R. Craig Collins > Web Page Design > Portfolio > Copenhagen, Christmas, 2007
Copenhagen (København), Christmas, 2007 © R. Craig Collins, 2000/2007
Highlights and Plan, below
To Denmark and Sweden Travelblog, with pictures
To Thanksgiving Pictures To Christmas Pictures
Dec. 25, Tuesday
Drive to Houston, arrive about 6:30pm and park
6655 Will Clayton Parkway
Fly from Houston to Paris
Air France 031, 10:10 pm-2:40pm, Seats 27D, 27E, 27F, and 27G
Dec. 26, Wednesday.
Fly from Paris to København
Air France 1050, 3:40pm -5:35pm, Seats TBA
Taxi to Scandic Hotel
6 VESTER SOGADE DK 1601
The Plan December 27, Thursday
Wander City Center
11:00 Orientation with the Grand City Tour
Tour departs from City Hall Square in front of the Palace Hotel
We'll see Tivoli Gardens, Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek art museum, the canal district, the National Museum, Christiansborg Palace (Danish Parliament), the old Stock Exchange, Kongens Nytorv (King's New Square), the Royal Theater, harbor district of Nyhavn.
Stop at Amalienborg Palace, winter residence of the Royal Family for the Changing of the Guard.
Next is a visit the Gefion Fountain and the Little Mermaid, inspired by Hans Christian Andersen's fairytale. Stop at a magnificent churches in Copenhagen and pass Rosenborg Castle, where the crown jewels are protected by the Royal Guard.
10:00-5:00 The National Museum
The Prince's Palace
Ny Vestergade 10, Copenhagen
Tel.: (+45) 33 13 44 11
Wander City Center
December 28, Friday
10:00-3:00 The Museum of Danish Resistance (Frihedsmuseet)
Tel.: (+45) 3347 3921
11:00-23:00 Christmas at Tivoli
Amusement park and garden, built 1843. Tivoli includes a variety of attractions: a sailing ship afloat on a lake, buildings in the style of the Orient, a theatre, band stands, restaurants and cafés, flower gardens, and amusement park rides. After dark, colored lamps illuminated the gardens. During Christmas at Tivoli, 1800 light chains are needed for the willows around The Tivoli Lake, another 5000 metres of lights are needed for all the Christmas trees, and a further 1000 metres of lights are used for the buildings at Tivoli. Of course there is a huge Christmas tree, and Christmas in Tivoli’s villages will have more than 70 stalls for the Christmas Market. All of Tivoli’s restaurants will be open with seasonal menus.
December 29, Saturday
9:45 Helsingborg, Lund and Malmö: Sweden tour
Tour departs from City Hall Square, in front of the Palace Hotel
Drive from Copenhagen to Elsinore, a great view of Hamlet's Castle - Kronborg - from the sea. The voyage across the Sound takes approximately 20 minutes.
Drive through the city of Helsingborg, before continuing to Lund. Lund is a university city from the middle ages - founded in 990 by the Danish King Svend Tveforkbeard (986-1014). Visit the Cathedral, which has a magnificent 14th century astronomical clock and the famous University of Lund.
Continue to Malmö, and on the way back to Denmark, cross the Sound once again, but this time on the magnificent Oresund bridge.
December 30, Sunday
9:30 Castles Tour of north Zealand, including Halmet's castle
Tour departs from City Hall Square, in front of the Palace Hotel
Leave Copenhagen and head north, for almost a whole hour on the coastline towards Elsinore and Kronborg Castle. Now under the UNESCO convention, Kronborg the only example of a Renaissance Castle. It is easy to understand why William Shakespeare chose Kronborg Castle as the setting for his famous play 'Hamlet' as you enjoy the beautiful surroundings. You will be able to explore the castle's interior as you are taken through the Chapel and the Knights' Hall (the longest room in Northern Europe) and the dark casemates.
After a lunch break, the tour continues towards Fredensborg, where the Queen's summer residence of Fredensborg Palace is attractively located in the middle of a lovely park, bordering the idyllic Esrum Lake.
Next is Frederiksborg Castle, built by King Christian IV in 1601 - 1625, Renaissance style with a touch of baroque, is now a national historical museum, containing treasures of painting, tapestry, porcelain, silver and furniture.
