A May 2004 trip
to Copenhagen by simulation
Quote: As part of trip to Scandanavia, my wife and I started in Copenhagen for five days. We toured for three days with Guided Walks (with Hans Christian Anderson). We stayed at two hotels and spent a full afternoon at Tivoli. This journal will attempt to provide details of our trip.
When you get on transport, you need to stamp the card as you enter the bus or metro. Stamp the ticket strip twice for two people. There are random checks. If your ticket isn't stamped, there is a sizable fine.
Hotel | "Crown Hotel"
The hotel charged about $100 per night for a double, including an excellent buffet breakfast. The room was clean and not tiny. The bed was comfortable. Although we were on the second floor overlooking a busy street, we did not hear the street noise with the windows closed. Be careful if the temperature is warm (does that ever happen in Copenhagen?) because there is no air conditioning. You will need to have the windows open. We only had two concerns about the room: the only chairs provided were hard. There really is no comfortable place to sit if you want to watch TV or read a book. Secondly, the carpet needs to be replaced or dramatically cleaned. I was unwilling to walk barefoot.
The hotel staff treated us as well as if we were staying at a high priced hotel. Another plus, there is a laundry mat located right around the corner from the hotel.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 14, 2004
Copenhagen Crown Hotel
Copenhagen, Denmark 1620
+45 33 21 21 66
Hotel | "Admiral Hotel"
As a pricey hotel, I would not recommend staying at the Admiral. The rooms were really tiny. Our budget Hotel Crown rooms were nearly three times the size. As a couple, we were surprised to see twin beds squeezed in to a long narrow space. The beds could not be relocated into a double. This is a room we put up with. Everything was clean and upscale, but it was uncomfortably small. The breakfast buffet was sumptuous. The hotel is near Amalienborg Palace and the expensive restaurants at Nyhavn. It was a least a 12 minute walk from the shops.
Member Rating 1 out of 5 on June 14, 2004
Copenhagen Admiral Hotel
45 33 74 14 14
Restaurant | "Grabrodre Torv 21"
On the night we went, most of the restaurant was reserved for a large group coming in about 8:00pm. Many people were turned away because the restaurant was about to be filled. I'm glad we got in.
The service and meal was excellent. I had mussels as a first course and they were excellent. Then, I had Artic Char and my wife had reindeer. They were both wonderful. Our vegetables included rhubarb. I was never a fan of this vegtable until I had it at this restaurant. (We bought some after we got home and we don't know how to prepare it the way the restaurant did. It seemed so simple for them. Maybe their rhubarb is different from ours.) Our dessert was a beautiful creation with caramel and ice cream that was specially made for us.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on June 14, 2004
Grabrodre Torv 21 Restaurant
Grabrodre Torv 21
Copenhagen, Denmark 1154
Restaurant | "Passagens Spishus"
Despite being empty, all services were perfect. We ordered off the four-course menu. Items included mussel soup, moose, reindeer, and dessert. We asked if that would be too much to eat. We were assured that only the reindeer portion was substantial. This turned out to be accurate but didn't give a hint as to the quality of the dinner. What a treat! Everything was wonderful. We had never had moose or reindeer, too say nothing of squirrel. The moose slices were thin, so I'm not really sure how it tasted, but the course was great anyway. It included some aquavit over ice as a way to refresh our palate. It works.
As it is with all Copenhagen restaurants, it is high priced for our US exchange rate budgets. But it was worth every penny. If you avoid wine and drinks, you can get out for under $125 for two. We saved money on our lodging and blew it on dinner. I think we made a good choice.
Copenhagen V, Denmark 1620
+45 33 22 47 57
When we arrived at the restaurant, my wife decided to order off the menu. "I don't feel like veal tonight" Oops. So I figured out the cost of what she ordered. I had enough to order two of the three courses on the set menu, and we shared her dessert. There was some concern at the restaurant for letting me order only two courses. "We only do that at lunch, but we'll let you do it if you wish." So, I was able to pay the bill.
Actually it was quite fortunate. The dessert we shared was a selection of chocolate items. This was incredible and much better than the dessert on the set menu. Everything else we ordered was excellent. The veal, that my wife didn't want, turned out to be one of the best meals on our trip. So there!
As a surprise, this restaurant is not as pricey as several other Copenhagen restaurants. You can't miss. It is great food at reasonable (for Copenhagen) prices.
Copenhagen K, Denmark 1260
+45 33 11 45 15
The train to Copenhagen is clearly marked inside the terminal. There was a counter that sold tickets, made change, and provided information about the train. The ride costs about $4, depending on the exchange rate. Prices are always going up, so expect to pay more when you get there. The train came in minutes later. It was the quietest and smoothest train ride I ever had. It only took 20 minutes to get to Copenhagen's station.
When we got off the train we were confused. There were no signs showing the way out of the station. We saw some stairs to the street. We lugged our baggage up the stairs. Then we saw there was an elevator to the street that we had missed. Even so, we were lost. I could not see a landmark or a street sign. We lugged our baggage down to the first crossing we could see. A street sign there indicated where we were. I had a map with me. We had left from the wrong part of the station but now I knew where we were. If I didn't have the map, it would have taken me a lot longer to find my way out. We never saw a sign from the platform in terms of exits or directions.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 14, 2004
Attraction | "Tivoli"
Tivoli also includes many shows. I was really looking forward to the pantomine. There were two scheduled. At 6:15 they were performing Cassander the Cooper. At 8:15 they were performing The Fortune Teller. The Cooper show included a live orchestra, multiple sets, and a play with Commedia Del Art characters that was ageless. It was also baffling and incomprehensible. For the duration of 45 minutes, I really could not understand any thing beyond the basic plot. The seats were filled with local Danes. There was almost no interaction between the audience and performers except for a performance ending sing-a -long. I just didn't get it. We back to see the Fortune Teller show to see if that was better. Guess what? It was the same show. Figure that out. Other shows at Tivoli included an orchestra, a Big Band, and a women singing a song from Funny Girl with a Streisand brooklyn accent. She sang well, actually.
