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Clare
Clare

Day 2: Copenhagen to Malmö

Yesterday had been such a bright and sunny day that we went to bed hoping against hope that the weather forecasters had got it wrong and that it wasn't actually going to pour with rain this morning. When the alarm went off at 07.30 this morning though we didn't even need to open the blinds to find out what the weather was like; we could hear the rain beating down on the pavement outside. Oh dear!

We went downstairs to make the most of the breakfast buffet in our very expensive hotel, and when we re-emerged around 08.30 it looked like the rain had started to ease off a bit. We didn't have to check out of the hotel until 11.00, so we decided to leave our bags behind and venture out for a stroll.

The town hall square was certainly a lot quieter than yesterday, albeit a bit damp.

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As was much of the rest of the city centre.

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We walked towards the colourful houses at Nyhavn and happily it was indeed quieter here on a Sunday morning too.

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There was a tiny bit of blue sky starting to become visible as well, which cheered us up :)

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We were able to admire some of the buildings that we hadn't even noticed yesterday with all the crowds.

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After Nyhavn we continued to walk along the waterfront, our main aim being the statue of the Little Mermaid. It was coming up to 09.30 by this point - surely it ought to be quieter at this time?

Erm, no. This was the scene beside the statue, where four coaches seemed to have stopped simultaneously. We could see a large cruise liner in the distance, so suspect that was partly to blame for the crowds.

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With a bit of patience we did both manage to get closer to the statue this time, though :)

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After that it was time for a swift walk back towards the hotel so that we could check out and begin our journey to Sweden.

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When we originally planned the holiday we had decided to spend one night in Copenhagen and one night in Malmö in Sweden. The two cities are only about 40km apart and joined by the Öresund Bridge. The journey from one city to the other should be quite short and painless. The emphasis is on "should".

For a start, matters have been complicated by last year's migrant crisis in Europe. Previously it was possible to travel directly from Copenhagen's central station to Malmö without showing a passport. Since January 2016, however, the Swedish government has introduced new rules which means that you are required to show photo ID when travelling into Sweden. Some of the companies who were originally operating trains on the route have now stopped, because they were unable to introduce the checks in a practical way, and when travelling from Copenhagen you need to disembark from the train at Copenhagen airport in order to show your ID.

Anyway, we knew from our experiences yesterday that getting a train between Copenhagen and the airport is a pretty simple undertaking, so off we went. There are some special Swedish machines at the front of the central station where you can buy a ticket to Malmö, charged in Swedish Krone rather than Danish ones. The tickets cost 110 SEK each, which is about £10 and seemed like comparatively good value.

There was a train to the aiport due at 11.20 on platform six, so we headed off to the platform to wait. We had been sitting there for a while when we started hearing announcements over the loudspeakers which we couldn't fully understand, but which seemed to have something to do with the airport train. The standard of English in Copenhagen is amazing, but they seemed to have chosen a person with a very strange accent to make the train announcements! When we had heard it for the third or fourth time, Tim managed to decipher that there was something wrong with the electrics on the railway and so there were no trains running to the airport. Passengers were advised to travel on the metro instead.

Travelling on the metro sounds all well and good, but the metro in Copenhagen is a bit odd, in that it doesn't have a stop under the main train station. We consulted the map in our guidebook but as far as we could ascertain, the nearest metro stop was about 2km away, at the end of the long pedestrianised shopping street. Happily the weather was quite dry at this point and so we had a pleasant walk back across the city.

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We were a bit unsure as to whether we would need to buy a new ticket to travel on the metro rather than on a train, but Tim spoke to one of the personnel at the metro station and he reassured us that our existing tickets were fine. That was good at least :) The first metro which came looked as packed as the Tube so we decided to give it a miss, but the second one when it came was a bit emptier and we even managed to get a seat. The journey to the airport didn't take long but was a bit surreal, because unlike on the London Underground, in Copenhagen the metro tunnels are illuminated so you can see exactly where you're going.

