June 3 – Copenhagen
Colorful, busy, walkable town. A rather hurried vibe even though the primary mode of transportation is the bicycle. They are everywhere; even have their own turning lanes. Amateurs beware. The class teams headed out about 8:45 for their busy days and Team Barnaby hopped on the shuttle to Tivoli Garden.
As usual we started in the wrong direction and had to backtrack through part of town with offices and townhouses. The area reminded me of all those movies that place Americans at risk in a European city. Overcast, alleyways, courtyards between buildings in which the hero is chased by the bad guys. Seen it a million times.
We headed to Copenhagen City Hall and found the garden on the grounds. The Christiansborg Palace was the destination. Situated within an urban canal, the property is the seat of Denmark’s government. Parliament and Supreme Court sit here, along with Royal events hosted by the Queen. We didn’t see her, but two of her horses watched us carefully.
From here, were pointed ourselves toward Nyhaven and found more retail streets line with shops of all times. Postcards were purchased, so we commenced out search for stamps. A pause for a small lunch along the Nyhaven canal reminded us to take it easy for a bit. I came to the conclusion that this is how one should start a visit to a new city. When you arrive in a city center (or some other drop off point), find the nearest café or coffeeshop, order (interact with the local folks), use money (gets you in tune with the country) and sip your drink as you take in the surroundings. We all love to people-watch, so what better way than deliberately picking a spot to take it all in. Then after this orientation, one figures out the next two or three destinations and determines the route. We always seem to get started in the wrong direction, looking for the wrong place, only to end up hours later, tired, hungry and frustrated… only to grab a coffee and snack. Like eating dessert, this should be done first thing. I plan to try it at the next possible location.
Stamps became our next goal. The search always proves interesting. Both money, distance and times must be managed. And you need to ask for help, so you get to meet people in different places. Hotels are always good since likely someone will speak English or they may sell stamps as well. We were directed to a convenient shop and had the exact change … and last kronor… to by the five stamps. Post box just around the corner, and this project was complete. This is another great way to move through a new city since it gives your goal and a challenge. No excuses. You must send a postcard from the city with the local stamp. And of course, a message to someone on the card. I often send one to myself and to a friend as a memento.
Our next target as the Little Mermaid (Merrjungfrau), a required site in Copenhagen. On the way we entered the park around the Kastellet, a five-point fortification on the north side of the city. This was major installation to protect the city. A beautiful green park surrounded and included the earthen embankments the counted the buildings. A walk along the top is good exercise, but we only did half since the northern exit led to the Mermaid.
Tour bus central. As stated a must-see, so every tour bus must stop here for the 3 minutes it takes to fight through the other members of your tour group to get your one shot. Classic tourist mentality that always makes me laugh. We waited for two or three groups to come and go before getting out own set of shots (as the rain started).
From there the ship was just over a small rise (we could see it from the fort as well), so we worked our way back.
Copenhagen is full of examples of a sustainable lifestyle. Bicycling is the primary example. Numbers show there are more bikes than people in Copenhagen. They ride year-round in any weather. It is just ingrained into the fabric of life. Wind turbines stand at the entrance to the port area, although there is also a coal-fired power plant right next door. However, from what people reported about their field programs, Denmark is much more efficient in their carbon-to-kilowatt hour produced than the US. What are we missing?
At 5 pm, all on board and accounted for, so we pushed off about an hour later, leaving the European mainland for the island countries in the North Atlantic.
*** photo of a soft drink at a place in Nyhaven
Tomorrow… at sea heading for Shetland Islands