A Travellerspoint blog

Copenhagen, Denmark to Amsterdam - Tuesday, 5 January 2016

The long journey home begins

snow -2 °C

Well today is the beginning of the long journey home. Flying to Amsterdam where we will stay overnight in the Schiphol Airport Hotel, Citizen M, and then commence the long haul tomorrow.

While we were at breakfast this morning, it started to snow - only lightly at first and horizontal as a very strong wind was blowing. It got heavier but has now stopped. We are being picked up at 12.20 pm for our transfer to the airport.

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Phil now has a cold and has described our White Christmas as climbing Everest! (as if he's ever done that or likely to!), but meaning we took a huge effort to arrive at the location, could only stay a little while (or we would have died in the cold) and then commenced the long descent. Very poetic, isn't he?

Our driver arrived 30 minutes early so we headed off for the airport in a lovely black Mercedes limo. Not much traffic and the sun is now shining but it's still pretty cold outside, though the wind has died down some and it is definitely not as cold as yesterday. Our driver, Chris, was in his early sixties and had come to Copenhagen from California with his parents when he was 9. His parents were Danish.

We found the check in desk for Scandavian Airlines and all economy class passengers have to check in on line. "We're not good with machines", we said to the attendant, so she did it for us. Very nice lady. Then we took our bags over to the bag drop section and checked them through to Amsterdam. Of course, we forgot to push the English button and consequently couldn't work out what was going on. My bag was under the required weight, but still a bit heavy, so it had to have a "heavy" tag on it. My lovely new overcoat has bumped my weight up. Using the grey hair tag again, attendants rush to help us. All done, time to go Duty Free shopping.

As this is the most expensive place in the world, duty free is still dearer than Sydney, where we will buy stuff on our return. Then we don't have to carry it. Phil has bought some Scotch that will travel home in his check in luggage.

We had a lovely lunch. Warm crunchy rolls - mine was rare beef and Phil's was seafood. They were the nicest rolls I have ever tasted. Then to another cafe for our final hot chocolate and Danishes.

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Boarded our flight on time and it is only half full. We arrive at our row and find people sitting in our seats. The queue behind us had to wait while the guy got out of the seat, got his carry on down from the overhead locker and then realised his family were supposed to be sitting on the other side of the aisle in D, E, F. Problem solved and we settled down for our one hour flight to Amsterdam. Smooth flight. Phil slept all the way and I read my new book, The Scavenger's Daughters - a Chinese novel about the time after the Cultural Revolution and a scavanger who keeps finding abandoned baby girls and brings them home for he and his wife to raise. I'm enjoying it very much. There are four books in the series.

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Walked the short walk to the Citizen M Schipohl Airport hotel and checked in. This time we have a room overlooking the airport and our toilet and shower are in cubicles in the centre of the room and you have to completely close the shower doors for the water to work. This hotel is so modern and minimalist, but totally functional, especially for a one night stay airport hotel.

Early night tonight to prepare for our long journey tomorrow.

Posted by gaddingabout 11:24 Archived in Denmark Comments (0)

Copenhagen, Denmark - Monday, 4 January 2016

Free day in Copenhagen

sunny -4 °C

What a difference a week makes!

Last week when we were here, it was overcast but the temperature was quite mild, about 2 or 3 degrees. Now a week later, the sun is shining but it's minus 3 degrees but there is a horrific wind blowing from Siberia. It is supposed to be a wind chill factor of minus 8, but it feels like minus 88! We are absolutely freezing. Everyone is walking around with their hands in their pockets and the hoods of their parkas pulled down over their faces. It is not nice. We have decided to give Tivoli a miss. It would not be pleasant in this wind. We will have to come back one summer and fight the crowds.

We got on the Hop On Hop Off bus this morning and did a tour of the sites and were very glad we were sitting in a warm, air conditioned bus. Our main purpose was to get off at The Little Mermaid and take her photo front on, which we did. Thank goodness the Hop On Hop Off bus stops here for 10 minutes, which allows people long enough take a photo and then get back on. At least we didn't have to wait in the wind for half an hour for the next bus. I will never complain about a Canberra winter ever again!

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Lovely harbour views near the Little Mermaid.

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The constructiion of these historic houses began in 1631 and finished in 1775. Christian IV wanted them built to house the sailors and their families of the growing Royal Danish Navy. They were originally red and white.

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An artistic photo!

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More artistic photos.

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This building was completed in 1886 to serve as a venue for circus performances. The last circus performance was held in 1990. The building is now used as a function venue.

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This bank building is affectionally known as The Crystal Building. The glass skinned, faceted form touches down on the plaza on three points, giving the impression that it is floating. People walk in the plaza underneath the building. It is 25% more eco friendly than any other building in Copenhagen.

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This black and gold spire on the Church of Our Saviour is 90 metres high and the external staircase winds four times around it. There is an urban myth that when the architect realised that the staircase was going in an anti clockwise direction, he committed suicide. Not true. He died in his bed of a heart attack seven years later. The carillion at the top plays melodies every hour from 8am to midnight.

