Canal cruise and Tivoli Gardens

On Monday we had breakfast at the hotel and the headed to Ved Stranden to buy tickets for a canal cruise. As the boat that was about to take off was a covered boat I asked the person at the ticket booth when the next open boat would leave which was in around 30 minutes, so we had a coffee at a nearby Espresso House and boarded the boat at 11 am. There was a little bar at the dock where you could purchase refreshments to take onboard (soft drinks, water, beer, etc.) but we opted not to. The cruise was equipped with an audio guide in several languages but there was also a live guide on board who provided us with some additional/alternative information. The tour lasted one hour and was a great way to see the city from the water.

Ready to set off on the cruise
The Little Mermaid statue attracts loads of tourists
Many interesting abodes can be seen on the shores of Christiania
There is a copy of the statue of David outside
Den Kongelige Afstøbningssamling
Church of our Saviour whose serpentine spire was inaugurated in 1752.
The Marble Church and Amalienborg
The Black Diamond is an extension to the Royal Danish Library on Slotsholmen.

Once we returned to Ved Stranden we decided to walk to Torvehallerne for a spot of lunch. We chose to share a margherita pizza with tomato, buffallo mozzarella, cherry tomato, basil oil and fresh basil at Gorm’s Pizza. The pizza was tasty but could have used a bit more spice. We also had ice cream at Is à Bella. We shared two scoops in a cup, pistachio and lime and they were super delicious. We also stopped by Exotic Mix that sells various nuts, seeds and dried fruits, and bought a couple of bags of nuts to take home.

Pizza for lunch
Is á Bella’s selection

After lunch we hopped on the metro and headed out to explore Nørrebro. We strolled around, stopped for some refreshments and slowly made our way back to the hotel. In the evening we went to explore Tivoli Gardens. We decided to buy only entrance tickets without any ride access. The area is really nice with lovely buildings, beautiful flower installations, fountains, thrilling rides and some 40 places to eat. We ended up having dinner at Italia – La Vecchia Signora. I had a La Caprese salad to start and hubby tried the Carpaccio, both were delicious. We opted for the same main: Ravioli ai Funghi al Burro e Salvia (mushroom filled ravioli with a butter and sage sauce), delizioso! When we were finished eating the sun had set and we got to enjoy Tivoli at its best, all lit up with various light installations.

Tivoli houses some peafowls
Inside Tivoli Gardens
A snack to tie us over to dinner
Waterfront restaurants at Tivoli
Tivoli at night
Tivoli at night
Tivoli at night
Tivoli at night
Tivoli entrance

In the next post we will visit Nyhavn and the Marble Church.

Nothing was rotten in the state of Denmark

I had some vacation days that I had to use before the end of April and as hubby had enough frequent flyer points to get us two return flights within the Nordic countries we decided to take a short vacation in Copenhagen, Denmark.

We arrived early on Sunday morning, took the train into town, dropped off our bags at the hotel (The Square/) and headed out to explore the surroundings. We decided to walk to Rundetaarn or the Round Tower. The tower was inaugurated in 1642 making it the oldest functioning observatory in Europe. It is most noted for its equestrian staircase, a 7.5-turn helical corridor leading to the platform at the top at 34.8 meters above ground, and for the expansive views which it affords over Copenhagen. By the time we got back to street level we were hungry so we decided to go get something to eat. A place I wanted to visit called Paludan Bogcafé was a couple a blocks away so that’s where we headed for brunch. Paludan combines the traditional bookstore with a functioning eatery and it was a really cool place, plus the food was good.

Inside Rundetaarn
My delicious goat cheese sandwich for brunch
Hubby’s ham and mushroom omelet
Inside Paludan Bogcafé

Next we wandered around for a couple of hours and stopped for a beer at The Taphouse. The place offers 61 beers on tap and the selection may actually change during the day. After enjoying our beers it was time to head to the gathering point for a walking tour we had pre-booked with Viator. It was a 2.5 hour guided food tour during which we would visit five different food/drink stops and learn about food history and culture from our guide. We were a group of 10 people plus the guide. The tour started with a traditional Danish hotdog in Rådhuspladsen or City Hall Square. The Danish hotdog is served with apple ketchup, mustard, remoulade, chopped onions, fried onions, and crisp, sweet pickles. The sausage or pølse is distinguished by a very bright red color and called Røde Pølse (red sausage). I really enjoyed the hotdog. Then we actually went to The Taphouse that we had visited just before the tour and had a little beer tasting of two beers and tried to guess which of the 61 beers we were tasting.

