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Trip Report London, Copenhagen, Stockholm Trip Report

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Trip Report - June 2016 - London, Copenhagen, Stockholm
mature couple in their late 50s, been to Europe several times.

Sunday June 5
Left for the airport approx. 5:45pm in a thunderstorm, got thru airport security by 7:30 and had a long wait in the BA lounge
Flight was ok, very cramped in coach – window seat is not a good idea because too hard to get in and out…we plan to switch to an ¬¬aisle seat and middle for return long haul flight.

Monday June 6
UK – after finding out you can't use the arrivals lounge if you aren't flying business class we took the Paddington express to Paddington station, walk to the Novotel hotel, check-in was smooth and the room was ready and not bad overlooking the train yard, able to open the windows a bit.
Room 616
We quickly washed up and changed and headed out to see the sights. After a mini-debate we purchase oyster cards for 5 lbs and put 15 lbs on each, since you can get a refund at the airport….however you can’t go thru security first. Went to the Eye Ferris wheel, not a big line, very nice and clear day, did not pay for fast pass and waited only 15 minutes in line. The views from the Eye were worth the wait.
Then went to Westminster Abbey, walked around a bit outside and then lined up for the 5pm children’s choir service held inside…took about an hour and was really well done, we were both happy we made a point of attending.
After the choir service, we walked down to Trafalgar square because the weather was sunny and warm and walked around the square a bit, then ate at Thai Square – very good, dinner was around 70lbs., shredded duck with wonton roll appetizers, jack got the green curry chicken and connie got the pad thai…then we took the tube back to Paddington and walked around the station a bit, then back to the hotel.

Tuesday June 7
Slept really soundly due to jetlag and the got up early, had a full breakfast at the hotel – not that great, but typical for London.
Went back to the room then left for Buckingham Palace – got there around 10 and the changing of the guard ceremony occurred around 11:15 for about an hour…had great views of most of the 7 movements involved. Weather was sunny and warm so we were searching for shade, took lots of good pics and videos.
Around 12:30 we left for Tower of London and got there by 1 via the tube. Pretty good experience and had a thunderstorm to wait out while we were there but it was fine. Tower of London was different than I expected, big display of the crown jewels, guided tour by ex-military staff, glad we went.
Around 3:30 we went to the British Museum – its free and very impressive – huge Egyptian exhibit among many other things, we spend 2 hours there and could have spent 2 days….need to go back some day.
At 5;30 we left and stopped at the pub across the street for a guiness and ‘bread and oil’, which turned out to be pretty tasty for a London pub snack.
Then we walked 1.3 miles up to Saint Pancras station to Camino, Spanish place – dinner for 2 around 50lbs for 4 tapas, shrimp, ham, pork, chicken……chicken was not good, pork and ham excellent, I have eaten here before and remember the meals being better so maybe they are coasting because it was pretty crowded.
Took the tube home and had to pack up for the airport next morning.

Wednesday June 8
6:00am wakeup call – head to Paddington for the Heathrow express and go thru security and in the lounge by 8:00, 10:00am flight to Copenhagen went fine,
Landed in Copenhagen airport and went to purchase train tickets in a machine due to long line at ticket office but this took a lot of tries but a worker was able to help us and we followed other Americans to the train platform and got into Copenhagen central station
Nice old fashioned brick European station in a bit of an urban neighborhood – a little gritty but nothing bad at all, - 3 blocks to the hotel – Axel Guldmusson – was kind of a boutique hotel and small rooms but nice, we had 3rd floor (which is actually the 4th floor in Europe)…neighborhood was kind of mixed with a strip club and sex shop nearby but lots of nice hotels on the street.
Went out right away and bought a hop-on and hop-off bus & boat ticket, took the tour of the city on the bus – got off at Nyhavn stop (nice area of boats and canals) and got nachos and something to drink. Then got back on the bus and went to the Gefion fountain and the little mermaid statue, quite a hassle getting the right bus since there seems to be 2 or 3 companies all running red hop-on buses and you can only use the correct bus.
Went to dinner at the old meatpacking area based on a tip from the hotel desk and ate at ‘Mothers’, a pizza place – not Danish at all – just packed with a young crowd.
Stopped for ice cream and a beer to go at the 7-11 and went back to the room

Thursday June 9
Wanted to get out early and since it was sunny we got out by 8am and started walking towards famous Saint Peters bakery where we got some Danish pastries and coffee…so good. Afterwards we walked to the Round Tower which wasn’t open yet, then walked to the Rosenborg Castle and walked around the grounds and took pics
Decided not to pay to go inside but went to wait for the bus – waited a long time and called twice but we may have been standing on the wrong side of the road.
After 30 minutes we decided to walk to the round tower and go inside and climb to the top, afterwards we found the DOP hotdog stand nearby – rated one of the best lunch spots in Copenhagen. Had a couple of hotdogs and they were good as advertised.
Then we walked over to see the changing of the guard at Amalienborg Palace, walked 1.5 miles quickly but we were really able to get close up and it wasn’t that crowded so got some good pics and video.
Made it over to the Gefion statue where we waited again for a long time for a bus, but finally got one and stayed on for a bit, then went to the boat ride area and had a good boat tour. Then we had another bus tour of Christiania and other areas near there.
Went back to the hotel to rest for a bit, then went back to the meat packing area and ate at Tommi’s burgers, …service was slow but the food was good…then we went back to get deserts and beer and went back to the room.

