Originally published on 20 May 2014.
It’s time for the honeymoon of a lifetime! So, where do two avid travellers go on their honeymoon? Where is the dollar strongest? Where is the most beautiful place? What kind of food do we want? The biggest question for us was, “Where have we never been?”
And that’s how we came to that decision. Steve has had it on his travel list for quite some time now, and I’d never been either! I’m not one for a cold climate, but once I found out Disney’s Frozen was based there, I was 100% onboard!
So, where to in Scandinavia? Which countries technically make up Scandinavia? (Denmark, Norway, and Sweden) Where do we start? I gave honeymoon planning entirely over to my Love (Steve), since I took care of the wedding plans. What a load off! And here we are to tell the tale, starting in Hans Christian Andersen’s home country, one of the happiest countries in the world, and the Land of Legos: Copenhagen, Denmark! Fun Fact: Denmark is the oldest kingdom still in existence—all the way since 995 AD!
So what’s there to see in Denmark? Well, most importantly, The Little Mermaid!
We went for a run almost as soon as we checked in, having spent the better part of 18 hours in airports and on planes. After figuring out the public transportation system (FYI, all tickets can be used for any public transit—woohoo!), we found our hotel, saw lots of cool old buildings along the way, and checked in. We stayed at The Admiral Hotel, which is in an old warehouse right on the water, with beautiful sea views! They maintained the old exposed beams and really utilized the space very well. Since we were on our honeymoon, they upgraded us to a room on the top floor with a loft that overlooked the water—quite beautiful!
After a visit with the little mermaid, we ran around to see some parks and gardens (their flowers bloomed beautifully, even in the chill!), an old fortress along the waterfront, many many many statues, and even a large replica of Noah’s Ark! Who knew Denmark was home to the Ark?
The next morning dawned before we did, but we caught up swiftly! Let’s go see the sights! Even with an overcast sky and the threat of rain, Steve and I got to see some very beautiful and historic things. The Danes have several very beautiful gardens going on in Copenhagen. My favorites, of course, were the multitudes of tulips! Steve’s favorite part was his new friend:
Steve was in charge of the guidebook, so he directed our route. First must-see: The Marble Church, also called Frederik’s Church. While quite lovely and peaceful, it’s made of granite, not marble—so don’t let the name fool you!
The roof is copper, like so many buildings here and throughout Europe, with the green making it stand out on the skyline. The first stone was placed in 1749, at the request of King Frederik V. A series of budget cuts (times have not changed) and the death of the architect delayed the project until at long last it was completed in 1894!
Walking around, seeing sights, and looking for postcards is pretty exhausting work, so what’s next on our list? Lunchtime! My Danish friend Kim told me that the Danish love their open-face sandwiches, and wouldn’t you know they were on the menu at the fancy café we found! Steve got the chicken club, but I went full-on Scandinavian and got the salmon!
Yeah, it was a little bigger than I anticipated! But it sure was good. Interestingly, they put sauce (heavy mayo-based) on the plate so that the sandwich sat in it, and also inside the sandwich. It was definitely a fork-and-knife endeavor!
Now that we were refueled, it was time to be about our business! Next stop, Rosenborg Slot—also known as Rosenborg Castle. Unfortunately for us, it was closed for a private event, which was disappointing because Kim told me it was the #1 thing we needed to see, but the grounds outside were open, so we did get to see the gardens!
Onward to the Rundetårn, or Round Tower—aptly named because it is, indeed, round and a tower! It was originally built as an observatory in 1642 by Christian IV. Up and up and up the ramp we walked. Legend has it Christian IV rode up there on horseback, and history says that Russian Czar Peter the Great also rode up to the top on horseback, pulling his wife behind him in a two-wheeled carriage! Steve and I chose to walk. It’s 34.8 meters from ground to observatory platform (just over 114 feet, approximately 11 ½ stories), but there are a few lookout points along the way. One of which has “Kyssebaenken” written on the wall. The view from the top was just beautiful—all those green rooftops, the sea, the boats, the brightly colored buildings, the trees—we loved it!
Next up: City Hall! This was also high on the “must-see” list in the guidebook, and for good reason. It is quite elaborate and ornate, both inside and out.
Outside on the town square, right next to Hans Christian Andersen Boulevard, is Hans Christian Andersen himself! Steve and I made friends with him. He was great!
Moving right along, just across the H.C. Andersen Boulevard, is Tivoli, the world second oldest amusement park! THE oldest amusement park is also in Denmark, about 10 miles out of town. No wonder this is one of the happiest countries in the world! Had it been warmer and not threatening rain, we would have gone in, but as it was, we took a couple of pictures from the outside and peered through the gates.
And speaking of moving right along, the last thing we NEEDED to see was the world’s largest pedestrian street: Strøget! The pedestrian street originated in the 1960s to preserve some of Copenhagen’s historic streets from the cars that were becoming more and more popular. It’s lined with shops and restaurants for 100,000 square meters, which is nearly 330,000 square feet! Walking along, we were really in for an unplanned treat… The Danish Royal Navy Band happened to be giving a free performance! We sat and listened for a while, enjoying familiar tunes, including English songs!
Back to the hotel for dinner. The restaurant there is called SALT, which is something the Scandinavians (and especially the Danes!) enjoy and use in large amounts on EVERYTHING! Rhubarb was a common ingredient in many of the dishes. Also, I’d been seeing “cockle” on several menus and was so curious about what it was. So, I decided to branch out and try something new. I needed to try this cockle!
Word to the wise: “cockle” is fancy Scandinavian terminology for “chicken.” But delicious chicken! As a matter of fact it might have been the best chicken I’ve ever eaten! And I never would have thought to pair chicken and rhubarb—yum!
And for dessert? Why, rhubarb porridge, of course!
The next morning, I went in search of the one Danish food I simply must eat while in Denmark—the Danish. Or Viennese, as the Danes call it. Who’d have thought? Unfortunately, my search was in vain. There were no danishes anywhere to be found! Or at least not in the bakeries I saw. So I “settled” for a chocolate croissant and a mocha in a most charming little coffee shop! Steve went for a run while I was searching for Danish. That’s what we do.
And we’re off to the airport once more! Where we sat until our flight to Bergen was cancelled! Luckily, we got on the next flight out, just an hour and a half later—whew! Please join us for our “Frozen” Bergen adventure! Next stop: Norway!