Sunday, 22 April 2007


A four day trip visiting Denmark (Copenhagen), Norway (Oslo) and Sweden (Malmo)


Early start this morning, driving to Stansted Airport for our Easyjet flight to Copenhagen. This was a very quick flight and we were soon in the terminal looking for the rail station.
About £7 bought two tickets in to Copenhagen centre, where we looked for our first bar. We had not really planned to see anything in particular so decided to stop as and when we were tempted by something. We had a good walk about the town centre, along the Stroget - the main shopping street until we reached Nyhaven - the fashionable port area. This short road / canal spur was lined with street cafes and bars. We took an hour long canal boat tour of the town centre, taking in sights such as the Danish Royal Yacht that was in port, the enormous opera theatre, several churches and the royal palace. We were very tired and dozed a bit, but the multilingual tour guide kept us amused with her translations. "These twelve statues, made of danish people...."

Once back at Nyhaven, we tried a bar or two and found that beer really was quite dear in northern Europe. About £10 bought two beers - 100DKK.
We strolled back through the town to our hotel - the Hotel Nebo, which I had carefully chosen as it had en suite facilities. It didn't and if I had read the small print at the time of booking, I would have known our room didn't.

In the evening, we ventured back out looking for a meal and to visit Tivoli - Copenhagen's popular meeting spot and fair ground. In the dark, it was magical. We stopped briefly to listen to an orchestra before walking further into the park. We settled on an Italian restaurant - one of about 30 inside the park. We enjoyed our meal and carried on exploring the park. The rides were comparable with many in the UK theme parks, though very pricey. We strolled, listening to the tones of a live jazz band playing somewhere nearby. After another half hour or so, we both agreed it was time to head back to the hotel and some well earned rest.


Checking out fairly early, we walked back across town to Nyhaven. We had wanted to visit the Carlsberg brewery but it was closed today. After another hot dog breakfast (there are so many polser stands everywhere), we decided to just walk around the other parts of the town that we had not seen. We stopped for refreshments a few times and strolled through a large park area, having bought some beer in a corner shop - much cheaper than the bars.
As the afternoon drew on, we made our way to the ferry port to board our DFDS ferry to Oslo.

Once checked in, we settled down on the rear sun deck to read the newspaper and watch Denmark slip past us as the ferry made its way northwards. The ship, the Pearl of Scandinavia, had several different bars and restaurants, but as we had no 'formal' dress, we ate in the buffet restaurant. The food was amazingly good, much better than any other ferry operator we have used but also pricey. Later we watched the live band and drunk our smuggled red wine that we had bought in the duty free shop.


We awoke and quickly went out on deck to make the most of the morning sunshine and scenery. The fjords were just as we imagined they would be, pine tree lined, rocky and reaching down to the sea. The channel to Oslo was quite narrow with several turns, but before long we were alongside in Oslo port. We disembarked and walked to the main street which contained all of the major buildings in Oslo. At the lower end was the main rail station. We arrived at the main street near the cathedral. We stopped for coffee before continuing. The cathedral was completely shrouded in scaffolding and plastic sheeting. We walked slowly up the road. The street slowly climbs to the royal palace at the top, passing the parliament building, opera house and university. The street was lined with long red and white flags. At the university buildings, we stopped to buy brunch. As we sat on a wall and ate (more polser) a marching band could be heard, getting closer. Back on the main street, we could see hundreds of soldiers marching towards us and then maneuvering to line both sides of the street in a cordon. Some of them (and the band) marched up to the palace. Another band could be heard further along he road. After a while, we walked up to the palace, which surprisingly is not fenced off from the road and watched the King of Norway inspecting the troops. Their uniform consisted of a navy blue tunic and a black bowler hat with a black plume of feathers on the side.

When we had had enough of the ceremony, we walked down the harbour side where there were several trendy bars and an indoor shopping centre renovated from old warehouse buildings. We sat and enjoyed the sunshine, watching the various ferry boats come and go.

The city hall overlooks the port, but it was quite an ordinary brick built affair, quite anonymous compared with all of the other buildings. We returned to catch our ferry back to Denmark. We found a particularly stubborn and unhelpful girl on the check-in desk and were made to wait an hour. More or less as soon as she had gone, we tried again and were allowed to board; less than an hour had passed.

The evening ferry back showed the surroundings off in an even better light, but as the temperature dropped, we retreated indoors again to eat at the buffet and watch the band again. They played exactly the same numbers...


Once back in at Copenhagen, we walked along the harbour side, passing the mermaid statue again and stopped for coffee at Nyhaven. We then walked the rest of the way back to the rail station where we caught a train across the Oresund bridge to Malmo, Sweden. The train track is suspended underneath the road bridge. The train first passes through a tunnel under the water, then emerges onto a man-made island before traversing the bridge. The Twisted Torso tower block is distinctive on the approach as the train circles around the southern side of the city. Once on foot in Malmo, we wandered the cobbled streets of the town centre, before deciding to have a curry for lunch in one of the restaurants on the main square. This was exceptionally good value and very tasty. We walked through the city centre park and sat for a while in the sunshine next to the canal that passes through. We both dozed in the sun before walking down to the sea to see the Twisted Torso up close. The wind was biting, but we found some shelter to rest and enjoy the views.
Back in the town, we drank at two bars until our money was gone before catching the train back to Copenhagen where before long, we were airborne and enroute to London.

This trip had been an amazing travel experience, particularly using the over night ferry between two capital cities.

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