Monday, August 01, 2016

Copenhagen for 6 hours

On the way to Tallinn, Estonia, I had an 8 hour layover in Copenhagen, Denmark so my parents (who flew with me from DC) and I decided we would make the most of it.

And, we did.

The train ride from the airport to the center of the city was as simple as could be (16 minutes) and once we got there, we bought one of those "Hop On, Hop Off" bus tickets to try and maximize our coverage area.

As we walked to the bus stop, we ran into a group of about 45 people carrying Danish flags.  Being the inquisitive type, I had to ask.

Turns out, it was a celebration for 2 employees of Arbejdernes Landsbank who had just reached their 40th year with the company.

We found it interesting that all of these people were waiting outside for their arrival for a few minutes (thinking they would have an SMS/email alert or something like that) and that the way they greeted them was by waving the Danish flag.  Curious.

As you can see, however, I caught the group photo.

From there, we headed over to the Christiansborg palace, which is adjacent to the Danish parliament. The English language tour (everyone here we've met speaks English very well, btw) was a bit too late for us, so we had to take a pass on it.

However, in the courtyard of the building was an emotionally powerful sculpture of a polar bear being pierced.  Upon closer examination, the upward trending line was the global usage of fossil fuels, with a huge spike in the 20th century...which has, as we all unfortunately know, led to climate change and all types of problems for natural eco-systems (and more).  It was VERY moving.

We headed through the gardens adjacent to it, passing the statue of Denmark's native son, Soren Kierkegaard, on our way to the Jewish Museum of Denmark (which unfortunately is closed on Mondays).  However, we did get a chance to visit the "Black Diamond," a gorgeous building that is home to the National Library.

The architecture throughout a large part of Copenhagen is so dramatic. The modern, sleek look...really powerful and inspiring. If I could redesign my house, I'd go with that kind of look..though not sure the NFO would go for it.

We sat outside by the canal (so European of us) and had some coffee.
As we headed for the bus stop, it began to POUR. We were drenched and the one thing I didn't bring for the day's outing was a rain jacket.  I did have a sweatshirt on, but it didn't help. As we huddled under the shelter, we met two Chinese Ph.D candidates who were students in Germany but traveling in Denmark. One of them had an umbrella and we had a great chat about how China is slowly (very slowly) becoming more open as a result of more of their students going abroad for education.

 Back on the bus and of course it stopped raining, which made our next stop, the Little Mermaid statue in the harbor a bit of fun.  There were a TON of people there, but it was cool to see it. Particularly, for me, since the last time I had seen it was 20 years ago...and it was cold and snowing that November.

We rode a few more stop and my mom and I got off so we could walk (and I could get my Fitbit numbers up) and my dad went back to the train station (pic of him in front of it).

We hit the stereotypical pedestrian areas of European city centers and enjoyed being out and about with a lot of people. Street performers, the "living statues," and vendors and flowers give these streets a type of vibrancy that you don't necessarily get to see a lot in US city centers, probably because of how they are designed and when they were built.

We got back on the train and back to the airport (btw...wi-fi on the buses and trains!) and we're ready for the next phase...Tallinn, Estonia.

I don't believe you can ever "do" a city and even more, you should never even say that, as it's just lame.  Still, I am excited that we made the most of our 6 hours on the ground, mixing it with both tourist attractions and some uniquely Danish moments.

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