Welcome to my very-first post in a series I like to call “Throwback Travels,” in which I document my travels prior to 2013, the year that I started this blog. Having recently discovered some old travel photos from my mid-to-late teen years, I decided to share with you some of them- for nostalgia’s sake! 🙂
I’ll be dedicating this week to my adventures in Scandinavia, which I went back in the summer of 2012 with my family. From Copenhagen to St. Petersburg, I spent about eight to ten days visiting these fantastic cities in the north of Europe!
First stop is Copenhagen, Denmark, which is situated on a peninsula and is home to plenty of scenic harbors and of course, the famous Danish pastries!
That said, my family and I flew into Copenhagen after a four-hour layover in London’s Heathrow Airport (exhausting, but made it). We arrived in the city in the evening; although it was perhaps past 19h00, even 20h00, when we got to our hotel, it was still light out! Definitely gives you the opportunity to stay outdoors longer. Really, summertime in Europe does that to you…however, my family and I chose not to go out, since we were tired and decided to turn in for the night- we would start off our visit of the city the following morning.
The next day, we woke up and were out of the hotel by 8h00. We decided to get some Danish pastries for breakfast (when in Denmark…why not?), and so we took the bus over to one of the bakeries, known to be one of the best in the city. However, we had missed our stop, and had gone over an extra few blocks, so we had to retrace our steps. We got to the pastry shop, ordered our pastries, and dug in! I ate two pastries: a chocolate swirl pastry with nut paste inside and a chocolate croissant. Even had a bit of my sister’s chocolate mousse, which was very rich and creamy. Call me a fatty, but I don’t care! 😛
After our *very fulfilling* breakfast, we headed out to visit the Little Mermaid statue, inspired by the titular character in Danish writer Hans Christian Andersen, who is also famous for writing other classic fairy tales like “The Emperor’s New Clothes” and “The Ugly Duckling.” To be frank, the statue’s a bit unassuming (small at only four feet), but at least we got to see it while in Copenhagen!
Next, we set off for Nyhavn, the colorful, picturesque harbor that was once notorious for alcohol, sailors, and prostitutes, but has since become a huge tourist hot spot. We walked over there and passed through the Amalienborg, the home of the Danish royal family. We arrived at Nyhavn, admiring the lovely houses by the harbor before taking a one-hour boat ride around the harbor. During the ride, we saw the Opera House and the Christiansborg Palace, as well as several famous Danish statues and Noma, the #1 Michelin-starred restaurant in the world (and notoriously difficult to make a dining reservation). Although quite hot at mid-day, there was nevertheless a nice, sea breeze blowing into the harbor, which made things a bit more refreshing. Ahhh…
Once the boat ride was finished, we decided to amble back to our hotel, in order to rest up before going out to dinner later that evening. Along the way, we passed through Strøget, the busy shopping center of Copenhagen and one of the longest streets in Europe at 1.1 kilometers. I had been meaning to try smørrebrød, a traditional Danish open-face sandwich, since we came across a few restaurants there that had it, but we didn’t really want to stop to sit down and eat (and getting smørrebrød required us to), so we ended up skipping it, to my disappointment. Will have to return to Denmark to give it a try someday!
We returned to our hotel, where I crashed on the bed for half-an-hour before we headed out later in the evening to get dinner. We decided to try Madklubben, a Danish restaurant which I had looked up beforehand, which had good reviews online. Thankfully, it was also within walking distance from our hotel, so we headed over there.
Madklubben turned out to be a smaller restaurant than I had imagined, as we were seated pretty tightly in a dim, tavern-style setting. The meal was offered in one to four courses of your choosing; I opted just for three courses, in case I got too full. I began by ordering the “starter of the day” (which turned out to be chopped cod salad), then lamb with cabbage, and finished off with a buttermilk pudding for dessert. All was tasty and of good quality…even better that it was affordable for our budget, considering that Denmark and the Scandinavian countries in general are not necessarily cheap places to travel to! With our bellies full, we headed back to our hotel for some shut-eye, as we were leaving the following day to board our ship for a seven to eight-day cruise in the Baltic.
Overall, I would say that I had a good time in Copenhagen, although it was a rather short stay (two nights, one day). I would’ve loved to have stayed a bit longer, just to try smørrebrød and also to visit the Tivoli Gardens (although it is crazy expensive). That gives me incentive to try the next time I’m in Europe, which I’m hoping to return to soon!
More to come on my “Throwback Travels” series. Next stop: Oslo, Norway!
— The Finicky Cynic
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