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Nordics. Part 1 - Copenhagen, Denmark.

Sloane and I took a serious trip over seas in the middle of September, and it was amazing.  I have never really traveled abroad, aside from a quick work trip to Israel when I was fresh out of college.  Sloane used to do European trips with her family quite often, but hasn't done so since she graduated college.  So, for her 30th birthday this past summer, we took some tax return money and decided we would go somewhere awesome together.  Sloane was in charge of choosing where we went, and she ended up on Scandinavia, after seeing some other blogs that she followed who had some pretty great shots and descriptions of their travels to the area.  We began our journey in Copenhagen Denmark. We arrived around 12PM on September 12th after taking a red eye from DC, through Iceland.  The plan was to sleep on the plane, but I didn't do much of that.  So we would need to fight through the afternoon to stay awake and get on a normal schedule according to the six hour time difference.  We got to our AirBnB - which are the only places we stayed during the entire trip - later that afternoon after a long lunch and an even longer walk with all our luggage.  

Sloane and bikes outside of our apartment in Frederiksberg, Copenhagen.

The view from the dining area of our Copenhagen apartment.

We met our host, got a little tour of the apartment, took showers and then headed out to discover the wonderments of this bike friendly city.  We were lucky enough to have a city bike share right out side of our front door.  We paid a monthly fee to access the bikes and then less than a dollar an hour while using them - if the ride was under half an hour, it was free.  There are a ton of these bike share stations around the city, and you can just grab a bike from the closest one to you, and then drop it off at any other station around the city.  It's a fantastic way to travel around the city.

We hopped on our gobikes and headed down to the happening area of Islands Brygge - right along the main canal in Copenhagen.  This area of town has a bunch of bars with outdoor seating, a few restaurants and a beautiful park that has public swimming areas right in the canal.

Islands Brygge, from the Langebro bridge.

Some one taking the leap from the high jumping platform.

As you can tell by the people swimming, we were greeted in Copenhagen with some pretty excellent weather, given the time of year.  It was in the low 70's and exceptionally sunny.  Apparently the weather had been pretty miserable and rainy up until the week we arrived.

Kayakers in the main canal.  Islands Brygge had a court for kayak polo, and we arrived just after a match had ended, so I unfortunately didn't get to witness this sport in action.

We headed over to Nyhavn from here to find a place to get dinner.  This is another incredibly popular area of town, and has a ton of restaurants to choose from - and the majority of them have outdoor seating.  It is directly on a canal, that has all types of boats moored up. 

Nyhavn canal.


At this point, the struggle to stay awake was a real one.  We sat down and had an incredibly slow, but good italian meal on the water as darkness approached.  After our dinner we took a quick walk out onto the Inderhavnen pedestrian and bicycle bridge - which we later learned had just been completed after some serious issues building it - i guess they built it from both sides, and it didn't meet up in the middle like planned.  

Nyhavn, as seen from the newly completed Inderhavnen bridge.

From here we found the closest bike share, grabbed our rides and headed back to get some much needed sleep, and rid ourselves of jet lag.  We woke up early the following day, to sunny skies and more warm weather.  We again hopped on the bikes and headed back out to do some more sightseeing.  Our first stop was the national library of Denmark - one of many incredible architectural wonders in Denmark.

Sloane at one of the bike shares, outside of the national library of Denmark.

A view inside of the national library.

We didn't hang out inside the library for very long, but were able to get a good overview of the space, it was pretty amazing.  Sloane ordered a smoothie from the cafe here. We couldn't translate the menu, so she ended up with some beets mixed in with apples, which wasn't too bad actually.  We grabbed a seat out on the patio of the library, which is right on the main canal and planned what to do next.  

View of Christiana from the National library Patio, a great mix of new and old architecture.  

The National library.

We decided to head to Amager Square and the Danish design stores that it houses, for Sloane to oogle all the things she and I both would love to fill our home with.  We went to Illums Bolighus first, there was 4 floors of fancy here, and we easily killed an hour walking around.  We then headed across the square to HAY House, and found even more Danish design to look at.  Both of these places made Ikea seem like walmart.  

Lighting and furniture in HAY House.

A view of Amager Square from the windows of HAY House.  

After looking at all the pretty things, we grabbed a couple sandwiches at a local cafe, ate lunch in the neighboring park, and attempted to over come our envy of Danish design.  We then headed over to the Danish Design museum to see their extensive collection of all things Danish, and it was quite impressive.  Obviously, failing at our attempt to rid ourselves of any envy. 

