Leaving Copenhagen

It’s with great sadness that I leave Copenhagen today, bound for Berlin with a quick train change in Hamburg and what should hopefully be an interesting experience where my train gets put on a ferry between Denmark and Germany.

I’m very glad I got up the courage to act like a local and take a bike onto the streets of Copenhagen, as almost everyone else who lives here does too. It’s the way to get around. I don’t think I could have covered what I did yesterday waiting for buses or trains, all time that I would have spent waiting I was moving. Copenhagen is very very flat, I only went up one gentle hill to the cistern yesterday.

My train leaves at 7.35 but I got up early to get to the station and get some breakfast before it arrives. It’s been a drought here for a few months, and it broke overnight. It started poring at about 2am. The room doesn’t have aircon so I had the widow wide open and was woken literally by the rain as I was getting saturated.

Coffee at the station was at Lagkagehuset bakery, a nice “Danish” and coffee for about $12. Coffee was not exciting, but hand made, a passable 6/10. Probably equivalent to any station coffee you would get at home. The Danish was exceptional though.

I also successfully managed to spend most of my last Danish cash. I have 6 Kroner left. About A$1.30. One mistake I made in Denmark was bringing too much cash. I brought the equivalent of A$150 and I could have brought zero. Everywhere takes card and most places prefer card over cash even for tiny purchases. Metro ticket machines take cards. Some places (even street vendor food stalls) have a “card only” policy. My tip is bring 3 different cards just in case. I had no issues at all, one was fine but backups never hurt.

Copenhagen is the first city in Europe where I’ve had great coffee consistently outside of Italy. Whilst Italy has sensational coffee, Copenhagen has more what I’d term a more Australian style experience. Flat whites, large or small cups and takeaway cups. Those options are rare in Italy.

Language has not been an issue at all, everyone I spoke with spoke with flawless English, majority of times before even speaking I was greeted in English. As Mike from Mike Bike said, Denmark is a small country and it’s the only one where Danish is the native language, everyone speaks two or three languages, some even more.

The train was scheduled to leave at 7.35 however it was delayed. A minute or two before it was due to arrive they changed the platform to platform 5, and another train arrived on platform 6 for a different destination. There was complete pandemonium on the platform as no one was quite sure what train was what. Luckily there were DSB people on the platform telling people not to get on the train on platform 6 as it wasn’t for Hamburg. There were lots of people waiting for this train.

My carriage is empty though, I think I’m the only one on this section. Benefits of booking 1st class on the day the bookings opened.

Dinner and Tivoli

After cycling down to 108 and sampling the coffee, I noticed another large outdoor food market. This is something Copenhagen excels at is food markets. Apart from the cafe where I’ve had a coffee I have not set foot in a restaurant, it all been street/van/market food, and its all been amazing quality and delicious.

It’s not cheap though by any means, Copenhagen is living up to it’s expensive reputation. The sandwiches with soft drink have cost me around $23, and tonight’s dinner and lemonade cost me $32. This would be super expensive for a family of 4 or 5. Add in an ice cream after dinner and per person you won’t get much change out of $50 per person. And remember, this is food stall prices. Coffee that costs me $4 at home cost $8 here.

So after riding around a bit past the Opera house, I went back to the street food place and had a closer look

Some of the food options

I couldn’t go past the Singapore ribs with roti bread.

After devouring that, I rode back to the Tivoli gardens. Even though it’s not really my thing, you can’t come here and not go inside. Single entry to the gardens, no rides included, A$25. O-U-C-H. An unlimited ride pass will cost you another A$50. Individual rides are between $6 and $18 each. No rides for me….

The gardens are pretty. Worth A$25 for entry? Umm…..

Since this is my last night and I had some coins to get rid of, nothing better than ice cream on a warm night. I’ll be paying heavily for this food indulgence when I get home…

Here are some of the restaurant boards of your wondering what restaurant prices are like. All prices in Danish Kroner. A$1 = 4.72DKK at time of writing

Yes you read that right peeps, on this board below a serve of snitty is $42. Add a beer and you just dusted $56. Probably closer to $60 with the fees on exchange etc….

