This morning, I woke to a cloud-covered sky, and I soon understood it would be the kind of day when you just take a break from running around, and you just let your batteries charge up for the next adventure.
It was time to leave Silkeborg, and move to Herning, just a short half hour train ride away.
As you might have seen in my previous posts, most of the train stations I visited in Denmark have this charming red-brick oldish look. It was quite a surprise to find myself in such a modern building after hopping off the wagon.
My home for the night was just a couple of minutes of walking away from the station, and I went to drop my backpack, planning to spend the afternoon walking around town, the showers not being strong enough to force me to stay in all day.
The top-floor window was mine… For the night.
The street were amazingly quiet and empty when I left the apartment. I knew it had nothing to do with the rain… Danes are used to rainy, windy days, and the weather doesn’t usually affect their outdoor activities.
A sign outside a pub answered my question.
It was Store Bededag. The holiday celebrated almost exclusively in Denmark takes place the fourth Friday after Easter. I remember clearly my first encounter with Store Bededag in Odense, in 2016. Just like today, I had found the streets empty, and all the stores closed for the day.
The walk was nice, but I did have a little problem… I only had half a bag of mini almond cookies and my bottle of water, and a fast building appetite. Of course, I could have stopped in one of the few restaurants that were open, but the choice was scarce, and I didn’t want to spend that much money…
So I kept walking, letting my feet guide me, confident I would eventually find what I was looking for.
And I did! For just under 20$, I came back with a little feast.
For this little money, some bananas, cold cuts, cheese, two tebirkes (Danish pastries), potatoe salad, fisk frikadeller (Danish fish cakes), a bottle of remoulade AND an Easter brewed beer… I think that’s quite a deal!
Fisk frikadeller with remoulade is a common meal, in Denmark. And one I don’t get tired of, when I travel through Vikingland… It is delicious and very filling after a long day spent outdoors. It is also a cheap option compared to the pricy restaurants in touristic areas.
I ate my dinner in my little home away from home, and enjoyed a movie, snuggled under a warm blanket… The perfect ending to a quiet rainy day.
The rest was welcome, as I was about to move farther West on Saturday morning. To a little town I have never set foot in before… Thisted, here I come!
We have a saying in French, “Les jours se suivent, et ne se ressemblent pas.” Which doesn’t seem to be the case here… Days are going by, and although I know I will eventually wake up to a greyish sky and have to plan indoor activities, this morning the sun was still shining brightly!
One great thing about Denmark, is that it is an incredibly small country, in size. And the network of trains and buses routes is so well developed, that you can basically wake up one morning, walk to the train station and move to the other end of the country in very little time. Well, at least when you are used to Canada’s wideness!
So, this morning, after a tall glass of ginger-carrot juice and a warm shower, I headed to Hobro. Now, Hobro is just about 2h of train away from Silkeborg, and it had the advantage of making me spend a little bit of time in a town I had the chance to visit a couple of times in my past trips; Aarhus!
There was still a little bit of time before catching my next train, and I got myself a light snack to nibble on, while enjoying the always amazing view.
Have I mentionned rape fields before? Oh, I have? They’re still pretty!!
Another unexplainable love of mine… Tall windmills.
Shortly after, we were stopping in Hobro. ”Why Hobro?” you might ask, since it is not a very big, nor very touristic destination. But just outside of town is an old Viking site I really wanted to visit… But we’ll get there.
Welcome to Hobro!
Google had told me it was an (about) 25 minutes of walking to get to Fyrkat’s Viking fortress ruins. I have a feeling Google thinks I am 6’8” and that speed-walking is a passion of mine. But I tend to stop every now and then to take pictures (or check if I am still following the right path).
So after something more like 40 minutes of wandering, the first signs of the Viking site were in sight!!
Notice the nice Dannebrog flying proudly in the Spring wind! How welcoming….
Fyrkat’s Viking center is divided in two different sites. First, the reconstitution of a Viking property, and the actual ancient fortress ruins. I had to start with the village, and I made friends right away!
But not everybody was happy to see a crazy Canadian Girl touring around… And I soon had the visit of my hens’ less enthusiastic rooster!
The different buildings on the site, give a feeling of what a Viking’s village once looked like. I am guessing that during summertime, there is a lot more animation. But today, it was rather quiet, and I had pretty much the whole place to myself!
Model of the traditional Viking long houses.
Probably some kind of Viking Scrabble, for the long winter nights.
