Wonderful, Wonderful-ish Copenhagen

After our 3 days in Stockholm, on 19 April it was time to board the train to Copenhagen - capital of Denmark. It’s located on the islands of Zealand and Amager. It’s known for the residence of the royal family, Tivoli Gardens amusement park, the colorful townhouses of Nyhavn, Hans Christian Andersen’s home along with his Little Mermaid, and the pedestrian friendly Strøget shopping hub which includes numerous amber shops.

We were tired after the not so great 5-hour train ride. It was Easter weekend and a lot of people were in town. Since Copenhagen is a major airline hub as well as Atlantic and Baltic cruise lines boarding and de-boarding port, it’s not surprising there were so many people milling about. With all the tourists and locals enjoying warm spring days, it made for hectic areas around the city. We got caught up in it our first evening there and it was a bit overwhelming considering our fatigue. But giving wherever we are a bit more time when we don’t quite click with a place, we found a way to maneuver around the hordes and still see everything one should see particularly when the weather was so lovely. After a good night’s rest we got up the next day and acquainted ourselves with this large city of over 1.3 million by taking a self-guided walking tour. By the end of the day we had logged 9.5 miles. Oh, my cobblestone bruised feet!

Harbor Cruise
Cruising around the inner harbor was quite fun and very reasonable at $15 US (10 Danish Kroner) for an hour of canal cruising - and that’s for BOTH of us! Considering the high cost of living here this should be considered on everyone’s Copenhagen bucket list.

Nyhavn By Land and Sea
One can immediately see why Nyhavn is so popular. The 17th century historic waterfront canal is filled with wonderfully renovated and very colorful townhouses - now mostly retail shops and restaurants. We walked this area and cruised through here on our canal tour.

Good Eats Danish Style
Smørrebrød – traditional Danish open-faced sandwiches were a great way to enjoy local delicacies while keeping the cost of travel in line with our budget. We splurged one night and enjoyed a fantastic meal at Chez Bruno - I think we’d we come back to Copenhagen just to eat here again!

Freetown Christiania
Christianshavn is a neighborhood of old brick wharf warehouses turned trendy apartment community. And next to that is Christiania the alternative lifestyle complex where photos are limited and forbidden of people who reside there, and strictly forbidden on Pusher Street. The name says it all – Pusher Street was where you see a different kind of market with people selling mostly hashish in cubes and of course the air was full of the scent. In Christiania the government looks the other way. It was cleaner than most of the downtown areas littered with garbage and the many little air cylinders used for a nightcap. We understand balloons are loaded with the nitrous oxide from these cylinders and people huff to get high. Well, there must be a lot of huffing and puffing going on all over Copenhagen but not one cylinder was noticed anywhere in Christiania. Maybe this hippy like community is all about naturally grown. It was an interesting area to see and we understand why tourists flood here every day to have a look-see, and perhaps purchase and mellow out.

We stayed 5 nights at a hotel within walking distance of the train station which was handy for our arrival and connection to the airport for our flight home. Danny Kaye may have found Copenhagen wonderful, wonderful when he was making the movie Hans Christen Andersen back in the 1950s, but we found it to be quite dirty compared to the number of other Euro metropolitan areas we’ve stayed in. So we’ll call it wonderful-ish as there is always hope the city finds a way of dealing with their issues in the future. Just know that we were glad we finally got around to seeing this big hub of a city. Check!

Goodbye Scandinavia! Ha let Norway, adjö Sweeden, and farvel Denmark!
Scandinavia is expensive, there’s no doubt about that. Taxes are high - depending on what is being purchased, and can be as high as 20%. While traveling here we learned that we need to understand what the prices actually include from country to country. For example, in Copenhagen most prices included the sales tax but were not necessarily noted as such. No wonder everything seemed so much more expensive! Even with the added cost of living, we would visit here in a minute and do those things one can enjoy without spending a boatload of money. And by the way, it’s easy to communicate with just about everyone in English, and once you get to talking to any Scandinavian we found them to be private people who love to tell you about their country and why they don’t mind paying high taxes. To be Scandinavian is a way of life they are trying to hold onto in a fast-paced changing global reality.

Thanks for joining our journey.
Stay tuned,

Lillehammer with Friends

Sorry we left you hanging in Norway on our Hurtigruten cruise. Not to worry as the posts are written and we’ll be catching you up on the rest of our Scandinavian adventures. Since our return, we’ve been a little busy setting up a new home base in Arizona! There’ll be more on that in a future post. Until then, enjoy Scandinavia

We wrapped up our Hurtigruten vacation on 8 April and spent 2 more nights in Bergen. We boarded the scenic Bergensbanen train but from Bergen to Oslo this time, and no blizzards - just beautiful early spring views. On 10 April we arrived at our friend Siri’s home outside of Oslo to spend time with her family and travel with them to their ski cabin near Lillehammer. This was the beginning of Easter week in Norway when seemingly everyone takes a break and enjoys the last snow of winter and the first warm days and sun of spring.

We even managed to spend a day back in Oslo on Bygdøy peninsula enjoying the open-air Museum of Norwegian Cultural History and over 150 buildings relocated from various towns and rural sites around Norway. It is considered the world’s first open-air museum (founded 1881) and contains the great 13th century Gol stave church which was moved in the 1880s for preservation and restoration. It really was a marvel to see this, and unlike the stave church in Bergen, this is an original! The name stave derives from the buildings structure.

On 16 April, we said our goodbyes to our Norwegian family and boarded a train to Stockholm, Sweden leaving the beautiful fjords and mountains of Norway behind. Huge hugs and thanks to Siri and her family for making our trip to Norway extra special and for taking such good care of us!

All in all, we spent about a month in Norway and loved it from north to south, east to west. We’re glad we were able to see this beautiful country while the snows were still fresh which brought out more contrast, great texture, and depth to our views. Besides, isn’t that how one thinks of Norway? We understand summers are warm, green, and beautiful. It would be wonderful to see what’s beneath winter’s blanket of snow.

Takk (thank-you) for joining our journey.
Stay tuned,

Chasing the Light in Norway

Chasing the Light in Norway

As you know, we do not consider ourselves on vacation. Full time travel is our lifestyle for now. But on 28 March the DaMClark’s embarked on an honest to goodness vacation to the top of the world on a Hurtigruten Ferry 3,000 miles along the coast of Norway for 12 nights. One could say - when we take a vacation, we really take a vacation.

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A Bit of This and That in La Quinta, California

A Bit of This and That in La Quinta, California

After two months in 4 different locations in Arizona, we arrived in La Quinta Cove, California for a 6-week stay in a great Airbnb on December 22. This longer stay allowed for Ds mom, Mary Vee, to stay with us for a few weeks, and for us to enjoy extended downtime.

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