03/26/2014 - 03/27/2014 44 °F
So I arrived in Copenhagen just a few hours ago, and they say that first impressions are good to go by. So far, it seems like a very open, friendly city (although Swedes say that the Danish are mostly assholes). There are many beautiful, historic buildings that stick out amongst the other, more modern buildings, maybe about 30 / 70. As soon as I got off the train, I was presented with some great examples. I think that it is unfair to compare it to Stockholm, as that is a very high precedent that will disappoint me in many cities, but it has a large amount of beauty in its own right. Unlike Stockholm, the older buildings aren’t clustered in one place, but are instead spread out around the city. And the girls in Copenhagen are the true beauty, haha! So many in black tights, as Tony on my tour commented
They seem to do a great job with tourism, as I’ve already stumbled my way onto some great resources that have added places to my list, and I’m currently sipping a beer, marking down the location of these places on my map to plan out my next few days. I think they will be filled. Another nice thing for tourists - PRO TIP! - there are a number of attractions that have free admission only on certain days of the week or for certain hours. I’m going to be heading soon to the Danish Architecture Center that is free on Wednesdays from 5-9 pm. It's all part of a program - COPENhagen - designed to allow you to "See More. Pay Less",
The architecture museum was kinda lame - glad I didn’t pay for it. After that I headed to my host’s house! This time I wasn’t doing CouchSurfing but was instead using the “friend of a friend” system. Ruby in Madison was good friends with Anne in Copenhagen from when Anne studied a semester at UW! She made me feel right at home and even had dinner ready when I made it to her place - what a host! We had a nice dinner, chatted a bit, and watched some Mad Men. Then it was time for bed.
Thursday began with another FREE walking tour of the city. Same principle - they live off the tips at the end. Another good tour and I met a couple cool travelers. Tony, from Minnesota, works as an Alaskan fishing boat captain for 4 months out of the year, and that allows him to do whatever he wants the other 8! Main takeaways from the tour:
- The Danish royal family is COOL! Apparently they are extremely down to earth people who regularly mingle with us “commoners”. The queen is regularly seen by the tours either coming or going on her bike, with just 1 bodyguard in tow. When her daughter went to school, she lived in the dorms just like everyone else. The crown prince married an Aussie, dated her for 3 months before telling her that he was the crown prince, and also has done an Ironman and was in the Danish equivalent of the Navy SEALS.
- While Denmark was neutral during WWII, they were occupied by the Nazis and have some interesting stories from that period. The got 90% of the Jews out of Denmark when Hitler was trying to round them up by ferrying them over to Sweden. The crown prince himself went and got all the rest out of the camp after they were taken (apparently Hitler liked him).
- They also had a really cool spy during WWII named Thomas Sneum who, among other things, flew to Britain in a crop-dusting plane, which he to refuel in the air by climbing out onto the wings, to deliver valuable intel. Later he escaped Copenhagen by walking across the frozen water to Sweden. I’ve added The Hornet Sting to my Amazon wish list.
- They had a pub crawl that night! (more on this later)
- More interesting facts about Copenhagen and Denmark
Using the great bus system, I then headed over to check out the old Carlsberg Brewery. They’ve moved production elsewhere, but the original brewery has been turned into a museum. They’ve got the biggest collection of full beer bottles in the world (over 20,000!).
Self guided tour, then a couple of beers. There was a delicious dark lager that is apparently only available in and around Copenhagen, so I bought a few of those to enjoy throughout the week.
On my way out, I stumbled onto something amazing - a small ropes course!
The sign said that it was closed and opened up again in April, but to a determined (and slightly foolish) person, it was opened year round.
Boarded up ladders... not a problem
You could just climb up the back of the boarded up ladders and their you were! The only thing I was missing was the safety cable…
Don’t worry Mom - I didn’t do the upper level so I was never more than maybe 15 feet off the ground, but my heart was still thumping crossing some of those obstacles untethered. Maybe not the smartest thing I’d ever done, but I loved it! A half hour of that and it was dinner and then the pub crawl.
On the walking tour, we were warned that “on time” for the Danish means 10 minutes early. I obviously didn’t get the memo because I got to the meeting spot for the pub crawl 3 minutes late and they had already left! I was dismayed, especially since I had already paid the 100 kr for the wristband! I quickly spoke to a hot dog vendor who at least pointed me in the direction they went, but he said that they had left 5 minutes ago, and he didn’t know where they were going. I took off, but ran a few minutes down the main street and didn’t see any large groups. I made a couple random turns as I tried to figure out what to do next. I knew there was a hostel around and thought maybe someone there had been on the pub crawl and would know how to meet up with it, and as I was walking there, I glanced into the pubs along the way. As things seem to work out this way for me, as I’m walking by, I spot George, an Aussie from my tour group, in a window. I knew he was doing the pub crawl, so just like that, I bounded inside to a big hug from George (that kind of guy) and got some drinks.
This pub crawl was definitely work the money. In each of the 4 bars we went into, you got a free shot, in 2 of them we got a free beer, and in each they had special discounted prices for the pub crawl, plus 2 free drinks at the club we ended at. Beer espcially is super expensive all over Copenhagen, so knowing I was seeing the cheapest prices I would see while here, I got down to business. George, being Australian, was more than willing to egg me on. After a couple shots and beers at the first pub, we took advantage of a special deal and got 10 shots for 80 kr at the 2nd. We found a few girls to take some shots with us, but even so George and I each had 3 from the 2nd bar. We learned a few Danish drinking games, did some dancing, laughing when I heard a few Danes saying that they thought Americans couldn’t and wouldn’t dance. I was defintely feeling a little sloshed even before using my free drink tickets at the club, so I pocketed those. I wasn’t overly confident in my knowledge of the city or how to find my way back to where I was staying, so I made sure to draw myself a line in the sand.
It was obviously a good decision because despite me cutting myself off, on the way home I dropped my phone and cracked the shit out of it Still works and everything and I figure its about time. I’ve dropped it plenty of times with hardly a scratch before that. Oh well - no sense crying over spilled milk. Time for sleep and then more adventures!