The Fyrkat fortress site is about a kilometer from the Viking center. You can drive there, but I walked, as usual. And it was well worth the extra stroll, since the trail leading to Fyrkat runs along the water, and it seems like Hobro is where Denmark’s swans gather to mate. There were couples of the great white birds everywhere! I wish I had caught a good picture of them, but they were too far to do justice to the sight…
Entering Fyrkat’s site…
Long house reconstitution.
My pictures are not as impressive as the aerial views you can find on Google, but the feeling of walking in the middle of the circular grass-covered fortifications was pretty amazing. I coud feel the history under my feet, and I spent a long time, just imagining how it was to live, back these days…
Borrowed from The Internets
I stopped at the gift shop on my way back, to pick a souvenir for Little Bro. Backpack traveling is a bit restraining when it comes to finding interesting things to bring back, but with a little imagination, there is always a way not to come back empty-handed. I’d post a picture of what I bought, but it would spoil the surprise, wouldn’t it?
Time to walk back to the train station…
A little refreshment for the road…
After the swans, I was greeted by a flock of crows, when I came back to the train station. The black birds are not an unusual sight, neither in Canada or in Denmark, but seeing so many of them nesting in the tall trees was impressive. And loud!
Which made riding in the Stillezone all the more enjoyable!
Last stop, before returning to Silkeborg… I always have to raise my glass (or bottle) to some dear friends of mine, when I pass by Randers. The other travelers probably wondered what I was doing, but Mrs Completely and her Viking will understand!
Skål!! And here’s to another day of fun wanderings to come!
Again, jetlag played around with me, and this morning, I was up at 4 o’clock, before the sun even thought of peeking over the horizon… But the ever-present birds of Silkeborg were already rehearsing, and I caught them preparing for the amazing day to come!
After a couple of hours more, sleeping soundly under my comfy duvet, the sun was up, the sky was blue, and before getting ready for a day of adventures, I was treated with a tall glass of vitamins with a gingery punch by my host.
The weather was perfect for a boat trip to my next must-see spot: Himmelbjerget! So my host and I walked downtown to catch one of the excusion boats, after packing a light lunch for our hike.
Canoes and kayaks can easily be rented, all around Silkeborg, but I felt a little lazy!
The Hjejlen is one of the oldest paddle steamer in operation…
Some people were braver than I was… Well, she was! Mouahahaha
Paddle boards are also very popular on the different lakes around Silkeborg!
No worries when things are “Viking-safe”!
The ride from Silkeborg to Himmelbjerget is about 1h15 long, and our little excursion had a couple of stops in different villages along the way. I highly recommend to sail your way to Himmelbjerget if you decide to go see it from your eyes… The journey is definately worth it! Such a quiet, and relaxing trip on the calm water…
And after a little more than an hour of sailing, there it was on the horizon… “Heaven Mountain”… The peak of Denmark!
A little geographic lesson, before we take our hike up Himmelbjerget.
Denmark is the 4th flattest country in the world. Not in Scandinavia, not in Europe… In the world! It has its advantages… It probably made it much easier build a railroad network around the country, and it is definately a plus if you decide to bike yourself around Vikingland. But if you love tall mountains, you’ll soon find out that your options to reach Denmark’s heights, are very few.
Himmelbjerget is recognized as the highest point in Denmark. But if you’ve done a little research online, you probably know that this is not really accurate.
Ejer Baunehøj is, at 170 meters above sea level. But although scientifics gave Ejer Baunehøj the (not so) impressive title, back in 1874, most people will still agree that Himmelbjerget is the real deal (although being 23 meters short of the gold medal).
Welcome to Himmelbjerget!
Although 147 meters might sound like a smooth hike, don’t be fooled. The walk up the summit is rather steep, and you might need a couple of breaks to have a sip of water and catch your breath, if you are not top shape!
But it is well worth the effort, and you’ll see that the view gets more and more amazing as you make your way to the very top.
Tower at the top of Himmelbjerget.
A little boutique is waiting for you at the top of the mountain, selling all kinds of reminders of your heroic way up. You can also climb an extra couple of stairs to visit the top of the tower for a reasonable 10 Kroner (2$).
Time to enjoy the amazing postcard view, from the peak of Denmark!
Just a couple of minutes of walk down the peak of Himmelbjerget, you’ll find the mountain’s Hotel, where you can enjoy a good meal or just a cup of tea or coffee, in the middle of a couple of more souvenir shops, a children playground and a nice picnic area.
Almost there… But there’s no rush, right?
Kid friendly, as most Danish attractions are.
