Tuesday, June 27, 2017

MENU's Scandinavian Odyssey 3. Lovely Denmark, going north

We left Flensburg and drove North and then East towards Copenhagen
This small island is in the middle of the 18 Km long Storebælt (the Great Belt) bridge which links Western (Odense) and Eastern (Sjælland or Zealand) Denmark. Denmark does marvellous bridges
We stopped for lunch at this roadside hotel. Mostly truckers having their lunch. The roads are littered with huge trucks during the week
We decided we couldn’t manage the Smorgasbord buffet, too much food and it didn’t look that exciting, so we settled for the special which was three open sandwiches (smørrebrød).  Four hours later Lynne was rather badly affected but it was over quickly. Mayo is always dangerous in places like these
The Carlsberg Nordic is the first alcohol free beer which John has found to be drinkable
The bill: 1 Danish Krøne to 1.93 Rand so approx R130 for 2 small beers (one of which was acohol free)! Essential in Scandinavia with zero tolerance of drinking and driving. The experience was to get worse. When we got to the car in the car park we had been ticketed. No signs in English, no warnings and we assumed that if you park in a hotel parking area they won’t charge you. John went back to the hotel and the manager said he would “take care of it”. The fine was 750 DKK. We live in hope. Be warned!
Before we arrived at our nights’ accommodation, we did a small trip to Ishøj, a nearby local seaside resort. It’s a small harbour with lovely yachts. And in the background what looks like a nuclear power station
We watched the gulls soaring. These are known as Little gulls
They are incredibly graceful and quick
There were also swans in the yacht harbour
We checked into our AirBnB in Brøndby, a suburb of Copenhagen late in the afternoon. Such a nice if small room, well furnished in a modern 4th floor flat owned by a Polish couple with their young daughter. John didn’t take any photos but it is on the AirBnB site. We left our luggage and found a place to buy a 24 hour Copenhagen card which covers all the tourist sites, galleries, museums etc, and all transport including boat trips. We are not sure it is worth it for such a short stay and it is very expensive at DKK389 a person, no reductions for pensioners in Denmark, sadly. The S-train (the local commuter train) took us swiftly into the centre. This is the main station concourse
And just across the road was our planned destination for the evening, the famous Tivoli Gardens. They were rather a letdown in some ways. Built in the mid 1800’s as a pleasure garden, they now have a theme park with many rides, lots of restaurants and bars and beautiful gardens. Entrance is DKK 110 pp but this was covered by our Copenhagen card. But nothing else inside is covered, you have to pay extra for everything. Lynne is a fan of Disneyland and has been to three. There all the rides are included in the albeit huge price of entry
People sunning themselves on the lawns
The Indian style Promenade Pavilion. It is filled with restaurants
A show of huge allium flowers
The Chinese pavilion is a theatre
Among the flowers is a statue of  Georg Carstensen who founded Tivoli in 1843
Some silly mirrors
Exhausted teenagers?!
