Denmark Arrival

Denmark Arrival

Copenhagen, Denmark – July 4, 2015

The beginning of our R&R trip was neither restful nor relaxing. After all, it was midnight when we departed. We arrived at the Benazir Bhutto International Airport in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, just outside Islamabad, with plenty of time to make our flight check-in arrangements. Before leaving the check-in counter, we made sure our luggage tags read CPH. We wanted to reunite with our stuff when we arrived in Copenhagen.

After going through security, we seated ourselves in the waiting area near the boarding gate.  When I stopped to look around at the other passengers, I saw a ten to one ratio of men and women. There were men everywhere, but very few women passengers.  I am not sure if that is the norm or if it just happened that way the time we were there.

The waiting area at the Benazir Bhutto International Airport.

Two hours later, we went down the boarding ramp to the waiting bus. It was a short bus ride to the side of the plane. We climbed the stairs and found our seats quickly.

The plane departed for Dubai about ten minutes early.

Our flight from Islamabad to Dubai was a short two hours. We landed in Dubai at about 05:30 local time. Even at that hour, it was a toasty 98 degrees Fahrenheit.

We climbed down the stairs and boarded a bus for the ride to the terminal building. I thought the driver was going to take us directly to Copenhagen by bus. It seemed the journey would never end.

The multi-story water fountain in the Dubai International Airport.
Stores and people in the duty-free area of the Dubai International Airport.
The Gucci store in the duty-free area of the Dubai International Airport.
A pause for McDonald’s coffee in the Dubai International Airport.

Our flight from Dubai to Copenhagen was uneventful. We collected our luggage and hailed a taxi. The taxi ride lasted about 20 minutes and cost 300 Kroner, about $40. It was 14:30 when we arrived at the Marriott.
As soon as we checked in, we made a beeline to the terrace facing the canal. Leslie and I enjoyed white wine. The channel was incredibly busy because it was such a beautiful day. It appears many people use the canal for swimming and water sports. In front of the Marriott is a wooden bridge-like structure, used as a beach. There were numerous sunbathers, swimmers, skateboarders, walkers, and bikers using the structure. People packed the opposite side of the canal from the Marriott. In general, it was a day for doing nothing more than worshiping the sun and enjoying the pleasant weather.

Ready for R&R in Copenhagen, Denmark.

We saw wide, flatboats full of tourists going back and forth in the canal. They were the recipients of canal tours. We also saw larger, yellow boats going back and forth. Those were waterbuses.

Pedestrians approaching.
A couple contemplating the canal in Copenhagen, Denmark.
The canal was overflowing with sunbathers in Copenhagen, Denmark.
There was no shortage of things to look at while at the canal in Copenhagen, Denmark.
A “waterbus” on the canal.
A sightseeing boat goes by the Marriott Hotel in Copenhagen, Denmark.
A bicyclist crossing a bridge over a canal in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Riding very near a canal in Copenhagen, Denmark.
A storage area for kayaks under this structure in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Two girls playing on an apparatus near the Marriott Hotel in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Swimmers in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Rowing on a canal in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Sunset over Copenhagen, Denmark.  The tower on the right is at the Tivoli Amusement Park.

Leslie was keen to get her haircut. Hotel staff directed us to the mall on the canal, Fisketorvet Byens, a little more than one-half mile from the hotel. One of the odd things we saw while walking to the mall was a round houseboat. It was strange because of its shape, but mostly because of its location. Moored to a pier directly in front of a commercial building, alongside a bustling pedestrian and bicycle path, it just seemed out of place.
Our path to the shopping mall included many unique examples of architecture; people enjoying the day, and boats.

A circular home on a canal in Copenhagen, Denmark.
The opposite side of the roundhouse on the canal in Copenhagen, Denmark.
A couple of couples sitting along a canal in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Sunbathers along a canal in Copenhagen, Denmark.
A very large spiral staircase in this atrium in Copenhagen, Denmark.
A skyline with the Fisketorvet Shopping Mall.
The area around the Marriott Hotel in Copenhagen, Denmark.
A “tubby” boat on a canal in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Pedestrians walking along a canal in Copenhagen, Denmark.
A woman walking her dog near the mall.
At the bridge deck, a total weight of 3.5 tons is allowed.
One can launch off this ramp with a kayak if one so desires…

The other oddity we found was a bride and groom taking wedding photos in front of the brick wall of the mall. We assumed they had been staying at the hotel across from the mall. For some reason, they must have liked the background. For all we know, that may be where they met.