Dec. 31, Monday
Taxi to hotel
Fly from København to Paris
Air France 1751, 10:10am -12:10pm, seats TBA
Fly from Paris to Houston
Air France 038, 3:55 pm-7:55pm, Seats 33K, 33J, 34K, and 34J
Pick up car
6655 Will Clayton Parkway
Stay at Country Inn and Suites Houston
20611 HWY 59
Humble, TX 77338
Jan. 01, Tuesday
The details: Travelblog
Tuesday, December 25
1:00 pm, Central Time; Lunch at Jack in the Box. Fridge was empty and not too many places open; very slow and crowded, but available.
2:00 Head to IAH, Houston, using State Highway 6, to 105, to Interstate 45, to 1960.
5:00 There was not too much traffic, so we got to Houston early; we had dinner at Bennigan’s.
6:00 Drop car off at Allright, spot L23… a dark corner in the back forty. Bus to IAH.
We had to wait for the Air France counter to open, but were quickly through security. Lots of NASA pictures in the terminal, but it was pretty dead near our gate, it took forever to find chips and drinks for the wait.
9:30 Board the Airbus 330; we had seats D, E, F, and G on row 27… about the middle of the aircraft. There was a neat seat back entertainment system… on demand movies, games, a landscape camera that looked ahead while we were on the ground, or directly beneath us when flying. For airline food, Air France was great; we had tuna salad, grapes, curry chicken or beef bourguignon, cheese, bread, chocolate, and cake. We had seen many of the movies already, but we watched a French comedy movie with sub-titles, L’Invite.
Wednesday, December 26
12:15 GMT +1; We had a brunch of yogurt, fruit, and juice.
14.15 Land at CDG airport in Paris. We arrived in Terminal 2D, but our flight to Copenhagen was in 2 E, where the terminal collapse had been last year… no transportation, so we hot footed it after showing our passports to customs, and arrived at the terminal right at boarding time. There was light security just outside the gate, and a cattle call boarding. We had seats 10 A, B, C, and D… and the plane was not quite full. We had a drink and gateau, French for cake, on the way.
17:30 Land in København in Danish, with the ‘v’ pronounced as a ‘w’… so locals refer to the city as Kobenhawn. After the long walk past baggage (we didn’t check anything, so no delay), no one even wanted to see our Passports, and we were in the arrivals hall fairly quickly.
18:00 caught a Taxi (very nice Mercedes) and arrived at the hotel within about 25-30 minutes.
We checked into the Scandic, and when we reached our room, 1022, we discovered a long bench couch under the window, and two single beds. We knew that there was going to be a couch in the room we would have to use, but we expected something that folded out into a double bed… the maid shortly added linen to the bench, and that was the way it would be… two of our would be sleeping head to toe.
We traded off during the stay, but we got the couch the first and last nights.
19:00 We wandered to the main train station, and finally opted for a place called Train Fast Food.
We had Rød Pølse and frits, a popular Danish fast food (a long red hot dog, bread, and fries)… the girls also had an orange Miranda while Susann had coffee. From there we wandered past the brightly lit Tivoli Gardens to the Rådhus, the town hall, and saw roughly where our tour would depart from on the following day.
There were 7/11s everywhere, so we grabbed some cookies, headed back to the hotel, and snacked while we watched a circus in Danish.
Thursday, December 27
8:00, went to the breakfast room before sunrise (yes, it was still dark until about 8:30, when it lightened up to a gray overcast). They had a huge breakfast layout… bacon, sausages, meats, eggs, cereals, breads, croissants, and even fish and rice for the Thai airlines flight crew and passengers that arrived daily. They also had fruit, banana chips, and rice cakes. Back to the room to load up, and our first good view of the area.
9:00 Wander over to Sankt-jorgens lake behind our hotel.
Then head back around to the front of the hotel...
...and on past Tivoli...
... and the Rådhus to Strøget, a pedestrian shopping mall made up of several streets that went on for about a mile. We turned around at Hojbro plads.
After buying some souvenirs, we headed back to the plaza by Rådhus, and found a bookstore to shelter in from the wind and cold until our bus arrived down the street.
The costs were very high; to convert to dollars you multiply by 5, but many books were double the printed dollar cost after conversion.
10:30 We board the Grand Tour bus, and start by driving around Tivoli, where we could see just how big the park was, and we could see many of the attractions and rides. On the other side, we passed the Glyptotek museum with a copy of Rodin’s Thinker on the grounds.
We circled a bit, passing the black and gold spire of Von Frelsers Kirken, and seeing a woman in traditional fish-mongers garb, near Nyhavn, the tourist harbor.
After leaving Nyhavn, we passed the National Theatre.
