Treasures of Scandinavia & Russia


Wednesday July 16, 2008

Impressions of the City of Copenhagen, our experience.

As we wandered the streets last evening and this morning we were struck with the family friendless of this exciting city. It soon became obvious that the general population has experienced for the longest time, the effect that the high cost of private transportation has on their private lives. Public transportation seems modern and convenient. The city streets are bicycle friendly as the major thoroughfares have well used bike lanes. Bike parking lots abound and a pedestrian who uses a bike lane, for whatever reason, can expect to be confronted. A lot of bicycles have been personalized into three wheelers (two in front one in the rear) to facilitate carting pets, kids and shopping, complete with rain covers and windshields.

Families walk together as a group, young families sport their babies around in fancy “prams”. Children seemed very disciplined when they are with their families on the busy streets, however in the Tivoli Gardens (Inspiration for Disneyland) they were encouraged to have fun and enjoy themselves. Costs for the very basic meals are outrageous! Barbara and I chose to leave the gardens for supper and eat at MacDonald’s across the street; for two drinks, two small fries, a Big Mac and a very small “chicken wrap we paid 80.40 Danish Kroner or $18.09 US. A couple of folks in our group bought two ice cream cones inside the park and paid $$US 11.00 for each cone. All merchandize comes with the VAT (value added tax) of 25% already calculated into the cost, and is not broken down separately.

The Tivoli Gardens seems to have wall to wall restaurants on the premises, and they were all busy, some with lines of folks waiting for a table. All rides in the “park” were extra and were not included in the $$US 11.00 admission fee. Two venues that were free was the excellent band concert and the 20 minute Mime theater production, which included live music performed by the members from the concert band. Sadly we were so tired that we could not stay for the nightly fireworks show. Oh, that bed at our hotel sure felt good.

Our hotel was an older building that had been recently upgraded and was very comfortable, and the furnishing was extremely Danish Modern, with sleek design. Although it wasn’t advertised, he Wi-Fi Internet was free and was extremely fast. On the bed, we slept under a down comforter, with something that resembled a “down comforter” on the mattress which made for a very comfortable arrangement. Our bathroom was adequate, very stark with all white tiles, except for the ceiling. The toilet consisted of a modern floor unit with two flush buttons set into the wall. I don’t know where the water closet was hidden.

A full breakfast buffet was included with the room and was very extravagant. After what we paid for our meal last evening, it must have been costly. As promised by our travel agent, Alan Schiller – , two very nice tour buses arrived at 10 AM and we were treated to and excellent tour of the city. Our tour guide, Anne Marie, who is a retired school teacher (working out of boredom) was the best. Her absolute knowledge of the history of the city as well as her recall of names and dates was astounding. There were no questions asked that she could not answer – immediately. Of all the monuments, parks, statues, churches, government buildings and gardens we visited, to me the most memorable will be our final stop when we visited the Den Lille Havfrue or “little lady” – which is the bronze Little Mermaid statue who watches over the harbor. The weather was a lot like our weather in the Northwest, with wind, sun and clouds but no rain, beautiful lighting for photographs.

All too soon our tour ended and we left our comfortable coaches and began the embarkation process. Once again, everything went without a hitch, and shortly we were unpacking our carry- on luggage and heading up to the Lido for lunch. The ms Rotterdam deck plan configuration is practically identical to the Amsterdam, our home for 64 days last fall. It was like coming home, except our old friends from the Amsterdam were nowhere to be found – we miss you. We requested and received early dining in the assigned seating area of the mail dining room. Our six table mates, Mary, Ken, Betty, Don, Lorin and Bonnie, were lively and animated in their conversations. We look forward to many interesting meals together.

We set our clocks ahead this evening so that’s it for now – off to bed for me.

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