Thursday, May 12, 2016

Stylish Copenhagen!

We were up before 5am to catch our early morning flight, but it was worth it! We're in love with Copenhagen -- just being there made us feel like we were hanging with the cool kids. The thing that struck us the most is how nice and helpful people were. Teenagers in the subway, shopkeepers, restaurant servers, even just strangers in the park. Plus, my sister, Andi, studied abroad it was fun to see her old stomping grounds.
Even the airport is cool in Copenhagen
Our apartment was in 150-year-old building in the vibrant and colorful Nørrebro neighborhood. We walked up to the gritty, urban exterior, climbed the four flights of stairs, and opened the door to the most cheerful, bright and fun apartment we we've rented yet. The floors were all painted white with fun art on the walls and a mix of modern and vintage elements. Each of the kids bedrooms had a little nook with hidden bed! And there were so many toys! We wandering the neighborhood, stopping in a a toy store, a bank for some Danish Kroners and a hamburgers at an "American" restaurant; then we put Bitsy down for a nap, filled the refrigerator with groceries, and set off on an afternoon adventure.
 A short walk later we found a skater park with fountains where a professional street photographer gave us his business card and asked if he could shoot the kids while they play. When everyone was soaking wet and happy, we walked through a gorgeous park filled with Copenhagen locals, said hello to the famous Hans Christian Andersen statue, and found Tivoli Gardens, a 150-year old amusement park that was built for the king. We never really told the kids where we were going, so you can just imagine their surprised expressions when they saw the colorful roller coasters, bumper cars and cotton candy stands. I generally only last about 30 minutes in most carnival environments, but this was nothing like that -- it was tasteful and classy. We had dinner at Wagamama, a London noodle chain where I accidentally spilled an entire beer in Bitsy's face and practically drown her. The kids were so tired from our early morning and long walk that they crashed hard that night (but only after I gave sweet Elizabeth bath in the kitchen sink).

"The Man with the Hat" -- he's a published street photographer.
Hans Christian Andersen of The Little Mermaid and The Ugly Duckling


The next morning Rob made gigantic fluffy pancakes to fuel us up for our day ahead. Our first stop was King Christian IV's summer residence, Rosenborg Castle, to see the Danish crown jewels. Incredible! Madeline and I drooled over the crowns and necklaces; the boys loved the jewel-encrusted swords and guns. Bitsy took a two-hour nap in the carrier while we continued on to the Mermaid Statue, which has become an unofficial symbol of Copenhagen. We were picturing a developed area where we could find some lunch, so it was a surprise to find ourselves in a somewhat remote harbor filled with tour buses. Thankfully, we were attracted to a gorgeous fountain not far from the statue and came upon hot dog and lemonade food trucks! Then we hopped in a cab and zipped home just as the rain started to fall in earnest. 

We rested at home for a bit and went back out to climb the Rundetaarn, or the Round Tower, which was built as an astronomical observatory in the 17th century. The kids ran up and down the spiral ramp like it was a medieval playground and jumped out at us from the small cubbies along the way. We were enjoying the view of Copenhagen from the top, and the kids were taking turns looking through the binoculars, when they started bickering about whose turn it was. I tried to say "no fighting, kids" but I accidentally said "no farting." Since we've taught the kids not to use that word (they actually think that's the "f" in "f-word"!!), we all BURST into hilarious heaps of laughter. So that's a sure-fire way to end sibling tussles! We strolled the Strøget (Copenhagen's pedestrian, car-free shopping street), listening to the street performers, got some ice cream cones and headed home for spaghetti Bolognese. 
Easy to see why it's called The Round Tower!
The bickering that ended in side splitting laughter....
 That night, the flu struck! Madeline and Charlie had a rough night. It's a very good thing the next day was Whit Monday, a national holiday in Luxembourg and most of Europe; otherwise, we certainly would have had to change our flight home. The kids rested and we enjoyed quiet activities in our fun apartment. John and I took a stroll around one of Copenhagen's lakes just steps from our front door; the wind was biting, but we bundled up and bought a couple of cookies, which we shared with all the ducks and swans.

We were on the same flight home as American expats living in Luxembourg, so on top of a fabulous trip to Copenhagen, we ended up making new friends as well. This was a trip we'll remember forever.

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