Tuesday, September 30, 2014

#rtw2012 - Copenhagen

This is one in a series of posts about my recent round-the-world (RTW) trip, all collected under the #rtw2012 label. You may wish to read them in order for context and background.



From Stockholm, I took a quick shuttle flight to Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark.  It's quick and easy flight, landing in a silent airport. What a great innovation that is. The quiet is really nice. Given that a few months ago I was sitting right next to the flight gate and didn't hear the (alleged) boarding announcement, I'm a big fan of silent airports.




The silent airport is followed by a clean, fast, efficient, robot-driven tram ride to the middle of town, emerging in Kongens Nytorv. Once again, riding this tram, I was reminded how poorly the US does on public transporation :(




From there, I walked to my hotel, the Admiral Hotel right on the water. The hotel was nice, efficient, and friendly. It's not in the top hotels I've ever visited, but not bad at all.




The walk from Kongens Nytorn to the hotel involves passing through the world famous Nyhavn, a canal-front area of the city, filled with bars and restaurants. Every single time I passed through it, all times of day and night, it was packed and had a great atmosphere. I really enjoyed spending time in this area.




I didn't spend much time at the hotel, mostly walking around this beautiful, clean city. The round tower, Rundetårn, is a fun attraction. The famous hot dog stand next to it, DØP, definitely lives up to the hype, delivering one of the best hot dogs I've ever had.











The Strøget is probably the most famous pedestrian area in town, a long meandering street full of shops and restaurants. I walked up and down this street several times over my days in Copenhagen. It was always packed, probably thanks to the beautiful weather, and made for great people-watching.


It was this crowded all the time.


The standard unexpectedly-packed Italian restaurant.

Abercrombie, same all over the world.





As always on these trips, free wifi is a good find. This was one of the times where Foursquare came to the rescue, really showing its potential, since (sadly) ruined by the split into the Swarm and Foursquare apps. Ranting aside, I was walking down the street, when Foursquare alerted me to a tip left by a friend (thanks, Maia!) who had been there before, about a record store with free wifi.



I had to visit Tivoli Gardens, such an old and famous amusement park. It was lovely, and full of people. The rides are small and cute. It was impressive to see how efficiently the compact park grounds are used, especially compared to some far-larger parks I'd visited in the past. Definitely worth a visit even if you don't want to ride any of the attractions.





It might be Danish, but it's clear enough.




Really close to all the rides, including this mini roller-coaster.

Like, really really close :)



Let's play "guess who's the tourist!"





Got enough cotton candy there?

Well-hidden, packed beer garden row.


The back row of beer gardens in the park is also well-organized and well-placed. It was full, needless to say, adults taking a break from their kids, presumably.

Like most towns, Copenhagen has its share of funny business names. Maybe I was more observant in Copenhagen, but I stumbled upon a few entertaining places, shown below. Spicilicious? That Corner? Spunk? Earl the Pearl? :)






Not Boston's Upper Crust.

Earl the Pearl?






Really?






The city hall was fine, nothing to write home about. I stopped in mainly to visit Jens Olsen's World Clock, which was mildly cool, worth the visit.



1105 was not just my favorite cocktail bar in Copenhagen, it's one of the top 10 I've ever visited. The Senor Hanzi was maybe the best single cocktail I had on my entire #rtw2012 trip.






Ruby was another good cocktail lounge. I liked their little window garden(s), where they plucked herbs to use when making the drinks.

The entrance to Ruby. Don't ring the embassy...




One of several planters whose herbs are used in drinks.

Fugu (Freddy's Unique Garden Union) was a bit hazy, as I didn't get there until very late, though it was still packed. It's safe to say Copenhagen has a rocking, world-class cocktail scene.



Leaving Fugu late at night.

Finally, Union, another speakeasy-style place, was decent. I don't recall anything special about this place, besides the difficulty locating the right door, so it probably wasn't amazing.

Ring the "Gold" bell for Union.

Brwpub, and its Brewfather beer, were an excellent mid-afternoon stop. They had a really nice snack menu and great service.








Running along the waterfront was great. I went for a morning run almost every day. Highly recommended, safe, wide, clean paths.



I watched the changing of the guard at the palace, and then went into Amalienborg (the palace complex) itself. It's not big, but the tour ended up being fun because I ran into a grandfather teaching his granddaughter English, and he asked for my help. So we traded vocab, improving my Danish roughly 100x :)




Hey, finally some guards.




Seems like most churches are under construction when visited...

Nice modern architecture here and there.
I went clubbing a couple of nights night, covering the relatively famous Culture Box, the less famous Warehouse (now closed apparently), and Karel. All had great people, and people-watching

Culture Box.

Warehouse (during the day obviously).

Dress to party with ... and new relationships.



The King's Park, Kongens Have, is really nice. Like everything in this city, it's clean and organized. There are plenty of quiet shaded corners. There's a small old castle, now a museum, in the middle, Rosenborg Castle. It's not the most outstanding castle I've ever seen, but it's a quick tour, worth the stop for the armory alone.





Chillin'




I wish I had a clear, focused picture of this saddle.











Castle lineage.

Stairs out of the treasury.



Copenhagen has plenty of great food besides the street hot dogs mentioned above. I did manage to dine at noma, the world's top-rated restaurant by at least a couple of publications for at least a couple of years. I thought it was excellent, but over-rated. In fact, it wasn't even my favorite meal in the city. Having been to Alinea before, and the Fat Duck since, among other places, I don't think noma is in the same category.



Fiskebaren was my favorite meal in Copenhagen, one of the best of my trip overall. A really fun evening tasting a variety of items in a great setting full of fun people. I also really enjoyed the open-faced small sandwiches at Aamann's, highly-recommended by locals. Summerbird is also worth a mention for their chocolate balls (flodbollen), which were amazing.

Outside Fiskebaren.










The botanical gardens were OK, not amazing, but a fun little tour. More fun was the pub run tour, offered by Copenhagen Running Tours, a fun group. The Jewish museum was surprisingly excellent, not big but fascinating and well-organized.







Overall, Copenhagen was a ton of fun, and I'd love to visit again. Everyone was friendly, everything was clean and organized, I really enjoyed it.