Sloane among the many reams of fabric hanging in the Danish Design Museum.

A sweet sofa in the design museum.

After a long day of design sightseeing, we rode back to Islands Brygge with the plan of renting a goboat - which are solar powered boats you can take out on the canals - but we neglected to make a reservation and our plan was quickly squashed when we learned there was no availability that evening.  So we instead grabbed a few beers at a waterfront bar, and tried to decide what to do for dinner - this was difficult, since both of our phones had died.  We again grabbed bikes and made our way back to the apartment to clean up for dinner.  We rode our bikes, (accidentally) through a pitch black graveyard, to a seafood restaurant called Oysters&Grill - it may have been one of the best meals we had while in Scandinavia.  Fried shrimp, steamed shrimp, mussels, razor clams, ceviche and booze - it was fantastic.  

The following day was our last in Copenhagen, and we definitely made the best of it.  We were again up early (still adjusting to the time difference), we hopped on our bikes and rode our way down to the main canal, where we were scheduled for a kayak tour of the canals with Kayak-Republic.  I typically do not do kayak tours, but in Denmark and Norway, you must posses a euro paddle pass, which you can get from taking a very long and expensive course - basically like being certified by the ACA in the US.  Since we do not have  EPP certificates, we had to be on the water with a guide.

Sloane took the bow position, and did a great job paddling while I took photos.

The Royal Danish Opera house, as seen from the kayak tour, was completed in 2004.  Check out how RedBull uses this building.

Amalienborg - guest residences for the royal family and the largest dome in Scandinavia, from  Frederiks church, rising in the background.

A back canal in Christiana with lots of expensive boats.

Kayak touring

The National Library and the cirkelbroen bridge, which rotates to open up and allow tall ships to pass.

Marmobroen bridge.

After a great two hours on the water,  we thanked our guide, and grabbed a quick lunch at the Kayak Bar, which is part of Kayak Republic.  It's a pretty great place, with very good food.  Right on the water, and you can eat on a floating dock, complete with sandy beach and palm trees.  While we were waiting for our lunch to be prepared, soaking in the sunshine - I decided we had to jump in the water - it seemed like the thing to do here.  So I went for it, and played it off like it wasn't that cold so Sloane would follow.  It was cold.  But I am glad we did it, and it's not everyday you get the opportunity to swim in the canals of Copenhagen while drinking and waiting for your food to arrive.  

Danish smorrebrod.  Open face sandwiches from Kayak Bar - they were delicious.  Sloane got salmon and I got roast beef.

After we dried off from our swim and had our lunch, we jumped back on our bikes and made our way back to the apartment to get packed and organized for the next leg of our journey - an overnight ferry ride to Norway.   We managed to squeeze everything we brought back into our luggage, something we would do many more times, and called ourselves an Uber to get us to the ferry terminal in time - we were worried we wouldn't make it using the public transportation. One of only a few times we ubered - despite Sloane's strong lobbying attempts on many occasions.   

We got there with plenty of time to spare and boarded our cruise ship, the Crown Seaways.  A cruise ship - that is exactly what it was - this was not a ferry. It had 5 restaurants, a huge duty free store, 3 bars and 2 clubs.  We dropped our bags off at our cabin, which was a great little room with a window on the 9th deck of the ship, then headed up to the bar on the 12th deck to take in the last bit of Copenhagen, and Denmark from the water.

Sun deck beverages.  We quickly learned it was much smarter to buy alcohol at the duty free shop.

The Danish and Norwegian flag, along with the DFDS seaways flag

Sloane enjoying some wine while cruising up the Swedish coast.

Sunset from the sun deck.

Sloane enjoying the sunset and moonrise on the Crown Seaways. 

After a not so fantastic meal at the pizza restaurant on board the Crown, we headed out to find the nightlife.  What we found was an empty club.  I guess since it was a weekday, they were not operating the late night entertainment.  But we did find another club, full of folks well into their 70's, enjoying some live polka type music.  Sloane made me dance in front of the crowd, no one seemed to care that I suck at dancing which was nice.  Afterwards we went back to the room and decided it was time to sleep. And when we woke up, we were in a different country - Norway.

Late night shot of the smoke stack billowing that pollution into the crisp sea air.  I found out its pretty much impossible to use a tripod on a cruise ship - everything shakes like crazy.

Up next - Oslo Norway, Stay tuned.