Friday, August 05, 2011

Exploring Copenhagen

We thought we'd spend our first day in Denmark's capital just wandering about and orienting ourselves. We followed a route in the handy tourist map which goes from the main station to the Little Mermaid and back. It's supposed to take three hours but what with stops for this and that it took us more than five, which may have been a bit too long.

The S-tog (urban train) from Svanemølle was efficient and very quick, once we had found the station which is only about 10 minutes' walk from the boat. It was a quiet, warm, rather grey morning with poor visibility, so we were glad to be exploring rather than sailing.

The route took us through the Latin Quarter and along some quieter shopping streets to an amazing music shop, where Ben bought a pair of long-desired Sennheiser headphones and Sam very nearly bought a travel guitar, and we discovered that the shop lost more than a million krone-worth of stock when their basement flooded in the rain which we escaped while were in Wulkow.

Then on to the delightful Kongens Have (Royal Gardens) where we enjoyed iced coffee at the Hercules Pavilion. Ben, as a classics student, is very taken by the classical statuary all over the city.

Sam lived in Copenhagen for a year more than 30 years ago and we went to look at his flat in Olfert Fischers Gade. As we photographed him next to the sign, a Dane appeared from nowhere to ask (in perfect English) if he could tell us anything about the building, or the neighbourhood. It was a great chance for Sam to blether a bit. In fact Copenhagen has changed of course since he was here, and memories fade, so he remembers some things in the wrong places or looking quite different.

On through the Kastellet, which although continuously in military use since 1660 manages to be very pretty. Ben, who was already delighted by the green grass in the parks and the headphone shop, was so impressed with the cleanliness of the public toilets he asked if we could all move to Copenhagen. This is a very different boy from the one who loathed cities five years ago on our Mediterranean voyage.

Of course we had to visit the Little Mermaid, who is actually very little indeed and slightly uncomfortably perched just a few feet offshore. By this time it was starting to drizzle slightly and was definitely well past lunchtime, so we hastened down through the royal palace to the picturesque Nyhavn canal, where we went totally touristy and ate smørrebrød under big umbrellas (you even get a blanket) while watching the world go by.

Finally in slightly heavier drizzle we came back along the "walking street", the top shopping area, and managed not to buy anything at all, perhaps because we were all a bit weary, although we did admire the Lego shop.

We got back to the boat to find that our green board had gone red. This means that the berth occupant is due back some time quite soon, but we had no indication of whether it would be tomorrow or later. Actually this is the first time this has happened to us. Possibly this marina is more efficient, or possibly it signifies the approaching end of the Danish (and north German) summer holidays. Anyway we walked about a bit and eventually found a suitable berth which says it's free until 14 August, and moved over. Interestingly Svanemølle charges and controls berths by width rather than length, and all the other free berths we saw were much too narrow for our 3.5 metre beam.

Distance today: about 200 metres.

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