THE BIG BIRTHDAY TRIP 2016 travel blog

















We were sorry to leave Mons but time to move on. We drove to a very nice campsite about 10 miles outside Copenhagen to a town called Ishoj. The site was very close to a marina and beach and great place to chill out for a few days and enjoy the incredible weather we were having. We established that we could take our bikes on a train to the centre of Copenhagen.

Another beautiful day, we cycled to the train station and got our return tickets, about £13 each and bikes go free. The trains are geared up for bikes and we were able to put them into stands and sit by them. The journey took about 40 minutes.

Copenhagen was heaving, a lovely sunny day and a Bank Holiday weekend, it was bound to be. We got our bearings and firstly cycled to the Little Mermaid. Copenhagen’s most famous tourist attraction. Donated by the head of the Carlsberg brewery, the mermaid represents the story from Hans Christian Anderson. It’s quite a small bronze statue and sits just out to sea. It was moved slightly further out as it had been vandalised several times including, losing her head twice, arms once once and her hair painted red. There were many people taking photos of her. We then cycled on to a quayside restaurant and had a coffee. Being early lunchtime, many were eating and the restaurant appeared to be a carvery. The Danish are very fond of pork cooked to a crisp.

We continued on our bikes passing several beautiful buildings and churches with immaculate lawns and gardens. We eventually found our way to Rosenborg Slot, the Royal Palace and one of Denmark’s most visited attractions. We chose not to go inside due to the crowds and preferred to walk round the beautiful gardens in the sunshine.

We climbed the Rundetarn, a rounded tower of which you can walk up a cobbled spiral ramp. Each year they have a cycle race, the winner is the first to cycle up to the top and back again without falling off. We walked and had superb views over this great city.

Time for a spot of lunch and plenty of places to choose from. We then headed to central Copenhagen. We tried to cycle but as we had to go through the main shopping centre, we walked as it was too crowded. We visited the Guinness Book of Records Museum, which we thought would be a bit of fun. Sadly, it was a bit of a let down, out of date and a bit old fashioned. The best bit was some footage on the tallest man and a replica of him which when stood next to you realise just how tall he was.

We toyed on visiting Tivoli Gardens, a pleasure park, but chose not to. We visited the free state of Christiana, the community has about 900 residents and they have their own infrastructure and system of government which are partly financed by the proceeds of cafes and craft shops. It was apparently famous for its drug culture and hippy lifestyle and cannabis was openly sold and smoked until it was outlawed in 2004. Well we saw plenty of it still going on. There were many young visitors listening to music and drinking in the open air bars, many openly smoking joints. John got told off for trying to take a photo of a stall selling hash. Call us old fashioned but we found it a bit seedy and left after a short time. The area did have a church with one of the best spires we have ever seen. Vor Freisers Kirke which means Our Saviours Church. The spire of the church was magnificent, you can climb the 400 steps up a spiral staircase that runs around the outside of the spire giving, probably the best views over the city. However, as we had already climbed one and it was getting late, we chose not to. Shame, I think this one would have been better.

We saved the best for last and we cycled to Nyhavn. An area with a 300metre canal lined each side with colourful houses. We saw plenty of beautiful yachts and boats, many were occupied with people having drinks or just soaking up the sun. The walkway was full of trendy cafes and restaurants and most places were full. By now it was late afternoon and the atmosphere was relaxed with everyone enjoying the late sunshine and chilling out. Before we had dinner in one of the restaurants, we took an hour long boat trip around the canals and waters of Copenhagen. The commentary was very informative and we learnt more about where we had visited. Our dinner was a bit disappointing, we both had steaks and they weren’t as good as we would have expected given the price and the area we were in. However we chatted to two Canadian brothers who ran a family business and were spending their last night in Copenhagen having had a busy week. They were very friendly and we enjoyed chatting with them. Afterwards we both had ice creams to make up for the disappointing steaks.

We liked Copenhagen, we should really have given it more than one day, but we do have to move on. We loved being able to cycle around the city, it was relatively easy and safe although we did get a bit lost a few times. We have also noticed that as we get closer to the summer solstice, it is light at 3.30am and gets dark around 10.30pm. The further north we travel now the nearer we will be to the land of the midnight sun where we can expect 24 hour daylight. Some say you don’t bother sleeping, but I can’t believe that will be the case for us.

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