Last stop on our Baltic cruise vacation

We were up early once again for the day we’d disembark the ship. When we drew open the curtains on our stateroom the view that greeted us was that of a fuel tanker alongside Azamara Journey. The ship had already arrived in Copenhagen and obviously the ship was being refuelled for the next cruise that would depart in the afternoon. Our scheduled disembarkation time was 7:45am, so we got ready and packed up the reminder of our belongings before heading off one last time to Windows Café for breakfast. Something we had noticed on previous cruises and this one was no exception as we took breakfast - the mood in the restaurant was sombre on this final morning, not the normal hubbub of the start of a cruise day. It was, though, the start of a lovely day and we selected a spot outside in the Sunset Bar area at the back of the ship to enjoy our breakfast.

Following breakfast we took a walk around the open decks for a few last photos before leaving. All of the amenities on the ship were closed and the desks were still a bit wet from the early morning wash down. With that, it was a pit stop in our stateroom to collect our stuff and then disembark. Within mere moments we had left the ship, located and collected our bags - the process was very smooth and efficient. There were many waiting taxis outside the terminal, so there was no delay there either. 100DKK (Danish Kroner) later we were at 71 Nyhavn - our post-cruise hotel in Copenhagen. Total elapsed time from setting foot off the ship to the checking in at the hotel was under 20 minutes. At the check in we found out that our room was already available at this early hour, so we were feeling in luck.

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  • Monday July 12, 2010

    Checking in at 71 Nyhavn, Canal tour and Tivoli Gardens

    We knew that Gary’s cousin Nicola was already at the hotel - she had arrived from London on Sunday, so we enquired about her room number before we left the reception to find our room. The hotel, by the way, was quaint - an amalgamation of two converted warehouses. Along the Nyhavn Canal stands a red brick building originally known as the Suhr Warehouse when it was built in 1805. It was restored and converted into a hotel in 1971. An adjacent yellow brick warehouse known primarily as a storage facility for spices from the Far East dating back to 1850 was added to the hotel property in 2000 to make its current size and configuration. The lobby for the hotel is located between the two historic warehouses - built for the hotel, no doubt.

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      One problem with any converted historic building must be trying to fit present day amenities within a building built long ago for a different reason - a case in point would be the circuitous route we took to get to the elevator that would take us to our room on the 3rd floor (or 4th floor as it would be labelled in North America). We had to actually go down a half flight of steps with the luggage to reach the location of the elevator for the red brick building on the Nyhavn Canal side. The elevator wasn’t too spacious, and with that quite stuffy. Exiting the elevator on the third floor, though, made us feel like we’d hit a wall...a wall of incredibly hot air. There was no air movement at all. The heat didn’t stop there unfortunately - we found our room oppressively hot and stuffy.

      The rather small window had been left closed, so Gary opened it in hope of getting a breeze into the room. No such luck. The room did indeed have a canal view as we had requested and paid for, but that also meant we were facing perpendicular to the direction of the breeze in a room with no air conditioning. Mark that down as another problem with converting a historic building into a hotel. We had been spared the full experience of no air conditioning on our pre-cruise hotel stay at the Admiral Hotel because the room had been facing the wind direction so we always had a pleasant breeze in the room. Not so at 71 Nyhavn. We unpacked the clothing we’d need and then called Nicola, who was located one floor down and one room over on the same side of the hotel - so she had already spent one very hot night at the hotel. We arranged to meet up with her later in the morning and then set off to wander a bit around the city and find a place to get a coffee. That, and to get out of the heat of our room. We were hoping that leaving the window open might improve the temperature in room while we were out.

