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Trip Report TWO WEEK FAMILY ADVENTURE TO COPENHAGEN, THE FJORDS OF NORWAY AND STOCKHOLM

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TWO WEEK FAMILY ADVENTURE TO COPENHAGEN, THE FJORDS OF NORWAY AND STOCKHOLM

I have sought and received advice for various family adventures on this site for the past 10 years. I am always thankful to discover trip reports on places I plan to visit and to have specific questions answered. As all of us know, putting together a trip like this is sort of like putting together a puzzle. All of the locations begin as an enigma and then slowly become familiar as you explore all the possibilities. And then when the trip comes to life and the adventure is even more than you expected – it is the greatest joy! With that said – thank you so much to all who take the time to post trip reports and those who have answered my questions. This trip did just that – soared above my very high expectations. I hope this trip report is helpful to someone planning a similar trip.

Our trip took place in July in a rare two weeks that everyone in my family had an opening in their schedules. Our oldest son – The Scholar – is entering his senior year of college. Our youngest son – Lunatic Maximus – is entering his senior year of high school. DH – Mario and I felt very blessed to share this time with them both. (They all received these nicknames on our very first European adventure to Italy almost ten years ago – the boys were 9 and 12 then).
We flew through Chicago to Dusseldorf via AA – perfect flight – arrived in the early morning and then had a quick flight via Air Berlin to Copenhagen. Upon our arrival in Copenhagen, we got a cab and immediately went to our hotel for our three night stay in Copenhagen: Hotel Kong Arthur -

http://www.arthurhotels.dk/hotel-kong-arthur/

Let me just say – that I labor over hotels from the USA -reviewing hotels on this site as well as Trip Advisor to find a hotel that is comfortable, well located and also provides a local flavor. I am always nervous about a chosen hotel until I walk through its doors and we hit the jackpot with this hotel! I cannot say enough nice things about the quality of the hotel, the friendliness of the staff, the amazing breakfast and complimentary “cozy hour”!

Upon arriving at the Kong Arthur – one of our rooms is ready – so we refresh briefly, store all of our luggage and take off on a beautiful sunny day to walk the short distance to pick up the Hop On Hop Off bus. I have found in the past, that the Hop On Hop Off bus is the perfect thing to do when arriving Day One in the country – so you don’t waste the day, you get an overall feel for the city and yet it’s not overly taxing. We walk to the National Museum to pick up the bus and begin our enchantment with Copenhagen! We arrive to Nyhavn mid-afternoon – the sun is shining on the canal, the day is warm and bright – it is simply beautiful. We walk around for a bit and sit down at one of the canal side restaurants and have a local beer and Smorgboard. I understand that this area is not known for it’s great food – but honestly for day one to sit in the sun by the canal, drinking a local beer and eating local food – we thought it was quite good. Our server is very proud of their braised pork and a few other items – we all order something different and he tells us how to assemble our open-faced sandwiches and we were delighted After eating our late lunch/early dinner – we walked around the corner and has an ice cream. We got back on the Hop On Hop Off tour – sat upstairs in the sunshine and continued our tour of Copenhagen. What a gorgeous city. We went full circle on the bus, then walked back to our hotel. We enjoyed “cozy hour” at the hotel and all called it an early night. All trying to push through the jet lag – sleep well to have a full day tomorrow! We go to bed while the sun is still high in the sky … but this is Scandinavia … we will soon find out, the sun is almost always high in the sky at this time of the year!