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We found our favourite little coffee shop and had another hot chocolate and Danish pastries. Comfort food!

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We then walked to the Hans Christian Andersen statue which is quite close to our hotel and took some photos.

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We decided to spend the rest of the afternoon in the warmth and comfort of our lovely hotel room - blogging, reading, resting and packing for our flight to Amsterdam tomorrow. This is the view from our balcony. The building is the Main Town Hall. Our hotel, the Scandic Palace, is in a great position. This column was erected in 1911 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Carlsberg brewery. It took three years to construct.

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We had a small "incident" some time during the night. We both woke up in the middle of the night to hear a banging / tapping noise, like someone was trying to get in our door. Phil got up and had a look but couldn't see anything. Then not long after that, we heard a different sound, like scratching. Not sure what it was, but it was a bit scary. I'm glad He Man Phil was there with me. I would have freaked out if I had been in the room on my own.

Phil just received an email from the Clarion Hotel Sign in Stockholm saying that we owe them about $80 because of our room upgade. Uuh! News to us. On arrival they did say we had been upgraded but no mention was made of an extra cost. Also, when we checked out, nothing was said about anything owing.

Went to an Irish Pub for dinner. It is still freezing outside but the wind has died down a lot. People are still rugged up like they are going to the North Pole.

Bought a lovely Italian overcoat on the way home from dinner. It will get many outings to the Canberra Theatre in winter.

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Posted by gaddingabout 10:13 Archived in Denmark Comments (0)

Stockholm to Copenhagen, Denmark - Sunday, 3 January 2016

Scenic Rail Journey to Denmark

overcast -5 °C

Up early this morning as we are catching the train to Copenhagen at 10.21 am.

We were the first into breakfast at 7.30 am and what a difference that makes. Not the hustle and bustle of yesterday. Just us and the Mums and Dads with little kids. We made a couple of ham rolls for our lunch on the train and also took some cheese and bickies to have with our bottle of red. Just as well we have some food, because they just made an announcement that the bistro on the train is only accepting cash, and not credit cards, and we don't have any Swedish currency. We have coped very well with just a credit card. Saves mucking around getting local currency and then changing it back.

Because yesterday we found the shortcut to the station, it was a quick, easy walk there this morning. We sat on the platform for about an hour waiting for the train. It was freezing, minus 5, but we had our thermals and Antarctic coats on, so we were okay. It will be minus 4 when we arrive in Copenhagen, and dark, at 3.35 pm. At the railway station, they kept making announcements in Swedish, not followed up by English, so we have no idea what they were saying. But we do know we are on the train to Copenhagen.

The train is almost full, and once again we find ourselves not facing the way we are going. Bad for motion sickness princess -ME! We asked the conductor were there any spare seats facing the right way and he said we could move to two until the 12.15 pm stop, when some people will get on and we'll have to move back to our original seats. Thankful for small mercies!

Our wonderful winter wonderland holiday is almost coming to an end as we are now back tracking on the homeward leg. It has been fabulous to see how the other half live. So dark and cold. It certainly takes a certain type of person to live in these conditions and we know that's not us,

It's now 11am and the sun is sort of shining (very faintly) and we are whizzing through a snowy landscape on the train from Stockholm to Copenhagen.

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It's snowing ever so lightly.

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This is one of the best photos I have taken this trip and from a moving train!

About half way through the trip, the train came to a halt and sat there for about 50 minutes. An announcement was made that there was something wrong with the points up ahead but they were working on them and they should be fixed soon. They were and we continued on but didn't make up any time and we arrived in Copenhagen at 4.30 pm - an hour late.

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Had a little snooze after lunch and when I woke up the countryside had changed to this. No more winter wonderland.

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This is the town of Lund.

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We had to walk a couple of blocks to our hotel which normally would be okay, however this evening there is an icy wind blowing and it is just cruel. My face was aching by the time we got to the hotel. Phil didn't have any gloves on and he thinks he has frost bite!!! Give me a break! At least there is no ice on the ground for him to slip over in!!

Anyway, we have a lovely room on the first floor at the front of the hotel, with our very own balcony overlooking the square, a huge bathroom with a bath and a dressing room.

We braved the winds from Siberia and went down the street for some dinner. We ended up at an Irish Pub called Streeters and I had soup and Phil had a Danish speciality which consisted of chopped up potatoes and meat and a fried egg. It was very tasty; a bit like Australian bubble and squeak. At the end of our meal, he was carrying our beer glasses back to the bar, missed the two steps, and went rolling on the floor, for the third time this trip. Does he have a death wish, or what? He doesn't seem to have hurt himself, but I guess time will tell!

Posted by gaddingabout 10:27 Archived in Sweden Comments (0)

Stockholm, Sweden - Saturday, 2 January 2016

Stunning Stockholm

snow -4 °C

We had a great sleep last night. All the beds in our hotels have been so comfortable and just the right temperature. Also, we are becoming very sleepy and lazy and don't want to get out of bed in the morning, because it is still dark at 9 am. Thank goodness we are not on a guided tour where we would have to be up and at 'em quite early. This climate lends inself to indoor activities, which means sleeping in, relaxing and eating.

