Once again we're on a train, this time a regional train from Copenhagen to Kalmar. Lots of stops. For Europe this brings us to 5 trains, not counting the airport train from Arlanda to Stockholm. For the Gap Year overall we're at 8 trains. And already within Europe we've taken a bus (Bergen to Alesund), a boat (Alesund to Tromso), a flight (Tromso to Billund), a car (Billund to Copenhagen) and of course several trains. So we've got our transportation checklist pretty much checked off not quite 3 weeks into the trip.
It's worth noting that we've not had a problem with homesickness so far as I can tell. Walter seems in good spirits. And Jie greeted me this morning with a refrain from "on the road again" as we packed up at 7a to catch our 9a train out of Copenhagen. I think moving around so much helps, as things are constantly new and different and so you don't really have time to be bored and think about what you miss about home.
We drove into Copenhagen Saturday early afternoon, giving us 1.5 days to explore the city. For the first time in the trip we felt crunched for time and that we missed out. An extra day in Copenhagen would have been really nice, as we would have liked to have seen several more sights. We made the most of our full day, though, racking up almost 30k steps / 8 miles in walking over the course of the day.
It didn't help that we spent the first half day in Copenhagen not seeing sights, but rather tracking down a really cool little bar in an up-and-coming trendy neighborhood. In several of the state-run liquor stores in Sweden and Norway I had found some pretty good gluten free beers, all from Denmark. So prior to arriving in Copenhagen I'd done my research and found a bar about a mile from our hotel. The bar is run by the Mikkeller brewery and had a vibe similar to ABGB, though much smaller. After drinking a couple or three gluten free Pale Ale's I would say it was definitely a worthy diversion, but given that we missed one of the two palaces we wanted to see it probably wasn't the absolute best use of our time...
Throughout our time in Sweden and Norway we had heard from many people that Copenhagen was their favorite Scandanavian city. On our first afternoon as we walked through the red light district on our way to gluten free beer nirvana we weren't sure how much we liked Copenhagen. But on Sunday as we walked through the Stroget area and around several of the sights it was abundantly clear why people love Copenhagen. Around every corner seemed to be another nice square with a half-dozen restaurants with outdoor seating, or a row of good ethnic eateries, or a fantastically cool games store. Walter and I spent some time in an awesome Lego Store while Jie walked through Zara.
We were able to squeeze in visits to several churches and the Rosenberg Castle as our primary tourist activities along with a nice walking tour. The German church was a particularly neat experience, as we arrived about 15 minutes before the service was going to begin and yet everyone was extremely welcoming and encouraged us to take a look around. One Church staff member even gave us a mini-tour over to the crypt area where wealthy German merchants from the 1700 and 1800's are interred.
Another highlight was our late afternoon stop for pizza (and a few glasses of wine). We bought a copy of magnetic Reversi at the aforementioned games store, Faraos Cigarer, and played a few games as Walter ate his pizza. Walter beat me but then I rallied and took down Jie. It was a nice way to let Walter rest his legs for a couple of hours.
Full photos here: https://markandjie.smugmug.com/Gap-Year/Copenhagen
This afternoon we will be checking out Kalmar Castle in Sweden and then tomorrow morning we fly on to Helsinki. Helsinki represents the start of a 17 day stretch where we'll only have 7 different accommodations, so we'll be staying in each place on average more than 2 nights. That's better than the first 20 days of the trip, where we will have had 12 different accommodations. I think we're all looking forward to the slightly slower pace, even if we have become packing experts. ;)