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Sunday, 14 February 2016

Three days in Copenhagen

It was my daughter who first mooted the idea of another little adventure back in November.

"There's some cheap flights  around at the moment. Do you fancy a city break for a few nights?"

"Do bears poo in the woods?" was my first reaction. Of course I fancied a trip away with my darling daughter. I asked her what the options were.


And that was this time two weeks ago we were flying off to ..yes, you've guessed...Copenhagen.

We arrived on an early morning flight from Luton  and made our way straight to the Avenue Hotel, on the border of Frederiksberg and Norrebro. Check in was at 3pm at this small boutique hotel but we winged it, getting there not long after midday.

Remarkably our room was ready, so after a quick freshen up we were off  for our first sightseeing expedition around to Nyhavn .

This picture perfect part of Copenhagen is rightly popular with tourists, even on a cold and windy afternoon on the last day of January.

The historic and beautiful,  brightly painted buildings which line the quays stood out against an iron grey sky The rigging on the old wooden ships rattled in the wind as we walked past what in previous centuries had been a busy port, and the gateway to the inner city and Kongens Nytorv.

At the end of quay a boat was filling up with passengers for a tour of the canals and waterways. We debated whether to catch this one or go for a cup of hot chocolate first. But the decision was made for us...this was the 3pm tour the last of the day, and we got on board.

The tour lasts an hour with a commentary in Danish and English, and it's a really good way to get an idea of the lay out of  the city and where the various districts are. You get a sense of place, both in the past and present.

The wind whipped around us as we puttered around by the Opera House , the Experimentarium, an old Danish warships and the old Barracks  and even seeing the Little Mermaid. That was the only disappointment for me of the whole trip. From the water, all we could see was her backside, she was much smaller than I'd imagined, and she was surrounded by Japanese tourists all trying to take photographs.

On the other hand, as we made our way back , the waterways around Christianshavn were a delight. Bridges across the water which were  so teeny tiny, we could touch them, the bars along the side, the houseboats , there was so much to take in. Oh and the beautiful Church of our Saviour"  It's spire edged with gold and an  exterior staircase winding its way around the spire. Yes you can climb right up to the top for some apparently fantastic views of Copenhagen, but no, we didn't!

It was so cold by now, Lucy's teeth were chattering....we needed a hot drink when we got off the canal boat. Close by in Nyhavn is the Union Kitchen, an uber cool place that serves everything from breakfasts and brunches, to coffee, lunches and then is still raring to go at night with cocktails .

We didn't eat chocolate and coffee for us, but the food coming out looked very inviting which included lots of balls..

And then time to go back to our hotel. Now, call this a moment of madness or what you will, we decided to walk back to get an idea of the city as dusk fell. After such an early start to the day I was feeling jaded to say the least by the time I staggered into the lobby.

When booking a hotel online, to paraphrase Forrest Gump, it's like box of never know what you gonna get.

Well, we struck lucky with the Avenue Hotel with lovely comfortable beds and an inviting bar and sitting room filled with photographs and bookshelves,. A place to while away the hours of dusk on deep sofas in front of the fire after busy days out sightseeing, and going at night to eat.

And the new owners of this hotel have introduced a very civilised ritual of offering all hotel guests a free glass of wine between 5 and 6pm. Something that Lucy and I enjoyed every night!

But back to the hours of daylight... with only three days in Copenhagen, how do you decide what to see and what to do? As a history buff, it would have been so easy to just do a whistle stop tour of the palaces, castles and museums, but on our next day, a rainy, soggy day, we decided to go shopping, and visit the freetown of Christiana. Established back in the early seventies by a group of hippies, it is completely independent of the Danish government and stretches around an old military barracks which had been abandoned.

There's restaurants, a concert hall and on Pusher Street you can buy hash. You could smell your way there, the unmistakeable pungent aroma of weed was permeating the air around. On a chilly wet winter's morning there were plenty of buyers, but there was a dispirited air about the whole place and we didn't linger long. I can't show you what it looked like, because in free Christiana, photographs are banned. In summer I bet there's a completely different vibe .

So on to the shopping, and one thing Copenhagen has in abundance are design shops.
 Now if there's one thing Lucy and I like are those sort of places, and we loved Hay House on Ostegarde.

Spaciously and beautifully set out, I fell in love with some chairs and Lucy could have bought the whole stationary department, and as we wondered up a beautiful staircase to the next floor , I found a nice spot to sit for a few minutes.

We also liked this shop on Norregade called Notre Dame

This is a shop where temptation is all around, especially in the lighting department. There was one lamp I really wanted to buy, but I would have had to wear it as a hat to get it on board the plane home.

And then it was back to the hotel via the University area of the city and the thousands of bikes there to freshen up for another evening out and then our last day with two of my favourite places to see in Copenhagen..

But that's another story for another blog coming up soon.....


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