We headed to new town, the bustling area formed when a bridge was built that connected Denmark to Sweden, and saw the new Danish Radio Hall. We headed then to near the new Opera House (nearby was a sub, now a museum).
We walked to Amalienborg castle for the changing of the Guard, which arrives from the direction of the Marble Church.
We walked passed the Queens Winter residence, and the Marble Church.
We had a brief stop by a shop; outside was an electric car that was small, but neat. Back passed the opera house, and back on the bus.
We then went past the old Stock Market, Christansborg (now the Parliament buildings), and saw ice skating at Kongens Nytorv, back near the National Theatre and the Magasin du Nord store, their version of Harrods. We then went out to the Kastellet, the old fortifications near the harbor, and saw the Anglican St. Alban’s church, and visited the Little Mermaid statue in the harbor.
After driving around the harbor, and seeing the huge ferry to Oslo, we passed Kongens Have park that has the old summer palace, Rosenborg Slot.
Then we went through the Neils Bohr’s Universitet, and toured the Vor Frue Kirken, where the latest royal marriage was held.
Finally, it was back to Rådhuspladsen, the Rådhus square.
13:15, we walked to the National Museum. After unloading our gear at the coat check, and having a couple of hot chocolates under the sky light over the entry square of the old palace, we started our tour. We went through exhibits on the Danish Middle Ages, saw old jewelry including an owl, textiles, and an exhibit on coins, medals, and paper currency, including forgeries. There were exhibits from how the building was during its time as the Prince’s palace, and saw a great exhibit on toys and doll houses. We then walked the ‘Story of Denmark 1660-2000’ (everything had Danish and English labels) that had wonderful antiques, period pieces, and art. We went back to the entry area to visit the shop, and noticed it was pretty dark… we thought the skylight might be tinted as it was just before 4:00 pm local time, but upon stepping outside, it was really dark.
So first light about 8:00, sunset about 3:30, with dark falling about 4:00… or 7 hours of light.
16:00 Walk back to the Train station, then wander to a McDonald’s near Tivoli for dinner. The girls always demand one trip to a burger place, to compare to the home style I suppose. So we got chicken sandwiches, burgers, and fries… the cheapest thing on the ‘Coin Menu’ was the Chicken Salsa for 15DKK, or about $3. So we knew food was going to be 2 to 3 times what we were used to at cheap places, and god only know at nice places. The girls had their favorite Fantas, and we wandered around the two story playground before heading back to the Strøget.
As it was right after Christmas, there were many sales. A place called Company had a line literally three long blocks long with people waiting to get in to use their 50% off coupons. We passed the beautiful Helligånds Kirken and got to Højbro Plads, with its flower stalls, roasting nuts, and flashing toy vendors.
We walked back near the hotel to the REMA 1000 grocery store, and got milk, cookies, and water (so we would have a water bottle with us on the following day.) Back at the hotel, we watch strongman competitions and sports bloopers (Watts ZAP) on Swedish Euro Sports. (Outside the room, there was a funny neon sign... an angel would fly in, and feed a pig.)
Friday, December 28
8:30 Standard breakfast, and mailed Gracie’s post cards at the Concierge desk.
9:45 We walked to the Vesterport S-Tog (light rail) station, and bough a 10 ride clipbook. We road the train two stops to Østerport, and walked past the Swedish Church, Valkirie statues, windmill, etc., at the Kastellet...
...to Churchill Park, and the Danish Resistance Museum, Friehedsmuseet.
The museum chronicles how Denmark was neutral from 1938-1940, when they were occupied by the Nazis. It was called the ‘Cream Puff’ theatre, as there was no real action. However, the locals thought otherwise, and soon there was sabotage along railways, and uprisings. In 1943 the Gestapo started trying to cleanse the Jews, and in 1944, under Hitler’s orders, any block thought to harbor a member of the resistance was leveled. One of the girl’s favorite books is “Number the Stars” which recounts fishing boats smuggling out the Jews to Sweden, so they were really interested in seeing the book come to life, including the powder used to dull the dogs ability to pick up the Jews scent, and copies of the underground newspapers. They had film of prison camp survivors, and all in all it was a very moving experience. One of my favorite exhibits was an actual German Enigma coding machine; one of the founders of computing, Alan Turing, was involved with one of the world’s first computers which was designed to crack the Enigma codes.
