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….

Wecycle Copenhagen

Wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted to do today, there are a few options, I’ve decided already that I love this city. I’d signed up for the bike share so thought about hiring a bike and cruising around

Those bikes worked out at $6 an hour, not outrageously expensive but I had to find a local docking station. I discovered the hotel has bike rental for 125DKK (about $26) and I have it till midnight.

I wanted to cycle over the famous “bike snake” so headed that way and thought I’d cruise towards Christiana, a cool hip neighbourhood in the city, and if it’s full of hipsters with the munchies it’s likely to do good coffee somewhere.

I didn’t even make it into the area when I went past Wecycle. A combination bike shop and cafe. In essence, my dream cafe. To top it off the coffee was awesome, 9/10

Here is the link to their website.

My ride for the day

The Bridge (not too far)

Copenhagen to Malmo. 

So what do you do on a hot afternoon after a bike tour of Copenhagen ? You hop on a train and go straight to Sweden of course!. Copenhagen is one of Europe’s best cycling cities, so I absolutely wanted to experience that, but it also has one of Europe’s most recent engineering marvels, the Øresund Bridge which links Copenhagen in Denmark with Malmo in Sweden. Ideally I would love to cross it by car, but that seems way to much hassle to hire a car just to drive across the bridge. Apparently the toll is also extravagant for single use, around €45, so it would also be an expensive adventure crossing it twice. Luckily there is a train that crosses it, and the bonus with that is I can take some pictures whilst crossing it. Not an option if I’m driving a car.

Well I thought I’d be able to take pictures, unfortunately the actually crossing on the train is visually boring. The train tracks are under the road bride, so you don’t actually see the bride itself when crossing, apart from a few girders holding it up. As the bridge only has a slight curve you don’t see the bridge when going round the curve on the train. Oh well at least I know I’ve crossed it and been to Sweden.

Uber is not an option either, as its been shut down in Denmark, but not quite sure if Uber will work across an international border like this even if it was open, and I’d still be up for the tolls.

Both Sweden and Denmark are in the Schengen area, so in theory you should be able to cross between the two countries without your passport, but given the 2016 refugee crisis and controversy in Europe, the Schengen zone was suspended for some time on this particular crossing and there were spot immigration controls, so there is no way I’d risk crossing this border without my passport on hand. Probably not something I’d ever do anyway (cross any international border without it), but certainly more conscious of the requirement to keep it with me on this one. The killer point though is that when you buy your ticket, no one tells you to take your passport, you just hop on the train like its any other metro service.

Luckily I’d researched this before and had the presence of mind to remember to come back to the hotel to get my passport. On the train just after crossing into Sweden, border control did go through the train and asked to see my passport. One the question of “how long are you intending to stay in Sweden” my answer of “10 minutes” received a bit of a chuckle, however she did check I had a return ticket to Australia, and a valid Schengen stamp in my passport. The immigration crisis in Europe is real, and its constantly mentioned by people.

To Sweden and back costs about A$35. There is an automated machine for “tickets to Sweden” but I couldn’t work out how to buy a return ticket. Luckily there was a Danish Transport person at the machines helping people buy tickets. Once I got to Sweden, I bought a cold drink from the supermarket, walked outside the station to snap a few pictures “I’ve Been to Sweden Too !” and then caught the next train back to Denmark. (no passport checks heading back the other way)

Tickets and Ticket Machine in Copenhagen

 

Waiting for the train

 

Unfortunately you don’t see much from the train itself.

 

ABBA land approaching….

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A few photos from Malmo below. I think this is the record shortest time I’ve ever spent in a country. The cool ice coffee was much appreciated on this hot day. Apparently this is the hottest and driest summer in Denmark since they have been keeping records (about 174 years). As Mike mentioned on the bike tour, the climate in Copenhagen is terrible, Danes have waited 174 years for a summer like this. Too me, being Australian from Sydney it feels totally normal, if we didn’t get a majority of summers days like this people would be ranting. Of course the news from home today is that pipes are freezing over. This is the Winter Sydney has never had before…

Malmo in 10 Minutes..

