Joe and I are not experienced travelers. This trip — our honeymoon/anniversary/we better take a vacation while we can still afford it trip — had a lot riding on it. We arrived at O’Hare airport 2 hours too early to check in. O’Hare isn’t the worst airport to be stuck in for 2 hours, but it isn’t the best either. Like, it has free WiFi, but only for 1/2 hour. Anyway. Getting through TSA was very easy, and then we had another 2 hour wait until we could board our plane.
We’d been told that Swiss Air was nice, and the service was good. They offered us dinner and breakfast, plus a Swiss beer that was pretty good. But coach was very cramped. I’d hate to think how tight it would have been if we were taller people. We barely got a full hour of sleep. Maybe that’s normal on flights? Again, we are not experienced travelers. There was also some significant turbulence over Canada (“It can’t be that bad if they’re still serving dinner,” I said, which was followed shortly by the captain telling the crew to stop serving dinner and strap in… yikes), and some turbulence over Wales. Nothing over Ireland, though. I see you UK…
We changed planes in Zurich, and I can confirm that the Zurich Airport has the nicest-smelling bathrooms. The scenery around that airport was gorgeous. I would definitely visit Switzerland on it’s own.
The flight to Copenhagen was uneventful, and the Copenhagen Airport was super easy to navigate, no problems at all. The train terminal had several very helpful employees who told us how to get to Copenhagen Central Station. At Central Station we found out that we could walk to our apartment. It’s also one stop from the station, so that’s a nice way to cut some time. By the time we got to our building we were feeling very windswept and Nordic — I don’t want to hear about Chicago being “The Windy City” ever again.
We were pretty zonked out after all the flying so we decided to visit the brand new mall next to our apartment building. We had fast food hot dogs (mine had “spicy” sauce, though I would call it “spiced”), and learned that everyone in Denmark speaks flawless English, even the immigrants. It’s a little intimidating, to be honest, but it certainly makes getting around easier. We bought some snacks and cheap beer at the Fotex grocery store in the mall, then basically went back to the apartment and crashed for the night.
Day 1 began late. We took our time getting ready in the morning, then tried to plug my hairdryer in… which tripped the circuit breaker. We spent a lot of time looking for it, even going down to the basement of the building, with no luck. No electricity meant no WiFi, which meant no way to contact our host. So we thought we’d try our luck with the WiFi at the Central Station. Turns out the breaker was in the one place we didn’t look, easily accessible, and very easy to use. Despite our embarrassment, our host shrugged it off like it was no big deal. Probably happens with all the Americans eventually. We walked around some neat neighborhoods until we found breakfast — giant chocolate croissants and coffee.
We began our day on a canal tour, which gave us some nice views of the city. The boat was completely dominated by retirees from cruises. The two couples who sat with us were both from Florida, but didn’t know each other, and spent a lot of the tour comparing notes on cruise ships. It was a very sunny day, so I couldn’t really see how my pictures were turning out as I took them. Luckily I got some nice ones. As we cruised around we heard canons fire, and the tour guide told us that the Queen was getting on her yacht. We took pictures of the yacht, obviously. (Get ready for photo dump #1)
Pictures of buildings:
Pictures of boats:
Pictures of miscellaneous:
After the tour we headed to the Carlsburg Glyptotek — a collection of ancient and modernist art collected by the Carlsburg family. The museum staff didn’t mind us taking pictures, so I took some (aka Photo Dump #2)
Outside and Inside-Selfie:
Tired and hungry from a day of walking around, we decided to head to Copenhagen Street Food market. The place is built from former shipping materials, and has a kind of DIY vibe that was pretty neat. It’s near Freetown Christiana, so the vibe makes sense (we did not have the energy for Freetown). We got traditional smorrebrod, beers, and a mixed plate of Brazilian grilled meat. All the food was incredible. We talked about the ubiquity of English speakers with the Brazilian guy, and he asked us what the deal was with cheese in Wisconsin. We are known for our cheese, guys. We are known.
I have to say, the public transportation in this city is fantastic. It’s clean, reliable, and easy to navigate. The city is remarkably clean as well — except for the tagging, which is everywhere. You don’t find it on old building, but anywhere newer or public has it. Here’s an example:
- The graffiti, definitely.
- Biking culture. Not that there’s tons of bicycling (more bicyclists than cars on many streets), but that the Danes tend to just park their bikes and leave them without locking them up. I don’t know if theft of bikes is low because everyone just has one, but we rarely saw bikes chained to anything.
- The Danes seem to have a different concept of personal space than we do. Americans are obviously very unused to standing close together, even in big cities, but it’s still surprising.
- Lots of smoking. You’d think with all the bicycling people would be healthier in general, but there’s tons of smoking all over the place, including smoking lounges in the airport.
- How much construction the city of undergoing right now.
- How expensive eating out is. Grocery store food is not much more expensive than back home, but there’s no tipping in Denmark and I would assume that servers and kitchen staff are paid a living wage. So a $15 sandwich feels expensive, but it’s just something we’ll have to adjust to.