The Himmelbjerget Hotel
Of course, everything good in life has an end, and after taking a little snack, and enjoying a nice tea on the hotel’s terasse, it was time to walk our way back down to our boat stop.
My chance-encountered fur friend seemed disappointed I had to leave, too!
And here are some of the last sights on our way back to Silkeborg…
Yet another fun day spent in Denmark… And tomorrow, I’m going to Hobro, and you don’t want to miss this Viking historic site!
Today, my host here in Silkeborg, took me for a long walk, in and around town. What is most impressive about Silkeborg, is that within one or two minutes, you can go from the heart of the city, and find yourself in the forest, by the water.
Welcome to my quiet neighbourhood, in Silkeborg!
Silkeborg is not a very touristic destination. If you are looking into spending some time in Denmark, it certainly wasn’t in your top ten list of must-see cities. I won’t blame you, this is my fourth visit to Vikingland, and Silkeborg was a surprise in my improvised tour!
To say the truth, it wasn’t even my idea… Not long before I flew over from Canada, I had posted an ad on the CouchSurfing site, stating that I would soon be in Denmark, and would appreciate if people offered to host me for a couple of days, to discover new places!
And that’s how I found my room in the middle of Jutland.
When I told my Helsingør host that I was moving to Silkeborg, she assured me I would enjoy my stay… It was all about nature. Luscious forests and lakes all around. And she was absolutely right.
But first, a little walk downtown!
In every city in Denmark, you’ll find at least a torv, or torvet, which means “square”. And it is the place to start, if you want to take the city’s beat. During my stay, there was a market at torvet… International delicacies from around the world, people selling all kinds of craftings…
Right across torvet, you can find a building I assume to be the late city hall. It is now a restaurant, but the building still looks stunning.
And I’d like to tell you more about the cute small statue surounded with fountains, that is sitting just in front of it, but all I found online was its name…
Drengen og skidpadden (simply “The boy and the turtle”)
Two churches can be found right in the heart of Silkeborg too. Silkeborgs Kirke is a Lutherian Church…
A mothers/toddlers meeting was taking place when we walked in… And I didn’t want to disturb anyone, so these are the only pictures I got the chance to take.
Silkeborg’s Catholic Church
I can’t help but light a candle whenever I can…
Impressive organ, given the size of the town…
This picture doesn’t do justice to the beautiful stained-glass windows… Sorry!
We then walked through Kulturhusets most colorful backyard. Hosting different live shows, artistic exhibitions and popular gatherings, I could easily understand why the locals enjoyed getting together in this very special place!
Kærlighed, litterally “Love” tagged on one of Kulturhusets walls.
Just a couple of minutes of walk, away from Kulturhuset, we walked out of the city, and into the woods.
I must say, one of the most memorable things I’ll take with me from the Silkeborg area, is the constant singing of the birds, at all times of day (and night). If you don’t manage to relax, sitting by the water, enjoying this view… Well, you need professional help, my friend!
Just like anywhere else, in Denmark, design, and art in general is omnipresent. Danes like pretty things (don’t we all?) and they make sure to suround themselves with them, in the privacy of their homes, and in public areas… Here are a couple of examples.
Pretty hand painted rocks on sale!
Camel sculpture at the public library.
Amazing mural overlooking a hot dog stand… Hmmm Hot dogs!
View from the heart of Silkeborg to the lake…
Another thing I love about Danes is their very particular humor. Unless they are drunk, most Danes don’t give the impression of being very expressive people. But Danish humor is very straight forward and playful. The contrast makes if really funny… At least to me!
Knock knock? Or not… LOL (Danes are very welcoming people, just sayin’)
Stress reliever poo-poo anyone?
Translation: ”Grrr no poo-poo here!” You’ve been warned!
One last stop on our way back home… Not an unusual sight, but it is still surprising to see the quality of some of the furniture left on the side of the road, for the taking.
Translation ”Free! Take what you can use”
And tomorrow… We’re going to the top of Denmark! At long last…
Already Monday morning, and the sun greeted me through the room’s large window.
Oliver, the house’s dog didn’t seem ready to say goodbye.
Time to say goodbye to Helsingør, although I kind of wished I didn’t have to… After a hot shower, and packing up my few belongings, I went downstairs to thank my host for the lovely stay. With a little time left on my hand, she invited me in the garden to share a glass of homemade green juice, over a little conversation.
She also had to leave the house, work was calling for her, and walking me halfway to the train station, suddenly asked me if I wanted her to drop me off.
