After the amazing week we had in Amsterdam, we said our farewells and departed for Copenhagen. We had another late flight but we remembered the Amsterdam airport having plenty to do so we decided to arrive a bit early and to do a little last minute souvenir hunting. By this time, my head cold was killing me so I was hopeful I would be able to find some much needed relief from a pharmacy or other drugstore type store in the airport.
I did find a drugstore but unfortunately, everything was in Dutch. I asked the employee for help and unlike the all purpose symptom medicine we have here in America, all I could find was a pill or a nasal spray that treated each symptom. Somehow I ended up with a box of 64 pills for a cough (that I didn’t even have)–a pill that I had to take every 2 hours! Since we were really only planning to be in Copenhagen for one full day, I decided just to do my best to push through and enjoy myself the best I could.
We arrived in Copenhagen late and once again we were faced with the confusing and frustrating task of learning a transit system. After a lot of confused wandering through an airport and asking a couple people about our whereabouts, we located our train and departed for the Central Station.
Thankfully, our hotel was only a brief walk once we arrived in city center. On the other hand, our walk was down an adult entertainment street. Every window we passed had some sort of sex toy or posters of women in lingerie. At one point, Miles asked me what all the sticks were (dildos) and without even hesitating I said, those are just hair curlers. He seemed to buy it.
Our hotel was very chic and very cool. In a strange way, it made me feel old because it was so cool. The front desk attendant did mention that we were in fact in Copenhagen’s red light district and to be mindful of that because we had children in our company. Never did I see a mention of the hotel being located in that specific area but we can work around that. I already have one kid thinking dildos are curling irons so not a big problem.
We went to bed early that night, all aware that we were about to embark on a whirlwind day of trying to see Copenhagen in one single day.
After a quick breakfast at the hotel, we took off on foot to walk the Strøget, the longest pedestrian shopping street in Europe. In comparison to the quiet week spent in Amsterdam, the first thing we noticed in Copenhagen was the abundance of cars and the noise. Copenhagen is exponentially louder and busier than Amsterdam.
Strøget is indeed a very long street, filled with shopping, cute cafes with blanket draped cafe chairs and loads and loads of construction. Just about every square we came upon had some sort of construction happening which made the surroundings that much more chaotic. The buildings and fountains were indeed beautiful but the design seemed more subdued compared to the canal houses in Amsterdam.
One of my favorite finds while strolling down the Strøget was Copenhagen’s dollar store, Tiger. To say this place is just awesome is an understatement. It’s a haven of well-designed products and super cheap prices. I was in love with everything and was serious in my thinking when I considered shipping everything from the store to my home. Ryan brought me back to reality despite not wanting to return and I took a ton of pictures of the merchandise instead where I find myself looking at them daily. Oh, Tiger Stores, you complete me!
We continued down the pedestrian path with the intention to visit the Rosenborg Castle after reading about the great tour through the castle and around the grounds. Sadly, we arrived at a closed door and quickly realized that we were visiting on the only day of the week that the castle is closed. Sad faces all around.
After trying to take what peeks we could through the cracks of the entrance door, we regrouped and decided to walk to Nyhavn which is home to some of the most picturesque buildings you’ll see in Copenhagen.
After some roundabout walking and avoiding more construction, we found the historic canal, lined with boats of varying sizes and the picturesque pastel colored-canal houses I’ve long seen in pictures. The streets are filled with various cafes, all with their usual lines of bistro tables and chairs. Unfortunately, most of the streets were filled once again with more construction so as you’re trying to take in this beautiful scene, you’re also having to be very aware of random cars trying to back up in to you.
After we perused Nyhavn a bit, we decided to listen to our feet and forego any more walking through the city. I had wanted to see the Little Mermaid statue and the Hans Christian Andersen museum but they were so far from where we were that we decided to scrap those plans and reward the kids for being super awesome travelers with a visit to Tivoli Gardens.
Tivoli is the second oldest amusement park in the world and something I was indeed excited to see. The kids really were very well-behaved for the duration of our trip and most of us were so tired at this point from walking that we welcomed the idea of just hunkering down in one central place for the rest of the day. The park itself looks like your standard amusement park but it’s beautifully manicured with buildings sprinkled throughout with various design aesthetics. One of the most amazing things to see upon entering was a Roomba-type lawn mower made to look like a rabbit, just moving about, trimming the lawn. While I was mesmerized by this technical advancement, I was quickly brought to by the sound of a peacock screeching. Yes, peacocks were just standing around.
