Scandinavia - Part I

Last week, there was a public holiday around the weekend and So, I planned on exploring some Scandinavian countries (Denmark and a bit of Sweden). The direct flight/train ticket from my place (Nuremberg) to Copenhagen was a bit expensive. So, I spent a while searching for the best prices or any other alternatives. Finally, I booked a 'Air Berlin' flight from Nuremberg to Hamburg and then from Hamburg to Copenhagen is by the German ICE (Inter-City Express) train. So, my itinerary was as follows:

Nuremberg --> Hamburg --> Copenhagen

I spent sometime (1 & 1/2 days) in Hamburg, as it is one of the main cities in Germany and also one of the best tourist destinations in Europe. Here's the blog-post link for that trip: Hamburg-Germany

After Hamburg, I set off to Copenhagen (sometime in the noon), by the ICE train. Here's a small map of that trip from Hamburg to Copenhagen:



If you look at the map, you can figure it out that the route from Hamburg to Copenhagen is not totally on the land, but also have to cross the Baltic Sea (by a ferry). This is the reason why the ICE train is not very long (so that the train can get inside the ferry to cross the 'Baltic Sea'). At some points (when the stretch of Sea between some small islands or the main-land isn't long), there are a couple of bridges connecting the 2 points. By the way, most of the ferries around here are operated by 'Scandlines' and they serve like the normal public transport.

Copenhagen is around 330 kms from Hamburg and the estimated travel time was around 4 hours (albeit the entire journey wasnt on the land). After I set off from Hamburg, I could notice that the landscape is a bit plain when compared to south-Germany (or if you head southwards in Europe mainland). Most of the countries in Nothern European mainland (like Netherlands, Denmark, Northern Germany, et al) have a plain landscape. Although its a bit plain, the nature around is green and aint that bad. Maybe in the winter, its a bit boring to be out there. Here are some pics that I shot on the way to Copenhagen:









After travelling for sometime and passing by 'Lubeck', we reached a place called 'Puttgarden'. This is the endpoint of the mainland and so, the train had to get inside the Scandline ferry. We had to wait for sometime, inside the train, as the ferry wasnt ready to set off from Puttgarden. After a couple of minutes, the ICE train got inside the ferry and we all had to get out of the train and climb upstairs to get into the main part of the ferry. In the ferry, there were a couple of shops and restaurants (where you can sit, dine and have a great view of the Baltic Sea). Here's a video:



And here are some pics:







After cruising on the ferry for around 45 minutes, we reached the land, which is part of Denamrk. The first station on the other side of the Baltic Sea is called 'Rodby'. We all got into the train and the train got out of the ferry and set off to Copenhagen. I dont know the reason, but the train was going pretty slow (which is unusual) and it took a couple of hours to reach Copenhagen, from there. So, I reached Copenhagen at around 23:30 hrs, instead of the scheduled time of 21:00 hrs. This is not normal in Germany/Europe. But anyways, it was a problem for me as the hotel, I booked, was outside the city (as I couldnt find hotels with cheap or normal rates). Although Copenhagen was a city, I found that the density of people around there was pretty less when compared to mainland Europe. You can imagine how it would be if you compare it to China or India.

After that, I could have taken the local train at the train station, but I had second thoughts about whether I could find the hotel address or not, because the hotel was located outside the city (Ballerup). So, I took a taxi (who's owner was a Pakistani) although it was expensive, just because I dont wanna get lost in that cold, in some isolated part of the city. After a couple of minutes, I reached the hotel (which looked like its located in some secluded part, at the end of a city). I then thought that I did a good thing by taking a taxi, as it would have been hard to make out the address of the hotel (because of the language constraint and that, you dont see any people there). There were no people at the hotel, as it was late in the night, but they have put some machine for automated check-in procedure. I tried using that, but I gotta know that its kaput or not functioning properly. I was hoping someone could come and help me, but there was no one around. After waiting for a couple of minutes, I thought of calling the hotel customer-care, but a security guard came out to help me. He then helped me out in the check-in process (*sigh*) and I got into the room and slumbered the night away.