11:45 We left the museum, and walked around the Kastellet to St. Alban’s church;
from there we walked back down to Amalienborg Palace again retracing many of our steps from the bus tour. We again saw the Changing of the Guard, and continued on to Nyhavn. This little harbor looks so much like Amsterdam, with the boats, house boats, and converted warehouse architecture. From there we walked to Kongens Nytorv, and again saw the skate rink, the National Theatre, and Magasin du Nord.
We strolled the Strøget, and had pizza and Fanta for lunch at Mama Roosa’s. After lunch we did a little shopping at the Royal Copenhagen Porcelain shop, and walked by Skt. Nicolaj Tåar (St. Nicholas Tower).
From there we wandered off the Strøget to the RundTåar. This Round Tower was originally built for the University to house the Astronomy observatory and telescope. While the top is 35 meters up, about 120 feet or so, instead of steps it was built with a wide cobblestone road to the top.
Supposedly Tsar Peter road a horse to the top, and not to be outdone, the Tsarina Catherine drove a 6 horse carriage to the top. They still have bike races up and down. About half way up is a latrine used by many notable Danes as they contemplated the universe, including Hans Christian Anderson. The view from the top was great, and the walk down was considerably easier the walk up.
15:15 After buying more souvenirs, we walked over to Nørreport station, and rode the S-Tog back to Vesterport, and walked to the hotel.
16:00 After a brief break to freshen up, we walked over to Tivoli Gardens. It was getting dark, so the lights really were showing. The entire time we were in Copenhagen, the temperature was between 36° and 39°, but the wind make it feel more like 27° if we were exposed, but this night was worth the cold and wind. The park was full, but we rarely had to wait to ride, and we circled the gardens and park several times. We started with the Svingkarrusellen, sort of like park swings that are spun around. We then road the two story Musikkarusellen, then the Ballongyngen Ferris wheel. We also road the Nurretoppen ( a scrambler like ride), the Rutschebanen, the Himmelskibet ( a 80 meter version of the park swings that spun around… about 250 feet up in the full gale), the Odin Express, the Dagon boats, the Daemonen (A massive hanging roller coaster) and the Monsunen (a wicked massive swing).
We had a fish and chips dinner in a heated tent, wandered over by the 17th century St. Georg III sailing ship in its own lagoon, and found relief from the cold at numerous coal pits you could stand by.
We started repeating rides until we had our fill, and then stopped at a 7/11 for snacks on the way in.
21:00 The girls watched School of Rock with subtitles, and we watched a little more Strong Man on TV before retiring.
Saturday, December 29.
8:15 Standard breakfast
9:00 Walk to Rådhus, and take pictures of the square. Shortly, we board the bus for our Sweden tour. We started by following the coast, and passed the Viking Bathing lodge, where they do the Polar Bear jump in the water even if there is ice. We had no ice, just rain.
We got quite a bit of recorded history as we passed the Royal Hunting Lodge and the Louisiana Museum, and the Sanitariums for all the rich people to rest, and the footballer’s villas. An American we called Actor lady (she was an actor) sat in front of use, and we would be bumping in to her the rest of the day.
10:50, the bus queued up for the Ferry in Helsingør to get to Helsinborg, Sweden.
The ferry raised its front end and the bus and many, many trucks and cars drove on for the 20 minute ride. From here we drove to Lund, a University town, with a fine Cathedral that contains a wonderful old but working astronomical clock. There was no guide for this portion, just on our own, and of course it started a downpour, but the wind was beating up the umbrellas, so we just roughed it as we explored.
12:15 We had varm chokolate and brownies at Emma’s café, and did some souvenir shopping, and went back to the Cathedral for a bit, and roamed near the University until we reboarded the bus.
14:15 The bus headed to Malmö. We heard quite a bit of history on the wars between Sweden and Denmark, as the coastal areas on both sides constantly changed hands.
14:45 Get off the bus to wander Malmö by ourselves. The square had a big ice arena, and local kids were giving an ice skating show… they were pretty good, too. Nearby were houses from the 156s, and the Apoteket Lejonet (apothecary shop) from 1890.
There was a great mix of new and old, plus some just odd items. There was a stylized metal marching band on the shopping mall, and a 24 foot tall table lamp in an old square surrounded by half timber shops.
We stopped for some drinks at a Subway, and got back in time to watch a Cirque d’ Soleil type show at the square.
16:30 We board the bus, which is now heading for the Orensunsbron bridge that spans between Malmö and København. We heard a lot of WWII history, and about the cooperation that now exists between Sweden and Denmark as the bus took on the winds of the bridge. We heard about the airport as we took the tunnel under the last bit of the sea, and were soon back at the Rådhus.
