Copenhagen

Our rainy day finds in Copenhagen

We were blessed with mostly sunshine on our visit to Copenhagen, but when it did rain we weren’t short of options (including scrumptious places to eat!). I was delighted to have a decent cup of coffee too (reminiscent of my Wellington, New Zealand, days – the Capital City of Coffee!).

There are numerous museums and art galleries to choose from; I would have loved to have spent a day to myself meandering around them… but with three children to entertain single handedly (each with their own unique interests) I sadly didn’t visit many. However, we did find a couple of rainy day gems; including a brilliant swimming pool –DGI-byen – with the bonus of a gymnasium with a giant bouncy pillow to play on (a school holiday addition).

The swimming pool has a dedicated diving pool – with a climbing wall, trampoline and various other platform, a wonderful children’s pool area, with toys and floating devices for free use, and a large oval lane swimming pool – with a rectangle pool in the centre! The girls loved it. Even our youngest daughter had a go diving in from the trampoline, and our eight year old managed a flip!

After a good swim we made use of the free access to the bouncy pillow. The girls burned off yet more energy bouncing, hula-hooping and playing ball. By the time we left the rain had let off a little and we walked back to the apartment for a well deserved rest.

On a rainy Sunday, when my eldest and I weren’t feeling well, my husband took our younger two to a great hands on science place called the Experimentarium in Copenhagen, located in the central city for two years (but usually located at Tuborg Havnevej, Hellerup). They had a lot of fun trying simulated winter sports and enjoying the outdoor exploration area. They didn’t take many photographs, as they were busy having fun – but there’s plenty of information on the website.

In the wonderful apartment we rented there was a homely feel that made us feel quite content to stay in and play some rainy day games too. The apartment was on the popular street Værnedamsvej – and we made frequent visits to the Granola Cafe, as well as Cafe Viggo!

The view out the living room window was over the street, whilst the kitchen looked down upon a courtyard, filled with bikes. The smell of restaurant food drifted up through the windows, combined with the scent of tobacco (smoking is still very popular in Copenhagen) and the sound of voices chatting and laughing over coffee or wine. When it did rain it felt cosy, homely and a good place to be. We shall remember our visit to Copenhagen very fondly. It’s a wonderful place to visit, rain or shine.

A place to play in central Copenhagen

We stumbled across a lovely playground in the centre of Copenhagen on a hot summer’s day. A paddling pool invited the children to splash around and cool down. Ride-on bikes lay about for children to freely play on.

ride-on fun

A welcoming hut had toys outside, akin to a pre-school, but all the toys were for passing children to enjoy, share and play with.

The spirit of community was strong and as visitors to Copenhagen we were greeted with welcoming smiles.

Playground and community hub in Copenhagen

It was a beautiful play-area and a lovely way to spend a couple of hours. A couple of children’s tennis racquets sat invitingly on a bench next to a swing-set . Miss 4 had a great time knocking the ball back and forth with me, whilst Miss 8 had fun nearby on the swings.

A beautiful imaginary play area, including carved wooden horses, totem poles and canoes, was surrounded by trees with bird boxes. As the children played I could hear baby chicks chirping from within the bird-boxes.

What’s more, there was a cafe that served a superb latte for the adults and ice-lollies for the children. Perfection!

IMG_5489
We visited this playground, Skydebanehaven, a few times over the 12 nights we stayed in Copenhagen (earlier blog post here). It was only a ten-minute stroll from the apartment where we stayed and just the place for children to be happy, nestled in a natural retreat within the city.

_______________________________________

Linking up with Country Kids at Coombe Mill

 

Tivoli Gardens Copenhagen – Mr Disney’s Inspiration

After living in California for a year and being very fortunate to have visited Disneyland, it was wonderful to visit Tivoli gardens – the place that first inspired Walt Disney to set about creating Disneyland.

From the moment we walked into the gardens and amusement park it was very clear to see how Mr Disney was inspired.

The similarities between his Disneyland in California and Tivoli are apparent (just on a different scale). There is a lake in the middle of the gardens, surrounded by restaurants, with a tall ship anchored up at the edge of the lake. At night the gardens and lake are illuminated with colour, just like at Disneyland. The walkways are bedecked with hanging baskets and beautiful arrangements of flowers.

Thrill rides soar over the gardens, whilst children’s play areas and old fashioned fair-ground style games are tucked along decorative walkways.