An unusual lavender guinea fowl was at home in the gardens
More restaurants and behind outside the garden is the tower of the Rådhus (Town Hall)
This is the administration building of Tivoli
These playful 'Little' gulls with their chocolate brown heads were being well fed by visitors
The Galleon restaurant
A crazy ride, the Golden tower. Lots of shrieks. Takes you up high on the lift then drops like a stone, bounces a couple of times and then its thankfully over. NO, we didn’t do it. Or any others, of which there were many. For the young and sound of limb
A sample menu when we thought we might need some supper and a beer. The prices everywhere were astronomical and much of the food looked very unappetising. This at least looked good. We agreed we would rather spend this sort of money at George Jardine's restaurant on our return. Possible choices 1 Wiener schnitzel, 1 fish and two beers came to DKK549 plus 10% tip = R 1160! We were on a long trip and had to count the pennies. But not eating did come back to bite us
Behind the bridge a Chinese pagoda and some of the other rides like the roller coaster
Lovely to see children happy on a carousel
The flower beds and displays were truly awesome, they really impressed us
Crazy fun on the Golden Tower
The boating lake. At 11.30 they have a light show, but we were too tired and hungry to stay and we head
The main station is very confusing; the platforms are very badly marked and there is little indication of which train to take. It took us ages to find what we thought was our train, it certainly was our line. But the train was a fast Metro not a red T train and it rushed right past our station and way down the line. We got off as soon as we could and ended up on this empty platform in a deserted town. We had no idea how we were going to get back to Brøndby. There was only a drunk and he knew nothing. Eventually two young lads passing told us to take the next train to one stop further where we could pick up the T train. It worked, but it took ages. We ended up having cheese and crackers quietly in our room for supper at midnight. Another 'adventure' travelling
Next morning it was into central Copenhagen to see the sights. The roads are very busy
The Rådhus – Town Hall
Rather than take the crowded tourist routes, we took back streets that look more interesting
Walking along this one we suddenly spotted this blackboard and the words Cap Classique Colmant Brut Reserve. One of our favourite Cape bubblies. We were intrigued and had to go into the shop
And there we met the owner of Vin Kunsten, Thomas Winther. He is Danish, has lived in South Africa and he only sells South African wines, which he knows. Mainly those of 13 farms that he has selected and who work together exporting: Anthonij Rupert Wines, B Vintners, Cape Chamonix, Colmant Cap Classique, Dalla Cia Wine & Spirit, David & Nadia Sadie, Eagles' Nest, Raats Family Wines, Richard Kershaw Wines, Spioenkop Wines, Strydom Family Wines, The Foundry, Waterford Estate. He asked if we knew any of them and we were able to say, "yes and some quite well"; we meet the winemakers often at media functions and wine events and on the farms. We were also able to give him some recommendations of wines and wineries that he had not heard of and needed to know about. If you are in the industry and go to Copenhagen, do go and visit him
He poured us a glass of Spioenkop Pinot Noir and told us to tell the SA Wine industry to please get together and work as one – it will so help the overseas retailers who want to sell the best SA wines. It was so nice to meet someone as committed and passionate about selling our wines. And completely by happenstance
Copenhagen is a rather beautiful city, and it is easy to get around it. But don’t take your car anywhere near the centre. We left ours at a railway station in the suburbs
A Canal tour was included in the Copenhagen card so we took it. It is a very good way to see lots of city and get a feel for it if you are short of time
Thirst overtook us as it was hot, so we bought two beers DDk90 for two (R180) to take on the boat. This was the last time John used his credit card....
Off we go under some low bridges
Three dragons twirl around this tower on the Børsen - Danish stock exchange
Innovative use of shipping containers on the side of the canal. An experiment in low cost housing for students
More old wharf warehouses or Go-downs being used as exhibition places
Different style of buildings, but it did remind us of Amsterdam
A fabulous floating cantilevered roof on the Opera house. See all the Copenhagen people enjoying the sunshine on the side of the canal, it was lunchtime
Luxury apartments with their own slipway
Not so luxury apartment on a float on the canal!
Boats old and new
Many seem to be permanent features, with some used as living accommodation
Solid old building, part of the Royal National Gallery, Den Kongelige Afstøbningssamling, a collection of thousands of plaster casts of European classical sculptures dating from 600 B.C. On the wharf, a replica statue of Michelangelo's David
The Danish Navy Museum. A rather unsuccessful warship. HDMS Peder Skram was a Peder Skram-class frigate in the Royal Danish Navy which was in use until 1990. It is now docked at Holmen in Copenhagen where it serves as a privately operated museum ship along with the other ships of the Royal Danish Naval Museum. The ship is named after Peder Skram, a 16th-century Danish admiral. In 1982 Peder Skram was involved in the accidental launch of a Harpoon missile, which inflicted no bodily harm. This was the only missile it ever fired
Submarine "Saelen" (The Seal). The submarine was brand new in 1985. It had a very simple valve system that just needed turning to stop one of the hatches from dripping. If this valve is not shut, things go wrong. In 1990 the Saelen submarine sank off the small Danish island of Hesseloe because of this ‘small’ oversight.The Saelen submarine was purchased as part of Denmark’s Cold War defence. But by the time the Saelen had been repaired in 1993, the Cold War was over
They call it Distortion Camping. Not sure it will feature on AirBnB
You do get very near the harbour and there were three huge cruise ships at quayside
This one is Regal Princess which can carry 3560 passengers. We counted 11 floors above the main deck - a floating skyscraper?
and you do pass the Little Mermaid but, sadly, it is swamped by tourists and you only see the her back from the canal boat
The Amalienborg Palace
The Marble Church in Copenhagen, flanked by two of the mansions of Amalienborg Palace; echoes of St Paul's.
