Friday, July 11, 2014

Stueckrath & Schnell Vacation: Copenhagen, Denmark

So, so far in our 2 week vacation, the Schnell's had spent 2 1/2 days in and around Berlin, but now we were ready to leave, head to the airport, pick up the Stueckrath family, and train it to Copenhagen!

My Eric has been best friend's with Shilo since they were in kindergarten, and then became close with Shilo's Eric when he moved to their hometown in middle school.  They've got a lot of history between them, and even though I've been "in" their group for 8 years now, I still love their dynamic and hearing their stories.  My Eric was SO excited to see his friends!

I tried my best to capture the moments when they first walked out of customs, but the hugs and excitement made for blurry pictures...sorry about that.  But they had made it safely!  Next, we all jumped on a bus to get to the main train station, then jumped on an ICE train headed to Denmark!

A few beers to get the trip started is really the only way us folks do it!  It didn't matter that it was only 10:30 in the morning, we were on vacation!  
Isabelle was so darn happy to have the Stueckrath girls to hang out with!  Being an only child has it's good points, and not so good points, mostly Isabelle likes being an only child, but on this trip she was just so darn happy to have girls her age to talk to and hang out with!  She was seriously deprived of some girl talk since her best friend moved at the beginning of summer.

The Schnell's & Stueckrath's rode together for a few hours before we went in separate directions; them to Odense, us to Copenhagen.  They were going to visit a friend that my Eric only just remembers from high school, he doesn't actually know him well enough to tag along for this part of their vacation, so we opted to go to Copenhagen as a little family while they went to Odense.  We met up with them again 48 hours later, so for the rest of this blog post it was just us Schnell's.

We were SO excited to go to Denmark, the 10th country we have visited!  The Stueckrath's going to Odense made for the absolute most perfect opportunity to go to Copenhagen!
Our train ride was super easy and stress-free (NOT the same for the ride back to Germany, but that's another story).  Our train pulled right into a ferry where we got off and went up to the top deck for an amazing 45 minute boat ride to Denmark on the Baltic Sea!  We hadn't put any thought into exactly how the train would physically get to Denmark.  I vaguely had an idea that there was a body of water between the two countries, but figured since the train ticket said we'd end up in Copenhagen, we would end up in Copenhagen.  The train pulling right onto a boat was a fun surprise!


And once we docked in Denmark we all went back down to the lower deck, loaded back on the train, and continued to Copenhagen!  Our hotel was just 325ft from the central train station (that's what their website says, I didn't actually measure it or anything), so once we got to Copenhagen we were able to go straight to the hotel, check-in, and drop off our bags.  
We walked around the area and found an incredible Pakistani buffet restaurant for supper- the food was incredible (even Isabelle piled 2 plates full of food and ate every bite)!  And then we lugged our full belly's around the town center.  

Isabelle wanted to go to the 'Ripley's Believe it or Not' Museum.  Eric and I went to one in Panama City, Florida a few years ago and it's a pretty dumb museum, if you ask me, but my 11 year old thought it was a hoot!  And since we are constantly going places that I'm sure she'd say is "dumb," her excitement at the Ripley's museum was reason enough to go.

The next morning we set out to see as much of Copenhagen as possible since we only had about 36 total hours there, we wanted to get a move on!  We started at the Strøget pedestrian shopping center and then made our way to Gammel Strand to get on the hop-on/hop-off boat tour.

Another Louis Vuitton store I did not go into.... a new purse?  Or a cruise in December?  ;o) 

These are the pants she had been looking for and finally found in Potsdam!  Isn't she pretty?!

How cute is this fella?!

Copenhagen Opera House 

It was really important to me to see the Little Mermaid- a major tourist attraction for 101 years.  I couldn't get close enough to touch her, there were just waaayy too many people around her and I'm too claustrophobic to even attempt moving into a large crowd, but I did get to see her and take a picture, so I was happy with that.  She was beautiful!

We spent a good while on the canal boat tour and had hoped to tour the Carlsberg Brewery but just didn't have time.  So instead, we went to Nyhavn and got a beer there!  I was excited to take pictures of the different colored buildings and have a beer next to the water.

Since we were married on the 17th of October we thought this was the perfect spot to take a picture!  A good way to always remember Denmark.

The flag of Denmark.

We spent our afternoon on the canal tour and then in Nyhavn Port, I could have stayed there all day listening to the music, people watching, and taking pictures!  But our time in Copenhagen was coming to an end and we still wanted to spend our evening at Tivoli Gardens, so it was time to head back in that direction.

The Gefion Fountain- a wishing fountain. 

Isabelle has been earning a little spending money (on top of a her weekly allowance) by dog-sitting our neighbors dog.  Typically, she is a saver, she'll take her money with her everywhere but always decides that whatever it is she's looking at isn't worth her spending.  Except in Copenhagen, in Copenhagen she found this amber ring and wanted it badly enough to spend a little of her money!  I think she earned it, and made a great choice!

Between the canal tour, hop-on/hop-off bus, and the amount of walking we had done, we felt like we had seen almost every thing we wanted (except the Carlsberg Brewery), so we decided to spend the rest of our evening at Tivoli Gardens.  First, we had a nice supper at one of the restaurants at Tivoli's with authentic Danish food.... Isabelle had a cheeseburger, little stinker.  And then we set out to ride some rides.  Neither Eric nor Isabelle are thrill-seekers so there weren't many rides they were willing to ride.  

One ride that Isabelle really wanted to go on, though, was the bumper boats.  But she couldn't go on them alone and didn't want to go on them alone.....  

....So a few minutes of mom & daughter time commenced.... And I got a first-hand glimpse at what teaching this kid to drive a car will look like (good luck with that one, Eric!).

There was a lot of laughing... 

Even though I might be a little worried about her future driving skills, she did manage to get us back to the starting point just fine {the young boy in the boat behind us was giving Isabelle the googly eyes... I wasn't so sure he was going to make it back to the starting point just fine.  Thankfully, she was oblivious to him}. 

Even though we had a short amount of time in Copenhagen I don't feel like we were jipped out of an experience.  We saw almost everything we wanted to and loved it!  It's a beautiful city with English signs and speakers almost everywhere- we were very comfortable there and left with no regrets!  We haven't experienced the kind of customer service we did in Denmark anywhere else in the 10 countries (except America) we have visited! 
Our hotel was located right next to the train station, and less than a 5 minutes walk from Tivoli Gardens.  I definitely deserved a pat-on-the-back for my planning skills for this trip, but everyone in Copenhagen made it even better!

It was time to meet up with the Stueckrath's again and hear how their trip to Odense went, plus, we were about to celebrate the 4th of July, which is also my guy's birthday!! *Stay tuned!!* 

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