Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Wednesday, May 28, 2014 - Copenhagen (Liz)

We decided to head to Roskilde this morning , as it is home to a cathedral that is a UNESCO world heritage sight. The cathedral was great. It was one of the first Scandinavian cathedrals to be built of brick. I especially enjoyed looking at all of the organ pipes. The cathedral was larger than most others we have been to, and there were tombs all over the place. Unfortunately, Claire didn't appreciate the cathedral as much as we did so we didn't spend as much time there as we would have liked.

I am the eye in the sky! Looking at you!

Clapping because we are done looking at the cathedral

Our second stop in Roskilde was the viking ship museum. It wasn't covered on the Copenhagen cards we had, but we decided it would still be worth it to go. I'm glad we did! We skipped some parts of the museum that were geared more towards children (such as watching demonstrations of how to make rope and other ship necessities). We spent the majority of our time in the main museum indoors which housed remnants of five Viking ships almost 1,000 years old. What really made the museum fun was the Viking-era costumes they had that we got to dress up in. They also had two ships designed for children to play in which Claire took full advantage of. We ran into two sister missionaries. They were on completely different floors and sections of the museum when we ran into the first one. After she found out we were LDS, the two sisters stuck together the rest of the time. Ha!


Viking family!

Ahoy there.

After making a lunch break for bagel sandwiches and a pit stop at the hotel, it was time to reward Claire being such a good traveler and putting up with everything we subjected her to. We went to the zoo! Of course we took pictures with the giraffe-eating lions and the poor giraffe families who lost their babies. I liked the zoo a lot more than the Seattle zoo. I felt you could see a lot of animals without having to walk nearly as much. We went to the petting zoo first. One cow was particularly fond of Claire and licked her face with its gigantic tongue. It had Mark and I laughing pretty hard. Mark's favorite animal at the zoo was the guanaco because they reminded him of his mission in Argentina. I liked the baboons - there were three or four babies riding around on their moms' backs. I could have watched them a lot longer than we did. I also really liked the kangaroos - there were at least 20 of them and they actually jumped around!
Little did Claire know what was about to happen.

Aww, baby baboon!

Aww, baby baboon butts!

The lions!

The lions' next meal!

For dinner we decided to try out a Middle-Eastern buffet that was reasonably priced. The food was mediocre, but more than anything I was happy that there was space between the tables and they had a high chair. Claire loved that they had cucumbers and chunks of feta cheese. Mark enjoyed his final Fanta of the trip.

We ended the evening by fulfilling my childhood dream and seeing the Little Mermaid statue. We had a Hans Christian Andersen book growing up which included a depiction of the statue and my mom always told me that it was in Denmark where Aunt Patrice lived. We went at a great time - hardly anyone else was there so we were able to get some great photos. It was a great way to conclude our trip.

Wandering free, wish I could be...oh, never mind.

We wish we had another day to spend in Copenhagen. We didn't make it to Hamlet's castle, the church where you climb around the spire to the top (Church of Our Savior), or the flagship Lego store. I guess that means we will have to come back!

-There are 7-11's everywhere - even more than in Tokyo! In the main Copenhagen train station there are 2 7-11's, plus a 7-11 kiosk at each train platform. It seems to be the only convenience store.
-Bagels seem to be popular here. There is a significant number of shops dedicated to selling bagel sandwiches - essentially the Subway of bagels. Mark and I ate bagel sandwiches two times and they are quite tasty.
-Touristy things and stores have ridiculous hours. Most touristy things are only open from 10 until 4. It makes things difficult to fit into a short trip! Grocery stores don't open until 8 AM. Most stores are closed by 6pm - even the flagship Lego store (which is why we were unable to go). That element of Danish culture is very different from what we Americans are used to - stores open until at least 9 pm and many being 24 hour.
-Today we walked through a zombie walk. Most participants seemed intoxicated. We had a few people put their hands in our faces but mostly I was just amused.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014 - Copenhagen (Mark)

We wanted to get an early start to our day since we planned to do a lot. The first item of business was to grab our Copenhagen cards at the visitors' center at 9 AM. We then made a beeline to the Church of Our Lady where the original Christus statue is located. We made it there shortly before a huge group of cruise shippers arrived - glad we made it when we did. The church also features statues of the apostles, with Matthias instead of Judas Iscariot.

Next was our boat tour, and we were on the first boat of the day. The tour was a very pleasant ride through the city's waterways. It gave us a good overview of most of the things we would be seeing. We also passed by the Little Mermaid statue, a lifelong dream of Liz's.
Yum! Yum!

The royal ship

After that, it was time for some real fun: Tivoli! Tivoli is one of the world's oldest amusement parks. We started by just enjoying the atmosphere, but we also each got to ride on the wooden roller coaster, celebrating its centennial this year. We got some "low fat" burgers for lunch and let Claire chase the birds around.

After a break in the hotel, it was time for the afternoon leg of our day. First up was Rosenborg castle. We knew we were going to have to make out visits timely, since everything in Copenhagen closes at an unreasonably early time. The castle was beautiful inside and out, and the rooms were very ornate and detailed. There was a treasury below where the crown jewels were kept. We spent a little time on the grounds afterward. Claire enjoyed looking at the waterfowl (especially the swans). the castle must be located near a university, given the number of young people hanging out on the grounds.

Gold digger

Aww, they have the same smile!

We stopped by the Round Tower, which gave us a great view of the city. The top of the tower holds Europe's oldest functioning astronomy observatory (but unfortunately the observatory was closed.) It was also easy to climb with a stroller, since most of it was a spiral ramp rather than a staircase. Inside, you can glance down the center of the tower and get a dizzying look at how high you are. We let Claire crawl around at the top - her pants were disgustingly dirty when we left.
The round tower got its name because it is a tower.

We rode the metro to the aquarium in the Kastrup next. It's kind of isolated and there weren't many there. We found out why: it was closing 15 minutes after we arrived. We thought it was open until 9 but that is only on Mondays. They let us in. The aquarium is the most ambient I've ever seen, with atmospheric lighting, large tanks, and underwater sounds playing in the speakers. Pity we only had 15 minutes to enjoy it. We may come back tomorrow, but probably not. Discouraged from traveling all the way out here, we fed Claire and decided to call it a day.

-Copenhagen is one of the most under-construction cities I've seen, and that's saying something. It seems every street has part of it blocked off for new bike lanes or a metro station or utilities work or whatever. Even the existing metro required us to change trains at Oresund because they were working on the platforms.