Stockholm, Sweden – Copenhagen, Denmark – 2019 – Day 13-15

09/23/19

Copenhagen, Denmark

Day 13 and what a day.

Most important task of this trip – laundry. We literally were living out of a 40x20x25cm type bag and had limited amount of clothes but we had access to a washer and dryer and what a feeling!

We went into town and rented bikes from Baisikeli – They collect used bicycles in Denmark and send them to Mozambique where having a bike can help generate work and education opportunities while also giving them cheaper options for transportation. After picking up our bike rental (we booked for 2 days) we started our adventure leaving town and biking into the suburbs to find 2 of the 6 Forgotten Giants created by Thomas Dambo. We found Sleeping Louis and Hilltop Trine. Google maps wants you to go through a camp grounds to get to Sleeping Louis – don’t do it. It will lead to a dead end. You need to continue past and go into the park beside it, through the parking lot and down the path. Beautiful bike ride seeing a different part of town. Remember to use your hands signals on the bike! In University, I had one course that talked about how cities are designed and Copenhagen was ahead of the times and the best designed in the world. I am happy to have seen it with my eyes first hand. There is a designated walking, biking and car/bus lane.

Unfortunately the Cisterns were closed Mondays which I forgot to double check. After our bike ride through the suburbs, we came back into town for food at Ipsen & Co. We got Smørrebrød (open sandwich) with avocado, mayo, pickled shallots and roasted seeds. It was a small snack more so than a real meal but we were a little cheap considering we kept calculating the cost of meals here in CAD in our heads.

After that little snack break and creating our bike route for the rest of the day, we got back onto the bikes and kept going. We biked through Dybbølsbro bridge to the Bicycle Snake path to the Circle Bridge. From there, we made our way through Christiana again hoping to go up the Lord of our Saviour but it was closed! We also returned back to infamous Nyhavn but this time during the day.

We made it in time to catch a canal tour (which is included in the Copenhagen card). Being on the boat for an hour took all our heat away but we were able to see all the major attractions in the area.

We hopped back onto our bikes and made our way to Gonzo for fællesspisning (a cheaper home-cooked meal where you are encouraged to interact with others). We met up with Winnie’s Danish friend Sophie for dinner.

Overall, we biked over 35KM that day and our butts definitely felt it.

09/24/19 

Copenhagen, Denmark

We rearranged our itinerary to visit more of the attractions that are covered by our Copenhagen card because we got the 72 hour pass and wanted to make sure we saw all the ones we wanted to before our pass expired.

We also still had our bike rental and wanted to ensure we took full advantage of that as well.

With our sore bums, we made our way to Superkilen Park in Nørrebro (3 park spaces with different themes featuring elements coming from a bunch of countries). Slightly less biking than the day before with 16KM roughly. Tried to find the public trampoline Fælledparken (unsuccessful – I guess they took it away).

We biked our way to Rosenborg Castle. It was interesting to see how they lived and glimpsed at the garden but for Winnie and myself, we have already seen so many castles so it wasn’t our cup of tea as much. We continued to the Rundetaarn (Round house) – decent view up top with a pleasant interior aesthetic but a little underwhelming.

We tried to find Køs Museum Of Art In Public Space (apparently Google had a different location saved for this place – this location is actually outside of the city centre). Had lunch at Riz Raz (buffet – cost effective and very filling). After lunch, we biked over to the Cisterns (it is in the park – look for the pyramid glass structures in a field with a fountain).

We returned our bike rentals to Baisikeli and hopped onto the train and went north (about an hour each way) to Louisiana Museum (all the Danish people we’ve met have recommended it). We could definitely see why the moment we got there. The building itself and location is absolutely stunning and it wasn’t even a sunny day which would have made it even better. The exhibits that were on display featured 2 American artists – Marsden Hartley, a painter and Lauren Greenfield, a photographer. I guess because the topics and themes of the series of “art” that was on display is something as a Westerner I have seen so often that it didn’t enthrall me as much as the European visitors. We saw they were setting up a Yayoi Kasuma exhibit but unfortunately wasn’t ready for us to view.

Back to København for dinner at Banana Joe – 2 burgers there cost less than what a bowl of ramen ($25CAD) would cost for a single person. The cheap Asians in us were really showing when it came to eating in Denmark since everything is so expensive. A cup of coffee plus a cinnamon bun (fika if you will) cost $17CAD.

09/25/19

Copenhagen, Denmark

Our itinerary changed since we tried to pack more of the museums into the previous day so the day was a little slower but consisted of food. Started off at the Design Museum in the morning. Tried to goto the Nikolaj Kunsthal but they were closed to prep for a new exhibit. So many attractions were closed during our timing here – transition period.

We kept walking the same street a few times but passed through the Lego store (Fun fact: Lego was invented in Denmark) and checked out the oldest tea shop of A.C. Perchs Thehandel.

Went to Sankt Peders Bageri for onsdagssnegle (Wednesday snails/cinnamon rolls).

We checked out Torvehallerne (the market with 50 stalls and fresh flower and fruit stalls) the food there was a little over our price range and so we made our way over the bridge to Rita’s Smørrebrød for some good but cheaper options.

We did a brisk walk through the Assistens Kirkegård – cemetery. Stopped by Mirabelle for some focaccia with arugula and prosciutto.

We decided we needed to spend some time back at school and went to the University of Copenhagen (University education is free). The facility itself is beautiful. There is an observation-viewing window also known as the Maersk Tower to see above the city.

We pretty much finished all the things we had marked down on our itinerary so we decided to walk the Osterport area. Turns out that after coming in at night a few nights back and biking through town, we had actually covered so much of the core of Copenhagen and had now seen many neighbourhoods both during the day and at night.

