We arrived at St.Peterburg airport and while waiting discovered two other Australians who had also come over by Trans-Siberian train – but with another company. I think they had a difficult journey, as food was not included and they had to either take their own (packet soup/noodles) or buy from food-sellers on railway platforms as the food available on the train was not recommended! They didn’t seem to have as many stops and tours as we did either.
A two hour flight brought us to Denmark and we arrived late afternoon at a very nice small hotel – the Savoy (art deco architecture) – quite near the centre of Copenhagen. Weather had been gorgeous in Russia and flying south we expected continued warm weather. Not so! Copenhagen weather was changeable to say the least – blue sky and sunshine/dark clouds/cold winds/showers repeated throughout the two days. It didn’t stop our sightseeing though and the first morning saw us on board a double-decker coach for a “Grand Copenhagen tour” which was a good way to find your bearings in a new city. Outside Amalienborg Palace we watched the changing of the guards in the drizzly rain. We had a full coach load of assorted nationalities, but again discovered we were the only Aussies when the guide talked about the Royal family and the marriage of the Crown Prince to Mary Donaldson from Tasmania. “Any Australians in the group?” she asked and of course Peter had to own up. Much laughter and smiles from all and we then struck up a conversation with an American couple who later showed us a lovely old restaurant (Nytorv built in 1798) which served excellent meals. We ended up having lunch with them, and later dessert and wonderful hot chocolate at another café. We spent a bit of time (and money) buying a few souvenirs and little t-shirts for the grandsons, and eventually made out way back to our hotel.
This morning (Sunday), church bells rang out, and after breakfast we attended a service at a nearby church. We could not understand a word, but enjoyed listening to the Word spoken in Danish, and were welcomed to take communion also. A very nice choir sang beautifully, but I would estimate there were only about 40 worshippers.
Next off to the Danish National Museum for several hours looking at the fascinating Danish pre-history and Viking exhibits. Many other exhibits were on other floors and a full day could easily be spent there. We continued walking in the city centre and decided a “Hop on/hop off” canal boat ride would be a good way to go. At one of the stops (Nyhavn) we had Danish hotdogs for lunch – very yummy. After several hours we disembarked at a different stop and almost got lost walking back. Footsore and late in the afternoon we came to the same restaurant where we had had lunch yesterday, and decided to have an early dinner there today. (I wonder if gt.grandfather might have had a farewell drink there before he left for Australia in 1860!) For dinner we both had the same dish advertised on the menu as ‘traditional Danish’ - roast pork with red cabbage, baby potatoes, gravy and a side serve of salad. It was absolutely delicious. We added an apple cake with cream dessert, and walked back to our hotel very well satisified.
Our two days in Copenhagen really isn’t enough and I shall be sorry to leave tomorrow for England. The lovely old Danish buildings are a delight to the eye, but the modern glass buildings near the harbour not so appealing to us. The new opera house – built by the wealthy Maersk family looks to be outstanding. All we have seen and everyone we’ve met here have been so lovely and as most Danish speak English, it has been easy for us to communicate.