Day Two

I awake several times through the night (as you do on the first night adjusting on an international trip) and I notice every time I wake up that it is still light outside. I noticed about 2 am that the sky was an ethereal cobalt blue color that I don’t believe I’ve ever seen before and it was gorgeous! The boys tell me they wake about 3:30 am and it is light out so they take a little walk and then come back to sleep a bit more. I finally get up at 6 and start to get ready for the day – I send messages to the boys that breakfast is available at 7:00 a.m. We are all the first to walk into the breakfast room. The air in the courtyard is a little brisk, but the sun is out and is beautiful. We take one of the outdoor tables in the courtyard and then marvel at the gorgeous breakfast spread. First of all, I don’t think I have ever seen a more artistically laid out breakfast buffet – everything is organic, beautiful and artistically prepared even down to the little jars full of scrambled eggs and bacon. The jellies and breads are all hand made. It is a delightful way to start the day …. This is our first glimpse that the people of Copenhagen are serious about their food and also serious about bringing beauty to even the smallest details!
We enjoy a relaxing breakfast and then get directions from the very friendly front desk staff on how to meet our bike tour. We have arranged from the U.S. to be part of the 10:00 am Mike’s Bike Tour: http://bikecopenhagenwithmike.dk/
We arrive at the bike shop about 9:30 and see other people arriving. Mike seems a bit gruff at first (he actually indicates that on his website), but he very efficiently gets everyone sized right to their bikes. The bikes are in perfect operating order – he makes sure everyone can ride well enough and then we are off to discover Copenhagen! We soon realize that Mike is passionate about Copenhagen and Denmark and has every right to be. Through his eyes we discover this majestic city, marvel at Grundtvig, the father of Denmark and his vision, the beauty of their education and how they want to prepare their youth to be competitive in the world market in order to continue the nation’s ability to thrive globally. He is the perfect guide to the historical sites, the changing of the guard soldiers actually march right past as and then we bike on to the hippie island, the little mermaid, we cross the bridges to and from and the sites and ride across the harbor. It is the most spectacular day and we actually all get a little too much sun and stop to pick up some sunscreen (we laugh because we live in the Southern US and we travel to Denmark and get sunburned). Being on this tour was the perfect way to get acquainted with Denmark and the city is such an easy city to bike across. Mike is a passionate guide and truly gives you a sense for the local flavor and pride in their country. We also have a blast as we are cycling across the city – just a perfect family day!

As we finish the tour, the boys are starving (when you have two sons ages 18 and 21, they are always starving). We walk the short distance to the food market where we know former Noma chef, Rosie Sanchez has a taco stand – we find it easily and bingo what a perfect lunch - http://www.hijadesanchez.dk/ the food is exceptional! We sit outside at a picnic table and just enjoy!
Following lunch, the Scholar mentions one of his college friends has told him about Saint Peter’s bakery – the oldest and best bakery in Copenhagen and apparently they serve the most amazing cinnamon roll ever on Wednesday. We realize it is Wednesday and we cannot miss the best cinnamon roll ever. It is a short walk back to the bakery (it is actually right around the corner from Mike’s Bike Shop …. http://www.visitcopenhagen.com/copenhagen/sankt-peders-bageri-gdk703530 We are all feeling that afternoon jet lag lull - so we share two cinnamon rolls and all have a coffee and just enjoy this little treasure of a place. They are indeed the best cinnamon rolls ever and it just seems special to be in there – charming, cozy and special!
We are fed and reenergized! When we bought the “Hop On Hop Off” tour yesterday, the ticket price also came with a canal tour. We walk the short distance down to the harbor and jump on one of the last canal tours of the day. It is a beautiful way to see the city and shouldn’t be missed. Again – it is just such a pretty day and lovely to be on the water. When we finish the tour, we get on the Hop On bus to travel closer to our hotel and walk the short distance to the hotel in time for cozy hour out in the courtyard. We are officially in love with Copenhagen!
After cozy hour, we take a little time to relax and then book a late dinner at Fiskebar: http://fiskebaren.dk/fiskebaren/ - wow what a great restaurant! We had been told that It was by far the best fish restaurant in Copenhagen – I didn’t try any others, but cannot imagine anything better. We enjoyed the oysters and various different fish dishes and we all raved about our meals! The staff was lovely and even invited us on a kitchen tour – just a lovely dining experience. If I had one suggestion, we didn’t realize they had such a large outdoor seating and small in door seating and we should have requested outdoor with our reservation. The evening was very warm and there was not much ventilation inside the restaurant – the only way our evening could have been better was to be seated outside. But again – the food, the service were all A+! We travel back to the Kong Arthur – it has been a full and splendid day!

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