17:15 Head from Rådhus back to the Strøget, and more shopping. After a quick refresher at the hotel, it was back out to near the train station for too much pizza at Aladdin’s.
19:30 Cookies and milk from 7/11, and back to the hotel to watch ski jumping, sports bloopers, and the low rent Italian version of Deal or No Deal. Hysterical with the card board boxes and the old telephone.
Sunday, December 30
7:30 Standard breakfast
8:40 Walk to Rådhus, and take more pictures of the square. Darned thermometer on a building still shows 3° C.
9:00 Board the bus and drive past some familiar sights...
... while headed for North Zealand (the large island Copenhagen is on… the mainland is called Jutland) and castles tour with the red fur coat clad guide Mi. We did quite a bit of driving in the city, before heading up the coast… but the big difference today was the sun was out… and there was a sky there after all. Aside from the same places we passed earlier, Hunting Lodge, thatch covered roofs, etc.,
we heard more about Karen Blixen (Out of Africa) and instead of boarding the ferry, drove behind the harbor to the Kronborg (Crown Castle) in Helsingør, which was pronounced Elsinore by Shakespeare a few hundred years ago when retelling the story of Amleath… or Hamlet.
The castle is mostly empty, as the Swedes took most of it the last time they vacated it, but the high moats, the cannons on the ramparts, and the great hall were wonderful. In the basement, or casement, was part of the original wall from the 1400s, and inside was a statue of Holger the Dane, the legendary Viking awaiting Denmark’s next call for help.
12:30 we arrive at café Sundkoen for smorrebrod, a traditional meal that includes lots of bread, cheese, herring, and some other meats as the buffet went on. This was our most expensive meal, and the one least favored by the girls.
We then headed inland to Fredensborg, the summer residence of the queen, and drove around the wonderful countryside and nearby lake.
From here, we headed to the big one, Frederiksborg Slot, the big castle build for Christian the IV on the lands of his father, Frederik. While burned a few hundred years ago, it has been rebuilt and turned into a wonderful museum; the gardens and furnishings are wonderful. The chapel is all original, and the organ was fantastic.
The castle closed at 15:00, so we spent the rest of the time wandering about Riddersalen, before re-boarding the bus. The ride in included many modern windmills, and a glorious sunset.
16:15 Arrive Rådhus, and stopped by REMA 1000 for snacks and souvenirs.
17:15 We walked to the Strøget one last time, for shopping, and dinner at Shawarma Kebob Palace. The girls had their last frits and Fanta as well; our last view was as we walked past the Planetarium next door to the hotel.
18:15 back at the hotel for packing, and watching “A Charlie Brown New Year in Danish”, followed by more ski jumping during our last cookies and milk break.
Monday, December 31
6:30 Rushed breakfast
7:00 Taxi to airport
Had to wander until we found where Air France was setting up shop, and saw Actor Lady again. Upstairs to security, and then on to find which gate Air France would be using… and we had to camp out until it was assigned. Headed to the gate, and had a cattle call boarding… we had the entire row 16… no one in the extra seats, so the girls had padding between them.
10:10 de-iced, and on to Paris.
12:10 Parked in outer-Mongolia, and this time bussed from 2D to international 2E. Had ham and cheese sandwiches at the Take and Fly, and boarded just before 16:00.
For our dinner, we had salmon salad, beef, cheese, bread, and a tasty pecan torte. We occupied our time with books, crosswords, games, and had a Häagen-Dazs break about midway through the flight. We were on rows 33 and 34, the two seats outboard this time, so we had window views, but little of the early flight was daylight and overland. About an hour before arrival we had a cold dinner, chicken and cous cous, but a pretty tasty fruit torte.
8:20 pm Land, and take the long walk in Houston to Immigration. Picked up the bus to the car, and were at the Country Inn and Suites in Humble by 9:00 for some sleep, before the trip back home.
What a great trip.
Craig, Kyle, and AJ
AJ, Gale, and Merri
Gale, Merri, Susann, and Craig
Mike, Gracie, and AJ
AJ, 17 months
AJ and Diane
AJ after the bath
A tired AJ about to get dressed for bed
Gracie, senior year activities
Diane, Homecoming dress
Christmas Eve, 2007
AJ ready to go to Church
Kyle and AJ
Love that party mix
St. Michael's, Austin
Janne Osborne at St. Michael's