Denmark, Norway, and Sweden

Hej hej! We took a week’s vacation in Scandinavia because we found some great last-minute flight prices. It started with a long flight to Reykjavik, Iceland for a layover before our final destination in Copenhagen, Denmark. We trained into the city center and walked around for a few hours while making our way to the harbor. On the way we saw Hans Christian Anderson’s famous mermaid statue. We caught an overnight ferry into Oslo, Norway. Once in Oslo the next morning we got bus tickets and made our way to the Viking Ship Museum. That was one of the best museums of our trip. There were four recovered ships on display with all kinds of artifacts, skeletons, and other remains that were in the ships. Then we walked down the street to the Folk Museum to see the Stave Church-a Medieval wooden church found almost exclusively in Norway or nearby to Norway (there is actually one more modern-built one near Rapid City, South Dakota).  Anyways, the museum had some neat things that really showed how their decorative/designs evolved over time. They remind me of U.S.’s 1970s-like designs. After that museum, we bussed/walked to the Vigeland Park to see the famous crying baby sculpture. It has been on our list of things to see since our first trip to Norway when we came across another crying baby sculpture/fountain in Bergen.

Once in Oslo the next morning we got bus tickets and made our way to the Viking Ship Museum. That was one of the best museums of our trip. There were four recovered ships on display with all kinds of artifacts, skeletons, and other remains that were in the ships. Then we walked down the street to the Folk Museum to see the Stave Church-a Medieval wooden church found almost exclusively in Norway or nearby to Norway (there is actually one more modern-built one near Rapid City, South Dakota).  Anyways, the museum had some neat things that really showed how their decorative/designs evolved over time. They remind me of U.S.’s 1970s-like designs. After that museum, we bussed/walked to the Vigeland Park to see the famous crying baby sculpture and all the others in the park. It has been on our list of things to see since our first trip to Norway when we came across another crying baby sculpture/fountain in Bergen-by artist Gustav Vigeland. Then we bussed/walked to our hotel downtown and wandered downtown into the evening.

The next day we wandered downtown again, through the Akershus Fortress, along the port, by the Nobel Peace Center, etc. and eventually reached the ferry again for our return trip to Copenhagen. The ferry runs between these two cities nightly, a retired cruise ship basically, and the best way to easily get from city to city, in my opinion. 

Back in Copenhagen we walked to our hotel which we were staying in for the duration of our trip and got assigned one of the penthouse suites (even though I booked a “standard double or twin” room). We tried to tell the front desk to ensure we were not charged more and they said it was fine. We had two large (one private) balconies and nearly a 360° view over Copenhagen, a kitchen, living room, bedroom, bathroom. It was great, obviously. We then went to Central Station and took a trip to Roskilde, about 20 minutes from the city. We saw the Roskilde Cathedral, which houses the most royal graves in one place of any place in the world. It also boasts a “ghost horse” grave in the cathedral. Then we walked to yet another Viking Ship Museum, which houses five recovered ships. They were in far worse shape than the museum in Oslo, with pretty much no other artifacts. They score points on having a wood workshop where they constantly make ships in the original Viking tradition. So that demo and their history of how they recovered and conserved the ship pieces was neat.  Then we wandered through the town and eventually made our way back to Copenhagen where we wandered.

Our next day was Copenhagen completely. We walked all around the city, took a canal boat tour from the famous Nyhavn canal area, walked through the palace area, and to the National Museum of Denmark. This museum was great-we focused on the Viking, Bronze/Stone ages, and Medieval areas which are our fortes. It was a very confusing layout and took a while to get through, but the artifacts were neat. These included runes, a bog woman, various skeletons, various artifacts, weapons, artwork, etc. Later in the evening, we walked around more of downtown, which was surprisingly and pleasantly open and lively for a Sunday night.

The following day we took a day trip into Malmö, Sweden. It was a 30-minute train ride. We walked for around their downtown, large park area, saw the oldest Renaissance castle in Scandinavia and had the best danishes in a café called Katarina (Konditori). So the best danishes come from Sweden, not Denmark. Then we headed back into Copenhagen, more strolling downtown into the evening. The next day we headed to the airport and made our way back to Baltimore.

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Overall, we didn’t have much local type fare; nothing was advertised as a traditional meal or food type, so we mostly at cafes or went to a grocer for sandwiches, danishes, coffee, beer, etc. The weather was phenomenal-hovered around the 50°s F mostly-day and night. The trains in Denmark took some getting used to-it is not set up to travel on a train via destination or end of route destination, but by zones-you buy so many zones to get to your destination. It was very difficult to figure out which platform your train is as you need to figure out which zone it is going to and if your stop falls along that path. I discovered that I prefer older cities/towns; Copenhagen. Oslo, Malmö were mostly built in or after the late 1700s and they have lots of modern art and architecture. My preference is Medieval/early Renaissance type things or natural views/spots. We got to see everything we set out to in these areas, so it was a successful trip. Justin was constantly mistaken for a native by natives and tourists alike-tall, blond, blue eyes, etc. I often get mistaken for a German when we travel and it is now clear he gets mistaken for a Dane or Scandinavian. I guess that is about it! It was a nice trip and a great way to hail the beginning of the end of our time in Maryland!

 

 

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