A comfortable five hour train ride later, we arrived in Copenhagen Central Station, going across the 8 km Øresund bridge from Malmø, Sweden to an artificial island in the middle of the strait, then the crossing completed to Denmark by a 4 km tunnel. We didn't have to produce any documentation on the train ride from Stockholm to Copenhagen, although we noticed signs in the Copenhagen train station saying that all passengers to Sweden would have to produce passports or other documents.
We had twelve days packed with seeing Danish relatives, eating and drinking far too much delicious Danish food! It was four years since we had visited Denmark. We timed it right to attend a cousins "fest", an annual event where all the "older" cousins get together for a day of eating, drinking and talking! We also met a delightful 9 month old new grand niece for the first time. Sven caught up with a pilot friend from his Air Force days so there was much reminiscing about the good old days.
Our New Zealand friends Mike and Ann arrived in Copenhagen whilst we were there (prior to leaving on a cruise), so Sven did his tour guide duties once again round the streets of Copenhagen. Of course we had to see the little mermaid, along with hundreds of other tourists! We had lunch on Papir Island, where you could choose from a variety of ethnic food stalls.
We walked through Christiania, a green and car-free neighbourhood in Copenhagen, best known for its inhabitants’ different way of life. It was established in 1971 by a group of hippies who occupied some abandoned military barracks on the site and developed their own set of society rules, completely independent of the Danish government. Christiania existed under special conditions for 40 years with constant conflicts and clashes between the local Christianites and the Danish state. After many years of uncertainty, an agreement was reached in 2011, and the Foundation Freetown Christiania, was founded. The foundation now owns the entire part of Christiania located outside the protected ramparts and leases buildings and land on the ramparts, which are still owned by the state. Freetown Christiania is a mix of homemade houses, workshops, art galleries, music venues, cheap and organic eateries. It is still a society within a society, for example you cannot buy a house in Christiania. You have to apply for it, and if successful, it is given to you. Visitors are advised not to take any photographs in Christiania, especially in the area called Pusher Street, mainly due to the hash dealing, which is illegal in Denmark. Most of the dealers here were wearing balaclavas with hash cakes or cigarettes in full view for purchase. Breathing in as we wandered around left no doubt that they were doing a good trade!
We seemed to beat the odds again after an exceptional summer in Stockholm to strike lovely warm weather whilst in Denmark. Harvest of the wheat fields was in full swing. We enjoyed getting out for some walks and bike rides. Denmark has an amazing system of bike roads in the city and all along the roads from town to town.
Sven's sister-in-law has delved into the Hansen family, traced them way back to the Viking age and discovered Sven IS in fact related to a King. He has always told me he was a Danish Prince - just forgot to mention it was 32 generations prior!
Denmark has an expensive but efficient public network of buses and trains. It was a little unnerving on our Metro ride to the airport to be in one big train carriage with no driver in sight at either end!
We have now flown to Faro in Southern Portugal where Chelsea and Raul will meet us for a week's vacation together, a "babymoon"! (for them). Sven and I will then jump on a bus and head 6 hours north to a WOOFing job. After two weeks there, we do another two week WOOFing job before returning to Stockholm for a week.
Sven and I fly to Kelowna on October 6, just in time for Skyla's second birthday. Plans are still underway as to what next after this, but hopefully Krysta will produce grandbaby No. 2 sometime mid-late October (due date 24th). After welcoming our new grandbaby (hopefully on time!) I will return to Stockholm on October 31st, hopefully in time to make it before Chelsea has hers, due November 8th! Sven will stay in Kelowna and I will return to Kelowna on 19 December.
If we are lucky, I will be in the correct country for both births, or else I could miss both! Fingers crossed.