We stayed for the illuminations. Don't bother. It only lasts 7 minutes and didn't amount to much. Worse still, I came back for the fireworks on Saturday night. I watched from the square across the street at 11:45pm. This was a mediocre display lasting all of three minutes. I timed it.
Our Collette tour brought us to Tivoli on Friday night for dinner at the Nimb Restaurant. This was the most beautiful restaurant in Tivoli. But as a group tour, we were treated poorly. The food was almost thrown at us. The meal was three small unsatisfying courses. There's good food to be had at Tivoli and Copenhagen. Probably, the Nimb would be good on your own, but group tours beware. On that night, the park was packed with kids coming in for a Rock group performing at 10pm. This was a far different experience than we had had on Wednesday when the park was fairly empty. We left with the tour group before gridlock enveloped everyone.
Member Rating 2 out of 5 on June 14, 2004
Copenhagen, Denmark 1630
+45 33 15 10 01
Attraction | "Guided Walks With Hans Christian Anderson"
This does cause some interesting diversions for the people on the tour. People are frequently stopping him with comments about his outfit or for requests for photos with their children. Richard loves the attention and never misses a chance to play the Anderson role. His tour voice assumes he is Anderson showing you his city.
There are three main walking tours, all of which are worth taking. Each tour lasts about 1.5 hours, as scheduled. The tours actually last 1.25 hours because the first fifteen minutes is a walk from the tourist office to Radhuspladsen Square where the tours actually start. Even though each tour goes to different parts of the town, there is quite a bit of repeating. Richard wants to tell all about his city. He can't help telling some things again for each tour. He's considering reduced prices for multiple tours. We took three tours plus the tour of Rosenborg Castle.
Richard has wonderful knowledge about the town and the people. Some of his commentary is quite funny. One of my favorite moments came when he told the story of the little mermaid as Anderson in front of his statue. Another great moment was showing us an old timbered house hidden from view. We never would have found this treasure if Richard hadn't shown it to us.
We also took his tour of Rosenborg Castle. For this tour, he changed costume to one called Sir Richard. His tour was filled with all kinds of detailed facts about the Castle and Royal Treasury. This is one of the few places in Copenhagen that did not have English signs. So, it was very useful to be with Richard. But, the trip around the castle wasn't all that interesting. I found myself bored despite Richard's commentary. The most interesting part for me was about the unicorn horn treasures. Evidently, the king of Denmark was selling a scam involving unicorn horn. It was more valuable than gold. It was even used to adorn his coronation chair. Evidently people of the time felt it was important to have even some crushed unicorn horn so a fortune was made. There are gems to see and a tour of dark castle rooms. Richard's description of the "prank" chair is one of the highlights.
Richard's walking tours provide a wonderful overview of Copenhagen as well as insight into the city. It's well worth your time even if you only have time for one tour. His walking tour starts at 10:30am. Afternoon tours include other Copenhagen museums.
H.C. Andersen Tour
Copenhagen V, Denmark
+45 32 54 06 06
Attraction | "National Museum"
The only confusion is trying to follow the story in chronological sequence. It seems that the entry starts us in the middle. I wasn't sure how to get to the starting point. We muddled through but it would have been nice to know the right path. Upstairs, there is a children's toy area worth looking at as well as Danish history right up to the DVD.
National Museum of Denmark (Nationalmuseet)
Frederiksholms Kanal 12
Copenhagen, Denmark 1220
(45) 3313 4411
The tour lasts about one hour and is very enjoyable. You'll see all the major sights including the rear of the Little Mermaid. There is no cover, so beware if it is raining or about to rain. This is an inexpensive, fun ride.
Netto Boat Tours
Attraction | "Tipping, Credit Cards, Bicycles, and Queues"
Credit cards are a problem in Copenhagen. Many restaurants do not accept American credit cards or charge a fee for their use. One restaurant charged 4% extra for accepting my card. In many cases, cash was the only way of payment. Check before you order. If you use a card, they will present it to you with a blank to be filled in for the tip. As mentioned above, don't tip. I do not know why they want us to fill in the number, but they do not expect a tip. Trust me.
Watch out for bicycles. It only took me two accidents before I finally got wise. Bicycles rule in Copenhagen. There are bike lanes where the cyclists drive with there heads down. They own this space and do not imagine any unknowing tourist coming into their area. Everyone goes by bike. It really is funny seeing women in high heels and fancy outfits riding bikes at night. The lanes are clearly marked in the center of town. I only got hit once there before I learned to cross only at the light. You do not hear the bike approaching. You only feel the pain. In the outer reaches of the town, the bike lanes are implied, not marked. Ouch. I got run over again. Watch out.
The banks, post office, etc. have printed tickets to join a queue. When you enter a store, you get your ticket and wait for your number to be posted on the screen. They seem to want you to do this even when the store is empty. It's not foolproof. First you have to locate the ticket machine. Sometimes it is right by the entrance. Sometimes it is by the counter. In one case, it was outside the store. I had to go out, get my ticket, and come back in. In some cases, the machine requests you answer questions before it prints a ticket. There are sub-queues. Fear not, you can get the questions in English. From that point you have to interpret what they are asking.
Yorktown Heights, New York