May 2006 - Tokyo & Europe

I actually managed to have breakfast at the Hotel on Monday morning! I can see why it is popular, free food and a outlook onto the Radhuspladsen (City Square). I walked outside into the cold and intermittent rain, but I wasn’t going to let that deter me, there were many things to do and to see.

I started the day by wondering along a recommended route in Lonely Planet, I soon found myself distracted and taking my own path. I first stopped at the National Library (the new building is known as the ‘Black Diamond’) after walking through Christiansborg. The Black Diamond is architecturally stunning (I think I’m going to use this word a lot to describe things in Demark). I went inside where they have about 5 million books (about one per citizen in Denmark). I caught a quick glimpse of the books but what I did notice was that almost every person using the Library were on Laptops. There were laptops all over, people leaving them unattended and everything.

Next I walked across the water to Christianshavn and up the windy, windy tower of the Vot Freslers Kirke, a rather old church with a staircase to nowhere (well the top of the spire, yes). Not as eerie as climbing the dome of the Sacre Coeur, but well up there. By this time the rain had started settling in and I was disappointed as the next thing I planned to do was a Canal Cruise. But I continued along with my plans and went to Nyhavn (this is the street that you see on postcards with all the coloured buildings). Thankfully the Canal Cruise was both sheltered and heated. So I got to see all those sites that I couldn’t really see in the rain on foot, including the stunning (you see, there is that word again) Opera House that cost a small fortune to build and The Little Mermaid which would have been hard to find otherwise. The Canals were narrow and some of the bridges left no room on the right, left or roof of the boat. Near the end of the tour the rain stopped, shame about the timing but I was happy all the same.

Time for lunch, once again taking the advice of Lonely Planet (this blog is a bit of free advertising for them isn’t it?). I went to this tiny little place called Ida Davidson, a famous Denmark chef that specialises in Smorrebrod (kind of like an opened sandwich). It was such a quaint little place that I could have easily spent all afternoon there. I had an absolutely delicious Smorrebrod with Potato, Chicken (I think), Mushroom, Bacon, Sour Cream and a couple of other things I wasn’t certain about, but it was so good… Anyone going to Copenhagen MUST try this place!

By the time I walked out of Ida Davidson the sun was shining through scattered cloud, ah well, at least my shoes had a chance to dry out. I went and saw the outside of Amalienborg (where the Queen currently lives) and then walked up the Rosenborg Slot (where the crown jewels are kept), which had just closed for the day. That left only one thing left to do on this sunny afternoon/evening….

Tivoli Gardens, covered in colour from the flowers and buildings it just oozed this wonderful vibe, and I was only going to make that vibe better. Since arriving in Copenhagen I had been eyeing Tivoli Garden’s latest and greatest ride. The giant swing that goes about 170 feet in the air, so you swing around with a fabulous 360 degree view of the city. Oh my god, so awesome and fun, and the view! I just lapped up the 3 minutes high above Copenhagen thinking this was the best way to spend my last day/night here. By the time I got back on the ground my feet were a tad cold owing to the fact I had to take off my shoes for the ride (didn’t want them swinging out into the midst of Tivoli Gardens. So good! Anyhow, I wasn’t finished with the rides, there was still one to go, the Demon rollercoaster (because I just need to see a rollercoaster and I’m on it). A pretty good rollercoaster, very short though and I had these screaming teenage girls next to and behind me (they were screaming before the rollercoaster had even started). It was one of those rollercoasters that have no bottom under your feet (but it wasn’t inverted, so being in the front row was great because you saw exactly what the track was doing. Anyhow, this paragraph is getting too long and I’m not finished with Tivoli yet, so moving on.

Next I did a yummy dinner at Café Ultimo (which is in Tivoli Gardens, among many other restaurants). So why this one you ask? Easy, it was the only one Lonely Planet recommended in here, hehe. The pizza defeated me and the Chianti made me a little light headed, but like lunch… so good! Monday’s meals made up for the average, average food of Sunday. I finished my meal and it still wasn’t dark and I needed to take pretty pictures of Tivoli and Copenhagen at night. So I sat listening to a 20 piece band playing some medleys, including one from West Side Story until the sun went down and the stars came out…. Magical? Absolutely.

Now I have been rather refrained in the purchase of soft toys whilst I have been away, but I had been eyeing this store where you can make your own teddy and after the amazing day I had, I just couldn’t resist. So you need to choose your bear, then stuff your bear with Love, Friendship and a couple of other things, next you need to warm the heart, kiss it on both sides and place in your teddy with the original barcode for your bear. Next, you have to name it so a birth certificate can be made. Then you can choose from a huge selection of clothes and funky accessories for your teddy. These ones didn’t have the option of sound like the ones in Sydney and London have, but that wasn’t really necessary and so ‘Tivoli’ was born on the 22nd May 2006.

I must have slept in because breakfast was packed again. This is I grabbed a croissant and banana and headed back to the room. I was ready to go but had some time to kill so went back to Rosenborg Slot. It was SO COLD and the wind, ARGH, even the receptionist at the Hotel said it was cold! But I did manage to see the Crown Jewels, which was pretty cool. I walked back along Stroget for the final time and then went into the Radhus (City Hall) to have a look inside. They were setting up for a function at the time so I didn’t stay long. Next door was the Dansk Design Museum which was filled with cool things such as a VW Golf covered in faux fur and this supermarket that emphasised all the things we are in need of in this consumer driven world (things like Peace, Silence, Clean Air etc.)

Decided to splurge on a cab because I didn’t want the rain to come down on me and my luggage while trying to get to the train station. The cab driver was really nice and we got chatting about Copenhagen, Sydney and speeding tickets. The plane was late in Copenhagen and then got held up in Heathrow on the ground (we couldn’t get to our gate because of plane traffic), so I almost missed my flight to Prague. But I’m here now and everything is fine and I am just about to run out and explore.