The city hall
The Danish hotdog
Our merry tour group at The Taphouse

Next we walked to a restaurant called Godtfolk where we were served smørrebrød and some more beer. Smørrebrød is an open-faced sandwich that usually consists of a piece of buttered rye bread (rugbrød), a dense, dark brown bread, topped with commercial or homemade cold cuts, pieces of meat or fish, cheese or spreads, and garnishes. The smørrebrød we were served was a shrimp and egg one and it was super delicious. Our next and final stop of the tour was Torvehallerne. The history of TorvehallerneKBH dates back to 1889, when Grønttorvet (greens market) was established at Israels Plads. Grønttorvet closed in 1958, and only in 2011 when Torvehallerne opened did Copenhagen again have a fixed marketplace in the middle of the city. Torvehallerne is a marketplace that offers Danish delicacies, local vegetables, fresh fish and meat, chocolates, baked goods, pizza, etc. Torvehallerne consists of more than 80 shops located in two buildings and an outdoor stall area in between the buildings. We had a look around the “savory” building and then got to taste the local fishcake with some remoulade sauce, which was quite nice. To finish off we strolled through the “sweets” building and ended with a small dessert, flødebolle, which is a chocolate-coated marshmallow treat with a marzipan biscuit base. This was not to my liking as I do not like marzipan. All in all, the food tour was a great experience and good value for money.

Shrimp & egg smørrebrød
Flower stall at Torvehallerne
Produce stand

After the tour finished we made our way back to the hotel and got our room. We unpacked and took it easy for a couple of hours. As the food tour was quite substantial we did not need a big dinner so we headed around the corner from the hotel and ended up at a place called Rosie McGee’s and had some pub grub. The food was nothing to write home about and the place in itself was quite an experience.

Second post on Copenhagen will include, e.g. a canal cruise and a visit to Tivoli Gardens.

What type of traveler are you?

I found this fun “quiz” on Victoria Qvist’s blog Qandvictoria, who credited the questions to the Resfredag blog. I decided to translate the questions and make a post with my answers for you to enjoy.

‘1. Dive in head first or carefully lower yourself into the water?

I’m not much of a diver, simply because I have never mastered an elegant jump so I tend to use the pool stairs or otherwise ease myself into the water gently.

2. Backpacker or “suitcaser”?

Never been a backpacker really – I have this image in my head of things getting all wrinkly and messed up in a backpack so I prefer a suitcase. All in all, I’m more of a city trip, more “luxurious” type of a traveler who prefers more high-end accommodation options to backpacking and trekking.

3. Pack the night before or well ahead of time?

I either pack the night before or the day of. I do, however, plan what to pack ahead of time. The reason for doing the actual packing last minute is that our cats get really nervous when they see a suitcase, so in order to give them some peace of mind I leave the suitcases in storage until packing is essential.

What do you mean, you need to pack?

4. Arrive at the airport/train station, etc. just in nick of time or one hour before the deadline?

I am always afraid of being late so I reserve plenty of time to get to the airport and tend to always arrive well ahead of the deadline. I also hate mulling about around the house waiting to leave (because I’m always ready to go well ahead of the time I have to leave the house) and once I am on the way to the airport or such, it feels like the trip has begun.

5. Package tours or independent travel?

I’m an independent travel kind of girl all the way. The only package tours I’ve ever booked have been a couple of ski trips to the Alps more than a decade ago. These days even our ski trips are independent. As I said in the previous post, I love trip planning and package tours would not satisfy this urge.

6. Foodie or nature junkie?

Foodie all the way. Not a big nature lover anyway – it is nice to see some nature-like things while traveling but I much rather enjoy good food in a city setting than head out to the wilderness.

7. Ski trip or beach holiday?

I have to say ski trip as downhill skiing has been a hobby of mine for over 40 years. Also I get bored on the beach even though I do love warm weather.

Views from the summit of Valluga Mountain in St Anton am Arlberg

8. Recurring favorites or a new destination every time?

Both, there are a few perpetual favorites that I enjoy returning to and several destinations that warrant at least a second visit. However, I also love exploring new places but many times you get to do that even when returning somewhere for another visit as you very rarely can see “everything” a place has to offer on one trip.

NYC is one of the destinations I never get bored with

9. Road trip or rail journey?

I do like trains but will opt for road trip and the freedom it warrants.

Car packed and ready to go

10. System camera or camera phone?

For a few years now I’ve been lazy and only used my camera phone even though I do own a large system camera. Just recently I purchased a more compact system camera (a mirrorless camera) so now I will start using that when traveling instead of my camera phone.

My new travel companion

11. Morning or evening person?

My spirit says I am an evening person but due to silly grown-up things like work I am forced to go to bed at a reasonable time to have the energy to get up for work. When traveling I tend to slip away from my working life forced schedule and sleep in more in order to stay up later.

Things you can find when staying up late

12. Spain or Italy?

No actual preference – have been to both countries a few times and enjoyed each trip a lot. Both countries offer delicious food, tasty wines, heaps of culture and history, so what’s not to like.

Florence, Italy
Valencia, Spain

13. Soda or alcohol?

Not much of a soda drinker so I guess I have to say alcohol. This does not mean I spend my trips drunk, but I do enjoy the occasional drink in a cozy bar or with dinner.

14. Actual books or audio books?

Actual books all the way, and I even prefer the paper kind even though I also have books downloaded on my iPad and my phone. Have never gotten into the audio book scene maybe partly because I find it uncomfortable to wear headphones for longer periods of time and also because when I listen to something (like podcasts) my mind starts to wander and I have to rewind to relisten to what I’ve missed.

So how about you, what kind of traveler are you?