      It was nice to walk around and easy to find a place we liked the looks of to stop for coffee. We sat outside under an awning enjoying cappuccinos on a beautiful morning in Copenhagen. We strolled back to the hotel around 11:00am and came across Nicola outside the hotel entrance. With the day being so beautiful and one of our plans being to take a canal boat tour while in Copenhagen - it was an obvious event to do first. We had scoped out the various cruise companies online as well as our pre-cruise time in Copenhagen, so it was easy to select the one we’d take. Many of the boat tours left from the same spot in Nyhavn Canal, so we were very conveniently located. From the hotel our destination was the fairly short walk to the top end of the Nyhavn Canal where we purchased our tickets for the next available tour. The timing had worked out, so the wait for the tour itself was only a few minutes. The tour around some of the canals around Copenhagen was indeed a pleasant and worthwhile way to spend about an hour or so in the city. Not everything we saw was new to us, but it was enjoyable to view things from a different perspective. It was also an opportunity to tour some areas of Copenhagen that we had yet to go - including the Christianshavn district, which was across the harbour from our hotel. The weather was perfect for the tour - warm and sunny under a blue sky.

      Following the tour, the next item on the collective agenda was to find a spot for lunch. Before the trip, Nicola had looked up a number of cafés and restaurants, and we were pretty sure we were close to one called The Royal Café, but it took us a while to actually find it on the wide pedestrian street of Amagertorv even with having the street address of the café - turns out it was an archway that led to a small courtyard for outdoor eating with the entrance indoors behind that. We had walked by it a couple of times before we realized that the archway was the street entrance to the café. We selected to sit outside, but made sure we had un umbrella to provide some protection from the early afternoon Copenhagen sunshine. The fare at The Royal Café was referred to as “smushi” - being an amalgamation of traditional Danish smørrebrød and Japanese sushi to create their own style of cuisine. Whatever the fare is called, the food was good and the time we spent there was very enjoyable. Following lunch, we made our way to Tivoli Gardens - Copenhagen’s famous amusement park. The park opened in 1843 and is the most visited theme park in Scandinavia and third most in the world with 4.5 million visitors annually. You’d figure it would also be the oldest amusement park but that is not the case, for the oldest amusement park in the world sits just 13km north of Copenhagen. Before reaching the park we walked past Københavns Rådhus (Copenhagen City Hall) in Rådhuspladsen (City Hall Square). The current building has been the seat of Municipal governance since 1905. So, a quick look at the City Hall then back on target to Tivoli Gardens.

      Following the tour, the next item on the collective agenda was to find a spot for lunch. Before the trip, Nicola had looked up a number of cafés and restaurants, and we were pretty sure we were close to one called The Royal Café, but it took us a while to actually find it on the wide pedestrian street of Amagertorv even with having the street address of the café - turns out it was an archway that led to a small courtyard for outdoor eating with the entrance indoors behind that. We had walked by it a couple of times before we realized that the archway was the street entrance to the café. We selected to sit outside, but made sure we had un umbrella to provide some protection from the early afternoon Copenhagen sunshine. The fare at The Royal Café was referred to as “smushi” - being an amalgamation of traditional Danish smørrebrød and Japanese sushi to create their own style of cuisine. Whatever the fare is called, the food was good and the time we spent there was very enjoyable. Following lunch, we made our way to Tivoli Gardens - Copenhagen’s famous amusement park. The park opened in 1843 and is the most visited theme park in Scandinavia and third most in the world with 4.5 million visitors annually. You’d figure it would also be the oldest amusement park but that is not the case, for the oldest amusement park in the world sits just 13km north of Copenhagen. Before reaching the park we walked past Københavns Rådhus (Copenhagen City Hall) in Rådhuspladsen (City Hall Square). The current building has been the seat of Municipal governance since 1905. So, a quick look at the City Hall then back on target to Tivoli Gardens.