I don’t like to be a bother, but a free ride is always welcome, so I accepted gratefully, thinking she would leave me at Helsingør’s station. But I was in luck, and working in the capital, my host was actually taking me all the way down to Copenhagen!
So I had the chance to see what the commute was like, for non-Copenhageners who had to travel back and forth for their job! And the ride was much more interesting, discussing life in Denmark, and sharing family souvenirs than if I had been alone in the train.
I felt really lucky. If you read this, dear L, know that this ride was worth well more than the kroner saved for the train ticket!
Mc Donald’s advertisment at København H station. Ha!
Life is good when you know how to appreciate the little things, and here’s one that put a smile on my face… While going through the station to find my bus stop, a juice company was doing some promotion for a new smoothie. And they were offering a free bottle to every traveler passing them by. Free breakfast for the bus? Yes, please! Good morning to you!
This is the back of København H… Maybe not that interesting as a picture, but I just felt like bragging about the still amazing weather we had! A bit fresh, but I’d never complain with such a clear sky.
Aalborg? Tempting, but you’ll have to wait a little!
I have to thank my Silkeborg host for making me discover the Flixbus company. Flixbus is a low budget bus company that has rides all over Europe, and can make you save tons of money! My ride from Copenhagen to Silkeborg was pretty much half price with them, and not really longer than if I had used the regular train or bus. The busses are on time, are very comfortable and offer wi-fi. I really recommend it! Win-Win-Win.
Now, the next pictures were taken from the bus, and I didn’t even have a window seat… So you’ll have to excuse the framing, the reflections of the glass and the sometimes slight blurriness.
Rape fields in the back… I LOVE rape fields in bloom!
Did I mention rape fields? Awwwwww…
Getting over the bridge to Fyn Island
Little (blurry) lighthouse… (I had a thought for you, Sonofa!)
I really have a thing for big wind mills… Don’t ask me why
I obviously had to take this picture… I wonder if Miss Freja is missing me, a little?
My Silkeborg host met me right at the bus station. We had a good talk while walking around town, and went grocery shopping for dinner. It was lovely to discover this new city by the lake. I haven’t had the chance to explore it much yet, but above are a couple of shots from the shore, near the apartment where I am staying.
The evening was spent discussing about Denmark and our lives… It is interesting to have a foreigner’s point of view, since my host, while living in Denmark for the last decades, is an English man.
I was treated with a nice and copious supper, and we ended the night with an introduction to Crib over a hot cup of tea…
You’d think that sleeping under one of them magical Danish duvets would be good enough a reason to stay in bed really late and get the much needed rest I’ve been craving for, for what seems like months now.
But yesterday night, I had the (bad) idea of checking sunrise time for this morning, in Helsingør. Which was just barely after 5 am.
So of course, I was wide awake by four, and even if I knew it would be kind of cold outside, I finally put on my leggings and dressed like an onion under my Spring vest, and I trotted to the harbour.
It was incredibly still by the water. Aside a couple of fishermen getting ready to sail away, I was the only soul around, and I waited patiently for the show to start.
Swedes were nice enough to keep some clouds on their side of the Øresund! How considerate! So, when the sun finally peeked over the horizon, the colors had much more texture than I had expected.
No, these trees aren’t on fire!
I walked back ”home”, my body suddenly realizing that it was in fact just a little past five, and that the cold wan’t fun anymore, now that the sun was up. Luckily, I had tea on the kitchen shelf, and my fingers found their natural pinkish color, wrapped around the warm mug!
Next was the visit of Kronborg Castle, but it opened only at 11 am, so I had some time to lazy out in my little hyggekrog.
Welcome to the castle!
The inner court throught the main entrance
A little view around, from atop the tower…
In Kronborg, I took a guided tour called ”The Royal Baquet” and unlike usual tours, this one was pretty special. A performer playing the role of the Lady in charge of having everything ready for the arrival of the King and Queen to the castle walked us around, as if we were guests for the Royal baquet taking place two days later. It ended up being almost more like a play than a visit, and I forgot to take my camera out, just enjoying the show! If you are visiting Kronborg, ask for the guided visit schedule. They are free, aswell as very entertaining.
