We took the train to Copenhagen in 2013:
Since my family lives in the north of Germany Copenhagen seemed a hop & skip away so that settled that question. Copenhagen it was. We could have rented a car and driven there in 3 to 5 hours (summer weekend traffic is no joke!). That car ride would have including an hour ferry ride as well. But we opted for option two: Deutsche Bahn! Eco friendly and more relaxed than following a map into a city we have never visited and with 3 kids in tow we thought that taking the hi-speed, ultra modern train was just what we needed on this adventure. My husband booked us an apartment (Copenhagen hotel rooms would have been tiny for our large family & not cheap either in peak summer season) using airbnb. He got it all arrange via email from the US so that once we purchased our train tickets and packed a couple of bags we were on our way.
The train ride was pretty smooth although I have to say a little too crowded. Not everyone reserves a seat on these trains (which costs a little extra) and not everyone respects that others (read: us!) paid extra for our reserved seats and vacate those. Which is exactly what happened to us. We had reserved 5 seats but only had access to 3. This woman with a cast and a preschool age child had taken the liberty to sit & stay in our seat … Oh well. How can you say no to a woman with a cast?!
What we didn’t know on this trip was the part when the train gets put on a ferry which is several stories high and can hold hundreds of people, cars, trucks and our multiple car train. The part that was unexpected was that we all had to climb steep stairs to the top of the ferry while we crossed this sea from Germany to Denmark’s shores. That was a little bit of a hike with all three children and our valuables. Once upstairs though there were several restaurants, a cafe, a duty free shop and children’s play areas! This really was an adventure I have to say. Kids loved every single minute of it. The weather was perfect and it was nice to have my hubby with us even jet-lagged!
We arrived in Copenhagen central station around 6 pm. We had the option of taking a cap all the way out to the suburb of Charlottenlund or boarding another local train to the main station of the town we booked our apartment in. We decided to stay true to our believe of using as much public transport when in a new place as possible and ask random locals for help with the self serve ticket machine. I only found out on our last day that you could preselect the language ‘English’ on all machines. Ooops! Actually I enjoy having to learn the most basic words while traveling to another country the most. Also the different currency and converting it to US $ in our heads was fun for the whole family. My son became a pro at it. We had this little cheat sheet… I love that part.
So finally we arrived at our apartment which was nestled in the cutest residential area of the quaintest Danish town by the Baltic Sea.
The owner greeted us and walked us through some technicalities which keys and locks and how to use the internet! She was so easy going and relaxed. I couldn’t believe she would rent her gorgeous family vacation home to us – strangers from the US! She was super sweet and had already prepared some local maps for us and walked me through some dinner options in walking distance. The sweetest thing was also that she had stacked the fridge with some essential groceries that would cover us just in case we didn’t feel like leaving this adorable place. She had the most delicious Mariage Freres tea that we were allowed to use and anything else in the kitchen for that matter – expect for: HER PRICED WINES! She made a point to tell my husband and later me as well about not drinking her wine. Well, little did she know that my name is actually Yasemin TEA. And I mean tea when I say it! Boy, she should have better hidden that tea. ‘Cause there was none left when we left :-). Hehehe. She inspired me so much though with her overall design of the apartment and her taste level. So darned Nordic – fresh but still cozy and home-y. I want to be able to do that. In fact, I have an inspiration board just based on her place
Anyway, so that evening although we got in pretty late, everyone was getting tired we still got out and explored our immediate neighborhood on foot. We ended up at this pretty organic & healthy looking place and had a very yummy dinner.
I think we have NEVER slept that soundly as a family EVER! Everyone was tucked in bed (covered in floral print quilts! so shabby chic) and dozed off into the clear Danish night.
The next day – without exaggeration – we walked a marathon in and around the beautiful city of Copenhagen. The weather was at its best. Not too hot, no cloud in the sky, clean, fresh air and so much to see! We started somewhere and ended up the evening at the little mermaid!
Neither kid complained about being tired! Not once.
We walked, walked and walked some more witch only quick stops at the ONLY Lego store in Scandinavia and the absolutely word famous Royal Copenhagen cafe for a (little) shopping and some tea! Tea! Tea! Tea! from this fancy china. I could have pinched myself. I truly felt like I was dreaming!
Oh and by the way, we happened to have this friend who lives just ‘next door’ in Malmö, Sweden. We emailed him on short notice and told him about our plans to come to Copenhagen. He happened to be in town (he now works in Doha, Qatar) training athletes and met us for lunch the same weekend. This is Europe for you. One day you are in Germany the next day you are in Denmark & Sweden talking to your friend who is Polish and works in Doha while eating at an Italian restaurant in downtown Malmö! Ahhhh! Europe! I miss you so much!
While in Copenhagen we didn’t do what we’d usually do in a European capital – shop! Well, we didn’t shop much. We bought a couple of t-shirts, of course TEA at Royal Copenhagen, Legos at the famous Lego store, a couple of post cards & flags and that was about it. Just being there and soaking it all in was ENOUGH! Giving our kids this experience was ENOUGH!
Ahhhh Copenhagen! You are beautiful! You are a dream come true. The colors, the sights … I love every bit of you. We are planning on returning very soon!
See you very soon! (Se dig meget snart!) 🙂