Friday, August 30, 2013

23+24 August: Sightseeing in Helsingor and Copenhagen

Friday August 24, 2013

Time for a trip outside Copenhagen! At the station of Hellerup we took the train to Helsingor. It took about thirty minutes to get to this place situated in Northern Denmark. Astrid told me it's probably the nearest you can get to Sweden when standing on Danish soil. Indeed, the ferries took only a few minutes to reach Swedish neighbor Helsingborg. We started off with a tour through the casemates of Kronborg Castle. Our guide spoke Danish and even though I could understand quite some words, the core message never really became that clear. Luckily Astrid helped me out with the translation. We saw the famous statue of Holger the Dane, the sleeping giant who'll following the legend only wake up when the Danes are in danger and thus in need of his power. Kronborg is furthermore known through Shakespeare's Hamlet and even nowadays the plays are regularly still performed there.

Our lunch consisted out of a sandwich with brown Norwegian cheese. We sat on some rocks, in the sun, with the view of Sweden. At the seaside I felt like being a four year old again, searching for the nicest shells to be found. Helsingor is a colorful place covered in Danish flags. The atmosphere was pleasant and once again very cozy. People were obviously enjoying this warm summer day. We visited the accessible looking library, the narrow streets and of course an ice cream store where I had the best tastes combines in one horn: raspberry, liquorice and chocolate mint. Too good to be true!

During the train ride back I noticed how common it is to drink beer in public. Pretty much every passenger in our compartment did it. Suddenly a random guitar man started off with a cheerful "always look on the briiiight sight of life...". He even personalized his songs, so a young man called Hendrik had the train ride of is life. Suddenly all songs were dedicated to him. 

Back in Copenhagen I met Astrid's sister Bodil who just came back after a little holiday. We were all too tired to cook and decided to go to a bagel store where a friendly Italian served us with pleasure. I took the spicy chicken bagel which indeed make me long for some refreshing cups of water. During the evening Melissa wrote me to wish me a pleasant trip to Estonia. She would leave the same day to Copenhagen and after a short break continue her way to Sweden for her exchange study. It was a complete surprise that I would meet her in Copenhagen so I did my upper best took keep my visit to Denmark a secret. It felt so strange to lie to Melissa, stating I'd drink a cup of tea with my parents while actually sitting around in Copenhagen with Astrid and Bodil.

To conclude the blog post about yet another active day in Denmark I'd like to mention that during this day the little mermaid celebrated her 100th 'birthday'!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

A long and exciting day! I woke up quite early because Melissa would arrive at Copenhagen airport around 10.30. She still had no clue I'd be there as well. It's quite sweet how important the Danish flag is within the Danish culture. It's used in the Christmas tree and also during birthdays. Apparently that's not all. Also at the airport a lot of people were welcoming their loved ones with the red-white colored flag. Astrid bought a Danish as well as a German flag so that Melissa surely couldn't miss out on us. After a lot of waiting I suddenly spotted a green female looking backpack heading our way. There she was! I was waiving like a maniac with that little German flag. The first seconds she only noticed Astrid but then suddenly here eyes became bigger and the confusion seen on her face increased. "Nienke?!?!". She was speechless. It was so good to see her again. One of the first things she did after we gave each other a big hug was sending a text message to her mom: "Nienke ist hier!!!". The surprise worked out so well...

After we had all came back to our senses we dropped Melissa's luggage off at Astrid place and then took the train to the city centre. The little mermaid was one of the first things we could cross of our list. Honestly I'm not too impressed by the statue. The buildings at the old harbor seem way more attractive and therefore we went there next. It was so busy and so many activities were organized in town this weekend. The most important one of this day was definitely the Gay Pride. More about that soon.

What I have to mention once again is how pretty the people in Copenhagen are. I'm not sure if this is because everything is so new to me and therefore looks perfect, or if it's really like this. The people here have sweet noses and great haircuts. In the Netherlands the guys are known for their use of hair gel. Most of them look if they have put half a pot on their heads, that shiny. I don't like that. On the other hand, in for example Russia or Estonia there are a lot of guys who don't put any styling products in their hair at all. I think the men in Denmark found the absolute right balance. I guess the haircut is the first thing which makes me decide if a person is good looking or not. I would at least consider one third of the men I saw in Copenhagen to be 'wow!'. They just have such a fresh appearance and a simple yet good looking way of clothing themselves. Of course there are enough exceptions, but still, this thought often crossed my mind.

We visited my favorite shop Illums Bolighus once again this day. I bought a small reminder of my stay in Denmark, a little wooden horse with the design of Royal Copenhagen. I guess in the future this one has to be accompanied by a Swedish Dala horse. Astrid, Melissa and I had a good time in the Lego store as well. There were a lot of 'hard to find' products there, like the opera house in Sydney. At the very end of the shop a big wall was created where you could pick your own desired Lego blocks. I ended up buying a Lego calendar which has to be rebuild every month. After all the shopping we sat down on a sunny square having lunch and observing the locals and happy tourists.

Time for some action. This day the Gay Pride was held and we decided to have a look. My goodness, so many colorful people to be found there. The drag queens were impressive. When I took a picture of one of them he/she suddenly came up to me, mumbling something in Danish. Apparently he/she wanted to have money but I didn't have any. I slowly walked away but he/she kept on following me. Then I decided to run, just in order to escape. "Oh, I am Hillary Clinton!", he/she screamed. The drag queen followed me for a few more meters but then gave up, probably because of the enormously high heels he/she was wearing. Hm, what an excitement. We enjoyed some performances at one of the main squares and I kept on taking pictures of all the fascinating people surrounding me. I felt so boring myself, they all seemed to be so outgoing and strangely unique. There were a lot of people protesting against Russia's 'gay propaganda' law by wearing Putin-clown-shirts. Still, the atmosphere was peaceful. Everybody was happy.

The Gay Pride was however not the end of this lovely Saturday yet. We were invited by Astrid's parents to come by and have diner. It was absolutely wonderful to meet these warm hearted people. The food was lovely and the conversations fun. Melissa and I were even invited to celebrate Christmas with them. We saved the absolute best for last this day: liquorice ice cream from a store called 'Paradis'. Wooooow, that was too good to be true! If you're a liquorice lover and ever in Copenhagen, this is a must-eat. 

Back home Astrid's couch hosted a tired Dutchman and German. It was crazy to realize that the next day around that time I would be in Tallinn already...

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