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Clare
Clare

Day 1: Home to Copenhagen

Continuing the Scandinavian theme of this year's bank holidays, this morning we had an early flight to Copenhagen. This was exciting because not only would it be our first time in Copenhagen, but also our first time in Denmark altogether. We had found cheap flights with Ryanair, but unusually this time we were flying from Luton rather than Stansted. We used to fly from Luton quite a lot, but more recently almost all our flights have been from Stansted, and I realised earlier this week that we hadn't actually flown from Luton since that day in May last year when we almost missed our flight to France as a result of the chaos at Airparks. We'd ended up booking to park at Airparks again this time around which made me slightly nervous, so we set off from home at 04.30 this morning just to make sure that we were there on plenty of time for our 08.35 flight.

Airparks was actually far less busy this time than last and we were able to pretty much get straight on a bus to the airport. Everything went smoothly at security too and so we ended up in the departures lounge by 06.30 with plenty of time to get breakfast before our flight was called for boarding. This was where things started to go a bit wrong!

Luton isn't the most spacious of airports at the best of times and it doesn't have a high volume of eating establishments to choose from once you get through security. At most other airports we have breakfast at Wetherspoons before we get on a flight, but we knew there wasn't one at Luton and had mentally prepared ourselves for getting breakfast in the slightly gloomy self service cafeteria that we remembered from previous trips.

What we hadn't been prepared for was that Luton would be undergoing some sort of serious renovations, with the result that the vast majority of shops and eating establishments were boarded up and closed, and those few that remained open were full to bursting with all the volume of passengers arriving on a bank holiday Saturday. It looked like we were going to have to give up on the idea of breakfast.

We found a couple of free seats where we could sit down at least and prepared to wait for our flight to be called. I was starting to regret having got to the airport so early after all! But after half an hour or so Tim decided to go and have a look at what was on offer in WHSmiths and came back with a cheese sandwich for me which miraculously had zero salad or mayonnaise in it. It wasn't quite the breakfast I'd hoped for, but definitely better than nothing!

The chaos at Luton continued when our flight was eventually called, but Ryanair did that thing where they get everyone to queue up in a confined space (in this case involving a staircase) half an hour before the incoming flight has actually landed. It seemed like we had to queue for an interminably long time, but in the end the flight only departed around half an hour late.

We arrived in Copenhagen just before midday and caught a train from the airport into the city centre. Our plan was to have a quick stroll around before getting lunch somewhere and then heading to our hotel to check-in. Our first impressions of Copenhagen were very positive as we walked out of the main train station and soon found ourselves outside the enormous town hall.

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We walked along the main street, which was very busy with Saturday shoppers. We were surprised by how many tourists there seemed to be too though, especially by how many people we overhead who sounded like they were from the UK. After a while we found a restaurant which served burgers and decided to eat there. We each had a cheeseburger and chips plus a soft drink, and at the end the bill came to 378 Danish Krone (about £43!). That was pretty much our entire budget for the day gone on one meal!

We found the hotel without too much difficulty. We are staying in a Danish chain hotel which seems to be modelling itself on Etaps, having rooms with a double bed plus a bunk bed across the top of it and very small bathroom cubicles that you can just about fit into. Essentially it was the cheapest hotel I could find in the whole of Copenhagen. It cost 840 Krone which is about £96(!!!) for one night, but that does include breakfast for both of us. It's in a good location anyway, only a short walk from the train station :)

Once we had successfully checked in, it was time to start exploring Copenhagen properly. First of all we decided to walk down to the sea front.

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We were surprised to see that the locals were treating a small strip of a walkway around the sea front as a beach, making the most of the good weather by sunbathing on the decking.

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We admired the view for a while and then walked back into the main centre of town along one of the main roads, which is named after Hans Christian Andersen. Towards the far end of the road we found this statue of him.

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We fought our way back down the main shopping streets, which were broken up by some pretty squares.

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After a while we turned away from the crowds and began to walk down some smaller side streets.

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We were heading for Slottsholmen, a small island within Copenhagen's city centre, which is separated from the rest of the town by a small canal.

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This little island is actually one of the most important parts of Copenhagen. It was here that the first castle was built in the twelfth century, and today the island is home to the Danish parliament.

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When you go across the Marble Bridge onto the island, you immediately get a view of the Christiansborg Palace, where the Danish parliament is housed.

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It's a very impressive building.

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There are some other interesting buildings on the island too. I particularly liked the Børsen, Copenhagen's seventeenth century stock exchange, with it's very unusual roof.

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We walked back across into the main part of Copenhagen once more.

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The next part of town which I really wanted to see was Nyhavn, so we started walking in that direction.

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The Nyhavn area is the town's historical harbour. The waterfront is lined with townhouses from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and is particularly popular with tourists today because of their brightly coloured facades.

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We found Nyhavn without too many problems, but I hadn't been prepared for quite how busy it was going to be.

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There were people everywhere...

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...but it really was extremely pretty :)

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I think it's the sort of place which would be best to visit in the early morning before too many people have got out of bed!

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If it's not pouring with rain when we get out of bed tomorrow morning then we might come back for another look :)

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From Nyhavn we walked along the coast for a while. There were some weird bridges...

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...and some pretty unusual boats too.

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After a few minutes of walking we caught a glimpse of this.

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The big dome in the background is Frederik's Church, also known as the Marble Church.

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The church is located beside the Amalienborg, the residence of the Danish royal family.

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The Amalienborg seems a bit odd as royal palaces go. It's basically a huge square with four identical buildings positioned around it.

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A little further on from the palace we found a church which didn't look very Danish. It turns out that this is Copenhagen's English church, which was completed in 1887 for the growing English population of the city.

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Beside the church there was a path leading upwards towards a park.

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For reasons which we didn't understand, it seemed to be called "Churchillparken". The fountain was impressive, but didn't seem to have anything obvious to do with Churchill!

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Our aim in walking through the park was to get to Denmark's most famous sight.

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The statue of the Little Mermaid was first unveiled in 1913 and has become an iconic symbol for Copenhagen. Of course, this means that there were no fewer than three coachloads of tourists queuing up to take selfies with it when we arrived! But Tim somehow managed to navigate his way through them and take a good picture himself :)

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By this time we were feeling fairly tired, so decided it was time to head back to the hotel for an early night.

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The weather forecast doesn't look great for tomorrow but I'm hoping that there will just be intermittant showers rather than torrential rain, because we'd both like to have another proper walk around Copenhagen tomorrow before we head across to Malmö in Sweden later in the afternoon :)




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