Denmark Adventures: Day 6

As mentioned in my last post, Day 6 contained my highlight of our Denmark trip (John’s favourite adventure was later in our stay). Funny enough, the day didn’t start out too well…

The weather forecast was favourable – bright and sunny all day – the night before, so we decided we would prioritize a water tour the following morning. Armed with specific instructions from Tim as to what boat to take, we planned to reach the dock early for the first tour of the morning – 10:00 AM. Unfortunately, given our repeated middle-of-the-night wakings from Abby, we didn’t leave the house until well after 10:00. We walked the 20 minute distance, and by the time we got there…the boat was nearly full and the lineup long for the 11:00 departure. To add insult to injury, Abby was squawking – unhappily – on my back (we had to bring her in the carrier since we would be going on a small tour boat) and my clean clothes hadn’t dried properly (so I smelled like musty, stale water). My mood was precarious.

We did manage to get aboard the 11:00 boat, but weren’t able to sit as a family. The weather was gorgeous, though, and for the first 30 minutes of the boat tour, Abby was happy as a clam.

The tour starts in Nyhavn:

And then passes out into the central harbour, passing by many of the major landmarks including:

The Copenhagen Opera House

The Royal Yacht

The Little Mermaid

The Marble Church

About this stage, Abby started losing her enthusiasm. The first half of the trip is spent in open water, speeding along at a fairly good pace, but the second half consists of slow maneuvering through a horseshoe-shaped lock system. In desperation (no one wants to be holding – or sitting next to – the full-on-tantrum-toddler on a cramped boat) I whipped out my iPhone, coaxed her in to looking at pictures of “Gree (Grampie)” and she was good to go.

I thought the laundry hung out to dry on this boat was hilarious – not your average North American clothesline.

This is a picture of the Royal Library (called the Black Diamond by locals); this modern building actually connects to the original Royal Library via a walkway over a busy Copenhagen street. It is quite the juxtaposition of young-and-old architecture, but the modern building is undeniably stunning, especially on sunny days when the reflection makes the “Black Diamond” reference vividly apparent to onlookers.

The tide was unusually high the day we took a boat tour, and the guide warned us at the beginning of our trip to be very careful on our approach to low-lying bridges. Invariably, though, some poor sap at the back of the boat would be unaware of impending danger and would stand, craning to take that perfect shot before being loudly chastened back to their seat by a lawsuit-fearing tour guide.

We ended up back to Nyhavn (total travel time ~ 1 hour) where the tour started. Given a better nights rest, better smelling clothes, and an older toddler in tow, I can see this being the highlight of many tourists trip, but I’ll admit leaving the boat feeling frazzled and exhausted.

After a hurried lunch, I succumbed to my deepest need – sleep – and took a much deserved nap. When I woke groggily 2.5 hours later, John announced that Tim had planned an evening outing. Time was limited as we had to meet Johanne at the train station to guide us through the intricacies of the public transit setup, and a picnic supper needed to be prepared. We managed to pull together everything needed for a proper Danish picnic and headed off, rather gingerly, on our bikes.

The train station was our first obstacle. Tim’s directions told us to meet Johanne on such and such a platform…but of course we didn’t know how to distinguish the platform.s Thankfully, as we were about to board the elevator going to the WRONG platform, Johanne spotted us. During the few minutes before our train arrived, Johanne managed to have us familiarized with the remarkably simple, effective train schedule (see Tim’s posts on the subject).

We arrived in Klampenborg minutes before Tim arrived (coming straight from work). Our destination was the Deer Park (Dyrehaven) – traditional royal hunting grounds (since the 1600’s), home to ~2,000 deer, and a popular tourist destination. Our evening there was simply perfect. The weather was ideal- sunny and warm. The park is about 1000 hectares, but it didn’t take long to spot our first deer.

Abby was enamored – she took it all in so passively (although every time we saw a deer she would point, squeal and say “Deer, Deer”…we have the sweetest video of this).

This was Eremitageslottet or Eremitage Castle – where royalty would typically stay while hunting. I think Tim mentioned this being opened to the public occasionally, but it was battened down when we passed through.

We biked around a large portion of the perimeter; one section passing through a heavily wooded path that seemed like a scene right out of Robin Hood. The trees were the most vibrant green, and the late afternoon light was a perfect golden hue. That particular moment in that particular spot (of which, of course, I have no pictures), was the happiest part of the trip for me. I wish everyone could visit this one spot at some point in their life, because it really was priceless beauty.

Mid-way through our trek we decided the rumbles in our stomach were too pressing to ignore, so we stopped to feast. The following is my favourite picture from our trip, Abby toddling along with Tim and Johanne – she was such a trooper, taking everything in stride.

We picnicked near a golf course, and had stunning scenery.

Abby spent most of the meal running around gleefully; she was particularly fond of the plastic bag in which Johanne had transported apples.

At one point a horse and buggy passed by our picnic site. How lovely would that ride have been?

And then we were off again, encountering field after field of deer along the way. To add to the atmosphere, there was a gorgeous full moon, officially pushing this evening over into pure perfection territory.

One of the exits of the park leads into Bakken – the worlds oldest amusement park (dating from 1583).

We were lucky enough to arrive in the final weeks of the park season. Again, although at this point long past her bedtime, Abby didn’t stop smiling the whole time we were in the park. That might have been, at least in part, due to the churros (deep fried batter, served with soft serve ice cream) .

When we left Bakken it was already nearly dark. After a quick discussion, we settled on a leisurely bike along the coast to get home. We biked for about 30 minutes, during which, you guessed it – Abby didn’t make. a. peep! We stopped about half-way to home and spotted this castle (now used as government offices, I believe), and took a train the rest of the way home.

And thus ended one of our most pleasurable evenings in Denmark!

See previous adventures here.

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