Two fun facts to make up for my lack of pictures… Kronborg was built under the reign of Frederik II, on the already existing fortress. And Frederik’s son, Christian, who became king himself some years later is the subject of one of Mew’s songs:
Back to King Frederik II who, apparently, enjoyed entertaining crowds very much. When he and Queen Sophia held big banquets, the king gave ”Canon toasts”. Several times, during the evening, he would hold his glass in the air. To this sight, drumms would go rolling. And outside the castle, some horns were blown, giving the signal to fire the canons around the castle, making a surprising display of Frederik’s power. The sudden vibrations would make some of the ballroom windows to blow in, which amused the guests. Celebrations often being on a period of many days back then, the guest would come back to the ballroom the next day to see the windows all repaired. Yet another display of the Kings great wealth, since glasswear was extremely expensive at that time!
Meet Holger the Dane! The legend says that Holger will stay asleep in the casemates of Kronborg Castle, until Denmark gets in real trouble. That day, it is said that he will wake up to fight to defend the Mother Country. But nothing to worry about, everybody can sleep safe and sound: Holger’s still there, sleeping.
Here’s one of my personal favorite Dannebrog pictures. I don’t know what it is exactly about it… Maybe the nice contrast on the deep blue sky, maybe the way it thrones right in the middle of the picture. Or maybe it is because of the fluffy clouds giving the impression that the canons have actually been shot! I don’t know, but I really really like it!
A couple more pictures, on my way out…
When I returned to my temporary home to get ready for what I had planned next, I found my host spending the afternoon with her mother on the back patio. When I crashed in to announce I’d be back later after the falconry show, I was kindly offered a ride to Falkonergården, instead of taking the bus to Fredensborg. I didn’t want to disturb the mother-daughter meeting, but was assured it was fine, and that it’d give them a chance to take Oliver, my new dog-friend, on a little trip out too.
I got the chance to have a nice chat with my host’s mom, who, had lived in Toronto in her younger years… It is a small world. Life always makes sure to remind me of it.
So… Lucky me got in the car, with my lovely host, her mother and Oliver, and we rode through the countryside where I was dropped off in this little falconry: Falkonergården
I was a bit early, so before the doors to the actual falconry opened, I got the chance to go see the Icelandic horses of the little domaine… I even got to pet one, as a matter of fact he pretty much asked for the forehead rub!
How do you say no to such beautiful eyes?
If you visit the Fredensborg area, and are intested in seeing the Falkonergården show, make sure to visit their website first, before you show up. For an example, this month of May, the only performance of the week occurs on Sundays.
The whole show is about an hour long, and important thing to know for foreigners, it is almost entirely in Danish. The trainer does give some of the information in both Danish and English, and a sheet with some more details about the different birds is provided to follow up, but don’t expect to get everything!
The show is worth it nonetheless. The first part takes place indoor, where three of the smaller prey birds are brought in, one at a time, to perform while the trainer explains their origin, the specifics of each bird and how they were used in falconry over the different eras.
I must say that having these little hunters flying around in such a closed space was pretty impressive.
Regardless the language barrier, it is obvious that the trainer is very enthusiastic and loves her little (sometimes not so little) feathery friends very much. After each presentation, she walks around the room to give everyone a chance to snap a picture or two. Unfortunately, the birds are more into ”feed me” time rather than ”Oh! you want a good picture, here’s my best profile” time… So most of my shots are either blurry, or of a hawk’s back of the head… LOL
The second part takes place outdoor. There, the larger prey birds get their chance to wow us, and they do that well! We get asked, before the beginning of the second act, to sit on the left if we want the birds to fly just above our heads, and to the right if we’d rather not. Don’t take that question lightly, because I the eagle flew so close to me, that I got hit in the face by its wing. No worries, I wasn’t harmed in any way, but if you think you might be sightly scared of large birds with huge claws, sit to the right!
The last part is a demonstration of the way people used prey birds to hunt, horseback riding. That’s when our little friend from the beginning comes to the stage!
Yup, I rubbed that fluffy star’s head!!
At the end of the show, you can ask all your questions, and have a chat with the trainer… It also gives everybody a chance to get a couple of more pictures!
Another great day behind… Already looking for the next one to come! But for the moment, it was time to walk back to the train station and get back ”home”.
This morning (thank you very much jetlag!) at 5h30 I was awake in my bunk bed.
There is nothing worst in a dormatory, than one person rolling around over and over and over again, trying to get back to sleep. So I went downstairs to have breakfast. (and fix yesterday’s post)
Now, note that two days ago, I wasn’t sure yet if I would visit Helsingør. I knew I had to visit it someday, I knew it was probably worth visiting, but I didn’t feel anything special about the city. It is actually what I am doing tomorrow that made me book a cute little room, (really more of a flat, but I’ll have to make a post just on lodging, because otherwise, I’ll never go to sleep tonight LOL) and take the train.