      We wandered around the park and found our way to what appeared to be a Moorish Palace but was rather a hotel and two restaurants. We took a table outside on the patio (but in the shade) at one of them called Nimb and enjoyed a rather tasty bottle of Riesling from Alsace. It was enjoyable to sit outside and have a relaxed drink in the shade. Suitably refreshed, we made our way back to meandering around the park some more - and passed The Paul; the restaurant that we had a dinner reservation for Tuesday evening. A small lake was nearby with a pirate ship attraction off to one side. What caught our attention, though, was a copy of Den lille Havfrue (The Little Mermaid) also in the lake. A sign near the statue indicated that it was the artist’s own copy, or “sister”, of the famous statue and his descendants had loaned it to Tivoli while the original one would be in China for the World Expo. Edvard Eriksen had used his wife Eline as the model for the statue that first went on display at Langaline in 1913. This “sister” would be the same age, but would only be on display through to October - ready for the original to return to her accustomed spot in Langaline in November. Before leaving the hotel earlier in the day we had made a 7:45pm dinner reservation for this evening at Salt, the restaurant in the Admiral Hotel that we had stayed at the beginning of the trip. With that in mind we didn’t want to stay too late at Tivoli Gardens, so at about 5:45pm we made the start to walk back to our hotel to freshen up before dinner. Having walked to Tivoli via the mainly pedestrian shopping streets, we made the choice of an alternate route to get from Tivoli back to the hotel. Our route took us along side Frederiksholms Kanal, a canal we had toured earlier in the day, passing Thorvaldsens Museum and Børsen (the old Stock Exchange) with its distinctive dragon spire. It was a nice walk back to the hotel in the late afternoon and we had time to shower and change before heading out for dinner. Opting to forgo the elevator, we made our way up the stairs to our room and we felt slightly encouraged because the stairwell wasn’t oppressively hot. The brief moment of optimism faded when we reached the third floor - the hallway was just as hot and stuff as it had been earlier in the day. So, too, was our room - no breeze had ventured through our small window while we were gone. If we hadn’t decided on a quick shower before returning to the hotel, the heat in the room would have convinced us anyway. The room temperature also created the scenario where we figured we’d only get dressed the moment before we leave the room. It was that uncomfortable in the room. We did pick a quaint historic Danish hotel over a new American style hotel with all the modern conveniences such of air conditioning, didn’t we? We were questioning our wisdom on that one today. Across the canal from our room, we saw a television crew setting up for a shoot. It did make us wonder if the camera could see us in our state of undress in our room with the window wide open...but then, what did it matter? we were too hot. Canadian sensibilities were giving way to European comfort! Actually, more like minimized discomfort. Showered and quickly dressed we met back up with Nicola and made the short walk over to the Admiral Hotel with time to enjoy an aperitif outside at the Salt bar before heading into the Salt Restaurant for dinner. We had read some positive reviews of the Salt Restaurant before leaving Canada, so we were confident that it would be fine for dinner - but the selecting for this evening was predicated on one particular fact: it was open. Many of the finer restaurants in Copenhagen are closed on Mondays, so it would mean either selecting a more casual dining location or choosing from a much smaller number of available finer restaurants. One would surmise that the majority of finer restaurants that were open on Mondays were connected to a hotel - as was Salt, being in the Admiral Hotel. It also stands to reason that those restaurants would do quite well on Monday nights with less competition.

      We could hear thunder and see lightning as we left Salt after dinner. It certainly looked like rain, but none were falling as we left the restaurant on our way back to Nyhavn. Before getting there we did feel a few sprinkles, but really not that much. Our plan was for a nightcap at one of the restaurant/cafés that line Nyhavn Canal - so after a reconnaissance lap we settled on Cap Horn, the place we’d had dinner on our first evening in Copenhagen. The sky still looked threatening, so we made sure we had a spot fully under one of the large umbrellas on the outside sitting. Good plan - for not long after we were seated there was a short, hard rain. The rain finished before we had finished at Cap Horn, so it was a dry walk back along the canal to our hotel.

      Even with it being around 11:00pm and cloudy, there was still some light in the Copenhagen sky. It was close to 11:30pm before the sky finally appeared black. Returning to our room we still find it hot and stuffy - the brief rain hadn’t provided any cooling at all. It would make for an uncomfortable night of sleep, but that shouldn’t diminish a nice day in Copenhagen following our cruise - one that was nice to share with Nicola.

  • Tuesday July 13, 2010

    Rosenborg Slots, Kunstindustrimuseet, Rundetårn and The Paul

    As we woke for this day, the scene outside was quite dull - it had rained overnight and for the morning it was looking like it could rain a bit more. Oh, well. Our second day back in Copenhagen after the cruise officially got going when we met up with Nicola at the hotel’s entrance at 9:00am. We strolled along Nyhavn Canal on our way to find a spot to have a bite of breakfast.

