Wonderful, wonderful Copenhagen
I’m travelling again for Scott McGregor’s Railway Adventures and have just spent a delightful few days in Copenhagen with Scott, with the view of developing a tour that can ‘add on’ in 2018 and beyond to the already successful Scandinavian adventure through Sweden and Norway that he leads every year.
They don’t sing “Wonderful, wonderful Copenhagen” for no reason. What a city! A heady combination of canals, parks, castles, great bars and restaurants, classy hotels, wonderful local designers and more. And all easily accessible on the bicycles we hired for the duration of our stay.
We’ve met with hoteliers and tour guides as well as checking out the best the city has to offer – Amelionborg Palace, the home of our own Crown Princess Mary; Christiansborg Palace, now the seat of the Danish Parliament; the famous Little Mermaid; the wonderful canal district of Nyhavn, which Hans Christian Andersen sailed into in 1819, after leaving Odense on the western isle of Funen to seek his fortune on the stage in Copenhagen; the stunning 400-year-old Rosenborg Castle, King Christian IV’s summer palace and still the home of the Danish Coronation Chair and Crown Jewels; the enchanting Tivoli Gardens; the magnificent City Hall, inspired by that in Siena, Italy; and much more!
But what impressed us most were the people. The Danes must be the most relaxed and emotionally secure people in the world! Without exception, every person we encountered was open, warm, friendly, well-mannered and so laid back I felt quite hip and cool. In the sort of way those of us over 50 feel hip and cool. And all with a wonderful, wry sense of humour that Australians love and appreciate so much. Like all the Scandinavian countries, pretty much everyone here speaks English extremely well, making life very easy and stress-free for those of us who travel with the language conversion apps fully engaged!
But my real interest, in all my travels for Railway Adventures, is how well does the destination work for those of us who are well over 50 years old?
I can say with confidence it works jolly well! I felt like a young girl again, riding my bike around the city without a care in the world, flitting from one gorgeous spot to another, truncated only by a refreshment in some fabulous little side street cafe. Apart from making sure I was on the right side of the road and in the right bicycle lane, that is! But even when I didn’t get that quite right, the Danes gently laughed and put me on the right track. Never once did I feel I was a silly old thing!
But for those not so keen on getting back on a bike, much of what you wish to see is walking distance, taxis are everywhere, canal boats glide up and down the waterways and there is a great Metro system. Of course, if you travel with Scott McGregor’s Railway Adventures, pretty much all of that is covered for you.
Regardless of how you choose to travel, there is much in Copenhagen that resonates with people of our generation. Soaking up the rich cultural and political history for starters. Who can still remember the difficult position Denmark was in when Hitler was marching on Scandinavia? Hans Christian Andersen’s wonderful fairy tales, not to mention the Danny Kaye’s delightful portrayal of him in the famous 1952 film, the royal dramas of the 20th Century and more recently, the romantic joining of a lovely Australian girl with a European Prince – a love story that could have been the plot for any romance film of the last 100 years!
The saddest thing of our trip is that we don’t have long enough to head west to the famous Roskilde or north to Kronborg Castle, upon which Shakespeare’s Elsinore Castle was based or extreme north to Denmark’s main fishing port of Skagen where the Baltic and North Seas meet, in what I’ve heard is quite a spectacular natural event.
Railway Adventures is looking to launch a short Denmark-focussed tour in 2018, which can easily be added on as a pre or post tour to their enormously popular annual Scandinavian Adventure. Or as a stand-alone adventure if you are already in Europe and would like to enjoy something a little different.
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