This hotel, the Clarion Hotel Sign (weird name) is the same group of hotels that we stayed in in Oslo. The Oslo hotel was great. This one is VERY different. The rooms are very Swedish. Modern, minimalist and Swedish design but it seems to have a rock/pop music theme. For example, there is an electric guitar hanging from the roof of the lift! There are a lot of young people staying in the hotel. We feel like Grandpa and Grandma Button. Breakfast is funny too. I have never eaten breakfast with so many people in a hotel in all my life. They are everywhere and it is really hard to find a seat. The staff don't take you to a table. They just throw you in the deep end and you have to fend for yourselves. There are people everywhere.

We had breakfast this morning at 9am, but tomorrow we'll have to be earlier so maybe there won't be so many people down there. We need to be at the train station at about 9.30 am ish to catch our train to Copenhagen.

After breakfast this morning, we were lazing around in our room, deciding what we would do for the four hours of daylight that we had, when it started to snow. And it snowed and it snowed and it snowed. It was just beautiful.

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We put on as many clothes as we could (and still move). How glad we are that we have our Antarctic jackets. They have been worth their weight in gold in this part of the world in winter. I even remembered to put feet warmers in my shoes and hand warmers in my pockets today. All set for sub zero temperatures in the snow.

We decided to do the Hop On Hop Off Bus Tour because it is really cold and we need to see as much of this beautiful city as we can in the short time we have here. We found the short cut to the Central Railway Station, which eluded us last night, but at least we now know how to get there expeditiously tomorrow morning.

We hopped on the Hop On Hop Off Bus and stayed on for the round trip, which took an hour and a half. It was really interesting and passed some really fantastic buildings. It is still snowing. We decided to stay on and do the trip again from the other side of the bus to see the buildings we missed the first time around. It is too cold to be outside walking around and a lot of things are closed because it is Saturday, 2 January. Holiday time.

This is a really beautiful city and one we must come back to in summer. There is so much to see and do.

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It snowed most of the day and is just beautiful. It started to get dark at about 3 pm and then for one tiny minute, the sun came out. The first sun we have seen for two weeks. Dark by 3.30 pm.

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We arrived back at our hotel by 4 pm and collected our bottle of bubbly from the bar where is was chilling and brought it to our room and drank it before we head out for dinner. We are going Turkish again.

Stockholm is the same as Oslo in that there are not many signs in English. Thank goodness most people speak English!

Walked around the corner to our Turkish Restaurant for dinner and got hit in the face with snow flakes! It is freezing here!

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Posted by gaddingabout 10:40 Archived in Sweden Comments (0)

Oslo, Norway to Stockholm, Sweden - Friday, 1 January 2016

Norway to Sweden by Train

overcast 0 °C

Watched the New Year fireworks from our room and then had trouble going to sleep. Up at 7.00 am and down for breakfast, packed up and walked over to the railway station. We gave ourselves plenty of time and I found the same railway attendant whom we spoke with the other day. Our train to Stockholm was not appearing on the Departures Board, so he rang his supervisor who told him that the board had to be rebooted. It was and we learned that our train was leaving from Platform 15 at 10.56 am. We had to find Carriage 4 and Seats 37 and 38. A lot of us were standing on the platform trying to identify Carriage 4 as there were no numbers on them and then miraclously a digital 4 appeared on the side of the carriage and we all piled in.

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There were seats facing both ways and horror of horrors, ours weren't facing the way we were going. Anyway we started off facijg the wrong way but I started to feel motion sick so we moved to two seats facing the right way. We had about five stops along the way and I was really worried that we would be sitting in someone else's seats. But when the conductor came along, we told him the problem and he said we could stay where we were as no one had booked them.

The train trip from Oslo to Stockholm was about 5 hours and it was so magical. We were riding through the country side, covered with snow. It was beautiful and then it started to snow, quite heavily. All the houses are painted in a very dark red, some deep yellow and some black and they all were covered in snow. The branches of the trees were covered with snow. It was just so pretty. Just like a picture on a post card.

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These photos just don't do this lovely scenery justice. We are going too fast for the tablet to focus, but the beautiful snowy landscape is imprinted on my mind. As enchanting as this Christmas landscape is, there is no way I could live here. Day break at 11 am and dark at 3.30 pm. The locals spend a lot of time indoors.

We got into Stockholm at 4.00 pm and it was pitch black and freezing. The receptionist at the Clarion in Oslo told us it wasn't very far to walk to the Clarion in Stockholm but no one at the station seemed to know where it was. We finally got directions and walked a long way, dragging our bags in the freezing cold. The receptionist in Stockholm told us she would tell us about a short cut when we have to go back to the station in a couple of days.

We have a nice room - very Swedish - overlooking the square which is covered in snow.

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We walked a couple of blocks to a Turkish Restaurant for dinner. It was fresh and lovely. Now to plan some activities for our day in Stockholm tomorrow.

Posted by gaddingabout 10:51 Archived in Sweden Comments (0)

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