Thursday, February 16, 2012

Copenhagen - Day 1

After the long flight, we collected out luggage and made our way through immigration and customs.  Out of the airport we take a cab to our hotel, the Marriott - Copenhagen, for our one night pre-cruise stay.  The hotel is located on the water not far from the main trains station and Tivoli Gardens.
Once at the hotel, there is a small crowd in the lobby.  It turns out that there are two cruises leaving in the afternoon and the Marriott was used by the cruise lines for their pre-night customers.  The result is the hotel was full the night before and there are no clean rooms for early check-in.  So bags are left and off we go on foot to look around.
Armed with a tourist map we head out looking for Nyhavn, the old section of Copenhagen.  The sidewalk vanishes as we start our walk, but it resumes on the other side of the overpass.  After a 15 minute walk, we find Nyhavn, a canal lined with quaint merchant houses which many have converted the first floor to a shop or restaurant.
Since it was almost time for lunch we selected a quaint outdoor cafe.  The menu was filled with local Danish cuisine.  I selected an assortment of open faced sandwiches and a local beer.  Both the food and beer hit the spot.
As we sat having lunch we noticed that the canal was lined with various vendors offering canal tours.  After lunch was completed we walked to the end of the canal and  boarded one of the tour boats.  It was long and low to fit under the arched bridges that crossed the canals.
The cruise headed out to the main water way to start the cruise.  We went past the Royal Palace, but they were not home, they were out on the royal yacht on holiday.  The Little Mermaid was on the itinerary, but she was in Shanghai at a trade exposition.  The new opera house is right on the waterfront and is very impressive.
On the side canals we did manage to see the old houses that belonged to merchants involved in the sea trade of centuries past.  There was also a tall church steeple with its staircase on the outside.  Back in the older section of the city we passed the old market place where items from around the world were traded and sent off in new directions.
Back on dry land we headed back to the Marriott.  Once there, we checked in and headed to our room.  It was on a higher floor with a view of the city and Tivoli Gardens.  Since the hotel is in a new building, the rooms were the same as in the United States, and a good size bathroom.  Nap time.
After a power nap, we left the hotel for dinner.  We had decided to go into Tivoli Gardens, the oldest amusement park.  It was just a short walk from the hotel, once inside we strolled around the grounds.  It was the middle of summer and there were lots of flowers in bloom.  Since Copenhagen is at a high latitude, prolonged sunlight produced spectacular floral displays.  We dined at one of the many open air cafes and watched the people pass.  It is a typical way for city residents to pass a summer's evening.  All of the rides were full as we made another pass of the grounds, browsing in the small shops, and trying to figure out the menu items on menus posted in Danish.
Back outside the park, we explored the area.  Copenhagen has a long shopping street that is close to vehicular traffic, which made for a pleasant stroll.  At the far end was a large square that had stage set up and a band playing.  After listening for a short time, it was back to the hotel to catch up on sleep.

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