Our youngest daughter was delighted with the playground area and beautiful, animal carousel.

Her older sisters were quite happy to go along for a ride too.

The gardens are a delight and there is a wonderful choice of eateries to suit all. There are rides for every age, size and level of daring. What’s more, this block of fantasy, fun and escapism is all located within the centre of Copenhagen.

_____________________________________

Linking up with ‘Country Kids from Coombe Mill

Scenes from the bus in Copenhagen

I took my three daughters on the ‘Hop-On Hop-Off Copenhagen‘ bus tour (though we didn’t do much hopping; as the children were very happy on the open air top-deck of the double decker bus).

If I wasn’t managing three children of different interests, ages and sensitivities, I would have spent all day hopping on and off, exploring the beautiful streets and historic landmarks, but I was aware of my own limitations (and my children), so I simply took the easy option – sat back, enjoyed the views and took just one ‘hop off’ at the half way point of the tour – by the ‘Little Mermaid‘.

We didn’t bother with the crowds of tourists lining up to get their photo with the ‘Little Mermaid’, but did enjoy the beautiful vistas.

As the ‘World Travel Guide‘ writes in its guide to Copenhagen travel;

‘Water is ever-present in Copenhagen, a reminder of the city’s heritage as a major Baltic port, and the harbour is the best place to observe the capital’s great contrasts. Nyhavn has retained a deceptively provincial atmosphere, with colourful gabled buildings and cobbled lanes, recalling the fairytale capital that inspired Hans Christian Andersen.’

Water is never more than a short stroll away in Copenhagen. Its city streets, broad and friendly to pedestrians, are pleasant to walk (or cycle) – free from the pollution that plagues so many other European cities. If it’s not water you seek, then inner city green spaces are also plentiful, from parks like the Botanical Gardens and the grounds surrounding the Rosenborg Castle to ‘Pocket Parks‘; drops of urban green on a small scale.

The streets in summer are lined with cafes spilling out on to pavements. Music from buskers filled the air as we drove past, intermingled with the sound of people happily whiling away time over a leisurely lunch.

As we finished our bus tour, riding on the lower level for the second half – taking shade from the sun, we plugged in our headphones, provided as part of the tour. The commentary came in a selection of languages, informing us of the sights as they came into view. I was surprised at how much my youngest daughter enjoyed this (even out trumping the choice of using her iPad and the free Wifi!).

The bus tour lasted a little over an hour and was definitely a great way to get an overview of Copenhagen. I could happily have spent all day hopping on and off. A beautiful city to see, especially in the summer.

My view right now (running in Copenhagen)

There’s nothing like a run in a new place to put an extra zest in the legs. Having a couple of weeks in Copenhagen, accompanying my husband on a business trip – but with three children in tow – has meant day time activities focused on keeping the young ones happy and entertained. Ever since we landed in Copenhagen (and after the jet-lag of travelling from the USA had passed) my legs have been pumped to get out on a pace of their own; independent of my beloved chick-a-dees.

When the opportunity presented itself I was out the door without a glance back. It was Saturday morning, 7am, when I hit the pathway alongside a picturesque waterway, known as Peblinge Sø (The Lakes, Copenhagen).

The Lakes, Copenhagen

My energy levels were so high with freedom and my legs fizzing to take me on an adventure to explore new sights. My view as I ran was all new to my eyes. Everything caught my attention and there’s nothing like running a route for the first time, not knowing what’s going to be around the next bend, to make a person want to keep on running!

My view was filled with large sweeping vistas as the three artificial lakes, divided into five basins, presented themselves in turn.

There were natural islands along the lakes, home to beautiful bird life.

Close to the pathway a mother swan slept, with one eye partially awake to watch over her baby cygnets. Whilst pedalo boats also took the form of the swans that grace the lakes.

The bridges that divided the individual basins were picturesque and led my eyes on down avenues of roads, that given more time (water and energy!) I would have continued to explore).

Residential areas bordering the waterways captured my attention as they came into view.

It was an absolute delight and I shall definitely be out running again before I leave beautiful Copenhagen.

Information on running in Copenhagen

Copenhagen running routes, including the Copenhagen Lakes.

Running Tours Copenhagen – Check out this company that provide various running tours of the city, from 6km to 15km.

