Jude on a boat tour of Copenhagen

Sometimes when you’re traveling, all of the stars align, and everything just works out – this was the case for our visit to Copenhagen.

How we ended up in Copenhagen, at all, is random.  We were scheduled to fly from Tallinn to Berlin via Helsinki, but the airline changed our flight, and after a few calls, we were re-routed through Copenhagen, with a 40-minute layover.  I’ve flown enough to know that a 40-minute layover is bad idea, and a really bad idea with a toddler in tow.  Then a light bulb went off: how about spending the day in Copenhagen, taking the first flight in from Tallinn, and then the last flight out to Berlin, with 12 hours in between?  The airline said “OK.”

We knew this would result in a marathon day – up at 5 a.m., a full day out with no home base, and then not into our rental apartment in Berlin until after 9 p.m.  We also knew that with Jude, the day could turn disastrous, but we could not turn down the opportunity to visit Copenhagen, even briefly, which we had long heard was one of Europe’s most beautiful capitals.

Arriving at Copenhagen’s Central Train Station on the airport shuttle during the morning rush (lots of bikers!) the signs for a good day were already appearing: the morning clouds were giving way to a beautiful blue sky, and the temperature felt unseasonably warm.  (The weather was indeed splendid for the rest of the early October day, with Danes stripping down to their t-shirts and lounging in the city’s beautiful parks; an employee we met at a juice bar later in the day told us we were very lucky to be in Copenhagen with such good weather, after several weeks of rain, and that the weather we were experiencing was “a special situation.”)

To get an overview of the city, and soak up some of the good weather, we decided to take a boat tour.  After 15 minutes or so of having the boat virtually to ourselves, approximately 50 middle-aged Thai tourists, most in matching blazers, boarded at the first stop.  They caught sight of Jude; they swarmed; and then they took turns photographing him in a very orderly manner, and one woman even squeezed between Patrick and Jude (who were sitting on seats next to each other) to be included in the photograph with Jude.  Jude took it all in stride, posing coyly, though not smiling.

Our tour guide Mark ducking under a bridge

(One Thai tourist gave us a special fright.  Because of all the recent rain, the canals were very high, meaning that the boat only cleared some bridges by several inches.  Excellent multilingual tour-guide Mark warned all of the passengers to duck down under each bridge.  We watched in horror, though, as one Thai tourist, who perhaps didn’t speak English, German or Danish, and missed multiple warnings, began climbing the ladder to the outdoor area of the boat quickly, without looking up to see where he was going.  There was a collective yell/scream as he narrowly missed being knocked out by a stone bridge.  Although our hearts, and Mark’s, skipped a collective beat, the tourist didn’t appear phased and rapidly resumed taking photos.)

After we disembarked, Jude napped in his stroller while Mom and Dad had a traditional Danish lunch at a café outdoors by the canal near Hans Christian Andersen’s old house (rare roast-beef with mustard and pickles for Dad; fishcakes with rémoulade and pickles for Mom).  After lunch, we strolled leisurely around the city, checking out sights, playing in the park in the Royal Gardens, and sampling some pastries.

For vehicle-loving Jude, the day was also perfect: two planes, two trains, two taxis, one bus and one boat.  Throw in playing chase in the park and a trip to the playground, and what more could a two-year-old boy ask for?

As we went back to the airport that evening, picked up our luggage from short-term airport storage (which had the worrying name of “Left Luggage”), and walked through an orderly security area with supremely nice, smiling people (when Jude yelled about being separated from Mickey Mouse at the x-ray conveyer belt, security quickly put Mickey through, then promptly re-delivered him back to Jude, so Mickey and Jude could walk through security together), I reflected on the day.  We got to spend the day in an expensive city without spending a costly night; we had perfect weather for being outdoors all day; Jude had a ball (his mood helped by a long, midday nap during Mom and Dad’s lunch); and everything went as well as it possibly could have.  It was a tiring day, and you can’t pack too many like it into a trip like ours, but discovering Copenhagen was a pleasure and therefore the day was very rewarding.  I felt appreciation for the airline for changing our schedule (when does that ever happen?).

ALL PICTURES FROM COPENHAGEN, DENMARK: here

A special thank you to Estonian Air for these re-usable stickers which have provided Jude with hours of entertainment

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  One Response to “Copenhagen: “A Special Situation””

  1. Obviously, all airlines should provide books with re-usable stickers – why not?! You are Soooo lucky to have a 2 yr. old who will take long afternoon naps – in strollers, even! And it’s “lucky” for him, also, as it makes his life a lot nicer. No one likes to be tired and cranky – esp a 2 yr. old!!!! Have you come across any “Wall St. protest” type demonstrations over there yet? Have they heard of Herman Cain the “pizza nominee”? The whole GOP nomination process is so bizarre – just enjoy yourself and keep taking those great pictures!!

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