A couple posing for wedding photographs outside the Fisketorvet Shopping Mall in Copenhagen, Denmark.

In the mall, we stumbled upon the salon, Simply the Beth. The owner, Beth, had time to cut Leslie’s hair. She shared that the name of the salon was a play on the Tina Turner lyric, “simply the best.”

The haircut in Copenhagen.
The Grand View???  I took this quickly because of the juxtaposition as we entered the shopping mall.
A sculpture of a shoal of fish in the Fisketorvet Shopping Mall.

Back at the hotel, we went to a happy hour in the Executive Lounge. I saw a beer in a bottle that appealed to me. I wanted to be able to place the label in my journal. As I took a sip or two, I could tell the beer tasted funny by my standards. Although I am illiterate with Danish, I saw the word on the label that clued me into the odd reaction of my liver, “alkoholfri.” That is Danish for “alcohol-free.” I sat that down and got a lager instead. It tasted much better, and my liver was much relieved.
For dinner that night, we opted to stay in, dining at the Midtown Grill in the hotel. It is a steakhouse. For starters, Leslie chose the smoked blue cheese salad while I selected the hand-salted smoked salmon. The salmon came with lemon wedges, roe, and greens. The salmon was delicious but very rich. Leslie and I decided on the main courses of tenderloin and porterhouse steaks respectively. We thoroughly enjoyed the steaks. As good as the meal was, nothing could have possibly prepared us for dessert, sea buckthorn creme brulee. It was the best creme brulee I have had anywhere on this planet.
The sea buckthorn berry is orange in color and somewhat tart. The berries were pureed in the bottom of the bowl, creme brulee on top of that, and then the very crusty sugar top. The combination of tastes and textures was incredible.
The next morning, Sunday, we began with a coffee on the terrace, overlooking the canal. When we finished, we took a very leisurely stroll to the Rådus, the Copenhagen City Hall.

The knife-edge of the Under Krystallen building in Copenhagen.
Reflection on a fountain near the Under Krystallen building in Copenhagen.
Tourists on a bridge structure near the Marriott Hotel in Copenhagen.
A flower the likes of which I have never seen in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Bicyclists on H. C. Andersens Boulevard in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Statues in front of the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek (Fine Art Museum of Sculpture and Painting in Copenhagen, Denmark.

The flowers planted along the south side of the building were very colorful and beautiful. The building is an imposing brick building, dating from the turn of the 20th century. A tower of nearly 350 feet dominates the redbrick building. The tower has a beautiful clock on all four faces. Above the west entry door is a gilded statue of Bishop Absalon, a 12th Century archbishop from Denmark. It is awe-inspiring because of its size and detail.

A bicycle by the Københavns Rådhus.
Enjoying the sights of Copenhagen.
A flower bed beside the Københavns Rådhus.
More flowers beside the Københavns Rådhus.
A bicycle by the Københavns Rådhus.
A statue at one of the corners of the Københavns Rådhus.
A bay window on the south side of the Københavns Rådhus.
Sun and moon detail on the south side of the Københavns Rådhus.
Another view of the Københavns Rådhus and Rådhuspladsen.
The Bishop Absalon relief is prominent above the entrance to the Københavns Rådhus.
Detail of the Bishop Absalon relief on the Københavns Rådhus.
This relief on the Københavns Rådhus is directly above the Bishop Absalon relief.
A large flower planter in front of the Københavns Rådhus.
Getting just the right photo of some flowers at the Københavns Rådhus (Copenhagen City Hall).
Two odd-looking statues outside Københavns Rådhus (Copenhagen City Hall).
The clock tower on the north side of Københavns Rådhus (Copenhagen City Hall).

At the corner of the Town Hall is a giant statue of Hans Christian Andersen, one of Denmark’s sons. A crowd of tourists swarmed the area, vying for their chance to have a photograph made with the statue. Many of them posed as though they had just found a long-lost cousin.

A tourist posing with Hans Christian Andersen beside the Københavns Rådhus.

