Time seems to get filled so easily when you travel. Because we travel by bike there are so many variables that change how far we can go in a day. The time is further eaten away by trying to plan the next few days (where are we going to sleep; have we got enough food; what sights should we see; where is there a play park, and other day to day trivial matters). We have also been trying to plan for the longer term – where are we staying for our first few nights in Chile, how will get to the start of our intended ride, how far apart are the towns, what are the road surfaces like…..
Copenhagen has provided a bit of a respite from this. We arrived intending to stay for a couple of nights but thanks to the generosity of friends it has turned into more. If you are a cyclist, then this city is worth visiting. It is the capital city of Denmark but is actually about the same size as Sheffield so even though we are staying in the quiet residential neighbourhood of Østerbro (any Danish speakers please forgive my spelling here) it takes a few minutes to ride into the heart of the city.
We have done the normal tourist things:
Hot dogs by the Rundetarn – amazing and true street food. Loaded with mustard, ketchup, remoulade, pickled gherkins, fried and raw onions. It was gone in a few (expensive) bites. Izzy and Will loved theirs and even survived the plague of pigeons that surrounded us waiting for dropped morsels.
Freetown Christiania (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freetown Christiania) was an interesting experience. Cannabis being traded openly in the streets, artists, street traders, and what we went for – a veggie restaurant called Morgansteddet. We ate like leaders of an anarchist state (deliberate irony intended) dining on lentil and sweet potato soup, hummus, spicy rice, and polenta with chickpea, potato and dill salad. We then strolled through the street reflecting on systems of government and trying to explain to perplexed children how the town worked.
Cycling – Copenhagen is set up brilliantly for cycling with big cycle lanes and easily understood traffic lights timed slightly differently to make it easier for bikes. The infrastructure was good enough for us to confidently let Izzy ride into town from the apartment we are staying in.
The game changer for our experience of Copenhagen has been two fold. Firstly we have been staying with friends and have had time to hang out with them and just chat about the city with them and their friends. This has meant that minor (and major) mechanicals have been solved more easily, a massive thanks to Aaron for his welding help, and we now know where to go for the best danish pastries. We have had dinner with new friends and reminded ourselves how much fun climbing walls can be as well.
The second part to our game changer was meeting Johanus. He is a bike courier working in Copenhagen but we met him in a primitive campsite shelter when we first arrived in Zealand. He gave us some tips and must sees in Copenhagen as well as a recommendation for a bike shop downtown. The kids had a ride on his cargo bike, we talked touring, bike stuff, and took a sauna and a plunge in the Baltic sea together. He was a great guy and Izzy and Will really enjoyed chatting. We left the shelter the next morning heading our seperate ways. When we arrived in Copenhagen we went to the bike shop he recommended and as we walked out he was sitting on a bench outside.
We swapped numbers and on Wednesday night he met us outside Tivoli and took us out to see the little mermaid statue, Kastellet (a defensive Fort and barracks on the coast), and (the kids favourite) a play park on the roof of a brand new multistory car park. They enjoyed riding on his cargo bike again and we spent a few hours chatting and cycling around Copenhagen. It was so nice to have a guided tour of a city by someone who lived there, spent his days in the saddle and so knew the best (least busy) routes.
It was also in Copenhagen where we had our first proper day off. We stalled on Friday morning and spent too much time chatting about life, travel, parenting and so didn’t actually leave! We cooked a last meal that evening and enjoyed not riding our bikes and not having to organise anywhere to stay that night!
On Saturday we finally managed to break free from Copenhagen boarding the 1507 from the Central station across the Ørseund bridge and on into Sweden.
We still have unfinished business in Copenhagen though…. We never got to see the Giants http://thomasdambo.com/works/forgotten-giants/
Thank you so much to Dana, Kevin, baby Ava, Aaron, Jackie, baby Ellis and Johanus for making our time in Copenhagen so rewarding.