Day 3 – 8/29 – Copenhagen – Scandic Hotel
After a good nights sleep we woke refreshed to a cool cloudy, refreshing day in Copenhagen. Our hotel is across from city hall, near Tivoli (the amusement park which inspired Disneyland) and most importantly, across the street from the hop on hop off bus stop.
After breakfast (I am always fascinated when a buffet is set up to accommodate an international clientele – bacon & eggs for Americans, cereals and porridge for the Scandinavians, baked beans and sausages for the Brits) we crossed the street, dodging the speeding bicycles, and bought a two day ticket on the bus, which included 3 different bus routes, a boat route, and a train route. For those who have followed our travels, you probably tire of me mentioning the hop on hop off busses, but they have become the mainstay of our port transportation. You could easily spend 10 times the cost on taxi fares and local transit is normally impractical. Occasionally the ships tours are an alternative, but the hop a bus is our choice when available. They make a circuit of the spots a tourist would want to see, provide English translation, and are now in almost every port.
We set off on our tour. One of the first things we passed was the Tivoli amusement park, a block from our hotel, which is over 100 years old and supposedly served as the inspiration to Walt Disney for Disneyland.
As you travel through Copenhagen you cant help but notice the huge number of bicycles. Given the flat terrain, and the cost of cars, it is by far the most common mode of travel. There are bike lanes everywhere, sometimes in the street and sometimes on the sidewalk. One needs to stay very alert or get run over.
Traveling through the city the variety of architecture is apparent – from ancient castles to modern – all are represented.
Many of the older, elaborate structures including the palace (now the Parliament building) were built during the reign of King Christian, who inherited the throne at age nine, and assumed power at age 19. He built much of the city during his lifetime, leaving a legacy of beauty, but spent the country into bankruptcy by his death.
We boarded our “hop a boat” for a tour through the canals and waterfront.
We passed by the “Little Mermaid”, the most famous sculpture in Copenhagen, and perhaps the most visited tourist site.
The boat passed under a dozen or so low bridges – some so low they took the windshield down and everyone had to bend down in their seats to avoid decapitation.
Crossing the main channel, we entered the area of Christiana which was originally built by King Christian to house the members of his government, but none of them wanted move there so the lots were given gratis to merchants who wanted to set up businesses there. In the sixties it turned into a hippie commune, and to this day exists as a sort of “alternate” world, with its own laws and practices. “What to do about Christiania” seems to be an ongoing issue with the government.
Here is a shot of King Christian’s Palace followed by one of his brewery (it is good to be king).
We departed the boat and waited for our bus. Sometimes plain language is the best.
Rejoining the bus, we traveled around to a stop near our hotel and went to Rosie McGhee’s Irish Mexican Pub for cold beer and chicken nachos.
Tomorrow we board the ship.