City Hall plaza is on the west side of the Radus. That morning, there was a flea market in full swing. It appeared to be specialized in antiques.  Leslie found a topaz necklace that she decided to buy.

The Rådhuspladsen (City Hall Square).
Some of the vendor booths at the flea market.
Shoppers at a flea market at the Rådhuspladsen (Copenhagen City Hall Square).
A lot of signage on the building across from the Rådhuspladsen in Copenhagen, Denmark.

By the time we left the plaza, it still was not quite 10:00. Many of the stores on Frederiksberggade Strøget were not open, and there were not a lot of people around. Within about a half-block, we saw a store with a unique mannequin display of several older men in their underwear. The sign read, “Just let the men stay naked, as long as we girls can shop.”

An odd display… “Just let the men stay naked, as long as we girls can shop.”
The Grand Movie Theater on Mikkel Bryggers Gade in Copenhagen, Denmark.
The Strøget in Copenhagen, Denmark.
The intersection of H. C. Andersens Boulevard and Vesterbrogade in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Two people at a sidewalk cafe in front of the Scandic Palace Hotel in Copenhagen, Denmark.
An eclectic collection of graffiti and posters on two transformers in Copenhagen, Denmark.

As we poked around, looking for a place to have a coffee and wait for things to open, we stumbled across the Hop-On-Hop-Off bus stop. We decided to take the bus, opting to travel the entire route, seeing all 16 stops. Then we could choose where we would like to get off and explore in more depth. The sights we saw included the Liberty Column, the Tivoli Amusement Park, the Christianborg Palace, the Nyhavn District, the Nyborder District, the Trekroner Fort, and the Gefion Fountain.

The Frihedsstøtten (Liberty Column) in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Sculptures at the base of the Frihedsstøtten (Liberty Column) in Copenhagen, Denmark. Construction began in 1792, completed in 1797.
The crowd for Tivoli waiting for the security gates to roll up.
People waiting to enter the Tivoli Amusement Park in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Traffic and bicyclists at an intersection in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Some protest banners on the roundabout in front of Christianborg Palace. The first reads, “Peace is Possible.” The second reads, “War is Terror.”
A group of Segway tourists in the Nyhavn district.
Two colorful bicycles in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Walking onto the Hop-On-Hop-Off bus.
Sightseeing ticket kiosk in Copenhagen, Denmark.
A statue of Bishop Absalon in Copenhagen, Denmark.
The blue-shirt group. I never did figure out who they represented.
The Nyhavn district.
Tourists on the bridge over the canal in the Nyhavn district.
Bicyclists riding on Øster Voldgade crossing Kronprinsessegade in the Nyborder District in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Trekroner Fort in Copenhagen harbor.
The approach of a Hop-On-Hop-Off bus as seen from the bus on which we were riding.
The Gefionspringvandet (Gefion Fountain) in Copenhagen, Denmark.
The Nyhavn district as seen from the Hop-On-Hop-Off bus. Note the Pissoir.
Posters at a construction site across from the Statens Museum for Kunst in Copenhagen, Denmark.
An entry drive to Rosenborg Castle in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Copenhagen is definitely a bicycle culture!
Pedestrians, shops, and bicycles.
Taking a break at the sandwich shop.
Pedestrians crossing the street near the art museum.
Restaurant Shanghai.
A random statue as seen from the Hop-On-Hop-Off bus.
A second random statue as seen from the Hop-On-Hop-Off bus.

We decided to get off in the Nyhavn (pronounced New-Hawn) area for further exploration. Because of bus computer problems, we decided to get off a couple of stops early and walk to Nyhavn. We got turned around once, but we ultimately made it to our destination. The canal from which the area takes its name came into being in the 1670s. For much of its existence, the area played host to drinking establishments, sailors, and prostitutes. On this particular day, there were crowds of tourists enjoying the beautiful weather and the Nyhavn venue for the Copenhagen Jazz Festival. That festival has been an annual occurrence since 1979.
The beauty of Nyhavn is quite striking. On either side of the canal are buildings painted in bright pastels. Each one is three and one-half to four stories high, facing the channel. Above the ground floor businesses are townhome or condo-like residences. I understand the addresses are some of the most sought after and expensive in the city. Peppered throughout the canal are some old boats, adding another layer of character to the scene.

