Disembarkation – Friday, June 26 – Day 11
The Regal Princess arrived in port in Copenhagen sometime in the early morning hours. The first group disembarkations were scheduled for 6:15 am, depending on passenger’s flight times. The staggered times would continue until 9:35 am when everyone should have disembarked. Dianne was scheduled for a 7:45 am departure to the airport, and I was scheduled for a 9:20 departure via a city cab that would take me to Lisa and Jesper’s; my dear friend Lizzie’s daughter’s home for a 6 day visit.
After I said goodbye and wished Dianne a safe flight, I decided to go to the Concerto Dining Room for a nice quiet sit down breakfast. I had some time to kill. I had a wonderful breakfast of scrambled eggs with asparagus and cheese and some rye toast. After breakfast, I still had a little time to waste before I was scheduled to depart, so I sat down in one of the lounges and thought I’d try to call home and speak to my Uncle Bill and Aunt Pat who were house and dog sitting for me. I only got voicemail, however. As I was starting to leave a message, I finally realized that it was 8 am my time, but it was only 2 am back in Florida. I was mortified, apologized in my message and promptly hung up… I had totally forgot about the change in times. Yikes! They playfully teased me about it when I got home.
I then decided I would try to go to my check out gathering location early and just sit and read. When I got there, I was told my luggage was ready for me to pick up and I could leave anytime I wished, so I immediately headed off the ship to retrieve my luggage and to wait in the long line of people waiting for cabs into the city. I arrived at Lizzie’s daughter’s house, which is located in the Northern Bridge section (Nørrebro) earlier than expected and they were all still in their pajamas when I arrived. I took a quick nap while everyone got dressed and cleaned up their breakfast. The nap was much appreciated.
Lizzie’s daughter and son-in-law both had business obligations that evening, so Lizzie and I agreed to spend the afternoon and evening with her 7 year old grandson Laurits, and to pick him up from after school care, take him for ice-cream and later on, take him for one of his favorites, pizza. It was a beautiful day and I decided to take advantage and change from my sneakers to a pair of strappy, medium-heeled sandals – a big mistake!
We had a lovely dinner at Quattro Fontane, and walking home on the cobblestones, and while being a typical tourist and looking everywhere but where I was walking, I badly twisted my ankle and took a bad fall. I landed on my bad knee on one leg and my ankle quickly started swelling on the other leg. A sweet young man helped me up, and I was able to hobble home. We got my ankle up immediately and because ice cubes aren’t a big thing in Europe, there wasn’t any ice. I ended up putting a bag of frozen homemade rolls on my ankle. The rolls quickly defrosted and didn’t really help much. We watched Danish TV and I played a game of catch with Laurits. He doesn’t speak any English yet, and I am hopeless at Danish, so I took whatever opportunity I could to form a bond with him. By the end of my visit, we were fast friends.
The next day, I was badly bruised and both my knee and ankle were swollen, so we sat and worked out a Plan B itinerary that would not have me walking so much, especially on the cobblestones. We ended up taking a lot more cabs than was originally planned, but my poor ankle demanded it. The fall was very disheartening, but couldn’t be helped. I was determined to not let it interfere too much. Lizzie and I had been working on getting us both in Copenhagen at the same time for years, so this injury was bad luck, but still manageable.
Later that first morning we “cabbed” it to Nyhavn (New Harbor) for a canal cruise. This is the area of where those famous photos of all the colorful buildings are along the canal. I was able to get a great tour of the city’s layout while comfortably sitting. The bridges were spectacularly low and fun to glide under. About halfway into our tour, it unfortunately, started to rain. We huddled together under Lizzie’s umbrella, and made the best of it. That poor umbrella went up and down constantly as we went under the bridges. I saw the opera house, the Playhouse, the navy yard, the Parliament, the Stock Exchange, the Savior’s Church with the spiral stairs on the exterior, the Queen’s Palace, and the bronze statue of the Little Mermaid.
After the tour, we hurried along with our umbrellas to Copenhagen’s largest department store, Magasin Du Nord, and went to the indoor café for sandwiches and Chai Latte’s. After that, we headed home and had a nice evening and dinner as a family. It was a wonderful dinner of pasta with chicken and mushrooms, and also a dish Jesper called “Parmigiano”, which was basically an eggplant lasagna. We also had his homemade bread and lots of wine…delicious. Lisa and Jesper were very welcoming and generous hosts. I felt like I was with family.
I slept great, had a nice shower in the morning and had my first Danish breakfast of one of those rolls that was used the night before on my ankle along with what was called “stinky cheese” as well as a slice of Danish black bread with some pâté – delicious! I really enjoyed it, and have incorporated it into an occasional breakfast for me now at home in Florida. Jesper makes these great rolls that are addictive. It brings me right back to sitting in Lisa’s small but welcoming kitchen with our STRONG coffee and tasty breakfast.
The next morning, during breakfast, Jesper graciously offered to drive us to our next planned stop; an hour’s drive along the coast to Karen Blixen’s Farm and Estate Museet. It was fascinating. If you don’t remember who Karen Blixen was, she was the author of, and main character in, the movie Out of Africa. Her life story is amazing, and a bit long to describe here. I recommend you do a little research about her life on Google. She was a fascinating woman and a talented artist and writer in the early 1900’s. She often wrote under the pen name of Isak Dinesen. She returned home to Denmark when she left Africa after contracting syphilis from her then womanizing husband. On our drive back home, we took a small detour past the U.S. Embassy, and the lakes area. We had another lovely dinner made by Lisa and Jesper that evening.
