Today we left Funan, and drove across the Great Belt’s Bridge to Zealand, heading for Copenhagen. We arrived on the outskirts just after lunchtime, got Oscar settled, then caught the train into the city centre from the suburbs.
Arriving in Copenhagen, I was immediately struck by the number of bicycles everywhere – hundreds and thousands. The city caters exceedingly well for cyclists, with cycle lanes everywhere, and even entire carriages on the trains. It is a way of life here.
Exiting the station, we asked a couple of students the way into the centre, and headed past Tivoli Gardens towards the canals. Copenhagen is a city of canals – not quite as impressive as Venice, but with a definite charm. The city is an eclectic mix of old and new – charming old warehouses, multi-coloured townhouses sit side by side with clean crisp modern architecture. Our first stop was a coffee sat outside the Royal Danish Library. It is a sleek black glass building adjacent to a canal, nicknamed ‘The Diamond’ by the locals, since when the sunlight falls onto it, it glistens like a diamond. The interior was impressive, but by now, there sun had come out, so we chose to sit outside with the many students, who rather than studying, were lounging about on deckchairs by the water. ‘What a civilised library!’, I thought to myself. For a pleasant half hour, we took on our new favourite occupation – people-watching. Two groups of young women, quite definitely on a hen weekend, had hired two boats, and were precariously steering them along the canal. Just as they got to the library terrace, they lost control, and the boats collided, much to the applause of all the lounging students in their deckchairs. Within minutes, another boat had appeared – the river police – who took the most wobbly boat of the two aside, and had words! No sooner had the police boat driven off, and the girls were up to their antics again.
We pulled ourself away from our riverside view, and went off to explore the city. Whilst sitting having our drink, we had noticed many river cruisers pass by. It seemed the perfect way to acquaint ourselves with the city, and gain some sense of orientation. We arrived at the landing stage just as one boat was about to leave, so we threw ourselves onboard, and then proceeded to have a very pleasant hour on the water, seeing the sights. Amongst the highlights were the ultra modern Opera House, the large, but weirdly attractive incineration plant that burns rubbish (including some from the UK), to provide 50% of the power to the entire city, the Christianshavns Canal based on the Amsterdam canals, the hippy boats and numerous church spires. The one thing that was definitely not a highlight was the statue of the ‘Little Mermaid’, which was indeed very small, barely visible in fact due the hundreds of tourists gathered round to take a photograph. I was so unimpressed, I didn’t even take a shot, which truly goes to show what an anti-climax it was.
It was a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon, bobbing about on the water. We were also delighted to see that our ticket lasts 48 hours – so in theory, we can just keep going round again and again tomorrow. We finished off our day with a quick supper in the city centre, before returning on our train. The waitress double-took when Howard ordered a Hot Chocolate with his salad – it was a sort of protest, I think, against our week of abstinence! We have another full day in Copenhagen tomorrow, so will hopefully discover more. In the meantime, I will finish with some photos, mostly taken from the water – so please excuse if they are a bit squiffy. I only drank water – honest! Frankly, it wasn’t hard to abstain, since a Henricks and Fevertree was priced at £12.50. Welcome to Scandinavia!!