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      The sky appeared to be brighter, which was encouraging. Some of the cafes beside the canal had a few people at them, mostly enjoying coffee. As we passed one cafe we heard a fellow making a comment in our direction referring to Azamara Journey - at the table were two couples that had been on the same cruise as us, and had been on some of the tours we had taken. We stopped and spoke to them briefly. They had switched hotels since they’d arrived in Copenhagen - originally staying at the Admiral Hotel but they left there because of the heat. Clearly they didn’t get rooms with a breeze has we had on our stay they before the cruise. They opted for the nondescript Scandic Front Hotel located near the Admiral Hotel...selecting it strictly for air-conditioned comfort. After a bit more chit-chat we continued along Nyhavn Canal and reflected on the number of people we had seen from the cruise so far - with the 4 we’d seen this morning bringing the total to 13 fellow passengers since we’d be in the city so far.

      The breakfast stop was at Illum - or more specifically, the pastry and coffee shop that was part of the department store - although accessed separately from the outside. Took a while to select a pastry from among the large selection, but once selected the pastry and coffee were both good. From the pedestrian shopping district Strøget where Illum was located we walked to Rosenborg Slots (Rosenborg Castle). before the cruise we had only looked outside the castle, leaving the inside tour until we were with Nicola now. as we entered we rented a guide book for the castle and treasury - we weren’t sure at the time it was a good deal, but it turned out to be very helpful. All of the items inside the castle and treasury were numbered, and with the guide we could get the information on the items that interested us. Not a lot of information was generally posted around so without the guide we’d have been at a bit of a loss for information. Our self-guided tour started in the basement of the castle where there was an impressive collection of historic royal weapons followed be an equally impressive array of artifacts, many of of which were in either amber or ivory. If it wasn’t one of those materials, then it was more often than not gold. Continuing through the basement collection we came across a royal wine cellar from which wine is still served for royal occasions. According to Rosenborg Slot, the wine is only served out of tradition than taste - likely more akin to vinegar than wine one would think. At the current rate of consumption they figure they’ll be able to supply wine for they ceremonial royal event for the next 300 years. The last large room of the basement had actually been the kitchen in the castle’s working days but now houses miniature portraits, handicrafts and parade arms & trappings. Some of the artifacts in this room are reported to date back as far as 1200. In a small chamber just of this large room we found some interesting artifacts from the astronomer Ole Rømer, who was the king’s technical advisor in the late 1600s. A prototype for standard system of weights and measure that he introduced is displayed in this room as well as two devices he designed while in Paris to show the orbits of the planets (called a Planetarium) and to calculate the Moon's eclipses (called an Eclipsarium). Pretty cool stuff. The natural progression of the tour leads to the most valuable collection in Rosenborg Slot - The Treasury. The design of the area is in three distinct sections - with the last being the impressive display of the Crown Jewels. There are many other incredibly beautiful and no doubt priceless treasures to view before getting to the Crown Jewels, though...the whole Treasury is impressive. It stood to reason that this was also the most crowded room that we had encountered in Rosenborg Slot. We took quite a bit longer here in this room (which was really a very big vault) to look over the myriad of jewels on display. Once we were finally finished in The Treasury we made our way to tour the castle proper - which was very interesting, but slightly anti climatic after we had toured the basement full of such wonderful things - with the advantage now of hindsight we’d say it might be better to tour the rooms of the castle first before venturing down into the basement.

      It was well and truly raining by the time we were done touring Rosenborg Slot. Rather than be deterred by the conditions, we put on our rain gear and made our way to our next intended destination of Kunstindustrimuseet (the Danish Museum of Art & Design). The new rain gear turned out to be a good investment - protecting us nicely in quite heavy rain as we made the walk to the museum. Kunstindustrimuseet was opened as museum in 1920 and houses an impressive collection of Danish and international design from art work to furniture and pretty much anything in between. The building itself is impressive, its life starting in 1752 as Frederiks Hospital. The courtyard alone was quite impressive. Our tour of Kunstindustrimuseet took around 2 hours and was enjoyable. We also enjoyed the fact that it had stopped raining while we were int he museum. By this point it was about 3:00pm and we were feeling a bit peckish, so we set off from Kunstindustrimuseet in search of some food. Our search led us to Café Oscar not too far away form the museum. With the weather on the improve, we opted to sit outside to enjoy some rather delicious open faced sandwiches in the smørrebrød style.

