I promised to blog my travels in Copenhagen so this is part 1. The full detailed travelogue is here on my personal website.
We got very good priced tickets on SAS from Manchester to Copenhagen, a little less than $250 Canadian for two return tickets. Where to stay…. It was tough deciding and I knew it would be expensive as it’s not a cheap city. We settled on Hotel Ibsen which is close to the Norreport station and only a few blocks from the historic city centre. It’s an older hotel, a bit worn down and creaky but it was fine. Our room was a decent size and there was free wifi. We paid about $185 Canadian for our double room without breakfast and we ate in a couple of local restaurants instead.
Graham’s friend Dave met us at the airport and helped us settle in to the hotel. We struck out on our own as the sun was shining and the forecast for the week ahead was on the dismal and grey side. I was determined to see Nyhavn, the colourful harbour, in the sunshine. We walked, stopped at a small takeout style place for a quick bite to eat, and explored a large public square that opens onto the harbour, Kongens Nytorv, before walking down the harbour side.
Nyhavn means “New Harbour and was dug back from the main harbour in the 1600s to connect the harbour to the inner city at Nytorv. It was for shipping and fishing boats so it was all very industrial and disreputable. It wasn’t really a heritage tourist type thing until the last 25 years or so and now all the buildings have cafes and bars in them with outdoor seating all along the waterfront. Wooden ships and sailboats can moor at the docks and a floating theatre on one of the boats as well. It was indeed very pretty to see all the brightly painted buildings in the sunshine. It’s one of the quintessential views of the city.
We wandered some more and headed back in the general direction of the hotel, crossing canals and getting a bit turned around by Christianborg Palace where the parliament and government offices are but a friendly person stopped and pointed us on the right path, straight up a pedestrian street lined with shops and sunny squares. Later that evening we met up with Dave and his radio show cohort Donovan for a drink in a real English pub in the historic centre. Later Donovan took us to a “reasonable” restaurant with a very bizarre decor and it turned out to be on the end of the block by our hotel. It’s called Bankerat and the decor is very goth and bizarre. The food is really good and the Sunday brunch most tasty.
On our second day, we decided to take the train out of Copenhagen and visit the city of Roskilde. This is the old capital city and it’s cathedral, the Domkirke is where Danish Royalty has been buried for generations. It’s also got a Viking Ship Museum which was our other destination for the day.
We had a bit of difficulty with the ticket machines in Norreport station but managed to get a day pass from a man in a newsagent kiosk on the train platform. Roskilde is a pretty place, again with buildings painted different colours. We walked down a cobbled street lined with shops towards a main market square where the cathedral is. The cathedral is made of brick as is a few other buildings around the square including the town hall. The interior of the church is clean and bright, painted white and it has a restored look though you can tell the woodworks, such as tables and pews are very old. The Royal chapel is modeled after Sainte Chapelle in Paris and it is really lovely.
Did you know that the word “Vik” means “shallow water”? Therefore the Vikings were people that lived along the bays and inlets. The ship museum contains replicas and the remains of some of the longboats. There’s a shed where they build boats using the old methods and they have at least one they’ve taken on a sea journey though it does have some modern safety features like radar. You can see a film that was made of that. They have artifacts and displays and a nice little gift shop. In good weather you can go out in a longboat and row with the other tourists around the sheltered bay.
We had a nice day even if the sun hid all day. When we got back to the city, we found a restaurant not far from our hotel called Cafe Klimt. It was a little worn down around the edges but the staff was really nice and the food was very good. The prices were reasonable by Copenhagen standards as well. They do breakfast though it starts at 10 a.m. but we decided to eat there the rest of the week and have leisurely starts to our days.
That evening we all went to the studio space to record a Metal Breakfast Radio with Dave and Donovan. That was good fun but by the time we got back to the hotel, it was too late to get into the restaurant in the hotel and anything else handy was far too full so we went to bed hungry! I think we’ll get some snacks to have on hand!