But before that…
Bye bye Nyhavn (and Copenhagen, in general)!
Only 45 mintutes away from Copenhagen, and with a departure every twenty minutes, there is really no good reason, to at least give Helsingør a chance, right?
But before we get there, let me give you a little warning, just in case you fall in love with Helsingør too, and you suddenly want to travel there… Like Copenhagen, Helsingør is just a stone’s throw away from Sweden. But unlike Copenhagen, the name of the city just the other side of the Øresund isn’t completely different, like ”Malmö”. No… I guess someone back in the Viking days, thought ”Wouldn’t it be funny if we called the two cities almost the same??” And apparently, people thought it was a good idea, and so you have it… Helsingør and Helsinborg!
So when you start doing your research for lodging, or transportation, be careful. Because for some reason, Google often does not make a difference at all between the two cities, and I’d hate it for you, if you found yourself having to take the ferry back and forth, just to see Helsingør’s best spots!
First glimpse, from the train station.
No, this is not a church, it is Helsingør’s HUGE train station! I didn’t expect this.
The ferries between Helsingør and Helsinborg go back and forth all day (obviously carrying people that Google has messed with) at a rate of one every 20 minutes, or so. A great way to go see if the grass is greener on the other side. (it isn’t!! LOL) This is the view from the train station, so no worries about getting lost!
Still from in front of the train station. I just had to look to my left, to spot Helsingør’s main attraction: Kronborg! (see the teeny tiny castle in the back? Yeah, that’s Kronborg)
I don’t know if it was just the weather, but I doubt it. Helsingør’s heart is very alive, and people like to mingle in the street as they go shopping, are out for a drink or a bite, or just felt like waling around. As I joined the crowed, I discovered a very impressive and popular flea market going on…
Just a word about the picture of the tree… I asked a lady working at the church, because the pamphlet was only in Danish, and she kindly explained that when children got baptised at the Domkirke, a little apple with their name embroided on it was hung to the tree. And after some years, there was a new celebration, where the children got their apple back! I thought it was a nice tradition!
Now for the second part of my little walk…
Just so cute (have you noticed the rainbow on the right?)
Arriving at the harbour
The Culture Yard
There only for a while, this (huge) traveling art piece is made of recycled items
The sculpture of Han (”He” in Danish), a clear reference to Copenhagen’s Little Mermaid.
Now here’s a funny story. For my first three trips to Denmark, my first night was always spent aboard the Hawila, a sailing boat stationned in Kastrup. This time, when I tried to book my bunk bed, I couldn’t find their add on Airbnb. I wrote directly to the crew, mentionning that, and a lady answered that they had started sailing and wouldn’t be in Copenhagen for my arrival… You can imagine my surprise, when I found it here in Helsingør!! What were the odds?
Han with the Hawila
The next pictures have been taken around Kronborg, and I won’t comment all of them, since I’ll be visiting the castle tomorrow. I’ll tell you all about it then. But this one, I just had to bring your attention to. Have I ever mentionned I love Danish humor? Can you see where it is on this picture?
Even if you don’t have the time or budget to visit the castle, take a walk around it. The path follows the shore, and you’ll find many many hyggelig spots where the locals come to relax, spend time with friends and family, and fish.
Herculese & the Hydra
It made me smile that Helsingør’s Street Food is actually indoors! But it is a great place to go if you have an empty belly and are looking for the cool place in town! The building is packed with foodtruck-like stands that offer all kinds of fast and delicious looking food. The choice is pretty eclectic, I would recommend going with some friends to order from many of the restaurants, and share your common loot!
The walk back ”home”
I just wanted to mention a couple of stores I’ve seen along my Helsingør wanderings:
Tiger! Because it is my favorite Danish store.
*Wink wink* to Harry Potter fans (I know it’s not his name… I am making an effort here!)
Paradis.. The paradise of ice cream lovers!
Yes, Helsingør’s shopping mall. Because it is not all about pretty pictures and funny stories.. It’s about tips not to spend your last dime in Denmark and swear never to go back again!! Anyone will be able to tell you where the Bycenter is, and inside, you have a huge Føtex waiting just for you…
Oh! Oh! Oh! and on a personal note (most people won’t understand, but I know Suzanne will…)
It’s 10 pm, and I only had a 2 hours power nap over the last 36 hours or so… So needless to say that I will limit the storytelling to the minimum tonight. I started this in my bunk bed, my feet under the soft duvet, and I could already feel my eyes failing me.