      Following lunch we wandered back towards Strøget - with our footwear finally drying along the way. That had been the only remaining effect of the earlier downpour. In the pedestrian zone of Strøget sits a 17th century tower called Rundetårn (Round Tower) and although we had seen the tower from the outside on previous strolls in the area, we decided to make this our next destination for a more in depth look.

      The tower was built under the direction of Christian IV as an astronomical observatory. Once inside the doors, it was time to experience the most interesting design feature of the building - a helical ramp that makes seven and a half turns from ground level to the top. Partway up we could see into the adjoining building - making up what is referred as the Trinitatis Complex - a university chapel and library. At the top of the tower an outside observation deck located 34.8 metres above ground level provides a nice panoramic view of Copenhagen. We enjoyed the view for a while, getting a different perspective of all of the places we had been over the city. Even though it was no longer raining, the sky was not clear, so the view did look a bit “moody”.

      It was a whole lot less effort going down the spiral ramp than the trip up, unless of course, you had something like a stroller - and we did see people struggling their way down, sensibly taking the child out of the stroller just incase they lost control of the stroller on the difficult spiral slope for the downward journey.

      No day is complete without chocolate, so we made our way back to Frellsen Chokolade for some tasty treats and then made our way back to our hotel so we could relax for a moment before getting ready for dinner. We had a reservation for 7:30pm at The Paul (located in Tivoli Gardens) so we booked a taxi for 7:00pm to take us there. No walking that distance in the muggy summer conditions while dressed for dinner for us. It took only 15 minutes to make the drive to Tivoli, so we had time to stroll a bit before making our way to The Paul. Even though we had a dinner reservation in a hotel inside Tivoli Gardens, we still had to pay the admission fee to get inside the amusement park. That seemed a bit excessive. Anyway, we had a bit of time to wander inside the park before heading to the restaurant, and it did seem livelier than it had been on the previous visit. We stood and watched some of the pantomime performance at the Pantomimeteatret and listened to the sounds of a big band at the Harmonipavillonen (Harmony Pavilion). We would have stayed longer listening to the music, but the time was fast approaching for our reservation so we made our way to The Paul.

      As we entered the restaurant we were greeted by one of the servers - is was apparent that they stagger the reservations so they were aware of who was arriving. Nice touch. We were given the option of heading straight to the table or go to the lounge first. We selected the latter, and the choice had been planned for - a table for three set up. We enjoyed a lovely selection of Hors d'oeuvres together with equally lovely apéritifs. While sitting there we perused the menu and all decided on the tasting menu for dinner and in due course we were led to our table to begin the experience. It would be easy to go on and on about the dinner, but suffice to say that everything was exceptional - the service, the presentation and especially the food. Some of the flavour combinations were unbelievably good and the wine pairings were wonderful choices to compliment each dish. One dish that has raised our eyebrows when first looking at the menu was the main course of French pigeon - but that turned out to be a truly memorable dish with the accompanying English liquorice. Amazing flavour. All in all it was a great evening, a great dinner - one to remember.

      Following dinner we returned to the same table at the lounge to end the evening with a digestif and by the time we were completely finished we were told that Tivoli was closed, so we needed to be escorted to the main gate. On this nice evening we opted to walk back to the hotel and arrived there about 1:30am. It had been a terrific day and wonderful evening - a fitting way to spend the last full day of our vacation. We made plans to meet for breakfast at 8:30am and with that our day was done.

  • Wednesday July 14, 2010

    Final morning in Copenhagen and travel back to Canada

    Our final day in Europe (well, for this visit at least) started bright and early so we could get the majority of our luggage together and then get ourselves ready to meet Nicola at 8:30am for breakfast. We didn’t have a long time left in Copenhagen with a flight to London scheduled for noon, but we did have time for a stroll to find a spot to eat and it was a very nice morning.

