Copenhagen and Oslo

We have our American friends from India, the Okies, staying with us for a few weeks. Five days after we collected them from Heathrow we were off to Copenhagen for a kind of twin mini city break. We stayed in an Air B & B apartment for a few days, then took an overnight ferry cruise to Oslo for another two nights, before a final night in Copenhagen in a nice apartment a couple of blocks away from the red light district. Nothing but the best!

In fairness, the district also had some smart design shops and the best breakfast deal in Copenhagen – fresh-baked bread and cheese, Danish pastry, freshly squeezed orange juice and a cappucino for £6. Cheap anywhere, but astonishing there.

Yes, it’s expensive. We had a couple of meals out, on the ferry, in Oslo, and in Copenhagen, and the prices don’t bear thinking about. Apart from that, we cooked at home a couple of times and made use of what seems to be the national food – kebab shops. Some stretches of road were a more or less continuous line of them, all more or less identical in their fare – shawarma in pita bread, burgers, fries, pizza, coke and the occasional fried chicken. We did manage to find an Indian-run place where we had fish pakoras, which were quite good.

Brunches and lunches were the best, though, with beautiful breads filled with salmon or tuna mousse and lots of salad.

Highlights for me were the botanical gardens in both Copenhagen and Oslo, with palm houses and landscaped rock gardens and lakes. The Viking boat museum in Oslo, and thr surrounding area, were well worth a visit – and we got senior citizens entry rates! The  Edvard Munch museum in Oslo was in the middle of setting up a new exhibition so – bad news – just a few paintings on show and – good news – it was free.

Each city also has a pretty new, modernist-designed Opera House. Of the two, I much preferred Oslo. Copenhagen, though, is a very noticably green city, with lots of parks dotted around the centre.

Apart from that, as we generally do, we just enjoyed wandering the streets and getting a feel for the place. What really stands out in Copenhagen is the sheer volume of cycle traffic, all speeding down special tracks on every main road. Bike-friendly in the extreme. We rented bikes ourselves on the last day, and made several faux pas in our obedience to the cycle traffic rules. Not as easy as it looks.

Copenhagen = Little Mermaid and Tivoli Gardens to most people. Well, the Little Mermaid is very underwhelming (its main feature is the hordes of tourists having their photo taken in front of it), but the Tivoli looked suitable grand from the outside (you had to pay to walk around, so maybe next time).

Good company with the Okies, good sights, and a lovely lunch in Oslo with a couple we met in Mussoorie about six years ago and kept in touch with on Facebook. That’s the way we like to do it.

Yes, we did really go there

Yes, we did really go there

Abe feeds Dot the first of several shawarmas

Abe feeds Dot the first of several shawarmas

Caption competition, Copenhagen botanical gardens

Caption competition, Copenhagen botanical gardens

Heron in Copenhagen botanical gardens

Heron in Copenhagen botanical gardens

Nyhavn

Nyhavn

Nyhavn, Copenhagen

Nyhavn, Copenhagen

Apartments where we stayed in Copenhagen

Apartments where we stayed in Copenhagen

It's that mermaid

It’s that mermaid

Old doors in Copenhagen

Old doors in Copenhagen

Tivoli Gardens

Tivoli Gardens

Leaving Copenhagen for our cruise

Leaving Copenhagen for our cruise

Sailing up the fjord into Oslo

Sailing up the fjord into Oslo

Oslo botanical gardens

Oslo botanical gardens

Viking ship museum

Viking ship museum

Beautiful capturing of human relationships in stone and metal

The wonderful Vigeland Sculpture Park, Oslo

The wonderful Vigeland Sculpture Park, Oslo

Beautiful capturing of human relationships in stone and metal

The best breakfast in Copenhagen

The best breakfast in Copenhagen

Waterside living in Copenhagen

Waterside living in Copenhagen

If you can't beat 'em..

If you can’t beat ’em..

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