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.

Advertisements

Cape Split Trek

John and I set out this summer with two exercise goals – hike both Blomidon and Cape Split. While we accomplished the first hike mid-July, the latter kept getting pushed further and further into the summer. It’s a long enough distance from our house that it takes some planning, and we knew that we wanted some company for the long walk. Specifically, our close friends the Abriels. Last Monday evening I came home from a run and walked into the kitchen to be very literally “surprised” by the Abriel family, who paid us an impromptu visit. Then and there we decided this would be the weekend! Lunches were prepared, back-packs were filled and off we went.

Image

Preparing to head off on our hike (Photo courtesy of the Abriels)

It’s a lovely, well-maintained trail. At 16 km round-trip (with no alternate route out other than walking), it’s not for the faint of heart, but we hiked it in record time this year (a little over an hour each way). The views are spectacular, and the weather was perfect – a bit overcast, cool, and calm.

Image

The view at the end (from Jaydon’s perspective). Photo from the Abriels

Image

Abby slept for a portion of the hike heading out to the Cape. She devoured lunch, and then had a great time exploring.

ImageImageImageImage

Image

We stayed at the end for about an hour – enough time to eat, enjoy the view, and rest weary muscles. Before long it was time to pack up and head home. Of course, to me at least, the walk back always seems longer (even though it is more downhill walking). I wore Abby in the Ergo on my back (we’re trying to get her used to this carrier since we’ll be taking it to Denmark); the last kilometer or so she was getting less and less happy about her perch on my back, so Stacy, Glen, and I serenaded her with an assortment of Sunday School choruses.

Image

Beautiful butterfly out at Cape Split.

Image

We make sure to take at least one picture in this tree during each hike out.

Image

One of the colourful mushrooms John noticed on the way back.

A bit sore, but feeling successful in our adventure, we headed home. To hold off supper for a while, we headed out (sans John) to the local reservoir. Not quite the water retreat of Grand Lake, but you work with what you have. Again, Abby was thrilled, and refused to get out even when her little gums and tiny teeth were chattering.

ImageImageImageImageImage

Blomidon Nature Hike

We love to be outside and spend a good portion of each day out-of-doors either walking (~16 km each day) or touching every flower in the garden during one of Abby’s exploring sessions. We’re so blessed to live in a spectacular part of the country; something we comment on repeatedly as we enjoy clear air and beautiful vistas (just take a look at a few of the pictures below, which of course can’t do it justice).

Two years ago we went on a hike at Blomidon Park; spur of the moment we packed a lunch, laced up our sneakers and headed off. We’ve wanted to go back ever since. Not quite so easy this time around, as there are nap schedules and feeding times to be arranged. We left bright and early, took some snacks, and planned to be out of the Park by noon.

The weather did not disappoint. It was a clear, cool morning. The scenery is spectacular, and we only saw a handful of people our whole time there. The first portion of the hike is straight up a cliff, and the view is amazing at the top. John carried Abby on his back, and she was relatively content. About 2/3 of the way through our ~20 km walk, she started to get a bit antsy. We had already exhausted the lets-repeat-after-Mommy-and-Daddy for the alphabet, colours, and numbers we turned to the absolute best antidote there is – food. I broke miniscule pieces of a granola bar off and fed them to her as we walked.

We were back to the car by 11:30, home by lunch, and Abby took a 3 hour nap! Perfect day.

ImageImageImageImage

After Abby’s nap we decided to forgo our typical afternoon walk (we’d covered enough distance for one day) and ended up strolling through some local gardens. They were small, but nice. Of course Abby wanted IN the fountain and was horrifically distraught when we wouldn’t let her dive in face first.

ImageImageImage