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      We settled on Café Europa 1989, located not too far from the Stork Fountain in Amagertorv. On this beautiful morning we sat outside and enjoyed some pastries and cappuccinos. By about 9:30am it was time to head back to the hotel so we could check out, say our good-byes to Nicola and then get a taxi to take us to the airport. As it turned out, we could have left it a bit later - our taxi driver was in a hurry, driving most of the way between the speeds of 130 and 140km/hr. The check in at the airport was efficient, so earlier than expected we were through security and waiting for our flight to Heathrow. The only down side was we couldn’t get two seats together on the short Copenhagen to London flight - it was the only part of the trip that we couldn't pre-select the seats. Not too bad considering it was only a 2 hour flight. It was also a good flight - on time leaving and smooth flying until reaching close to London.

      The weather wasn’t so good on the approach to Heathrow, which made the arrival rather bumpy. We had about 2 hours between flights, or we should have had at least if all was on time. Unusual from any of our experiences flying out of London, we had to take a bus to the location of the plane and we had to walk up the stairs to the plane in the rain - interesting that they didn’t have covered stairs for just this circumstance. Once on the plane things we found out that the weather conditions were causing a backup for take offs, so we wouldn’t be leaving at 3:00pm as scheduled. Our flight actually took off just before 4:30pm and was bumpier on the take off than the previous flight had been on landing. The turbulence continued for quite a while on this flight as the plane cleared the bad weather around Great Britain. Beyond that the flight was fine and they were able to make up some of the lost time with our landing in Toronto being 30 minutes later than the originally scheduled arrival time.

      Pearson Airport was busy when we arrived, so it seemed to take a long time to get through customs and collect our luggage. There was also a drove of people trying to get through the exit of the baggage reclaim area. When we finally reached the point where we would surrender our customs deceleration, we were told to go to the left rather than straight ahead to the exit. It seemed our delay would be longer.

      As we walked to the area where we expected our bags to be pulled apart we couldn’t figure out why we had been selected for this - we hardly bought anything to bring home on this trip. Wait, was that it? We didn’t declare enough for the duration of our trip? Upon reflection it did seem to us that the first customs official did question the amount. Anyway, we were guided to a location where we put our bags on the table and the official there asked us the same thing about how much we spent on what...and with that he simply smiled and said “have a nice day”. That was a quicker/better result than we had anticipated.

      From there is was the familiar walk to the limo stand and about 30 minutes later we were home. Cruise vacation number three and the first with Azamara was officially over.

Copenhagen Image Gallery (both pre & post cruise)

Along the Nyhavn Canal, Copenhagen
Looking towards Amalienborg from Amaliehaven
Looking towards Admiral Hotel from waterfront edge of Amaliehaven
Gefionspringvandet (Gefion Fountain), located near Kastellet
Looking towards St Alban Church and Gefion Fountain, located near Kastellet
Frederiks Kirke (Marble Church)
Looking north along the Admiral Hotel from our room
Evening look along the Nyhavn canal
Evening look along the Nyhavn canal
Looking at the Opera House from our hotel room
Copenhagen Admiral Hotel
Rundetårn (Round Tower)
Amaliehaven, Amalienborg Palace and Marble Church
View of 71 Nyhavn Hotel from the our canal boat tour
Impressive Moorish style Nimb - hotel, restaurant and bar inside Tivoli
View from Nimb's patio
The artist's copy of The Little Mermaid on display at Tivoli Gardens
View from Rundetårn with the clock tower of Kunsthallen Nikolaj in the foreground and the Oresund Bridge off in the distance
About WHITEonline

WHITEonline is the digital home of Gary & Linda White. We’ve been married since 1980 and live just outside Toronto in Ontario, Canada. Linda was born and raised in Toronto while Gary was born in London, England and moved to Canada at the age of 11. We enjoy travelling and taking photos while we travel. WHITEonline provides the opportunity to share some of our photos & experiences.

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