We took the bus over to check out Reffen (street food market in an urban area by the waters). It looks like such a cool spot to hang in the summer but it was dead when we went.

We decided to go back into the core area and stopped by Sprød and Kebabistan (stock up on the hot sauce – so good and don’t be afraid to spread it all over) for dinner and they were delicious.

Back to Skovlunde we went and with the little money we had left, we bought a few things for breakfast at Aldi. The inner cheap Asians in us have not been so present but it can’t be helped when you convert DKK to CAD and realize you are paying an arm and a leg for 1 meal. We were going to get Ramen and realized one bowl was $25CAD. My mixed doner was $12CAD and a line out the door.

Nara, Japan 2012 – Day 13

10/06/12

Since we stayed at J-Hoppers for 5 days, we got a free bike day. After packing our things, Georgie and myself went biking for about 2 hours and made sure to be back by noon as we had to go meet Kayo at 1PM for a day trip to Nara. When we returned,  Daniel showed us his bike that he had purchased for roughly 300CAD. It was a foldable bike called Yeah. We said our goodbyes as he went on his way enroute to Tokyo while we waited for Shela’s return. She had taken the train to Nando station for a 100¥ shop and found Japanese peaches. She had to wait for the bus which made her late, luckily we called Kayo to let her know we would be late. We arrived at the station to meet with Kayo quickly and purchased our ticket to Nara which was 480¥ (our most expensive one just yet for a single ride). To get through the ticket gate from our station, you had to combine the tickets into the ticket slot and then it spat back out the Nara ticket. The train went around the mountain and gave us a nice scenic view.

We went directly for the deer park and grabbed the deer crackers 150¥ a pack. The deers have been in Nara for thousands of years so they roam free. If you bow to them, they will bow to you for food. But be aware, the deers swarm when they see food. They are suppose to be polite but occasionally they will headbutt you in the butt or pull on your shirt for food so when you don’t have any crackers left you are to show them your hands to show them there is nothing left. It was very cute to see the kids make them bow. The Sika deer are free roaming especially in the park but they do go into town. The deer have become symbols of luck and have a slight deity status which makes them sacred and protected so killing one could be punishable by death. Even if you don’t have food, it is great to see that if you bow to a deer they will bow back to you.

We also went to see the Big Buddha in the temple which cost 500¥. Nothing too special but the courtyard was beautiful and the grass was pristine.

We ate near the train station where we had udon noodles. For only 680¥, I grabbed the egg soup udon noodles which was the perfect size and so delicious. We also found the Daiso (which is Japan’s 100¥ shop) selling pretty much anything and everything you could need for a home. On the train heading home, there were these 2 gentlemen sitting across from us – you could clearly tell they had been drinking. At one point they stood up but wasn’t fast enough to get off at their stop so they stayed on. One of the guys then decided to approach Kayo to tell her that he thought we are all beautiful ladies and gave us a box of special sushi. Fruits and sushi are given as gifts for any occasion. We aren’t sure as to what kind of sushi at this point but Kayo tells us that it is good. However, that man didn’t want to get off the train but his friend got too embarrassed and made both of them get off. As the train pushed away, the man kept waving frantically.

When we returned to J-Hoppers, Shela cut open the peaches she bought earlier and we ate them before we left. At first, the first piece I had wasn’t anything special but then I took a piece from the second peach and it was so good! The skin has a softer texture to what I’m used to and it is just so juicy. Those peaches were incredibly tasty and unlike the regular peaches back home.

We have had an amazing high of 28, low of 15 degree weather since we arrived in Japan so a light shower came down as we grabbed our things from J-hoppers and departed for our new home for the night – Capsule Hotel Asahi Plaza in Shinsaibashi. We really wanted to experience what it would be like to sleep overnight in a capsule. We arrived and tried to get settled. The thing is a capsule hotel is very simple and bare. You take off your shoes immediately and put them into a designated shoe locker, grab the key and give it to front desk (you should remember your number). There are lockers for charging and maybe 1 plug inside the capsule areas. You get a capsule key holder with a big key and a small key – the big one opens the main corridor for the women’s only section (there are single gendered & co-ed dorms as well) and the small one is for your locker where you can store things. Mind you, it is tiny – 88CMx24CMx44CM so you can throw things in there like your personal bag and things you would need from your luggage. If it is too large, the luggage gets stored at reception for 200¥ a night but the good thing is that 200¥ gives you 24 hours of storage.

The bathing area is an open area with 1 stand up shower and 5 sitting with a tub to soak in – very traditional Japanese style bathhouse arrangement. Shampoo, conditioner, body wash, body sponge and facial wash are provided for you. So the proper etiquette for taking a shower in this onsen is you go into the main room of the shower room where there are little lockers to store your clothes and lock it up. You strip down then go into the bath room and choose your spot. You want to rinse yourself first then go abouts with your personal hygienic business. There are mirrors but I would say try to avoid looking at them since the mirrors are placed in angles that you could potentially lock eyes with someone else in the room. After people wash and clean themselves, some opt to soak in the tub (I did not) and then you get out, dry off and dress. I’m not the biggest fan of communal shower but at least I can say I’ve stayed at a capsule hotel and I’ve also done the whole communal bath house that is part of Japanese culture.

The capsule is for sleeping. It’s not too small but I hit my head 3 times on the built-in television. If you are sitting straight up in your pod, there is still space around for those who feel claustrophobic. There are capsules where you need to crawl straight in and then there are some that you go sideways in. You also have either someone on top or under you as well. You have a bamboo type curtain that separates you from the rest of the pods with a light and air constantly being blown into your space.