Scandinavia! Day 11 – Drive to Sæby

I woke up this morning to gray skies again, and it began raining as we packed up this morning. Fortunately, it cleared up long enough for us to load the car, and we were on our way!

It rained periodically during the first part of our drive, but it cleared up and became partly cloudy as we went along. When we hit the bridge connecting Zealand and Funen, it was clear… but windy! The bridge is long and the wind kept gusting and pushing the car.

Our drive was uneventful, with a stop in Jelling for lunch and a visit. Our lunch was tasty – meatballs and potato salad for Dad and me, something called tarteletter (like little mini potpies) for Andy and Mom. I traded Andy and meatball and a half to try one of his pies. Yum! After lunch we wandered through the local museum, which explained some history of this town – the site of the first Danish monarchy. Here, Gorm the Old put up a rune stone to honor his wife and his son, Harald Bluetooth (yes, the wireless technology is named after him, and his symbol is a combination of the runes for his initials – I learned something new!) put up a rune stone about uniting Denmark and Norway and introducing Christianity to the kingdom.

The museum was really interesting – very interactive! – and you can see the rune stones outside a medieval church. The church is surrounded by one of the most interestingly landscaped cemeteries I’ve ever seen. Each plot or two is surrounded by a small hedge!

Our sojourn in Jelling was brief and followed by another pleasant drive to our home for the evening – Sæby. Our cabin is small, with a sofa bed and a set of bunkbeds. We’re close to the harbor and a beach, but after sticking my hand in the water I can tell you I won’t be swimming here. It’s cold!

After dinner in a local restaurant we headed out to figure out where we catch the ferry tomorrow as we head to Norway (via Sweden). Then we drove up to the northern tip of Denmark – Grenen – and walked a bit on the beach. I touched the water again (still cold) and we climbed atop a WWII bunker to see where the waters of two seas meet.

Although Grenen is the northern tip, it’s not actually the northernmost place in Denmark – that’s a beach further up the coastline. Of course we had to stop there and touch the sea again. Dad did so successfully, but Mom, Andy, and I got a leeetle too close to the water and now have wet shoes.

It’s our last night in Denmark, so here are a few impressions from this country.

  • People here have generally been just as friendly as in Sweden.
  • Everything is expensive. And if you pay with credit card, they’ll tack on a extra charge a lot of places.
  • Copenhagen feels much more like a big city than Stockholm. It’s busy and colorful and vibrant but it lacks some of the Old World charm that Stockholm offers.
  • Remember your clock for your car window if you plan to park in public lots!

And now, our cabin has wifi, my hands are freezing, and we have to get up early, so I’ll update here and leave you with one last picture of Denmark.

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Scandinavia! Day 10 – Copenhagen

After the late night last night we had a slow start to our morning, and didn’t get into town until close to 11. We hopped off the train at Østerport and walked to the most touristy of tourist destinations – the Little Mermaid statue. It was crawling with tourists. I counted at least 9 tour buses, but we got our obligatory “we were here” tourist photos.

A pretty walk along the water brought us to Amalienborg, the residence of the queen. We arrived just in time for the changing of the guard – not a very exciting event. In fact, the most interesting part was when the police gestured for observers to move closer and the majority of people (not us) stampeded forward. Seriously, they ran to ensure they had the best spot. We took advantage of the distraction to check out the nearby church.

After a lunch of sandwiches and a stop in a souvenir shop, we took another pleasant walk (have there been any other kind?) over to Christiania, a.k.a “Hippieville.” In the 1970s a group of hippies took over old military barracks and settled here. It’s…interesting. I’d show you pictures but you’re not allowed to take any – can’t have evidence of the stands selling hash!

Another long walk took us to the National Museum, which is free! It’s also huge – we got through most of the prehistory section on the ground floor in about an hour – and there are three more floors! We took a brief spin through one of the upper floors before calling it quits.

It’s afternoon here and we still have dinner and our evening in front of us but I don’t know what the wifi situation will be, the museum is closing and we have to leave, so I’m going to go ahead and post.

Scandinavia! Day 9 – Copenhagen (København)

For the first time the sun didn’t shine down on us all day. I woke to gray skies and they stayed that way all day.

After a slow morning, we grabbed the train into town and stopped off at the tourist info center. After loading up with brochures (and feeding our wifi addiction) we set off on foot to Christiansborg Palace.

Our walk took us through a lot of construction. The city is currently working on a  huge expansion of their Metro, so the soundtrack for our stroll included drills, crashing bricks, and trucks. Once at the palace, we stopped for pictures before wandering on. Eventually we ended up at a cafe for lunch. Andy and I both chose traditional open faced sandwiches – he more than I since he got herring and I chose meatballs.

Our next stop was the Round Tower. We hiked up the spiral ramp to the top for some nice views of Copenhagen, before heading back down and on to Rosenborg Castle. There we toured the rooms before ending in the treasury where we admired the Crown Jewels and felt very, very poor.

From the castle, we worked our way to the canals and got on the Netto boat tour. Our guide delivered the entire tour in three languages – English, German, and Danish – flowing seamlessly and effortlessly back and forth with all of them. We saw the back of the Little Mermaid statue and got a good look at a lot of the waterfront, but it was chilly! The clouds only began to break up a little near the end of the tour.

We ate dinner at an Italian restaurant along the canal, then began the stroll to Tivoli… with a few stops in souvenir shops along the way. I also insisted we stop at the statue of Hans Christian Andersen for a picture.

I love Tivoli! You enter along a bank of funhouse mirrors – I had no face, or a long torso, or super short legs. We watched the last bit of a pantomime/ballet, saw a rabbit robot mowing a lawn and listened to a jazz concert in a park. Sadly all the rides cost extra.

After convincing a group of ducks that we had no food to feed them, we found a spot on the bridge. For our last adventure in the park, we watched the Illuminations (a light show on the lake with water, smoke, and fire!). And now I must leave Tivoli and their free wifi so I leave you all with this post and a picture to help you feel poor, too.