Iceland to Denmark

Copenhagen Airport

Copenhagen Airport

As I said in the last post, I got no sleep. Around 4:25, I picked up my stuff and walked from Gulla’s to the long-distance bus station, maybe 10 minutes’ walk away. It was easy to then just jump onto the first airport service and drop into a fairly deep slumber.

I awoke as we approached Keflavík Aiport, disembarked and checked in. Thankfully, everything went like clockwork and I boarded my flight dot on time.

And fell asleep.

Copenhagen airport was fine, but the traveller information could have been more helpful around the train ticket office. Thankfully, between the information provided me by Linda and the very helpful woman at Tourist Information, I got the right ticket.

Copenhagen City Hall

Copenhagen City Hall

The airport is three zones from the city, so instinct says you need to buy a 3-zone “clipper” ticket if you want to save cash. Well, save more – get a 2-zone. And clip it twice before you get on the train. This is even cheaper and perfectly above board. You don’t have to hop out on the way and clip it at another platform, as long as you take two notches out of it before you board.

When I asked the Tourist Information lady what the exchange rate she was, she actually aologied as it was “only” 8 Danish Crowns to the pound. The usual rate is nearer 11 or 12. Hardly her fault! Mind, it did make things quite pricey.

I’d intended to store my luggage at the train station in the city and go wandering, but at £5 a locker I decided I could do with the exercise and set off with my pack on my back. I’d picked up a map of the city with a self-guided tour on it and decided to make my way around based on that.

Niels Bohr

Niels Bohr

I did stop briefly at the Tourist Information to find out where the central library was, though. They offer free wi-fi and I had my laptop with me, so it was useful to know. And also where the nearest KFC was for lunch. I have a tradition to maintain!

The KFC was just off the city hall square. There are a load of fast food restaurants in Copenhagen, but they’re not a cheap way to eat. My regular sized meal (they don’t do large) was around two pounds more than I’d expect to pay for it in the UK. When I eventually got it as they didn’t accept Visa so I had to go off ATM-hunting.

In fairness, that was only due to them not having a newer swipe machine. Most everywhere else I went happily took my Nationwide card. Almost. But that’s tomorrow’s post.

After munching, I walked a little further up the road past some shops, and the old University with it’s collection of busts outside. I only took a photograph of Niels Bohr as I’m a physics geek.

Around the same area are the Round Tower and Cathedral. It’s a pleasant area, but watch out for cyclists! It’s easy not to hear them as you step out to cross the road.

City Hall Square

City Hall Square

I was flagging so I looked for the library. The main entrance is on Krystalgade, and nobody queried a bedraggled beardie with a backpack locating a desk and sitting down to use the wi-fi. Nice library, too, with many books in English. I found that everyone I spoke to in Copenhagen spoke superb English. This is ideal when you’re only in a place for a day or so as it’s barely long enough to pick up any of the local lingo.

After a couple of hours (really, I was just too tired to plod around), it was time to meet Andy for a couple of drinks and a chat in a bar. We hooked up at the City Hall and he directed me to a pub nearby with one of the most attractive barmaids I’d ever seen.

Courtesy of the loopholed anti-smoking regulations, the area near the bar was heavy with filth while the place we were sat only got the occasional whiff. The rules are that any are larger than 40m² must be non-smoking. So pubs put up partitions so that they had areas smaller. And also argued that spacetaken up by tables, chairs, bar tops and the like didn’t count towards the surface area. And the government let them so virtually every bar allows smoking. Great.

While I was waiting for my first beer, a Danish woman in her 40’s started chatting to me. I apologised for my lack of Danish and she went on in perfect English about how she liked my beard, but how I should shape it and thin it out a little. I told you their English was good.

Danish beer

Danish beer

We (Andy and I, not the beard-lady) chatted for a couple of hours before I got a text from Diego who I’d made a loose arrangement to meet, but couldn’t find where he was. He joined us outside the City Hall and we walked closer to the station to a bar called Jernbanecafeen. This was completely smoky, but I was promised I’d see “real” Copenhageners here, as opposed to the trendy lot, businessmen, tourists and the like.

It’s certainly a place with character, covered in railway memorabilia. They also do their own beer,7 Ekspressen, which can only be purchased on the premises. There we chatted (and watched people snogging) until Linda arrived. The original plan was to go straight to hers, but she relented after I offered to buy her a drink and a chance to meet a couple more Couchsurfers.

We had a great chat there until late on when we had to head off to catch the train. One word of warning – there’s a 100 Crown minimum purchase on card at the bar here, but they’ll happily let you put your Visa or whatever behind the bar and run up a tab.

Back at Linda’s, I spent a good couple of hours scanning and tidying her laptop for her. It seems to be a common way for me to pay “rent” to my hosts! I think I finally collapsed on the spare mattress around 4am. I really should sleep more, but I’m having too much fun!

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