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2023 - August - Copenhagen - Day 1

Wonderful Wonderful Copenhagen beckoned this morning. We were very much looking forward to the postponed trip but just not at 4am when the alarm went off. Actually, it was 3.55am as Karen for some reason the alarm on her phone at an even earlier time.

It didn’t feel like I had slept at all. I know I must have but sleep had been fitful as I was concerned about hearing the alarm. It wasn’t as if we had a flight to catch or anything.

We put our dirty clothes from yesterday back in the car before waiting for the bus to take us to the terminal. The less said about the £4 cost each the better. I know there are running costs and if you can afford to jet off somewhere then you can afford the bus fare, but it does seem a lot of money for a 5-minute journey.

At least I thought at 5am Stansted would be quiet. Wrong. It was the busiest I have ever known. There were people everywhere, all getting in my way. This is the last time we try and fly during school holidays from here as there were flipping over excited kids running amok all over the place.

Surprisingly though Security was quick as they had every slot open and we breezed through without incident.

We just had time to buy a meal deal from Boots and then a drink. For now, I have relinquished the Amex Platinum card which gave us free access to the lounges and so we had to queue with the great unwashed public to purchase drinks. We found seats at the back of the Café Nero and sat for a while till our gate number was announced.

As ever at Stansted, the Ryanair gates are a long walk and ours was the furthest. As normal Karen was in a desperate rush to get to them, cue lots of moaning when my knee made me lag behind her.

The flight was full and we took off on time, I think as I had already fallen asleep before then. As I came round, I thought about writing this blog. As I have mentioned before and it is obvious to read, I am not a writer. Never have been and never likely will be. I can be overly verbose and my crafting of the English language is not great. Self-praise is no praise at all but I find it readable when I look back it. I do get embarrassed sometimes thinking about who may be reading it and then shaking their head at my prose. I am also embarrassed by exposing my inner thought, but this is overcome by the desire to record and inform. I hope it will provide a record of our travels. This is now the 6th year of me doing so (all of which are available on the website).

One of the inspirations for doing so are people who keep daily diaries. I love that idea but could never keep it up. When I look back at my previous attempts, they consist of just a couple of lines like went up City or had haircut. Nothing of interest or detail.

As a child I do recall reading and re-reading my brother Glenn’s diary of his school trip to Wales that the school must have got him to write in a special book. I cannot recall any detail now but it has always stuck in my mind. Karen was also really good in getting the boys to write daily diaries of some of our earliest holidays in the caravan. They used to stick in postcards and other bits and pieces at the end of every day before going to bed. They are very special and a fantastic reminder of times past. We got them out of the loft over the summer and gave them to them to keep. This blog I suppose is my modern equivalent.

Anyhow Copenhagen airport is big and involves walking miles. In fact, I think the flight actually landed in Sweden and we had to walk across the border. I saw 2 other Ryanair flights land either side of us and we all got to Immigration at the same time. Typically, no passengers seemed to be from the EU and we all had to queue for the same non-EU 3 gates that were in use. One of the delivered benefits from Brexit. Eventually we got to the front and were shown to our queue. We were stuck behind what seemed like the Von Trapp Family Singers. All of which wanted to have an individual chat with the very friendly immigration officer.

Eventually we got through and found our way to the Metro ticket machines. Karen was in minor panic mode as it only issued one ticket for the both of us. I could see it showed 2 passengers but she was not convinced. In the end we never had to show them to anyone. The Metro was smooth and easy and with one easy change we were at the Central Station in Copenhagen.

A short walk took us to the Hotel Astoria. Karen said ‘You have got joking’ when standing outside and I must admit it did look like an old East German utilitarian office block. It was apparently the Hotel for the Train Conductors from the station However I had read it was lovely inside. And it was, quite art deco.

Although we were 4 hours earlier than check in time, we thought we would chance our luck to see if or room was ready. The receptionist spoke better English than me and said he could find us an earlier room but it would incur an additional cost of £20, and for that he would also give us a free upgrade and 2 free drinks voucher. Gratefully we accepted.

The superior room had a lovely balcony and a small cupboard on the inside of the entrance door. This cupboard could be accessed from inside and outside of the room and was where the Train Conductors hung their uniforms so that the maids could take them to be cleaned overnight without disturbing them in the room. Quite ingenious.

After sitting for a while, tiredness overcome both of us. We laid on the bed and snoozed for an hour. When I awoke my knee and leg in general was still hurting, and so I put on my knee brace and for the first time prepared to go out using my walking pole that I had packed for support.

We went for a wander to get our bearings and to try and find a good old cup of tea. The first 4 local coffee stops did every flavoured tea under the sun apart from English Breakfast. Finally, we came across Starbucks which did not let us down. As we sat there drinking the heavens opened and it rained hard. This surprised us as there was nothing forecast other than clear sunny skies. In fact, that was what the apps on phones were still telling us that the sun would be shining all day. On the Apple Weather app, I filed a report that they were very wrong.

The Starbucks had a Netto below it and so we went below to bring some food for lunch. It was raining even harder by now and we were forced to take shelter in a Danish Bookshop for a while. I wondered why many of what seemed quite popular Danish authors have not had their works translated to English.

After this we wandered along what must be the main Copenhagen shopping street until the rain drove us into a Danish Bakery Café where we sheltered again with some more drinks. They sold Danish Pastries which apparently originated in Austria. It’s not as though they don’t have a history of storytelling to the world.

I was by now in even more pain and so we turned around and headed slowly back. As we did so the Tivoli Youth Regiment marched past us playing some jolly tune. We made a slight detour to find the Hans Christen Andersen statue. It didn’t look like Danny Kaye at all which was a shame.

Back at the Hotel, Karen immediately fell asleep again. This lack of sleep was impacting us both terribly.

About 6pm we headed out in search of a hot meal. The number 2 ranked restaurant on Trip Advisor in all of Copenhagen (I assume Number 1 being Nomo which is also known as the Number 1 in the whole world – where lunch starts at about £400 each) called Maple Casual Café which was just a short walk away. Sadly, the only table they could offer us was a tall one and I was in enough pain without trying to purchase on a high chair. However, they had just opened a sister place almost opposite called Bloom. It served the same menu and they found a table for us.

The food was quite expensive but you got what you paid for. It was much more Delia’s than Wetherspoons. I had the Moules which although not as plump as the ones I had had the previous week at the Parson Woodforde the mariniere was the best ever. It just had the slightest hint of chilli and was more like a thick soup. Karen likewise loved her Sea Bass. The service was jolly good as well.

Back at the Hotel we availed ourselves of our free drinks and both had a large glass of red wine sitting watching the rides at Tivoli Gardens in the distance.

We were back in the room by 8.50pm and I was sound asleep by 9pm, only awoken at 10pm by the Tivoli Gardens fireworks which seemed to be right outside our window before quickly dozing off again.

Hopefully tomorrow will be drier, I will be in less pain and we will be able to see Copenhagen in all its glory.

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