Sightseeing in Copenhagen

Trip Start Jun 12, 2013
Trip End Sep 10, 2013

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Flag of Denmark  , Capital Region of Denmark,
Friday, July 19, 2013

I have to say today was one of the absolute highlights of our holiday so far! Have fallen in love with Copenhagen and will defnitely be back.

I highly recommend the "free walking tour" offered through the local visitors tourist information centre.( look it up on trip advisor for more comments). The tour guide was passionate about his city and gave us a very informative insight into the people, their priorities, their history and endurance through the centuries and in today's world. The tour took 3-4 hr and we briefly covered the large majority of the major attractions over that time. We used a similar free walking tour in Oslo, which although very enjoyable, this one in Copenhagen was by far a much more comprehensive insight into this vibrant city and country of Denmark.

Some interesting points from the tour and discussions with locals and the guide
- they still have "free health care" and very surprisingly "free university education". As long as you have been a citizen of Denmark for at least 2 years, you can not only attend university for free, but also receive $1,000 per month for up to 6 years. Not sure how long this is sustainable, but I believe a similar arrangement is in place in Sweden and Norway.
- the cheapest, most popular , and by far the best value for money beer seems to be Carlsberg beer, which originated in Copenhagen in 1847. In fact we visited the home of the original brewer , Jacob Jacobsen, on the tour. The beer is quite popular n Europe and currently holds 40 % of the beer market in Russia. Even I'm enjoying a shandy with a Carlsberg or two after a long hot day touring the city.
They say one of the key to successes of the beer is the water in Copenhagen and the yeast used called Saccharomyces carlsbergensis which was isolated at the Carlsberg Laboratory in 1875. You should try a Carlsberg if you haven't already, as it may surprise. It retails over here for about 14 krona which is about $2.80 Australian. If you purchase a pint in the pub here though, you'll pay about 60 krona, which is about $11.50 Australian, and that's the cheapest beer, You can be assured we enjoyed a quiet pale ale at home at the end of each of day! Would have liked to visit the brewery, but its a little out of town and we didn't have time this trip, but the journey of this beer and its maker is an interesting story. The fact is the yeast used is now exported to many other breweries worldwide. Some of the original logos included an elephant, which remained today, but also a swastika, with this being removed in 1930s due to political alignment with parties in Germany.
- visited the palace where the queen resides, as well as one arm of the palace that is home to prince Frederick and Mary and their 4 children. They were at home as the flag was flying above, as well as the guards hard at work at the front gates. Our guide was a Copenhagen resident and loved his country dearly, but also couldn't speak more highly of his queen and Frederick and Mary. The 73 year old Queen Margarethe II, I am told has a 95 % approval rating by the citizens of Denmark, so is very well liked it would seem. It is interesting to note that girl power is going well in Denmark, with not only a queen in power, but also a female leader of the Social Demorats and prime minister ( Helle Thorning-Scmidt) and female deputy prime minister in power.
- the history of conflicts between Sweden and Denmark is extensive, but essentially they have been at war for 150 years of the last few centuries, and there may still be some rivalry harboured. although obviously in good spirit, particularly notable in football (soccer) sporting arena. There is no doubt the people are very proud of their king at the time of the German invasion, King Christian X, as he was one of the only European leaders who didn't leave his country during the occupation, and in fact he managed to save almost all of the Jews within Denmark from Hitlers death camps, but helping them to escape to Sweden.(several thousand people)
- this is where Lego was created by Old Kirk Christiansen in 1934 and his son Godtfred is currently the most wealthy person in Denmark.

- if you come here, you must take the local government ferry ride up the river. It is spectacular, and gives a great view of this beautiful city and its major attractions
- for methodical tea drinkers such as us, we love our English breakfast tea, and yet most cafes, motels, and trains only serve earl grey and green tea.
- this is by far the city of push bikes - I have never seen so much usage of push bikes in one city before. It was popular in Finland, Norway and Sweden, but Copenhagen by far wins the prize! They have very well established bike lanes, and even zebra crossings ontrthe bike lanes, and you have to be very careful not to stray into these lanes when walking, as even though they are courteous they are also very focused on moving at a fast pace - so beware! The trains are also very well setup wit carriages set aside to park your bike - very well done.
In addition, they have these great three wheel bikes with a child carriage at the front ( see photo) - many families use these throughout the city. Hey appear to be made by local company ""
- the only major negative I can say about this city, is its graffiti epidemic.... We travelled many of the buses, trains and boats in the city ( all for only 75 kronor for 24 hr or 14 dollars Aussie) and saw graffiti dominating the railway, bus stations and river walls, signs, posts, pavements almost everywhere. Even many of the railway stations appeared quite new in infrastructure, but still covered in graffiti everywhere. It is unfortunate in a city that is otherwise extremely vibrant, beautiful and rich in history and culture. .... Inside trains very clean and comfortable, and in general most carriages haven't suffered from graffiti.
- it can be an expensive city ( even compared to Sweden and Norway ) if you frequent the standard tourist districts ad restaurants, but we managed to secure a wonderful small 1 bedroom apartment in Burmeistersgade which is only 10 min from city centre, and only a short ferry trip across the river from the main railway station. We have our own cooking facilities and this is the best way to enjoy some of the local seafood/produce whilst keeping the budget under control.
- can totally recommend the use of "airnb" the company that allows private citizens worldwide to rent out their apartments for short stays in each city. We rented our little 1 bedroom apartment for $90 AUS per night, and it is worth every cent. It is like a home away from home, with great cooking facilities, comfortable living area, lovely small balcony, and it very convenient to the city , 10 min by ferry and by bus which runs every 15 min. We are about to stay in Hamburg and Berlin using airnb, and hope these stays will be just as successful.
- just abut all the people you meet speak English very well, ad are most welcoming and accommodating which makes life so much easier for us Aussies. However, the signage can present a challenge, but using our trusty "I-Translate" program on the IPAD, overcame most hurdles.
- the taxis throughout the town appear to all be Mercedes! I am told the rides are quite luxurious, but prices also quite expensive..... any wonder. Needless to say we didn't need to use a taxi.
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