 

Copenhagen with Bike Mike

First thing today was a bike Tour of Copenhagen with Bike Mike. I found this tour with a bit of googling and it has a very high rating. After completing the tour I can confirm the rating is well deserved. Not sure about the Max 15 guest per tour he mentions on his web page though, this was the biggest bike tour I’ve ever done, I’d say there were at least 20 of us. You can see by this photo of the bikes it was massive.

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Regardless of the number, he managed it quite well and no one got lost, run over or caused an accident. It was the bike tour standard, meet at the tour company, have the bike explained, any idiosyncratic road rules or customs explained, fitted with a bike and a small test run. Interestingly with Copenhagen the interesting idiosyncrasies are that cars and pedestrians are not going to be an issue, cars will steer well clear and go around you or wait, but other cyclists will be less forgiving of mistakes. Although helmets are not compulsory in Denmark, I’m used to wearing them at home, they were offered and since I’m riding on the wrong side of the road probably a good idea.

First stop was Israels Plads  This is where I had lunch and coffee. According to Mike some of the best food in Copenhagen. Israel donated a sculpture here to commemorate that Denmark saved the majority of their Jewish population during the war by evacuating them to Sweden.

We were told about Denmarks famous open sandwiches, so I made sure I had one for lunch. We cycled through a low income, migrant ghetto (they actually legally call them ghettos here if a certain portion of the population are not of Danish extraction and are below a certain income level or dependent on social security). Then though a cemetery where Hans Christian Andersen is buried. Interestingly the Danes use these old cemeteries as parks and its not unusual to see people having picnics or drinks here on the grass.

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And word for the day “Eye-Poo”. Its what Danes call ugly buildings. Mostly brutalist 1950/60s buildings that Mike mentioned were put up  when Denmark had no money. Now thats its a richer country with buildings are much nicer. Here is an example of the specific building that was mentioned as an Eye-Poo

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We also visited the old Naval houses that were built 400 years ago to house sailors. Now that are multi-million dollar properties. Insides can be changed but outside is considered grade listed

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We also visited Churchill Park to commemorate the British led liberation of Denmark in World War 2, The Palace where the Royal Family (including Princess Mary) live, City Beach (where old industrial docks have been turned into public swimming places with deck chairs an bars etc. Parliament, The Royal Stables, the Nyhavns District and a few others. Very nice looking town. The “108 Restaurant” we went past is a sister restaurant of Noma (highest ranked restaurant on the planet), and 108 is easier to get into. No visit to Copenhagen would be complete without going past the Little Mermaid. When they say little, they are *not* kidding. Its as crappily small as our Dog on the Tucker Box.

A note on Copenhagen bike lines. Most are raised off the street, but below the footpath/sidewalk. This keeps the bikes completely isolated from traffic and pedestrians. They are not all like this, but a lot are. You have to be careful not to walk on them, as cyclists will run you down.

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We also road on some “Green Wave” bike lines. These are where the lights are timed so that if you are travelling at 20kph and go through a green light, all future lights on the green wave cycle path will be green, they are timed so you get a completely smooth run into the city. Its no wonder 2/3rd of the city cycle at least once per day.

I’ll update this soon with a video from the tour. (see below)

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Hello Copenhagen

The SAS flight was one of the most relaxed stress free plane boardings I’ve ever had. Probably due to the plane being only half full and one of the last flights out of Heathrow for the night. They called business class then SAS go, and a few of us are waiting around for economy to be called, it wasn’t so we just wandered up anyway, turns out SAS go is economy. Was pretty impressed with SAS. Similar to the BA euro flyer (ie cheap, but not Ryanair type cheap). Seats were reclining, USB power, and inflight wifi. Stuff BA didn’t have. So far better than my flight to Poland.