Friday June 10
Had to fly from Copenhagen to Stockholm this morning so we got up at 6 so we could get out of the room by 7 and walked to the train station, walked in circles a bit before finally purchasing tickets and found the train to the airport, got there by 8:15 or so and then we got thru security by 9:00.
Norwegian Air Shuttle flight was excellent and we had an exit row and the boarding was self-initiated and this went really smoothly.
Got to Stockholm on time and then looked for the signs for the bus and purchased 2 round trip tix to the Stockholm central station.
Bus ride took about an hour and the hotel was a 3 minute walk to the Hotel which was the Radisson Blu Waterfront. The hotel was in really nice and brand new since its only 5 years old and we had room on the 14th floor (room 1413) with views of the water and city hall. This was by far the largest and most luxurious hotel on the trip, lots of room with a big desk, floor to ceiling windows, and breakfast was included.
Weather was about high 50s partly sunny but warm when the sun stayed out.
Walked to city hall and took a 30 minute guided tour of city hall that was fairly good.
Then we took a walk to go find the hop on bus, best way to get a feel for the main parts of a city you are unfamiliar with.
By this time we were starving so we ate a late lunch at this Italian place, Ristorante da Peppe in Gamla Stan – good pizza and garlic bread, then took the bus around and did more sightseeing
We stopped for a quick bite at Jensen Bofhos – nachos and wings, not the best cuisine but we were tired of walking and just wanted something light.
Back to the room after stopping for a late night snack.

Saturday June 11
Got up early and had a big buffet breakfast at the hotel (came with the room rate) and went out and started walking toward the Palace. We walked around the palace a bit and put on our jackets since it was windy and in the 50s but not too bad, and especially nice when the sun came out.
We purchase tickets for the palace tours – 4 separate small areas including king Gustov’s roman and greek statues, the crown jewels, the living apartments and the excavated armory area underneath the palace. We were trying to time it to be finished by 12noon so we could see the changing of the guard ceremony.
Changing of the guard in Stockholm was pretty good, lots of marching band music plus blue jacketed guards marching and jogging in step, plus black jacketed guards also marching.
After that was over we walked down to Gamla Stan (old town) and saw an orchestra playing outside in the sun, also saw a wedding and went to a souvenier shop for some gifts for the kids, then stopped for lunch at Taco Bar, apparently this is a chain but the food was really good – we got 4 tacos, couple drinks, tasty.
Then we went back to the hop-on bus area by the palace and took it to the Vasa museum. We got off and had to change directions 2 times since there is no sign and its easy to follow the crowds just strolling everywhere and miss it…its behind the giant building housing the Swedish history museum
The Vasa museum was worth the time, included in the ticket price is a film of how they raised it and the history behind it and then a guided tour.
Afterwards we tracked down the hop-on bus and decided to wait it out and once we got off by the palace we walked thru a shopping street while making it back to central station
For dinner we stopped at a small Italian place in the station that was not bad….for pizza and salad.
Then went to a few shops in the train station and then back to the hotel.

Sunday June 12
Nice and sunny day, took our time since this going to be our last day and we wanted to savor the day, took a walk to the boat tour area since we wanted to take a cruise thru the archipelago islands around Stockholm. The 12noon was sold out so we had to purchase the 1:30 cruise so we took a long walk along the river and stopped for a drink and to people watch.
The boat left at 1:30 and was pretty full, very window and chilly on the boat, interesting to see all the people living out on these small islands and to hear the guide pointing out the various landmarks.
After it landed around 4 we walked about 1.5 miles to find the Hard Rock Café where we had some dinner. We got sandwiches and fries, then walked back to the train station area and did some more shopping and strolling. After a stroll around the area we headed back to the room to prepare for a loooong travel day starting Monday.

Monday June 13
got up around 6:30am - huge breakfast delivered to our room free (included in our rate) and we finalized our packing and got out by around 7:45am. Headed to the bus station and easily found a bus to the airport and it left by 8am. Arrived at the airport terminal 2 by 9am and waited in line a bit before realizing we had boarding passes and were not checking luggage so we went thru security. Security in Stockholm Arnola airport was very light, maybe they profile and if you look ok they don't bother (which is smart) but they were the least vigilant of Philly, Copenhagen, Heathrow. Went to the lounge at Arnola and hung out for a bit since our flight was scheduled for noon and it was 9:45 am, Flight was a bit delayed but to our great surprise we were upgraded to business class from Stockholm to Heathrow which was nice,
Landed at Heathrow after the usually air traffic delays and followed signs to connections and were fastracked through border control and security..however security turned out to be a hassle because i put my backpack on top of my laptop and security got their panties in a bunch and it took 30 minutes of rechecking. Finally made it to the BA lounge by around 3pm waiting for our flight at 5:20pm. When we were boarding we found out BA upgraded us again to business for the long flight ....which was sweet.....2 nice side by side seats in the middle of the middle of business class. we both got 2 or 3 hours sleep which helped with the jet lag and arrived in philly around 8pm, since we had no checked luggage we only had to deal with customs....big surprise, zero line....waited 1 minute and got thru to the bus stop for the long term parking shuttle which arrived 20 minutes later and we were in our car and then driving home....very good trip.

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