The next morning, Monday, we were picked up by Lizzie’s dear lifelong friends Ellen and George. We drove back up the coast, to Kronborg Slot, the Castle Kronborg. Sweden was just across the sound and only about a 20 minute ferry trip across. Kronborg Slot was beautiful and very interesting. We were able to tour not only the castle, but below the castle, where the soldiers and their livestock was kept as well and the holding cells for prisoners. The castle is located on the northeastern tip of the island of Zealand (Denmark is made up of many, many small and some large islands), and sits on the tip of the Øresund, the 4 km wide sound between Denmark and Sweden. This was the reason for this strategic fortification at one of the outlets of the Baltic Sea.
The castle and stronghold was built by King Eric VII in the 1420s. In 1629, much of the castle was destroyed by fire, but King Christian IV had it rebuilt. In 1658, Kronborg was besieged and captured by the Swedes who ransacked and pillaged many of its valuable art treasures as war booty. In 1758 the castle was no long a royal residence and was converted into army barracks. The army left the castle in 1923, and the castle underwent a thorough renovation and was reopened as a museum to the public.
Kronborg is in the town of Helsingør, and was immortalized as Elsinore in William Shakespeare’s play Hamlet. Kronborg is one of the most important Renaissance castles in Northern Europe. In 2000, it was added to UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites list.
After our tour, we stopped at one of the picnic tables and had a wonderful lunch prepared by Ellen, along with some excellent pilsners we purchased in the Castle’s gift shop.
After lunch, we visited the old town of Helsingør, and stopped for ice creams. I chose pistachio and vanilla as my flavors, then they topped it with fluffernutter, a dollop of jam, then an interesting marshmallow covered in chocolate… They smashed the chocolate onto the top. It was served in a delicious waffle cone. This concoction, I was told, is typically Danish. It was interesting, but if I’m being truthful, it was not my favorite ice cream cone. I would have preferred it without all the toppings.
We then drove to Queen Margaret’s Sealand Summer Palace called Fredensborg. I snapped a few photos of the palace and the palace guard. This palace was not open to the public, but was beautiful.
We then visited the Renaissance Castle and Chapel called Frederiksborg. This castle is no longer a residence, but is a magnificent museum. It was originally built in Hillerød in the 17th century for King Christian IV to replace the older palace that he inherited. We visited the stunning chapel and toured the museum. Lizzie and Ellen were especially interested in seeing the display of Queen Margaret’s dresses, including her wedding gown. They were spectacular and stunning.
We finished the day with dinner in a hillside restaurant named Hellerup on the beach and overlooking the sea. We had a fantastic starter of brined scallops served with an herbed cream, micro herbs and edible flowers. I then had a chicken dish that was served on a puree of spring peas, had thin fresh onion rings, cauliflower florets and slices of new potatoes that was also excellent. We washed it all down with a nice bottle of Chilean red wine.
After dinner, we had a nice drive back to the city. Lizzie and I had a nice cup of herbal tea, and off to bed. It was a really wonderful day, and was one of my favorites!
The next day, Tuesday, June 30, we took the bus to the world famous Tivoli Gardens with Laurits for a full day. We had an almost inedible fast food lunch, and went on quite a few rides. We ended the day with a special treat of lattes (an orange soda for Laurits) and AEbleskiver with strawberry jam. We all really enjoyed them. We took the bus back home and had a wonderful family dinner and Lizzie’s son, Kim joined us. We enjoyed lots of wine and we shared lots of laughter and fun. Great memories!
I did a little suitcase reorganizing and got a start on my packing. We were leaving the next day, but in the meantime, we had a wonderful lunch planned at Ida Davidson’s for her famous open-faced sandwiches. I had seen Ida’s restaurant as one of the challenges a few years back on the TV reality show The Amazing Race. It was the only specific request I had actually given Lizzie. We met up with her younger sister Angelie, and one of her oldest friends, also named Lizzie. We had a fantastic lunch, and I got to meet and take photos of Ida herself. After lunch, we went for coffees, and we took advantage of the warm and sunny afternoon by taking another walk around Nyhavn. It was glorious. I took a photo of a wonderful balcony overlooking the area that happened to be lined with beautiful flowers. There was a man sitting on the balcony. Later on during our walk, Angelie pointed the balcony out and told me it was the Prime Minister’s balcony, so I actually took a photo of the Prime Minister just exiting his balcony without even realizing it.
We had our final family dinner at Lisa and Jesper’s home, and this time, Kim brought his girlfriend Monica, and her beautiful daughter Julia to join us. We again had great food, again prepared by Jesper and Kim, and again, with lots and lots of fun and laughter.
We reluctantly woke up to the day of our departure back to Ft. Lauderdale. Lizzie’s sister Angelie (so sweet) came and joined us for breakfast, she “laid hands and prayed” over my swollen ankle and knee hoping to help speed my heeling, and Lizzie and I finished our packing. Jesper had left for work, so we were tearfully waved off and into our cab to the airport by Lisa, Laurits and Angelie. We had an uneventful 9.5 hour trip home and are now blessed with some really wonderful memories.
Thanks for letting me share this Baltic adventure with you!