So I came down to put these few pictures together… I obviously didn’t get a chance to edit them, but I think they are pretty good given the level of tiredness in the background.
Let’s we start?
On the way to the airport, in Montreal… It made me smile.
I am used to fly with Wow Air… So the pillow and large blanket waiting on my seat were already a surprise. When I got these crackers and was offered a (mini) bottle of red wine, I thought that would have to do as a dinner.
But this arrived shortly after!! Ok, the braised beef wasn’t worth a Michelin Star, but in all honesty, it was airplane-delicious. And free… Well, included.
Despite a delayed lift up in Montréal and a late arrival in Zurich (meaning me running like a headless chicken to make it to my connecting gate two minutes before they closed it), it seems like the German government has regulations regarding the number of planes flying over the country at one time. This resulted in an air craft traffic jam on the tarmac.
It wasn’t the first time I witnessed this natural phenomena, but I must say it is always intriguing when it happens. The round shaped rainbow reflected on the clouds below us has a name, but I don’t remember it. If you know, leave it in the comment box, please!
Welcome home? Awwww I knew you had missed me too, Denmark!
I don’t have time to tell the story again tonight, but for those of you who know about when I made a fool of myself, requesting that my passport would be stamped before I left the customs of Copenhagen’s airport, this is the desk where the lady welcomed me, with her suspicious ”You know you could get in trouble here, right??” look.
Kongens Nytorv, the most important round about in Copenhagen has been under construction for years now. Since a new circular metro line is being built just under it, people have been deprived of one the best known places of the capital. As a matter of fact, I had never seen the very heart of Copenhagen without the high barricades that hid all the buildings until today!
The Marble Church, still beautiful, despite the construction.
Amalienborg, the Royal Palace.
St-Alban’s Church, in and out.
Yet another good reason to visit Denmark in May: The Little Mermaid free of tourists!
First Danish dog… Not the last! Yuuummm!
Nyhavn. Nothing else to say… A Must See!
Random street views near Strøget.
St-Peter’s clock tower between the buildings, if my memory’s good.
One of Copenhagen’s many canals.
The old stock market… One of my favorite buildings, if not MY favorite.
Copenhagen’s reputation of being bicycle-friendly? NOT overrated. LOL
At the end of the day, always good to know the spots for good, cheap food!
Last stop in Nyhavn before bedtime!
Many people hesitate to visit Denmark, because it is said to be very expensive to travel around. I agree, if you book rooms in generic hotels, and eat in the tourist trap restaurants. But when you are a bit creative and willing to go off the beaten path, there is a way to enjoy Vikingland without making your wallet whine.
Here’s my night’s loot: Cheese, cold cuts, rye bread, olives and (of course) remoulade. Danish rye bread is very filling, yet not heavy like it always seems to be in Canada. With this, I’ll be able to have supper, sandwiches for tomorrow’s lunch and some snacks along the way. For under 20 Canadian Dollars… Not too bad, right?
We could have spent many more days in Sweden’s capital. Because there was much more to see, and because Stockholmers are just such very nice people.
Tip when you visit Sweden, and especially Stockholm… Learn to spot pedestrian crossings and don’t hesitate when time comes to walk from one side to the other. This is something that felt a little dare devilish at first, but even if there aren’t any stop signs or street lights, cars and busses will stop if you are about to cross the street. They will. So even if you are used (like we were) to wait until you’re sure that the vehicule will let you go, forget about it, and just walk. You’ll save drivers time if you don’t wait until they come to a full stop. They will stop… I promise.
Ok, so… Last day, and our first stop was a must. I hadn’t realized how uncomfortable with heights David was, before we got to enter Globe City.
Globe City is the sum of many stadiums that hold multiple sports events, concerts and shows… And most certainly, the Globe is the most impressive of them from the outside.
Sky View is a sightseeing activity that is totally worth the little Metro ride outside the center of Stockholm. The 20 minutes ride slowly takes you to the top of the Globe in a little glass ball.
At the top of the Ericsson Globe, you get a 360 view of the Stockholm area, perched at 85 meters in the air.
We skipped my usual sandwiches to have lunch in a local fast food chain, Max. Not that either of us is big on hamburgers and the like, but we thought we should try it since it is Swedish.
After being denied the Hop On Hop Off boat the day before (thank you very much!) we decided to take one of the many other tours on Stockholm’s canals… The sail offers a very different view of the city and its subburbs. And the audio guide, in several languages, provides with interesting informations… A very enjoyable time on the waters!