A Danish Danish in Danish

After deciding that I was just going to cycle around by myself today, after grabbing my coffee at Wecycle (which was excellent). I decided to cycle down to Christiana Freetown. Thankfully I got my coffee where I did, as whilst there were people about, not much was open and I seemed to arrive in the middle of a drug bust / sweep as there were cops everywhere. I’m gathering that a lot of the locals made themselves very scarce at this exact point. The literature on this place says to avoid taking photos as it makes the locals nervous, but given the “enhanced” police presence I snapped a few anyway as it was unlikely anyone would complain or try and stand out at this exact moment.

I spent about 10 minutes there before heading off, this place is probably more lively in the evening and when the boys in blue go home. If this little place had a king it would be Bob Marley. Overall I think Christiana Freetown was the least interesting most overhyped thing I’ve done in Copenhagen. I’m just not into this stuff.

I decided to head over to the old water storage cistern on Copenhagen thats been turned into an art display hall. It was about a 30min bike ride away, i could have gone a shorter route but I wanted to take the bike snake again.

And here is a video of the bike snake.

If you are wondering how I navigate around town on the bike, google maps on the phone in the basket. The spoken navigation makes it a breeze. I had a Danish person ask me for directions. They were amused to see an Australian riding in the back streets of Copenhagen.

The cistern is pretty cool, literally cool, about 10c cooler than outside. Its quite humid. The display was interesting, lots of reflective things, fire and balls gonging on metal bowls. Not sure the actual artistic intention but it was pretty cool none the less. The fire bit was interesting, the closer you got to it, the more it shot out flames. Of course geeky me was looking for all the fire safe mechanisms to see how it cut out to prevent someone roasting them selves, and sure enough there was a sensor that would cut it out instantly if you got too close. There were also fire blankets and extinguishers for that “one person” who would get a little toasty. The whole place was quite dark, the photos show it brighter than it was in reality.

The cistern is an old 19th century water storage area which was taken out of service in the 1930s and drained in the 1980s. It’s on a hill and they used to pump water into it. It’s under these beautiful gardens.

The actual display. In reality much darker than this

It was raining a little when I came out, so I decided to head down to Torvehallerne where I had lunch yesterday and get another Danish open sandwich. The queue was massive so I decided to grab a coffee at the “COFFE3 COLLECTIVE” again. Another awesome brew and I noticed its actually written up in my guide book as a recommend coffee place.

I couldn’t come to Denmark and *not* have a Danish pastry. I tried ordering my Danish Danish pastry in Danish “Jeg woud som et dansk wienerbrød tak”, however failed spectacularly as the sales person at the counter spoke to me in English as soon as I even tried. Interestingly enough Danish Pastries are not called a “Danish” here. They are Viennese Breads ! What ever it’s called, I called it delicious.

Wandered around for a while and the queue for the open sandwich (Smørrebrød) had died down so I ordered a roast beef one. It had roast beef, corn pickle, dried onion, pickles and onion. It was sensational, way better than the one yesterday which was chicken.

Some of the other mouth watering selections

The food being prepared

I rode round the neighbourhood a bit, it started raining again so decided to head back to the hotel for an hour or so until the rain is predicted to clear. Much cooler here today than it was yesterday.

Cycling in Copenhagen is easy. Interesting when turning left (the difficult turn, as riding on the right hand side) you never ever sit in the centre of the intersection, cyclists are expected to do hook turns just like you do in Melbourne to avoid trams

Even though I rode in Paris, on the road it was still a little hair raising when not on a bike lane, In Copenhagen it feels very safe. Here I am doing a left turn.

Once I’d had a break and the rain had died down, I went out to the Round Tower. Read about that adventure here

Round Tower & 108 Coffeez

After a short break back at the hotel whilst I waited for the rain to stop I headed over to the Round Tower or “Rundetaarn”. I’d seen this on “Travel Man” and I’d almost forgotten about it. Very glad I remembered as it’s fantastic with a view from the top to match. It has a spiral that goes round 7.5 times to the top. Apparently it was made this way so the King could ride his horse to the top. It has an observatory at the top, a library part way up, and a bell room. The centre core is the offical centre of Copenhagen from where all distance measurements were taken. It has a glass floor you can stand on, however I passed on that opportunity. The way the toilet in the building operated in the previous centuries was also interesting, Basically a very very large drop from the top.

After some time here I headed down through Nyhavn to grab a coffee from 108, the sister restaurant of Noma. Interesting that they weigh the coffee to the gram before making your cup. I noticed the coffee collective do this to. A solid 8.5. / 10 Copenhagen has great coffee.