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DENMARK
 
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We visited Denmark along with Norway, Sweden and the Netherlands during a one week blitz trip through Scandinavia in late June.

We took an X-2000 high speed train from Stockholm to Copenhagen.  The weather was hot with temps in the mid 80s if not warmer and we were pleased to find that this train was air conditioned.  What a relief after having spent 13 hours a few days earlier traveling from Bergen, Norway to Stockholm on trains that had no air conditioning and inside temperatures in excess of 90 degrees (F).

For some reason we chose another old hotel for our stay in Copenhagen--the Hotel d'Angleterre.  It was similar to the stuffy and stodgy Grand Hotel in Stockholm but we were made to feel a little more "at home" here.  Again though, even though this is considered to be the finest address in Denmark, it has its drawbacks.  Our rooms were not "air cooled" and it was beastly hot.  The coolest it got both nights there inside the room was just over 80 degrees.  I know because I have a wristwatch that has a built in thermometer.  Our rooms were on the 5th floor and had big windows that we could open.  However they opened right out onto the roof of the building along with huge heating pipes and ducts and we were afraid to leave them open at night for fear of a possible intruder. Click here to get an idea of our view.  It's the hotel view equivalent of Camden, New Jersey, or Gary, Indiana!  So we just sweltered with the windows closed.  Why these big old hotels don't install ceiling fans is beyond me.  They were kind enough to bring up a little rotating fan to each room but it didn't help much.

Had the city not been fully booked, we would have segued over to the new Sheraton not far from the d'Angleterre.  It looked really inviting and I know it had air conditioning!

Dinner our first night came at a fish restaurant called Fiskekaelderen but the description didn't match the establishment.  The place was described as having bubbling lobster tanks along with a presentation of the fresh fish offered that day on ice at the entrance to the restaurant.  We walked to the restaurant and saw no tanks and no fish on ice.  In fact there were only two other parties dining in the place at 7:30 along with us.  We ordered fish and while it was good, the service was horrible.  We had a pleasant enough blonde server who had her head buried----in the clouds.  You thought I was gonna say something else, didn't you?  And I almost did.  Anyway, this woman would walk to the door and just stop and stare outside while we were waiting for her to pour more wine (she kept the bottle around the corner somewhere).  She seemed like her  last  concern was working at the restaurant.  

That was one thing that kind of surprised me.  From everything I had read about the people of Denmark, I had expected a bunch of wildly friendly people.  While we certainly ran into some nice folks, I'd say the people of London are a lot more friendly and the Dutch are definitely more fun loving and outgoing.

One appetizer we tried at the fish restaurant was buttered toast with shrimp.  Above and beyond herring, it's a favorite in Scandinavia.  The shrimp there are very, very tiny probably no longer than an inch and a half.  But they are tasty.

The next day we headed for the world famous Tivoli Gardens.  This is a very old amusement park complex that got its start way back in 1844.  It's kind of hard to describe but it is a large area surrounded and contained by various businesses.  It's like looking behind a block of buildings or restaurants and finding this sprawling park complete with rides, theatres, restaurants, bars, wine bars, beer joints, casinos, etc.  You see everybody from 3 to 80 years old enjoying the park.  Some of the better restaurants in Copenhagen are located here but because they are inside the park, they charge more than other eateries. You can enter the park through a number of entrances.

We visited the park in the mid-afternoon but you might want to drop by during the evening hours.  They light it up with Oriental type lanterns and thousands of colorful lights.

Having seen shots of Tivoli in many movies it was really neat being there.  The Copenhagen Hard Rock Cafe is located there, too. Click here for Hard Rock Copenhagen web site. You can enter from the rear of the restaurant (coming into the restaurant from Tivoli) or you can enter from the street.  But if you go to the Hard Rock from the street side, you can't just sneak through the restaurant and slide out the back door into the park.  You've got to pay your 50 kroners or whatever they charge.

Russ and Christie (our son-in-law and daughter) wanted to tour the Carlsberg Brewery in Copenhagen so we took the tour and sampled some of the suds.  Pretty good beer.

The brewery tour is self guided and really not that great. You don't go through the real brewery just a mock-up of how they brew their beer.  However if you like horses you'll love the fact that you can visit with the ones that pull the beer wagons during ceremonies in Copenhagen. You can get close enough to their stalls to give 'em a pat on the back.  I'm not sure what kind of horses they are but even I found them attractive.

For dinner our last night in town, we went to a place called Restaurant Havfruen at Nyhavn near our hotel.  I really don't know how to describe this area.  The action is on one particular side of a barge canal.  Thousands and thousands of revelers gather there on nice afternoons getting good and drunk.  They sit by the canal and the crowd is so massive it's hard to negotiate your way through to the restaurant and pub section which is just a couple of hundred feet away.   Let me try to better describe the place.  Say you're walking straight ahead.  Just to your right is the crowd of beer drinkers sitting down, standing, collapsing and passed out right next to the canal on your right.  Just to your left are dozens and dozens of tiny tables and chairs, extensions of small restaurants to the far left.  Amazingly with all the beer, booze and broken bottles, everybody seems to get along nicely.  No cops in sight.  No fights.  No yelling.  Just polite excessive drinking.  You should definitely visit this area.  Just ask somebody to point you to Nyhavn.

Anyway, we finally battled our way to the Restaurant Havfruen and took one of the very few inside tables at this tiny seafood restaurant.  We were smart enough to make reservations or there would have been no hope.  Again, fish was the theme.  We started off with buttered bread with those small shrimp and progressed to grilled sole. As usual it came out swimming in rich butter.  Only my wife, Cindy, avoided fish here.  She chose the ONLY non-fish item on the menu---roast lamb.  Amazingly she was delighted with her choice.  Too often when you go to a restaurant that specializes in one thing and order the token other thing, it's not very good.  But she raved about her lamb here.  I'd highly recommend this place to you.

Copenhagen was quite a bit dirtier than Stockholm but had a very nice feel to it. I think Russ and Christie enjoyed it better than the other places we visited during this particular trip.  Arrival on the high speed train was NOT a treat, however.  Our train arrived WAY outside the main station area and there were no signs directing folks to the main terminal.  We all wound up on a street adjacent to the train station and had to walk along a street to the taxi stand.  I don't understand this arrangement but it could be because only recently (thanks to a new bridge and tunnel system) trains started serving Copenhagen directly from places on the other side of the water including Stockholm.  That's where we had come from.

One other observation about Copenhagen.  It has lots of churches.  Not since Florence and Venice in Italy have we heard so many church bells going off in a European city.  In fact in many European cities nowadays, you hardly even notice any church bells.

I'd highly recommend a visit to this great city!  

DRIVING IS ON THE RIGHT.  CURRENCY IS THE DANISH KRONER.  A PASSPORT IS NEEDED.

  (Click here for photos)

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