I had a very interesting train ride from Amsterdam to Copenhagen. First, there were tons of people standing on the train that hadn’t made seat reservations. Everyone was trying to get to Berlin for the World Cup. Second, our train had some malfunction so we left really late. I met a nice family from Chicago on the train. We arrived in Duisburg, where I had to transfer to another train, which required another long wait. I took a seat at the station and some random drunk guy came up to me. He only spoke about 5 words of English but I managed to glean that his girlfriend had broken up with him the day before. He must’ve thought I was some easy American rebound because he insisted on sitting and flirting with me. After my attempts to look busy and thwart his unwanted advances failed, I told him I was going to get something to eat and instead found the family from Chicago. The mom told me that she’d seen him with me and was unsure if I was alright. I assured her that I was fine-it was just one of those things about traveling by yourself as a female. I was grateful that they let me sit with them until my next train came.
You’d think that was enough adventure so far, but on my second train I was sharing a car with two guys that got arrested at one of the security checkpoints. I felt bad for them. I think they really thought that they had the correct paperwork to go to Denmark, but apparently they didn’t. To top it off, they only spoke a little English and no German, so I didn’t know if they really understood what was happening or why.
I had only paid for a chair and not a sleeper as it was so much cheaper, only to find out that the chairs didn’t even recline. Even though I felt terrible for the two men, I did appreciate that I could then lay across the three seats for the rest of the ride. I was even more grateful when we stopped outside another station for another hour because they had no electricity which meant that our train couldn’t pass. It was definitely one of the most interesting train rides I experienced while in Europe.
I arrived in Copenhagen and got off the train only to find myself so confused by the subway system that I wasn’t willing to even try to figure it out, let alone try and find the stops. So instead, I opted to walking everywhere, which wasn’t too bad provided I clumped things together that were in the same general area.
Denmark is supposed to be one of the most expensive places to live and after my first day there I saw why. The cheapest dinner I could find at a restaurant was about $17 with the exchange rate. Buying street food was about $9 and breakfast at my hostel was $7. So I ended going to the grocery store and buying some bread. I always travel with a jar of peanut butter and was very grateful to have it in Denmark. I bought a few apples from a street vendor and had those and PB&J sandwiches for most of my meals there.
One of the most amazing experiences I had in Europe was visiting Tivoli, which is a huge theme park. It was a lot of fun even though I couldn’t do the rides, because they were too expensive, except one…the only reason I went: the Star Flyer. It’s a ride with swings that fly 80 meters in the air, the tallest carousel in the world. It was amazing! When we started going up, I looked down and thought, ‘What the hell did I get myself into?’ But it was really fun (although I love heights). After my ride, I walked around and looked at everything at the park and watch some performances which were free. I also visited the aquarium.
When I left Tivoli I did a canal cruise around Copenhagen, which was a great way to see the city.
This is a famous building that was built for a King, but the spirals go the wrong way. As a result, the designer climbed up to the top and jumped off.
According to our boat cruise guide, the white house is where the author of the Little Mermaid story lived.
My second day I visited Christiansborg Palace and the ruins that are underneath. I studied anthropology and love culture, architecture and history, so of course I thought the ruins were amazing. Slotsholmen is a small island in the heart of Copenhagen and houses many government buildings. For many Danes, Christiansborg Palace, is synonymous with central government. Fewer are aware that Slotsholmen is also full of other historical and cultural sites that show more than eight centuries of Danish history.
The Palace that stands today is actually the 4th to stand in that place. The original was built in 1167 but was demolished like those following it. Twice the previous Palaces were ravaged by fire. The current Palace was built between 1907 and 1928.
During the excavation work for the current Palace, they found ruins from Absalon’s Castle and Copenhagen Castle which visitors can visit in the cellar. I won’t go in to details of the different rooms of the ruins, as my sister would complain that I was being too boring. But here are some photos for anyone that is somewhat nerdy like me.
After visiting the Palace, I stopped by the museum erotica. Unlike the ones in Amsterdam, this one was supposed to be ‘the most elegant erotic exhibition in the world.’ The museum was founded in 1994 and was the first of its kind in Scandinavia. It had 25 galleries of paintings, sculptures, sex toys, photos and artifacts from the Antiquity to present time. They have items from India, Japan, Greece, and Pompeii, as well as exhibits on the invention of photography, magazine history, and 20th Century American Culture. There is also a room covers Famous Peoples Sex Lives and an entire room dedicated to Marilyn Monroe. I thought the room on Sex Records was particularly interesting (I’d never seen a penis that long) as was the Shock Room. I also appreciated that they had rooms devoted to homosexuality and transsexuals.
After visiting the museum I could see why it’s called elegant. While there were definitely some items to commercial the museum, I thought that overall the museum more about educating people than getting off. For people that are interested in or curious about alternative sexual lifestyles, there was a lot of information provided. I also appreciated how it went through the history of sexuality and how things have changed over the years.
One more ‘commercial’ yet fun item, was that you could get your sexual horoscope while there. As many of my female friends are also Capricorns, I thought I’d share:
She has a youthful and sweet force of personality, a certain look in her eyes can make men feel like something special. She is insecure-in any case in sexual relations-that is why it takes a lot to turn her on.
To think that you can get a female Capricorn for a one night stand is utopia. She makes great demands to the chosen one-as well as to herself before she dares ‘to surrender’ and when the ‘surrenders’ it is not unconditionally.
She will often be tense, nervous, and insecure so it takes patience, love and tolerance to teach the sensitive female-Capricorn that sex is not just a painful duty.
If you manage that task you will on the other hand experience her sensual change.
She will never become a beast in bed, but she will be the kind of mistress you will never forget.
So girls, we’re unforgettable, but also a little bad in bed. Hmmm…good thing I don’t believe in horoscopes!
The next day I visited The Museum of Danish Resistance, which was one of the most fascinating museums I visited while in Europe. It focuses on the resistance movement during the German occupation of Denmark during World War II.
Before coming to Denmark, I didn’t know anything about the Danish Resistance movement during the war. In the states, when we talk about World War II we talk about the Allies, Germany, Poland, Italy, etc., but we never talk about Denmark. I had no idea that their country was so affected by the war, or that so many people took daily risks to help Jews flee persecution. I was so grateful to have the opportunity to visit a museum that chronicles a major part of history that I was completely unaware of.
When they were occupied, the Danes helped thousands of Jews escape to Sweden. The museum highlighted a range of resistance activities from printing illegal newspapers, underground radio communication with Britain, the sabotage of factories and railway tracks, as well as the reception of weapons dropped from the Allies’ planes. There were also contemporary exhibits which told the story of the resistance through authentic photographs, weapons, identity cards and uniforms. Videos were shown where former members of the resistance talked about their experiences. There is also an exhibit in an air-raid shelter next to the museum. One of the rooms was restored to its original state and an additional room shows information on air-raid safety measures.
After visiting the museum, I walked around the city and visited some local parks and lakes.
My favorite little European ducks. They’re black with a little white stripe down their face. Totally cute!
The only downside about Copenhagen was that my allergies were so bad there. I have no idea what plant or pollutant that they have there that bothered me so much, but I sneezed and coughed the whole time. It was a beautiful city and I’d like to go back for a short trip, but there’s no way that I could ever go back for a significant amount of time.