To see photos corresponding to my last post, Fall Break Part III: Berlin, click HERE.
To see the photo album corresponding to this post, click HERE.
Before I get into the subject of this post I just wanted to point out something that was forgotten in the previous post.
And now for the last push:
We really wanted to visit Copenhagen and some point while in Europe and since Michael's sister's boyfriend (confusing, I know) Jon is spending this semester of college there, and we already happened to be in that general area, what better time than this trip? So we hopped on yet another train bound for Denmark on Wednesday afternoon. The train ride was pretty long and boring except when our train was driven onto the bottom level of a ferry and crossed the water border between Germany and Denmark, that was pretty exciting. We did manage to make a friend in Albert on the last leg of the journey. He was probably close to my dad's age, a native German but had been living in Copenhagen for 3 decades. As per usual, we had no map of Copenhagen, no clue where our hostel was, and were getting in at 11:00pm, long after any tourist offices were closed. After looking at the address and phone number of the hostel he told us exactly what bus to take and where to get off.
The hostel was an experience that I hope to soon forget. In general, the Scandinavian countries are more expensive than the rest of Europe, which was a shock to us after being in Berlin and Prague, so the hostel was immediately more expensive than any of the others on the trip. But since we choose one of the "cheap" hostels in Copenhagen, it also wasn't very nice. There were 32 beds in each room (the most we had seen so far was 10) and although the room was split up with partial walls to mini 4-bed rooms, when half of the room is taken up by boisterous Australian girls those dividers weren't much help. Secondly, it is apparently customary to charge extra in this part of the world for pillows and blankets. Each person is given one sheet (Michael had a fitted sheet while I got a flat) and that's it. And since we were being frugal and the hostel was already pricey, we refused to "rent" pillows or blankets (not to mention, they didn't think they would have enough blankets and pillows to go around even if we did want them), so the first night we spent freezing in our own separate beds. Michael even ended up sleeping under his fitted sheet with a sweater and pants on. The second night we disobeyed hostel ruled and slept together which was much, much warmer. The only positive side of the ordeal was the fact that the Aussies were up so late partying that I never had to fight anyone for the the one shower in the morning.
Thursday morning we were happy to be out of the hostel and managed to have one of the best pastries we've had since moving to Europe, a danish! Unfortunately it had been raining for the past 3 days of the trip and my non-waterproof warm shoes were currently soaked and the remaining pair were not very insulated. So despite the fact that it was beautiful and sunny out, it was still very cold, which left me kind of miserable for the day, fighting Michael to let me go inside any nearby public building so I could regain feeling in my feet. Without any word from Jon, or any inkling as to what we should see while in Copenhagen, we picked up a few maps and followed it along a self-guided walking tour through downtown.
We were lucky that we just so happened to be walking through the palace area at noon and were able to see the legendary changing of the guards. Unfortuantely, the Queen was out-of-town, so we didn't get any music to accompany the routine.
The only famous person that I know from Copenhagen is Hans Christian Anderson so we had to visit the statue of the Little Mermaid, which happens to be one of my favorite all-time Disney movies.
After we finished our walking tour of the downtown area and unable to get a hold of Jon by phone we decided to do the walking tour of the Christiania area which was once a neighborhood primarily of naval barracks which emptied out after WWII. It has since been inhabited by squatters and is now self-proclaimed as an autonomous neighborhood. The wikipedia entry on Christiania is very interesting if you have a few minutes to spare; it's full of drug wars and clashes between the people and police.It was a very interesting walk though outlandish architecture and a park where vendors sold marijuana on card tables (unfortunately, no photos were allowed). I'm sure there were much more shady things going on in alleyways or other areas of the park but Michael and I aren't really the daring types so we stayed to the more heavily populated areas. The only picture we managed to get from that side of the city was this one looking over the water to the downtown area at sundown.
After 12 hours on trains, and without any supplies for Friday night pizza, we were forced to make pizza pasta for dinner, which was sad but we had enough pizza through the week that it wasn't a big deal. Saturday (Halloween) we celebrated the holiday by finally buying me a mop (very festive, right? at least I no longer have to clean the floor Cinderella-style) and making this delicious pumpkin chili with bloody cocktails (blood orange orangina mixed with vodka).