We focused our search for a lunch restaurant on the north side of the canal, the sunny side. The tables and umbrellas along the canal just blended from one business to the next. The only way to tell when one was at a different establishment was to look at the facade of the buildings to see when the paint color changed.
We sat down at a restaurant named 17 Nyhavn. We began with a tall amber beer. In the heat of the day, 82 degrees Fahrenheit, the beer helped quench our thirst. Leslie opted for an avocado salad while I selected the club sandwich and French fries. It was a delightful lunch. That was not necessarily due to the food, but rather the company, the setting, and the jazz tunes lilting through.

A panorama of a tour boat in the Nyhavn district.
A panorama of the Nyhavn district of Copenhagen, Denmark.
The canal in the Nyhavn district.
Tour boats plying the canal in the Nyhavn district.
A public toilet in the Nyhavn district.
Walking by Kongens Nytorv (King’s New Square) on the way to the Nyhavn district.
A very small coffee vendor in the Nyhavn district.
The sidewalk cafes seem to never end in the Nyhavn district.
On the Sunny Side.
Pedestrians and diners along the canal in the Nyhavn district.
A large red boat in the Nyhavn district.
Making a selfie of the ice cream cone in the Nyhavn district.
Sitting for a rest in the Nyhavn district.
People sitting along the canal in the Nyhavn district.
Locks placed by lovers on the bridge over the canal in the Nyhavn district.
A sailboat docked in the Nyhavn district of Copenhagen, Denmark.
A Lamborghini in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Pedestrians looking at Nyhavn from the bridge over the canal.
Bicyclists stopped for a red light in Copenhagen, Denmark.
A woman walking her dog in Copenhagen, Denmark.

After lunch, we decided it was time to go back to the hotel. To get to the bus stop on the other side of the canal, we crossed the short drawbridge. On the bridge, there were several padlocks from lovers pledging themselves to one another. We have seen that in several places throughout Europe.
We caught the bus across the street from the apartment building in which Hans Christian Andersen lived for nearly 20 years. As we waited, we spotted a sign for Lycamoblile, ironically touting an excellent rate to call to Pakistan.

An apartment building in the Nyhavn district in which Hans Christian Andersen once lived.
Inexpensive calls to Pakistan…

A few stops later, the bus stopped for a break at the Little Mermaid statue. It is a very famous statue. I decided to get off and take a photograph while Leslie opted to stay on board. The icon is tiny and unimposing. That lends more credence to why the guide books say many people see the statue and claim, “Is that all there is?” Much like the Hans Christian Andersen statue, there were crowds of tourists vying to have their picture made with her. Regardless of her impact, I did get a refrigerator magnet to remind us of our trip there.

The Little Mermaid statue in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Tourists flocking around the Little Mermaid statue in Copenhagen, Denmark.
A tourist trinket vendor near the Little Mermaid statue.

We got off the bus directly in front of our hotel. We immediately went inside for a nap. We were both more worn out than we thought.
Leslie’s mom and aunt arrived in Copenhagen on Monday. Before they arrived, we walked back to the mall to do some shopping. Just before the mall is a bridge strictly for bicycles, it is known as Cykelslangen or Cycle Snake. It is a curvy, fun way for cyclists to cross the canals.

The Cykelslangen in Copenhagen.
A woman riding on the Cykelslangen in Copenhagen.
A woman walking under the Cykelslangen in Copenhagen.

On Tuesday afternoon, we all boarded the Regal Princess cruise ship for our Baltic cruise. Leslie and I booked a suite with a balcony. We were delighted with our accommodations.

The Danish flag flying on the Regal Princess.
One of the hallways to the cabins on the Regal Princess.
The yet-to-open casino on the Regal Princess.
A ship being assisted by tug boats in the Copenhagen harbor.
A Danish naval patrol boat.
A yacht flying a Norwegian flag passing the Regal Princess.
The Brilliance of Seas cruise ship approaches.
The Brilliance of the Seas cruise ship in the Copenhagen harbor.
The Brilliance of the Seas.
The Brilliance of the Seas departing Copenhagen harbor.
Walking over the edge of the Regal Princess.

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