After our cruise it was time to get back “home” and get ready for our move the next morning. But not before we visited Sergels Torg one last time…
Waking at sunrise, I was worried that we might get a second day of rain, but the skies seemed pretty clear. It could always change, but we were optimistic, and I knew that always paid off in the end.
After a quick breakfast, we headed for the Metro.
After seeing Montréal’s Metro, it is incredible for me to see how clean and gaffiti-free Denmark and Sweden’s wagons are. How do they do it?? Even the oldest trains are totally tag-free! Here, I am pretty sure you can find at least one name hastily written or carved after the very first ride of a new coach.
The Nordic Museum was founded by Artur Hazelius (who also founded the open air museum Skansen – keep that name in mind). The huuuuuuuuuge building housing the exhibitions was designed by Isak Gustaf Clason. Originally, it should have been four times the size of the actual site, which is a bit mind blowing.
When we first saw the museum, from outside, we thought it was a previous royal castle used to present exhibitions. But Hazelius’ dream was to exhibit all of Scandinavia’s history and culture in one site… I was almost glad he had to limit himself to Sweden for budget reasons. Otherwise, we probably would have spent our whole Stockholm time there! LOL
If you want to learn anything about Sweden’s culture, the Nordic Museum is the place to go. From Swedish furniture design to ways to set the table and welcome guests… From the history of fabric to the Sami culture… From the celebrated holidays and traditions, to Swedes’ clothing through the last decades… You name it, they have it! And the free audio guide is a great complement to take a rest from reading the signs along your endless walk through the different levels of the place.
At this point, got hungry. I knew we had sandwiches in David’s backpack, and I knew how delicious they looked, since I had made them… and here’s what hunger inspired me, photography-wise;
That large pot at the end was intended to be filled with beer. Now, something tells me that Swedes had nothing to envy to Danes, in the partying department at that time!
Gröna Lund was next.
The Swedish Tivoli park is at an enjoyable walking distance from the Nordic Museum, especially on a nice day. We just stopped for a moment in front of the Biologiska Museet (Biology… Ok, you guessed!) and Abba Museum to catch this, but it meant extra entry fees, we kept walking, and didn’t visit them.
Now, here’s a traveling tip you should never forget… Like we did. Always check the opening hours of the attractions you expect to visit. Never assume! The Internets were invented for that, and you can thank Google later!
Obviously, we had skipped this important step, probably too excited about the blue skies! And unfortunately realized that Gröna Lund was closed for the day, despite the lovely weather…
And here’s tip #2 (Isn’t this an informative blog?!?) of the day; When traveling, expect that unexpected things will happen (like amusement parks closed when you wanted to visit them) and be ready to improvise! Changing plans is part of being on vacation, and you often get nicely surprised, when you have no expectations!
So what did we do, you might wonder? We crossed the street and went to Skansen (remember, I had asked you to keep that name in mind!)
Skansen is officially an open air museum. What does that mean? Obviously a happy mix of a park, an amusement park, a zoo, an a walk in the past around houses from what looked (I admit, I didn’t read all the signs) like Viking housings.
I got hooked on a sign announcing Nordic animals. So we followed paths that led up the hill… and although each sign we passed by said we were a few hundred meters away from the said Nordic animals, we just kept walking and walking…
Then, we found animals, just not quite Nordic enough, to my liking!
I even made an unexpected red haired friend! Scandinavian Bob first attacked David, climbing up his leg, but when I got the bag of dried fruit and nuts out of our bag, he jumped on my lap… I became Skansen’s main attraction, and I really wonder on how many Facebook pages I ended up (yes, there was a lot of unauthorised picture taking! lol)
But what about the Nordic animals, right? Yes, we found them. Well… Some of them.
Disappointed? Not really. Especially when we noticed the view…
Of course, that’s when we discovered there was an easier way to get up the hill.
I am tempted to skip the next two activities of the day… First was the Hop On Hop Off boat.
The only problem being that there apparently were some issues between the boat company and the tourism bureau, so we weren’t allowed to board the Voulez-Vous.
So we had to go by bus.
The next stop was the Nobel Museum.
Ok, so for dinner, David had found a fine little restaurant so we could try the mythical Swedish meatballs! (No, really, it doesn’t happen often, but I was really disappointed with the museum… Not even worth ranting about)
Nice, cozy little place, and when we got there, there was only a table for two left! Talk about timing!