Taken For a Ride
We missed the Kiel Canal yesterday because we went through it while we were eating dinner. We were supposed to go through it two hours earlier, but several tour buses coming back to the ship were caught in heavy traffic, and that pushed our launch time back.
However, I was able to catch one amazing sight. Around 11 pm, we crossed under the Great Belt Fixed Link Bridge, which connects the Danish islands of Zealand and Funen. Copenhagen is on Zealand. The entire span of the bridge is 6.79 kilometers and carries cars, trucks, and rail.
This morning we had no difficulties finishing packing or getting breakfast. We were called to exit at little before nine and we walked right out with no line. The contrast with Carnival, where we had to wait and wait and wait couldn’t be more dramatic (and that’s not including the line for customs and passport control in Long Beach). There were scores of taxis lined up and within a few minutes were bundled off to the Scandic Palace Hotel.
This is a massive hotel just opposite the City Hall and dominates City Hall Square. Built in the art nouveau style in 1910, it has hosted Danish royalty. Our rooms are on the first floor, and dad and my window opens on a rather plain interior courtyard.
When we arrived, our rooms were not ready, despite my requesting early arrival. The clerk officiously noted that early arrival may be requested and is not guaranteed. We dropped off our luggage and took a walk down the Strøget, the main pedestrian commercial street. The concierge warned us that the first block or two isn’t very nice, but after we reach the first square, it will improve markedly. He was right.
We eventually made our way to the banks of a canal, but dad was a little tired, so we walked back and found a very nice café on Amagertorv, opposite the stork fountain. We found a nice table indoors, but next to the wide, open windows so we could take in the breeze and the view. Shayna was hungry and ordered the chicken salad sandwich, which was spectacular. Dad ordered a large, fresh-squeezed orange juice that looked like 2/3rds of a liter. I had a classic Danish pastry, the Hindbærsnitter or raspberry slice. This is two thin layers of short bread pastry with raspberry jam between and a layer of what the Viennese call Wasserglaseur, a mixture of powdered sugar and water, then dusted with freeze-dried raspberries and some green dust.
After immensely enjoying our break and watching the buskers in the nearby square, we made our way back to the hotel a little before noon. Luckily, one of our rooms was ready, so we took up our luggage, I changed my clothes, and dad decided to take a nap. Shayna, Matt, and I then went to a traditional Danish restaurant. Shayna had her lunch early, so she just had some water to drink, while Matt and each ordered food we really enjoyed. Matt got the smoked salmon with new potatoes and a cream-herb sauce; I had the Danish meatballs and a beer.
When we got back, the kids took a break while tried to figure out how the prices at Tivoli worked. We bought three discounted entry passes and unlimited rides tickets at the front desk, while dad just bought an entry pass.
At 3:00 pm, we headed over to Tivoli and started with the third oldest wooden roller coaster in the world, which is now my new favorite roller coaster. It was a lot of fun. In fact, it’s so much fun that after I finish posting this, I’m heading back to ride it one more time tonight. We had a lot of fun taking the other rides, while dad enjoyed the ice cream. Tivoli is the second oldest theme park in the world, and it’s right in the center of Copenhagen, just two blocks from our hotel.
The bumper cars gave Matt and Shayna a chance to vent their frustration with me by trying to ram my car whenever possible. Luckily, I was able to avoid them (sometimes). Dad just enjoyed being back in Tivoli. He first came here in 1953, and then some twenty or so years ago with mom. We spend some time with baby ducks, did the roller coaster one more time, and then left to go back to the hotel to get ready for dinner.
I found a traditional restaurant in the scenic neighborhood of Nyhavn called Nyhavns Færgekro. We took a taxi from in front of the hotel, which should have been roughly the equivalent of taking a bus, but even though I showed the driver on the map where I wanted to go, he “misunderstood” and drove us back towards the cruise terminal. I kept asking him why he was going that way, and finally I insisted he was taking us in the wrong direction. Finally, he said that he misunderstood and drove us back to Nyhavn. Instead of a 90 DKK fare, we were charged over 250 DKK. I told him that I thought he ripped us off and demanded he reduce the fare, but dad said “don’t argue with taxi drivers” and paid. I took down his license information and will file a grievance.
Of course, he dropped us off at the far end of Nyhavns from the restaurant, but it was a scenic walk along the colorful buildings of the harbor. There was no outdoor seating for love or money, but we had no trouble finding a table inside. I ordered the five types of herring, including salt-cured herring, apple herring, crème fraiche herring, vinegar and onion herring, and curried herring. It was delicious, though the salt herring was much too salty for my taste.
For the main course, they all got the schnitzel while I ordered the sautéed plaice, a type of white fish flounder that came whole. The taste was very mild and delicious. Afterwards, we listened a little bit to a jazz band jamming at the far end of the canal, and then we took a taxi back to the hotel.
Tomorrow after breakfast, I’m heading off on my own to visit several art museums in Copenhagen, while dad, Matt, and Shayna are going to the planetarium.