We had lunch at one of the many dining options where we devoured a bottle of wine and I called home to the children’s school to tell them they were too ill to attend school that day (shhh). I bought the kids wristbands that allowed them endless rides throughout the park because all I wanted to do was sit back and relax. Ryan, being the alcohol hunter he is, found a sign advertising Irish coffees to go. Never to turn down a day drink, Ryan and Tim disappeared and returned a short while later with two beers and a double Irish coffee for me. Have I mentioned how much I love day drinking especially when it involves double anything?
This continued to be the theme for the day: kids rode rides, adults drank, repeat. Occasionally, due to Miles’ lack of height, one of the adults had to accompany him on rides which gave our livers a chance to process whatever tasty beverage we had just consumed. No big deal. At one point, liquid courage got the best of me and I found myself on a giant swing that went 20+ stories into the sky. The Star Flyer is considered one of the highest carousels in Northern Europe and it’s terrifying and cold. Even more impressive was I somehow managed to get Tim to join me on this horrible flying apparatus. I swear, I’m still not warm from that cold little jaunt into the sky.
A few lessons I learned from our time in Tivoli: cotton candy is called candy floss, the rides are very reminiscent of Disneyland, and the Danish people love their alcohol drinks to-go.
We couldn’t decide which restaurant to have dinner at because there were a thousand restaurants to choose from so we settled on an American diner. It’s ok, you can shake your head at us. In our defense, we were really really tired. We returned back to our hotel to pack up and prepare for an early flight home. Ryan really wanted to visit the Mikkeller bar that was located just around the corner so while him and Tim departed for round 4 of drinking, I stayed behind.
Ryan returned a short time later ever more inebriated with four bottles of beer he wanted me to try. At this point in the trip, my sinuses were so stuffed for so long, that I forgot what it was like to taste anything. I humored him and oohed and aahed at every beer when actually, all I could feel was the liquid sensation entering my mouth and going down my throat–it could have been Hawaiian Punch for all I knew. After everything was packed and Ryan passed out, we turned in for the evening.
I awoke the next morning, confused by the amount of light shining into our room. You see, we needed to leave the Central Station by 6:30am to make our 9:20am flight out. I awoke to discover that my alarm didn’t go off and it was in fact 6:15am. I frantically woke everyone up, including sleeping beauty who appeared to still be processing alcohol. We somehow managed to leave the hotel only ten minutes later than we had planned. I like to think it’s because I was so organized the night before.
We made our flight and all was well in the world. We had a 6-hour layover in Oslo so when we arrived, we scoped out our food and shopping options to occupy our time. We also found a fantastic play area that we grew accustomed to seeing throughout the Scandinavian airports. The play areas consist of airplanes with various slides and monkey bars built right into the frame of the plane. Very clever and very entertaining.
I’m not sure if we were too tired or too drunk (Ryan) but for some reason, we thought it would be a good idea to go to our terminal to check out what food and shopping options were there. We passed through customs and entered the terminal through a sliding door to find a single food kiosk and various empty gates. We attempted to return to the terminal with the variety of food options, shopping and play area to discover that we were in fact stuck. No re-entry. We panicked. Did we just make the worst decision of our lives? Are we really stuck here for five hours?! After we talked to a few people and had our stamps reversed in our passports, we were allowed to re-enter the previous terminal. Of course, the price of that little mistake required another round of security. This is on top of the security nightmare we went through earlier in the morning when none of us took out the liquids we were supposed to and the Oslo security personnel were not very pleased with us.
For the next five hours, we perused the airport, bought crappy airport food and mentally prepared ourselves for a 10-hour flight home. The fun and mischief of #ostockdamhagen16 was coming to a close and we were all ready to return home.
Being on a flight for ten hours gives you a lot of time to think and to reflect on all that had happened on the trip. It was an amazing trip! I’m still in a somewhat dream state that not only have I just returned home from three places I never thought I would visit but I did it with my two children, aged 5 & 7. I’ve always fantasized about traveling abroad with my children but deep down, I never thought I would muster the courage to do so. I planned the trip solely on the fact that I found cheap airfare. I’m so happy I did because it was one of the most amazing trips ever and I was able to share it with my kids. Seeing how excited they are to fill up their passports with more stamps makes the whole experience worthwhile.
I loved all the cities we visited despite feeling lukewarm about Copenhagen and I would do it all over again if I could. The trip was epic and I’m so proud that I took the leap and just went for it despite every conservative fiber in my body telling me, eh, are you sure you want to do this? It was amazing and I can’t wait to plan the next adventure!
Thank you so much for following along on our trip and feel free to share any ideas for our next adventure–I’m already eager to do it again!