Denmark 2019

Scandinavian Parkrun Day 2 – Malmo to Copenhagen

6th June 2019

Denmark

Once we have arrived back in Denmark, we check into our hotel; SleepCPH. As the name suggests, it’s a place to sleep, but that’s about it. I feel like I’m in a 30 year time warp and back in student halls. The room contains a bed, table and clothes rail. At the end of the corridor are a communal kitchen and bathroom. And this basic provision, three miles from the centre of town, costs £92 a night.

The hotel’s main selling point – its proximity to parkrun. The receptionist says many of their guests are parkrunners. In fact, in the kitchen is a three metre long photo of the route for guests to visually feast on.

SleepCPH Kitchen

It’s another scorcher of a day, so I hobble to the shop to buy drinks. There are signs around the hotel stating that no alcohol is allowed on the premises. The only decoration in my sparse yet expensive room is a Warholesque picture of James Dean. I ask myself ‘what would James do?’ And I buy beer.

SleepCPH Bedroom

In the evening, the old man takes a walk into town. I opt for a more leisurely evening. My knee has managed eight miles, which is more than I’ve covered in the past two weeks altogether. So I take it easy watching tennis on my phone (£92 a night doesn’t get you a TV).

Scandinavian Parkrun Day 3 – Helsingør

7th June 2019

Helsingor Castle
Kronborg Castle

Today, we’re taking a trip up the Zealand coast to Helsingør, home of Kronborg castle, setting for Shakespeare’s Hamlet.

Helsingor
Helsingor

First, we need to purchase 24 hour travel cards from the ticket machine. The old man requests two tickets plus a receipt and the machine issues two cards; one ticket and one ticket with a receipt. However, he is convinced he has been issued with one ticket and one receipt. He calls the helpline to complain that he has paid for two tickets and only received one. Eventually, a lady who had been waiting patiently in the queue steps in and clears up the confusion.

Helsingor Station
Helsingor Station

Once we have ascertained that we do, in fact, have two tickets, we catch a train to Helsingør and walk along the harbour. There are some interesting sculptures, including ‘The Little Merman’ and a thought provoking fish made with rubbish from the harbour.

Merman Sculpture
Merman Sculpture
Rubbish Fish
Rubbish Fish

We continue around the outside of the castle. We’re too tight to pay the £35 to go inside, so make do with a circuit around the edge and a trip to the gift shop.

Kronborg Castle
Kronborg Castle
Kronborg Castle
Kronborg Castle

Then we take a walk through the town of Helsingor, buy provisions and picnic by the waterfront, which is pleasant apart from two facts; 1) we are relentlessly circled by an enormous seagull and 2) it’s so windy I keep accidentally eating my own hair.

Street Art Helsingor

We return towards Copenhagen by bus. Lonely Planet recommends the bus because it runs along the coast and ,is therefore more scenic than the train. They’re not kidding – if we were any nearer the coast we’d need snorkels and flippers. And nose-clips; in places the smell of sewage is overpowering.

Karen Blixen Museum
Karen Blixen Museum

We alight in Rungsted to visit the home of Karen Blixen; (“I had a house in Africa…”). You can take an audio guide of the home where she lived as a child and where she came to die after Robert Redford gave her syphilis. You can also visit her grave in the garden.

Karen Blixen Museum Garden

After visiting the grave, which is a ten minute walk from the house, I notice a short cut to the station. But we still have our audio guides. So the old man takes pity on me and returns to the museum while I hobble off towards the station.

SleepCPH Fire Exit
SleepCPH Fire Exit

We return to our hotel room, which is just as we left it; £93 a night doesn’t get you housekeeping. It’s probably just as well. The stairs to the fire escape have already been transformed into an obstacle course by bags of laundry. I dread to think what it would look like if they changed the sheets regularly. Never mind, we check out tomorrow – unless there’s a fire, which will probably lead to the ultimate check out.

Scandinavian Parkrun Day 4 – Copenhagen

8th June 2019

Copenhagen
Copenhagen

It’s Saturday, AKA parkrun day and we are going to Amagerstrandpark. It starts at 9 am, but we are awake by 5 thanks to a group of Chinese tourists replicating stormtroopers in the corridor. It’s raining heavily and my waterproof is in a car park near Stansted, so I am going to get rather wet.

Amagerstrandpark

The Strandpark is on a small Island in the Øresund; the strait which separates Denmark and Sweden. We walk the mile to the start, then hide out in a shelter as long as possible.

Amagerstrand parkrun
Amagerstrand parkrun

The route consists two laps along the island, across a bridge, along the prom and back across another bridge. To complicate matters, the first lap is anti-clockwise and the second lap is clockwise. Luckily, I don’t get lost despite being too slow to see the next slowest runner. I fight my way through the wind and rain and the pain in my knee to finish in 37 minutes, which I consider a triumph.

Well that was fun!

We return to the hotel and, once suitably clean and fed, check out. Another thing you don’t get for £93 a night is a manned reception. We finally locate a staff member and explain that we are checking out, but would like to leave our bags until this evening.

Oresund Bridge from Amagerstrand

We set off for Copenhagen. It’s not our normal sightseeing routine of hours of aimless wandering. We buy a travel card and take buses between locations to spare my knee, which has already had a hard day.

Not the Little Mermaid
Penis envy?

First stop, unpredictability, is The Little Mermaid. Although we do get slightly waylaid by another sculpture in the harbour, next to a fountain containing a worm with a large penis smoking a cigar.

Little Mermaid
The Little Mermaid Photo
Little Mermaid
The reality
Little Mermaid
Back in 1988 pre-Instagram

Back on track, I’m surprised by the throng of tourists round the little mermaid. Last time I were here, 30 years ago, we had the place to ourselves and were able to clamour over the rocks to the statue. Now, bus loads of tourists are disgorging onto the quayside.

Gefion Fountain
Gefion Fountain

After a little wander past the Gefion Fountain and around the Kastellet before boarding another bus to the Glyptotek; the private art collection of the founder of Carlsberg, who made a few quid flogging beer.

Kastellet

There bulk of the collection is sculptures, mainly ancient statues with no noses. But there are also paintings; most of the big European names are represented; Van Gough, Degas, Monet, Picasso, Cesanne etc.

Glyptotek
Glyptotek

Much of the gallery is dedicated to The Changing Collection – currently the work of Pierre Bonnard. It’s not my cup of tea and it feels slightly offensive to read his narrative on searching for the perfect colour, considering that it was WWII and most people had much more pressing matters to contend with. So we head instead for the roof, from where there are great views across the city.

View from Glyptotek Roof
View from Glyptotek Roof

We return to SleepCPH to collect our bags. The entrance is locked and we have a plane to catch. After a stressful few minutes wondering what the hell to do next, we discover the bags hidden behind a chair in the hallway. Luckily, our passports are still there. After a classy picnic in the park by the tube station, we depart for the airport.

Copenhagen Airport
Copenhagen Airport

Author: Jane's Midlife Journey

Stopped work, started travelling. Sometimes I run - combining the two with some parkrun tourism.

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