Monday, February 17, 2014

Quick Stop in Copenhagen

We decided a few months ago that we wanted to make a trip to Iceland during the kids Semana Blanca in February.  After searching in vain for a decent (as in low price, direct flight), we found that there is nothing that goes direct from Barcelona to Reykjavik this time of year.  I ended up searching for places that we could get to from Barcelona that did fly to Iceland.  One of these was Copenhagen.

As there wasn't a good flight out that wouldn't have us sitting in the airport for hours on end, we decided that we would do an extended layover of a day and take a little time to explore Copenhagen, a city that we've always wanted to visit.  So we would do an overnight there and then 5 nights in Iceland.  
With our luck, the weather has been beyond beautiful in Barcelona.  We're talking early 60s this past week.  Now don't get me wrong, winter hasn't exactly been the hardship that our friends in the US have been having.  We've had I think one week with temps below 50.  But something about hitting the 60 mark just makes you think SPRING!  And now we're off to freezing cold temps... ahh well, at least we'll have the nice 60s to come back to when we are done!!

We made it to Copenhagen no worse for the wear.  The flight, with the exception of the last 15 minutes was smooth.  I didn't even feel a panic attack coming on - that's saying something!  Just don't talk to me til we hit cruising altitude :)  And the views as we flew in were beautiful!  Anyways, they say that Denmark is the Happiest Country in the World according to a recent survey.  And the first person we met was the happiest, nicest cab driver.  He just wanted to share all we could do in our 24 hours.  It was so nice to get into a cab with someone who loves his city and wants to share it with others. 

I also found out that Sweden is just over the bridge from here.  I hadn't looked up exactly where Copenhagen lies on the map within Denmark.  But when we got out of the airport and were heading to the taxi stand there was a sign pointing left for taxis for Sweden and a sign pointing right for those in Denmark.  I asked our driver and he said that the airport in Malmo (I think it was Malmo) was not an international one and so many people fly into Copenhagen and just drive over the bridge to Sweden. Good information to know for any future trips!

Regardless, we made our way to our hotel... a Marriott.  Now anyone who has lived or done significant travel in Europe will agree, this is a treat.  A big treat.  Most places we go to don't have a Marriott or a Hilton, etc - or if they do, they are incredibly pricey.  The majority of hotels in Europe are boutique style as in small... quaint...cozy.  However you want to put it, they don't have lush pillow top mattresses.  Actually every non American chain hotel we've stayed in has two twin beds pushed together and if you are lucky there is a mattress cover that connects them so they don't push apart during the night.  

We walked into the Marriott and it just screamed United States.  I am in total heaven.  The service.  The space.  The luxury.  And for Liam; the room service.  Yes, that's his favorite part of staying in hotels - and he asks on every single trip if we are staying somewhere with room service.  As we entered they were checking in the flight crew from Emirates Airlines.  I've never flown Emirates but I think I need to just based on their uniforms - talk about upscale!  The stewardesses matched down to their gorgeous pocketbooks and the men had on suits and all their shoes even matches.  Head to toe this is a classy operation.  Note to self to see where exactly they fly...

View from our hotel room - we were given the choice of waiting for the water view to be ready or to take the city view that was already available - we opted for city view but I think the water view would have been better.

This would have been the water view - ah well... 

Anyways, we did a drop and run of our stuff so that we could get out and explore.  The weather was unexpectedly nice as my weather app had been showing rain and 30mph winds all day.  It was sunny and upper 30s when we got here so we took advantage of that and hit the ground running.  I'll be honest, I did little to no research on where we should go while here figuring we would grab a map at the front desk, ask the concierge the top places to see in under 24 hours and then just wing it.  I knew about the Tivoli Gardens, the Little Mermaid and that this is the home of Hans Christian Andersen.

Denmark is not on the Euro so we had to exchange money to the Danish Kroner - which the kids thought were especially cool since they had a hole in the middle.

The concierge was away from his desk, so we just grabbed a map, looked at where we were compared to the sites and set off for the Tivoli Gardens which looked to be about a 10 minute walk from where we were.  As we walked, I have to say, Copenhagen wasn't meeting my expectations.  I expected it to be more like Brussels, Belgium.  And it did have aspects that were similar - at least style wise in their construction.  But there was a lot more modern than I expected.

Walking towards Tivoli

This appears to be a transportation building - definitely buses but I'm assuming trains too...

As we were walking we came across a bakery right near the Gardens.  The window caught our eye as the pastries looked amazing.  We never actually ate lunch so we figured why not grab a snack or two. And mmmm it was delicious!  We had raspberry danish, blueberry cheesecake and a croissant.  And quite honestly, I think I could have eaten just about everything in this bakery and would have had to be rolled out. 

We got the raspberry danish in the middle

Best bakery!!!

After the bakery stop we finally made our way over to Tivoli Gardens only to find out that they don't open again until April!!  I guess perhaps we should have either (a) done more research or (b) waited for that concierge who probably could have saved us the time.

This is as close as we will get to Tivoli Gardens until our cruise this summer...

Since that was our first game plan we had to go to plan B which was wander aimlessly and let's see where we end up.  Nothing exciting about this plan but much of the map showed museum after museum after museum which isn't really our cup of tea.  I wanted to see the Little Mermaid statue but it was a bit of a walk from where we were so we figured if we didn't see it that day, then we would see it upon our return in July on our cruise.  So we walked around what appears to have been the main shopping drag of Copenhagen and it was beautiful.  Still not as picturesque as I would have hoped but still a pretty city regardless.

A little taste of home - Aidan begged to go... we said no (especially as we have one in Barcelona)

Build a Bear!  Nope don't have one of those in Barcelona and as we basically only had carry on for a week, we weren't getting one here.  And really, do we need another stuffed animal in our house??

Looks like a Cirque d' Soleil type of event was performing here... I just liked the building.

Pretty Danish building

OMG it's my name!  I never ever see the name Lundin anywhere!!

I thought this was the strangest advertisement for liquor...

Pretty city square

Church nearby

Liam taking Aidan's picture

Another view of the square

Liam taking our picture

My three boys

This picture reminds me a little bit of Brugge in Belgium

While walking, not unexpectedly, we ran into the Lego store.  Now given this is the home to Lego, the store was, of course, huge.  There was no way we could avoid going in.  Though despite tantrums, we did get out without buying anything - given we can get all the same sets in Barcelona or via the web, it's just one more thing to have to travel back with (and in the end we caved and bought them little sets in the Copenhagen Airport on the way to Iceland).

OMG the Simpson's home!!  I know what Aidan will be getting for his birthday!

Maybe I should think about this one for HIS birthday...

Cool village in the store

This entire wall was made of legos.

We left the Lego store and it was raining but similar to Amsterdam, it was a brief shower and we were back to walking around the city.  With no particular place to go, we just continued to take in the sights. After another hour we started to head back to the hotel knowing that Liam was dying for room service and that with the next day expected to be a long one, a nice mellow evening just chilling out was in order.

This was the oddest snack kiosk ever - crepes, waffles, chinese noodles??

More of the pedestrian shopping area

Just liked the name of this place - how can you not want to go to the Royal Smushi Cafe??

Look at those ominous clouds coming in!

This was the strangest statue - Aidan was actually the one that found it.  It is called Agnete and the Merman by Suste BonnĂ©n

Brotherly love??

All in all, Copenhagen was not what I expected.  But then, we only just got a taste of it and I expect there is more beauty to be seen when we go back on our cruise in July.  Til then, we can check another place off our list of places we've been and get ready for our trip to Iceland!!


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