel down the street to ask for a city map and find a place to eat, and there the front desk clerk kindly offered to store our bags for us. Score! Armed with a map that included a three hour walking tour, we first went to the Town Hall Square and took pictures of various interesting sculptures.

Next we found a little restaurant called Oscar's Cafe which provided me with one of the best meals I have had in months - a giant healthy salmon salad. I don't think my body knew what to do with so many vegetables! (Sad, right? I hope to fix that now that Spain is behind me.) And then we found the iconic Copenhagen postcard views.

We next wandered along the canals on our way to find the famous Little Mermaid statue, unveiled in 1913 and paid for by the owner of the Carlsburg brewery. In addition to seeing the statue, I was treated to a lovely rendition of "Look at this stuff..." courtesy of Angie. Yay Disney! We also stopped to admire teh Gefion Fountain, which depicts the goddess Gefion with her four sons, whom she turned into oxen. (This *may* have been more interesting than the Little Mermaid. Sorry, Angie!)

Next we walked through the Kastellet, which was once a fortress shaped like a star and now is turned into an elevated running and walking path.

Then off to the Marble Church, the Rosenborg Slot palace and park, and then back to the hotel before grabbing a couple of Carlsburg's at a nearby Irish pub. The hotel was so funny - it seemed neverending and had an undulating walkway that made us wish for some rollerskates. It was definitely an early night, as it had been a very long day.


Since we had seen nearly 75% of what we wanted to see in Copenhagen, we capitlized on our Eurail pass and decided to take a day trip to Sweden. Because why not have lunch in Sweden when given the option? We hopped on a train and made a quick 30 minute journey across the harbor to Malmo. Upon leaving the train, we stopped at the tourist office and were given a nice walking itenerary for the city. We happened to find ourselves in the middle of an international fair during lunch, so we both ended up eating Greek food for lunch! And English fudge for dessert! We are so international, I tell you.

We wandered through a beautiful park, over to the waterfront, and towards the landmark Turning Torso building before heading back to Copenhagen.

Our last stop in Copenhagen was a visit to Christiansborg, most famously known for the "Free City" of Christiania. This self-governing city was once a former barracks area that now is filled with alternative businesses, cafes, bars, music venues, and an open hash market on Pusherstreet. The rules of the city include no photos and no running, but I was able to snap a few when specifically allowed. Christiania reminded me a lot of Austin's East Side, but a little seedier. Yet still there were playgrounds, families, and nothing that seemed unsafe at all. It all gave me a bit of insight into hippy culture.

For our last stop, we headed to a highly-reviewed beer bar near our hotel before grabbing a quick Thai dinner and calling it an early night. The bar was very cool, with a ton of their own brewed beers on tap and all available for sampling. A great conclusion to two great countries in two days.

While Copenhagen (and Malmo) is not an inexpensive city, we managed to see a ridiculous amount of sights, eat good food, and walk over 25 miles while coming in under budget. Had we stayed one more day, we would have gone to Tivoli Gardens, the world's second oldest amusement park, and spent $50 to ride silly rollercoasters all day. But we were both happy with what we did in two days, felt we got a great idea for the city, and were ready to move on to country number three.


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