Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Sailing Away to Copenhagen

I've said it time and time again, but one of the best things about living in England is the opportunity to travel. Dan and I have been so fortunate to be able to see the world in a way we never would have been able to otherwise. Over the past two weeks we checked off another of our life-long dream trips: a Baltic cruise. We visited five countries in twelve days! And the best part was that the cruise sailed from England, so we didn't even have to fly anywhere. The trip was a whirlwind, but one that I won't soon forget.

We sailed on Royal Caribbean's Jewel of the Seas. The ship was beautiful, and perfect for this itinerary. There weren't a ton of on-board activities, and the entertainment was just fair, but we booked this cruise for the ports, not the ship. 

Jewel of the Seas Centrum

Jewel of the Seas

Our first port was Copenhagen, Denmark. I absolutely loved this city. It didn't hurt that we got perfect weather. I fully expected cold, rainy days. But we lucked out with bright skies and warm sunshine. 

On our way from the pier into the city center we saw some real highlights, including the Little Mermaid statue. Disney's Little Mermaid is the first movie I remember seeing in a theater--and I saw it 8 times! The movie was based on Hans Christian Anderson's fairy tale. The "real" little mermaid looks a bit different than Ariel, but I still love her.

The Little Mermaid

The city is so beautiful. There are gorgeous churches, fountains and parks at every turn.

Gefion Fountain and English Church

Amalienborg Palace and Marble Church

Our ship docked pretty early, which meant the city wasn't over-run with tourists yet. We were really lucky to have the city to ourself for a few hours. 

Nyhavn canal

Royal Danish Theater

Ceiling details on Royal Danish Theater

We climbed the round tower and were rewarded with these views. The tower was built as an astronomical observatory. The tower has a wide spiral ramp instead of stairs so that the top could be reached on horseback.

View from the round tower

We hopped on a free city tour, which I highly recommend! Our guide was very engaging and had tons of great information for us. For example, did you know the Danes pay around 47% in taxes?! Crazy.

Note to any future visitors--the guards at the Rosenborg Castle will let you take pictures with them, but they don't like you getting too close. I was actually pushed aside by this guy :)

Rosenborg Castle

In Denmark, the parliament, prime minister and supreme court are all housed in the Christianborg Palace. I'm not sure that arrangement would work in the States, but it seems to do OK here.

Christianborg Palace

Changing of the guards

Of course no trip to Denmark would be complete without eating a danish! Weird tidbit--they aren't called danishes here; they're called viennese. Either way, they were delicious.

We spent the rest of our afternoon at Tivoli Gardens. I've heard that this amusement park is much better at night when thousands of lanterns are lit; I loved it during the day though. It was full of old-timey roller coasters and weird little international scenes. Grabbing a beer and walking through the park was the perfect end to our Danish adventure.

Read about our other ports of call:
Second port: Stockholm, Sweden
Third port: Helsinki, Finland
Fourth port: Saint Petersburg, Russia (day 1, day 2)
Fifth port: Tallin, Estonia
Sixth port: Gothenburg, Sweden


  1. What a beautiful trip! I love the pictures. Thanks for the tidbit on how to order a danish in Denmark. Side note: I was obsessed with the little mermaid when I was a kid.

  2. Sounds like you guys had a great beginning to your trip! Copenhagen looks beautiful! Can't wait to hear about the rest of the cities you visited!