My trip to Copenhagen involved 9 people from three different starting points. My aunt and uncle from Miami drove to Tampa to meet the rest of the group (minus me) there. Then the group was flying from Tampa to Atlanta to then connect with me at Hartsfield to catch the flight to Copenhagen. Needless to say, everyone was excited and eager to get the show on the road a few months after the trip was first conceived.
The flight over to CPH was mercifully very smooth. Not so the reception by the Danish immigration official who, for some strange reason, threw my 68-yr old Mom’s passport back at her so that it went all the way to the edge of the counter and fell to the floor (she had not said anything to him so he could not have taken issue with her on anything she said). That must have satisfied some power trip or, we hoped not, given us a first glimpse how we would be treated in Denmark. Fortunately, the latter did not seem to be the answer. But, Denmark, those first impressions count… In any case, after some initial confusion for some family members as to currency conversion and the ATM machine, we proceeded to load 9 of us in 3 taxis and head to the hotel – the Copenhagen Marriott where my points took care of the rooms (!!).
The hotel is beautiful and has a good location along the canal which gives it great views over to Christianhavn and, on the opposite side, to the city. The area where the hotel is does not have restaurants or shops right there, though they are a 10 min walk away which is not too bad.
After settling in and a quick break from all the traveling, we opted to do a Hop-On/Hop-Off (the yellow route) the first day to orient ourselves and take it relatively easy for my parents, aunt, and uncle (less walking). It was a great way to get our bearings as well as see some of the city. As we got off the bus after having completed a loop, the green route bus was about to leave on its last run of the day so we jumped on it to get to see other parts of town like Christiania and Christianhavn. The ticket for the bus was valid for 2 days which was perfect as we then took it the next day as a way to move between the attractions that were furthest from each other. I normally would walk everywhere but given the group, it made tons of sense to use the bus to our advantage.
One of our first stops was the Little Mermaid. I personally do not quite see it as something worth all the attention – there are so many statues in most cities – but because it is so famous, I agreed we had to see it. I expected to be further from land that it was. Mercifully, the bus made a 15-min stop there since there is not much else to do right there and saved us standing waiting for the next bus… Our next stop was to see the Anglican Church , the Resistance Museum (http://www.copenhagenet.dk/CPH-Map/CPH-Resistance.asp), and the Gefion Fountain . All this was next to the Kastellet or citadel dating from 1662 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kastellet,_Copenhagen) which we did not get to explore to my chagrin. The Resistance Museum was free, as were other museums in the city, and was very well laid out to present the story of Denmark during WW II. I enjoyed learning about WW II from the perspective of a country other than the big ones (Germany, France, the US, the US, and the USSR) and to learn about the courage of those who tried to resist and fight.
Copenhagen does have a few current and former palaces all in relative close proximity. Amalienborg is the one where the current monarch resides. It is one of 4 buildings placed around a plaza that is open to the public. Another of the 4 buildings is where the crown prince lives. We got there, by coincidence, when the change of guard was taking place. It was unique in that there are guards at each of the 4 buildings so the change of guards was longer than I am used to.
After walking around Nyhavn, a canal lined with colorful and beautiful buildings (though maybe too crowded), we walked down the Stroget, the pedestrian shopping street in the city center. As it turned out, Carnival was being celebrated (though it was June!) so the walk became much more interesting than originally expected!
Our most memorable meal in Copenhagen was a small place called Restaurant & Cafe Nytorv, sort of hidden away in the middle of things, fairly close to the Stroget. I had a fried pork place that was delicious. And the decor felt more like a smalltown eatery than a restaurant in a European capital, which was exactly what I was hoping for so big thumbs up.
It is worth noting that exploring the opposite side of the Stroget from Nytorv gets you to where a church and a university are. The residential streets in that area are worth walking around as they give a different feel for the place.
Other key sights were the City Hall Square, the Tivoli Gardens (which we actually did not visit), the Danish Museum, Rosenborg Palace, and Christianborg Palace. Lots to see in this city and, unfortunately, not enough time…