København

1 11 2011

Last weekend, my friend Paolina and I decided it was time to explore a new country. So we hopped a boat Thursday afternoon to Copenhagen, Denmark!

Okay, so it wasn’t quite that spontaneous; we had it planned for a little while, but it was still just as exciting! Our ship left the Oslo harbor Thursday afternoon and we arrived in Copenhagen the next morning by 10am. First on the agenda was navigating the city enough to find our hostel and drop off our backpacks. Then we headed out for a late breakfast. We found a juice and coffee shop around the corner from our hostel. The coffee shop was conveniently right across the street from the Rosenborg Castle. So after our quick breakfast pit stop, we headed over to the castle grounds. We wandered around them and enjoyed the beautiful fall colors. I think fall was  perfect time to visit! We also took time for the necessary photo ops while there. After we made it out of the castle grounds we came upon the National Gallery Art Museum. We had planned on going to the museum since it was free for students, and we are both in the Norwegian Art History class at UiO  and figured why not go check out some Danish Art History; they even had a few paintings from some of the Norwegian artists we’ve studied.

After soaking up some culture in the art museum, we made our way down to the harbor and the canals. I had no idea before getting to Copenhagen that the city had canals, but I was happy to find out it did! We found an advertisement for canal boat tours in one of our guides. The tours only cost about $15 so we bought tickets for the next tour as soon as we got down to the canals. While we waited for our tour, we explored the area a little bit. That part of town sort of reminded me of some of the buildings in Bergen. They were a bit different, but there were a lot that were wooded and brightly colored. We stumbled upon some shops and statues as well as some restaurants to try later in the evening.

Our boat tour was a little over an hour long. The tour had a guide that gave us insight to the history of Copenhagen. The only downfall about the tour guide is that he had to speak three different languages during the whole tour. So we had to listen carefully for when he would quickly mention something in English before saying it in Spanish or Danish. The tour took us out into the harbor, around the opera house, the famous Little Mermaid statue, and of course through the canals that run through the city. I really enjoyed the tour and I think it was the perfect way to see the city and the different sights.

After the tour, we were getting hungry and I was getting cold. (I’m not ready for winter weather just yet!) We had planned on eating outside next to the canal at one of the restaurants we had scoped out earlier, but by the time we finished the tour it was too chilly to sit outside. We instead chose a cute little Italian place that was right off of the canal. It had a lot of character, a funny, classic Italian waiter, and delicious personal pizzas for less than $20 – which in Scandinavia, I have found out is a good price for a meal out.

Once we finished our Italian dishes, we headed downtown to a part of town we hadn’t visited yet. Rather than paying for public transportation we just walked. (We actually walked all weekend and didn’t realize how much we had been walking until we were about to leave on Saturday.) Downtown there is an amusement park called Tivoli. We didn’t go in, but admired their lit up sign and a few of the rides that were lit up as well. We strolled along H.C. Andersens Boulevard and eventually made our way back to our hostel after a quick stop at a tourist shop – which was hard to find. In Oslo, there are so many souvenir shops around Karl Johans gate it’s crazy, but the whole time we were in Copenhagen, I think we saw at most five different ones.

The next morning we grabbed breakfast at a coffee shop again and went back to the Rosenborg Castle. This time we wanted to tour it. I think it only cost about $10 for students and it was a self guided tour. This is one of the places I think it would have been beneficial to pay to have a tour guide. This castle was built way back in the day in 1606 and was used as a royal residency until about 1710. Today the castle is filled with things from the royal family and some of the other castles. And when I say filled, I mean completely covered with stuff. All kinds of stuff. You name it and it is probably somewhere in that castle. The rooms to begin with are covered in art work that is painted on the walls and ceilings, and then stuff has continued to be added to the collection. The rooms are in chronological order and each king has a room dedicated to their time period. There’s even a room that is covered in royal dishes from the floor to ceiling hanging on the walls. While it was really cool to see all of these things, it was a lot to take in. Also, there aren’t any signs explaining or saying what anything is. You get a map that gives a very brief description of each room, but you have to buy a book that explains what each artifact is; this is where the tour guide would have come in very handy. But the best part of the tour, in my opinion, is in the basement of the castle. Housed in the basement are some of the royal jewels! They were gorgeous, but unfortunately we couldn’t take any pictures – unless we paid 20 kroner to have “photography rights.” (It seemed as if they liked little hidden charges like that.)

Once we were done taking in the Rosenborg Castle, we headed downtown in search of a pastry shop that was recommended to us by a friend. The shop is called La Glace and is the oldest confectionary in Denmark, opened in 1870. We had been warned that it wasn’t exactly cheap, but we were determined to each delicious Danish while in Denmark. Mission accomplished. With the help of my little map we found the place, no problem. The inside is filled with a bunch of little tables and all sorts of fabulous pastries. We of course each ordered a Danish and I ordered the hot chocolate. It cost me about $12 for a cup and was completely worth it. It was the best hot chocolate I have ever and probably will ever taste! The Danishes were amazingly tasty as well. La Glace is also famous for their cakes. They have a whole pamphlet on their different kinds, and we couldn’t leave without getting a piece to go! I selected a kind that had a macaroon bottom, custard filling, chocolate icing, and buttercream frosting! 🙂

After La Glace, we walked back to our hostel (we needed exercise after all that sugar!), grabbed our backpacks and headed out on our last adventure before leaving Copenhagen.  We walked from our hostel in search of the famous Little Mermaid statue. The walk was quite nice even though it was really foggy out that morning. Once again, thanks to our little map and my navigation skills we found her! There were quite a few people already there so we had to patiently wait our turn for pictures and try not to get in the backgrounds of anyone else’s photos.

We then headed to find our ship back to Oslo. At this point we were feeling the burn from all the walking especially carrying all of our stuff with us. We got to our boat, boarded, and set sail for Oslo. It was a quick trip and we would have loved more time in the city, but had a blast in the time we had!

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