I made this trip some time ago and found the word document today, I think its a worthwhile read to get some ideas on things to do in Copenhagen but also the bigger picture and some quality time spent travelling through Scandinavia.
Backpacking Denmark to Sweden and a few destinations on the way...
Denmark was a wonderful Country for me and the highlight was something that really surprised me, it was a simple evening at Tivoli in Copenhagen. It was as an artistic Disney from yesteryear with such picturesque lighting and sounds going on one couldn't help but dream. Especially as night was coming. It finished with a light-show on the lake which was done so well and there were not the crowds that usually follow something so good. But I especially liked the last performance of the brass band as couples danced and celebrated summer and perhaps other things.
In fact I took the Ryan air flight to Aarhus in Jutland and bus across to Copenhagen or Kobenhavn as the locals call her. I had planned on a visit to Roskilde a heavy duty festival known for rock on this day instead which I had raced almost to Copenhagen for I did Tivoli for some reasons, whatever they were I did the right thing for me. Roskilde isn’t for a day !
Arhus is an interesting town with nice beaches and a town centre that is easily do-able on foot. I took a nice run in the sun from my hostel which was also good, although here the bedding is expensive to rent for just one night so bring your own.TIP: This is the case all throughout Scandinavia. Back to my run which took me round the docks, harbour and people eating in nice restaurants (sorry for breezing past) grass verges with a circus , many people on bikes. I wish I had some time to explore the countryside here if the city is so unspoilt then the back country should be great.
I headed to Copenhagen by bus and hadn’t really realised I would quickly be getting on the ferry. This was an added bonus. We crossed from seeland to jutland and then the bus passed through some amazingly beautiful scenery especially the beaches, northern Europe ! No grey water in sight this stuff was bright blue. Arriving in Copenhagen I went to stay in the clean and comfortable Dan Hostel on the river. I managed to use one of the wobbly but free bikes at various rental points around the city (you unlock them with a coin) and got around. Most interesting was the environment Christianshavn and on this Island the area Christiania http://wikitravel.org/en/Christiania…. A bit of a commune the drug dealers seem to have exploited somewhat but the rest is cool and full of people living here free from Danish law and management. There is a bad reputation undeserved if you ask me and there are concerts and places to hang out at least in the summer. Tivoli as I mentioned before on my last evening was simply amazing. Had I had slightly more sun I may have taken a dip in the riverside swimming pools. There was not too much rain or cold forcing me into the museums either. Something to do on my return one day. Nope I got my kicks from the architecture, but I missed the better evening spots I think due to my not having done my homework. I like to travel like this at times.
Well got in trouble today for cycling very slow on a crosswalk with a lot of other people. The guy was going on in Danish so I said excuse me when I realised. He said then in English that I was a criminal as I was riding on the crossing for pedestrians (I said they should have locked me up) and I smiled which really annoyed him as distance between us grew that developed into moron and imbecile I did come back at the guy in a very nice smiling way as I was quite happy to be breaking some rules as man they follow the crossing lights here as well no matter if the road is devoid of traffic. Not content seemingly with annoying the wildlife I also got in trouble today with woman because I asked her to top up my pint ! After all one pays a fortune. She told me in no uncertain terms where I should go. I think she took it that I was insinuating that she was trying to pull one over on me. She threw me back my 50 DK note and I was kind of ok with that as I was looking around the pub thinking, well I’m not going to really be entertained here in any way shape or form but had already ordered.
There was absolute carnage at the train station as the Roskilde vets were stranded probably without much money. They seemed tired noisy and irritable , I might have been one of them but I took a different path remember. The train to Sweden was easy and comfortable, and I thought it might have been rammed full of the roskildans getting back to Stockholm, but as it was there were not so many getting the train. I chatted to a couple of them and they told me how it had been a good festival.
The 6 -8 hours on the train gave me time to reflect on the people I had met and the experiences of the past few days, I had now booked an outward flight from Stockholm and was also glad I was finally going to visit this city that has eluded me for so long !
Sweden enabled me to catch up with friends of mine from my days of living in south beach Miami. They had a brand new family since I had last seen them and it was a real pleasure to meet the new additions and spend some time with them in Stockholm suburbia.
I was actually surprised how much I loved Stockholm. In true fashion I hadn’t done my homework and was surprised to learn that the greater Stockholm area is really a ton of islands an archipelago in fact. One of the higlights is to explore these islands away from the city so a trip on a boat to Vaxholm http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vaxholm.
Vaxholm could be enjoyed by just about anyone, you can even get there by road and bridge. There are quaint little cafes, a fort but I got off on a hike past these more touristic (less touristic than other islands) spots and found some excellent beaches and areas that seemed so unspoilt and with the smell of pine I had a feeling that I was finally really in the Scandinavia. The hike was perhaps an hour long stopping off at an excellent gallery on the way which was a nice surprise. I found my resting place a beach at the far end of the Island from where we debarked the boat, itself a great ride and kind of tour.
Returning to Stockholm I found the architecture stunning though not always beautiful, there is a gothic-ness that I’m not so into. But it is beautiful none the less. I liked the Archipelago Hostel where I stayed, great location in the old town between the two main Islands you are centrally located, amazingly 6-7 minutes from the Palaces ! Don’t miss the comedic walking tour of the old town enquire around or do a search for galavant productions walking tour Stockholm.
There are some fantastic residential areas in Sodermalm and it’s a more local going out area try the metro station medborgarplatsen in Sodermalm the larger island south of the old town island which is called Gamla Stan. The Swedes spend so much time in their homes due to the weather and darkness that they make a real effort that their homes be immaculate and stylish. The upper class areas on the north east shore of sodermalm provide some good views and some beautiful shots of homes. This wasn’t always the rich part of Stockholm as it was once the poor part of town. The northern land mass Kungsholmem is more modern less exciting architecturally but there are very worthwhile spots for sure. Don’t miss the magnificent Vasa Museum. The opera has some interesting mannequins inside in dress for plays that have passed along with its ornate and gold interior it should be considered an attraction in itself ! There was so much that I didn’t see I know but what I did I liked. I didn’t get the weather I had had in Denmark but I was surely amazed. Stockholm was one of those few towns that I have said I wouldn’t mind living in at least for a while, sure it was summer but for a year it must be a great experience. The bus ride out to Skavsta airport and my Ryan air flight was very well organised and frequent enough that the 80 minutes it takes for the duration not an issue. So find a cheap flight and get out there if you can. Though not immediately cheap you can do things on a budget or just stay a shorter time, I hope you like it as much as me.