The next day, I woke up at around 9 AM and could actually see the surroundings of the hotel. The sun was shining and it was a very pleasant day. It aint that easy to get around and see places from this hotel, but I liked it anyways because its location was secluded, serene and was cosy and relaxing. Here's a pic from my hotel room:



After that, I freshened up, ate breakfast at the hotel and was ready to go places. I had to walk around 1 or 2 kms to get to the nearest train station, which is actually just a train-stop (but not a station). Here are some pics from around that place and the train-stop:







After that, I went to the main train station and got some maps and other information from the 'Office Of Tourism' and planned on going to see the 'Little Mermaid'. The 'Little Mermaid' statue was a present from brewer Carl Jacobson to the city of Copenhagen, made by a little known sculptor called 'Edvard Erichsen'. The 'Little Mermaid' actually symbolizes the fairy tale by Danish author 'Hans Christian Andersen'. H.C.Andersen is a famous Danish author and poet, known mostly for his fairy tales. He is known all over the world for some of his fairy tales like "The Snow Queen", "The Emperor's New Clothes","Ugly Duckling", et al. Here are some pics of 'Little Mermaid' and its surroundings:











Around this place, there's also a fortress called 'Kastellet', which was part of Copenhagen fortification. Also there's a old and famous Citadel, which is attached to this fortress. Here are some pics of the fortress, citadel and its surroundings:















After looking around these places, I walked towards the centre of the city, as there are many other landmarks on the way. As I was walking, it started to rain and so, I had to take a break in a restaurant (ofcourse, I'd to eat anyways). It took a while before the rain stopped. After that, I walked towards the Amalienborg palace, which is the winter home for the Danish royal family. Around this place, there are a couple of other landmarks like the Copenhagen Opera house, Frederik's church and others. Here are some pics (The domed structure you see in the pics, is the Fredrik's church):















And here's a pic of the Copenhagen Opera house:



Later, I walked into the church and had a look around its surroundings. After that, I walked more, towards the centre of Copenhagen and came across this area called 'Neuhavn', which is a good area with a canal and restaurants beside that. Here are some pics from 'Neuhavn':





After that, I went to the nearest metro station and took the metro to a place called 'Christiania'. Here's a video that I shot, from inside the metro train (which is nothing special, but would be interesting/exciting for folks who are stoned or sloshed..haha):



Christiania/Christianshavn, also known as 'Freetown Christiania' is a partially self-governing neighbourhood of Copenhagen. Its been built on a squatted military area and there are no special rules for people living here. This area is nothing special and it looked a bit worn out and dirty (specially that day, because of the rain). There are also shops here selling Marijuana and other drugs (since its a freetown with no rules). You can see a lot of people smoking pot and other things, around here. This wasnt much special (just a freetown). So, I didnt spend much time looking around this place.

Later, I took the local train to the central station, as 'Tivoli Gardens' is right in front of the Copenhagen central station. 'Tivoli Gardens' is something like an amusement park, with a lot of restaurants and other entertainment things. I bought a full entry ticket to Tivoli gardens, which lets me try all the things inside that place. Here's a pic of the entrance to 'Tivoli Gardens':



And here are some pics from inside the 'Tivoli Gardens':































And here's a video from inside the 'Tivoli Gardens':



After looking around a bit, I watched a 'Hans Andersen' themed show and also did this 'Free Fall' thing. Here's a video of the 'Free Fall' thing, that I shot:



And here's one more video, from around that place:



After spending a couple of hours, I headed back to the hotel room as it was late enough. It was already dark, as I got down the nearest station to my hotel and as I started walking on the pavement (beside this huge main road), I saw some teeny bunch of girls on the pavement of the other side of the road, waving their arse's at the people, who were driving around on that main road. They were all probably on a small trip, from some other place in Denmark and staying around that place. It was kind of funny to see them do that (and which reminded me of my childhood and school days) and I stopped by, to take the camera out and take a pic (no offence meant). When those girls saw me taking the camera out, one girl came out from the bunch and waved her arse at me and then, they all ran away laughing loud...haha..I then walked ahead, got into my hotel room and dozed off.

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