The Skuespilhuset (Royal Danish Playhouse)
Another city that lives on the water
Chic houseboat
Church of Our Saviour, Copenhagen, with its spiral tower
Don't know how the engineering works but it is a pretty impressive bridge.
Boarding our local train to our car on our way out of Copenhagen., Arriving at the station we discovered that John's wallet had been taken by a very professional pick pocket on the bus we took - very professional, and very crowded, so lots of jostling. He didn't feel a thing and it was deep in his front trouser pocket.. We had spent a long time in the Police station at the Central station reporting it. They told us there are lots of thieves in the city in the summer. The pick pocket must have watched John take out his Copenhagen card from his wallet for use in the bus and targeted him. They generously allowed Lynne to phone Barclays in London to block John's card. ID and driving licence gone as well. Thank heavens Lynne had cards and John an international driving permit in the car, plus his passport was safe. But do be vigilant in Europe
Our lovely AirBnB hostess in Helsingør (Elsinore). Fit and happy and in her 80's. It was on a farm in the middle of a beautiful forest but quite close to Helsingør. We had a large and comfortable room in the house that we shared with one other couple, a mother and son. Large living room, dining area, well equipped kitchen, bathroom with a shower and good outdoor space to sit. The owners live next door in two other houses
Communicating like old friends

A local house bedecked with clematis
Horse Chestnut trees ...
... and wonderful woodland surroundings
The ferry to Sweden from Helsingør (Elsinore), which we took that afternoon
First came our visit to Kronenborg castle, Hamlet's Elsinore. That is Sweden across the strait
The ferry crossing to Sweden, which we took later
On the way to the castle we found the Danish version of the Old Biscuit Mill. Pulled pork is popular there too
Two samosas for R80 Rand
Not quite the crowds on a Saturday morning
Food trucks move in to the space
And in the next warehouse, a wine festival. We decided we had to investigate
There were two entry prices. The minimum tasting cost DK 200 pp and the full tasting DK 400. We decided to pass. We had already tasted the Monkey 47 at Wade Bales' Whisky and Gin tasting recently.
Contrasting shipping, old and new
Walking towards the castle, you can explore the battlements
This entrance reminded us of our own castle in Cape Town, and one we saw in France a couple of years ago on the Ile d'Oleron
The Brohus (bridge house) is where they stationed the guard
We approached and found out that entrance to the actual castle building was going to cost us more than a very good meal at George Jardine's restaurant on Jordan, with wine. We hummed and we ha'd for just a few seconds and walked the grounds and the battlements instead. "Another day, another palace"
As one of our amusing (?!) readers commented: "Is this the best AirBnB has to offer?" No, they are much more commodious. This is a prisoner's cell in the castle. Until the mid 19th Century, serious offenders were sentenced to a lifetime of slavery in the Castle
We thought you would like to see the lunch menu at a cafe in the complex. Nah, we didn't fancy anything and besides, it was a bit early
The moat
One of the courtyards
 A model of the castle, also built in the star fortification style
Getting out of our car on the ferry. The trip takes about 20 minutes
We had a traditional Danish pølse (hot dog) with crisp fried onions for lunch. It's a frankfurter on a roll and you can add mustard or tomato sauce and lots of the crisp onion. It came with a beer and was a snip at DK 10 pp. The ferry (one way) with the car and 2 passengers costs about €165 and you don't have to book, just queue, pay and drive on the next ferry. They leave at half hourly intervals
You pass the castle 
as the ship leaves port

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