Life and light at Søndermarken – Denmark’s first and only interactive running route consists of a system of lights on the fringe of Søndermarken, firmly resolved to pace runners to keep up their self-imposed pace, chosen at one of two start-stanchions.

__________________________________________________

Linking up with ‘The Photo Gallery‘ at Sticky Fingers blog,
where the theme this week is, ‘My view right now’.

The Great Outdoors (in the centre of Copenhagen)

We are currently in Copenhagen, Denmark. In this city of bike loving, apartment dwelling, contented people are numerous gardens and playgrounds. We are still recovering from jetlag and all the children are on different body clocks – but we have managed to get out and explore one little playground in the central city, called ‘Skydebanehaven’, which has a lovely blend of space, play equipment, trees, flowers and nature touches; including bird houses and bird feeders.

If I wasn’t juggling three children single-handedly (hubby is here on business), and we’d fully recovered from the change in time zones from California, USA, to Copenhagen, in Europe, I would have been out exploring a lot more already – but we have a total of 12 nights here, so I’m pacing myself and hanging out for more fresh air exploring come the weekend and into next week. I thought we had the body clocks sorted yesterday – but then we fell asleep between 6 and 8pm – which would have been great, only Miss 4 awoke at 2am and the other two children at 4am!

Miss 4 rides a wooden horse on an imaginary adventure

Miss 4 rides a wooden horse on an imaginary adventure

Anyway, I’m just grateful for the few moments of outdoor time we are getting, as I get terrible cabin fever if I’m cooped up indoors for long. Thankfully there are some scrumptious eateries on the street we are staying and plenty of open spaces to escape to – even for a quick half hour or so.

Miss 8 practicing her balancing.

Miss 8 practicing her balancing.

I can’t wait to get out some more – and even head out for a run once hubby is home, to explore the great outdoor pockets of Copenhagen at my own pace!

___________________________________________________

I’m linking up with ‘The Photo Gallery‘ at Sticky Fingers blog,
where there’s some lovely posts of other bloggers enjoying the great outdoors.

Arriving in Copenhagen

Copenhagen Airport greeted us Sunday evening, as the sun was setting. It was a light and airy welcome, with barely a wait to clear customs and collect our baggage – just what we needed in our still jet-lagged state; after flying from LA, USA to London, UK, the day before! Our flight from Terminal 5, London Heathrow, was smooth and pleasant. British Airways were excellent to fly with; perhaps it was because we were obviously jet-lagged (we looked that bad!) that they handled us with extra care – giving us priority to the front of the line when boarding. All three children nodded in and out of sleep on the flight, which was just over an hour and a half long.

After landing in Copenhagen a friendly taxi driver took us to Vaernedamsvej, affectionately known as ‘Little Paris’, where we had an apartment organised for our 12 night stay. It was dark when we arrived. We walked into a courtyard, set back from the street,  following the instructions the land-lady had given us to find the key and access the apartment. The apartment was on the first floor – and we were grateful to have only one flight of stairs to walk up.

We didn’t sleep much that first night and were awake at 5am checking out ‘Yelp‘ to find out which cafe opened the earliest in our neighbourhood. Thankfully, the exceptional ‘Granola‘, which we could see from our apartment, opened at 7am and we were practically waiting at the door when they opened.

After breakfast we visited a local supermarket to stock up on essentials. It was ‘rush hour’, but you wouldn’t have known it. There were hardly any cars on the roads – just plenty of bikes. The scene was calm and serene. People smiled as they biked to work, most without helmets – as the dedicated and large bike paths made their travel so safe.

A street in Copenhagen in the morning

The man of the house then bid us ‘Farvel’ (Goodbye in Danish) and headed off to the office, whilst the girls and I walked back to the apartment.

We spent the afternoon sleeping. The man of the house returned from work at 6pm and joined us. We all woke at 8pm, with our body clocks utterly screwed!!

We ventured out of the house that evening for a meal – but the children really weren’t up to much exploring. Nevertheless the fresh air helped us and we were all asleep again – by 2am!

The next morning started incredibly early – 5am for two out of three children! Feeling seriously jet-lagged we got through the day, with only Miss 4 having an afternoon nap. Miss 11 and 8 managed to last the day, falling asleep in the evening and sleeping all night…

Finally, after four nights in Europe, the jet lag is over and we are ready to properly explore Copenhagen!