It was when we arrived at the airport some time after midday that we began to realise the full import of what had happened with the trains. It turned out that the electrical problem had been caused by thunder and lightning earlier this morning and there were currently no trains running across the bridge to Sweden at all. A rail replacement bus was running instead, and we were advised to go outside and join the queue for it.

We went outside to look for the queue... and found that it was like nothing we'd ever seen before in our lives! The only thing I can compare it to is queuing for a rollercoaster at Alton Towers, although it lacked the helpful signs which inform you that you have an hour to wait for such-and-such a position in the queue. Basically it was enormous, snaking around so many corners that it was difficult to tell exactly how many people where in it. There must have been thousands though!

Over the course of the next hour we moved slowly up the queue, getting gradually closer to the rail replacement buses. They had a continuous supply of buses arriving at the airport so they were clearly trying their best, but there was such a high volume of people wanting to travel to Sweden and the airport security staff had to check everybody's photo ID before they were allowed to get onto the bus.

We made it in the end and were finally on our way across the bridge :) The journey didn't take very long but the views were fantastic as we made our way towards Malmö. About halfway across there was a small sign announcing that we were now in Sweden, and then when we got to the end of the bridge the coach had to pull over for a Swedish policeman to get onboard and check everybody's passports again.

When the coach pulled up in a large car park and everyone started to disembark, we assumed we must be in the centre of Malmö. We eventually figured out, however, that the bus had deposited us outside a small suburban station called Hyllie and that from there we had to take a local train into the main part of Malmö. Luckily one came straight away and only took about 10 minutes to reach the central station :)

Our first impressions of Malmö were that it was very pretty. As we stepped out of the station, the first thing we saw was the river, which has some attractive stone bridges over it.

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Some of the buildings in the town centre looked very old.

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There were some unusual statues too.

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We stopped at a nice Italian restaurant for lunch, where we had a pizza each and a bottle of water. That came to 264 SEK which translates to above £24. Not exactly a bargain, but definitely cheaper than in Copenhagen :)

After lunch we decided to track down our hotel, which the map indicated wasn't located far from where we had eaten. It turned out that we had slightly overestimated the size of Malmö, so we accidentally walked too far and found ourselves in the main square, before having to double back and find that the hotel was actually only a hundred metres from where we had had lunch.

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The hotel itself seems really nice. It's a proper old-fashioned hotel room - a lot more spacious that the one in Copenhagen - and we've ended up paying 864 SEK which is about £78. Again, more than we would usually want to pay but it's in a really good location in the centre of town and that includes breakfast for both of us as well. It definitely feels like better value than we got in Denmark.

After a brief stop in the hotel it was time to head out again and explore some more of the town. We went back to the main square to admire some more of the builings.

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Not far from the square is Sankt Petri Church, which has an enormous red brick tower.

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We walked around the church to take photos from different angles...

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...and I was really enjoying being on holiday, until I caught sight of a rather familiar purple logo!

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We walked back in the direction of the train station...

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..and back across the river.

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The guidebook had said something about a castle, so we really wanted to try and find that.

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When we located it, we decided that it didn't compare very well with the castle at Spiš :)

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It may have looked more impressive in the seventeenth century, though.

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And it did have a very cool windmill in its grounds.

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There was actually quite an extensive park behind the castle and we had a good walk in it.

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Some time after 5pm we realised that the sky had started to look a bit less blue.

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By 5.30 the heavens had well and truly opened and we got completely drenched as we made our way back to the train station to meet an Esperanto friend, Kalle, who lives in a nearby town.

Kalle took us to quite a posh hotel, which has a bar and restaurant on the 25th floor.

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From there we had an amazing view out across Malmö.

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If the weather had been a bit better we should have been able to get a good view of Copenhagen too. As it was, we had to settle for just a view of the bridge :)

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The view was brilliant but the drinks were very expensive, so we moved on to some cheaper places in the older part of town.

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It was a fun evening, interspersed by a few more heavy rain showers. Here's hoping things will have dried up again by the morning!

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