Didn’t bother with Wifi as it was only an hour and gave me a chance to catchup on all things Copenhagen from the awesome little book Sharon and Emma gave me for my birthday. It’s put me in the direction for a coffee or two over the next few days. I’ve also worked out how to signup for Copenhagen’s bike share. Will be interesting to compare it to Paris.

Was a very clear night flight awesome watching the sunset out the other window. I prefer isle seats, so I wasn’t at the window to take a photo however the kind fellow opposite me took one for me. The flight was only 1.5 hrs and even though it was delayed it seemed to go super quick

After landing found the train and got a ticket

Got on a train and you can see the place is already set up for cycling

The phone network welcomed me to Denmark

Found my hotel. The central station wasn’t as clean and spartan as the one at the airport. The trip took about 25 minutes. Would seem central stations truly are the same the world over

Room seems fine

Denmark is supposed to be the happiest country on earth. Even the power outlets look happy !

They even have a model little mermaid at the airport

Leaving London

I’m leaving London yet again this holiday, third time in as many weeks I’ve departed this wonderful city once for Poland, once for France and now for Denmark. It’s a very weird feeling as Sharon and Emma are heading back to Sydney whilst I continue on. Emotionally it’s holidays ending, holidays starting and saying goodby to the family for two weeks all rolled into one.

We were in bed pretty early last night from the final day in Paris and transfer to London. Our day technically started again at about 20 past 12 in the AM when the fire alarm in our room went off for a few seconds. In my dazed half slumber I thought it was one of the multitude of electronic gadgets I have going off but then realised it was the alarm. It stopped then 5 minutes later came on again and didn’t stop. Looked in the corridor to see lots of people heading out, but couldn’t see or smell any smoke and looking out the window everything seemed fine. Before exiting into the cool night half naked I called reception who confirmed that another guest got busted smoking in their room. I could tell from his tone he was super pissed about it. For him it turned a quiet nightshift into a nightmare.

Once we were up and out (at a more reasonable 10am) we jumped on the tube to head to the Science Museum. Totally wow wow wow. For me this was complete nerd heaven. Not sure why I never visited it on my last trip, but on my next one I’m spending a full day in there.

Before entering we grabbed a quick bite at a mini Pret store, and the coffee was a surprisingly good one, better than I expected. Maybe it was just I’d gotten used to all the crap coffee in Paris.

Whilst we are on the subject of Paris, as much as I love Paris, as a city to visit London wins hands down. Paris may be the city of light, but as the saying goes when you are tired of London you are tired of life and I’m by no means tired of London. And as it’s only 2hrs by train you can hop over for the weekend.

They have James Watt’s workshop here in the museum.

They have stacks of cool stuff on display. Remember I saw someone riding a chopper bicycle in London about 2 weeks ago?

They even have the first computer I ever owned displayed (VIC20). Now I do feel old. They had all the greats from the 80s here

John will recognise this blast from the past :-

One fantastic thing about London is all the free museums. We spent a few hours here at the Science museum and it cost nothing (I donated the recommended £5, but it’s by no means compulsory). Could could spend a week visiting all the museums here and not spend a cent (or a penny) and London has some fabulous museums.

I couldn’t resist this t-shirt

After the science museum we headed over to the Guildhall to look at the underground Roman amphitheater they discovered, and again entry was completely free. Our day only cost us breakfast, lunch and a few tube rides.

Lunch was a few sandwiches and salads we bought at Tesco and at in the shade on the grounds of the Guildhall.

After checking this out, we tubed it back to the hotel, picked up our luggage and took the Heathrow express out to the airport. Sharon and Emma were departing from terminal 3 and I terminal 2. After helping Sharon and Emma checking in and saying our goodbyes I headed to terminal 2. I was through checkin and security in record time of about 5 minutes to discover my flight is delayed about an hour. C’est la vie…. at least it’s giving me time a plenty to write this blog post.

One positive about Terminal 2 is I found a place that does decent coffee. About a 7/10. Not bad for an airport

I’m now at the gate waiting for my flight to start boarding after a bit of a delay. Next post will be from Denmark. Home of Hygge and LEGO !