Thursday, May 07, 2009

Europe 2009: Thursday, May 7th, Copenhagen

We took the train from Kassel to Copenhagen. It was fascinating to see the train pull onto the ferry. We had to disembark and wait upstairs in the ferry during the crossing. It was huge! Several restaurants, a smoking lounge and a duty free shop. When we arrived at our Copenhagen hotel we had dinner with friends and strolled around Tivoli, a 160 year old amusement park beautifully lit and awash in gorgeous tulip gardens.

Our hotel was the Best Western Hebron. Our friends chose it for us because it was within walking distance from the train station and close to Tivoli. The rooms were miniscule and the decor very dated, but on the positive side they had a very nice breakfast and a comfortable sitting lounge with free coffee/espresso machine where my girlfriend and I played Scrabble. It was next to a strip club, but it wasn't a "bad" neighborhood, imo. The hotel was expensive, compared to the beautiful Novotel in Munich. I did enjoy walking each morning in the area. I would walk to a series of lakes/ponds near the planetarium. Lots of people were out jogging, walking and biking. You could rent a bike by putting coins in the bike stand and then drop the bike at another bike stand to get your coin back, kind of like the shopping carts here at home at Aldi.

We ate at A Hereford Beefstouw, close to Tivoli. They specialize in beef, as you can see from the name. And it was very good indeed. It is served on extremely hot plates with your choice of potato. The salad bar was a hit with some of our friends. You would fill out your order on a list and hand it to the waitstaff. I was fascinated by our tables which were made of butcher block and had a pen attached by a string and a hook with a kitchen towel as a napkin. Afterward, we walked from the restaurant right into Tivoli, awash with gorgeous tulips and spring flowers. A concert band played in the bandshell. The park was lit up like a Christmas tree. We stopped for drinks in one of the many bars and restaurants.

The next day we watched the changing of the guard at the Queen's palace and took a canal boat tour. This was the best way to see all the fascinating architecture if you only have a short time in Copenhagen. It takes you past all the sights, including the Little Mermaid and the former residence of Hans Christian Anderson. The Danish stock exchange building was the most interesting. The spire was made up of the intertwined tails of dragons.

We lunched at Cafe Sorgenfrei. This place is always packed, but our Danish friend managed to make reservations for all of us. Traditional Danish fare consisting of herring, a kind of meatloaf, cabbage, shrimp and a lot of other things which I can't remember anymore. They bring platters of many types of food to the table and there are stands which elevate the platter so everyone can reach it. And, of course, aquavit (water of life), made from potatoes and flavored with caraway

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