Copenhagen

Copenhagen

 

Copenhagen, Denmark
(stats courtesy Wikipedia 2017 data sample):
Pop City Proper: 1,295,686
Metro Pop: 2,036,717
Municipality: 86.39 km2 (33.36 sq mi)
Elevation: 1 m (3 ft) to 91 m (299 ft)
Weather: Cold winters, mild summers
Warm Season: Jun – Aug
Currency: Danish Kroner (DKK or kr), credit card friendly
Language: Danish, but good English in most areas

This article documents our 2017 (second) trip to Copenhagen. Our very good friend, Melissa, was visiting from the US and we all went together on this trip. We were there a total of three nights and four days. The weather was warm but cloudy most of the time, and we got caught in the rain a couple of times. But when you’re with people you love, a little rain doesn’t stand a chance of even putting a dent in your fun!

The journal below is organized by day, with the events of that day underneath. This is more of a diary format, not as formal as my write ups. Click on the underlined links to get the full details of that discussion. It will open the event in a separate page so that the journal will remain open for you and you can come right back to where you left off. All of the restaurants will be reviewed on a separate page, and the link for that, along with a quick review of the hotel are at the bottom of this article.

Day One

Central Station always feels like crazy hustle bustle to me. Everybody’s rushing around, most pulling luggage behind them, all going in different directions but all seemingly focused on where they’re headed. Shops and stores, restaurants, cafes and bars all around, all crowded. It’s like seeing the inside of a giant human anthill.

Jana has been here so many times she could navigate it with her eyes closed. Melissa and I were like country comes to town pacing behind a very confident Jana. Up, down, around, and eventually outside and down a long exterior walkway next to the rails. Since we arrived at central by subway, we couldn’t completely trust it being on time, especially with the summer schedule still in play, so we arrived pretty early. Nothing to do now but dig in and wait. At least it was a nice sunny day.

IMG_8406

Click here to come ride the train with me! This is my second time doing this. I just love a long train ride. And southern Sweden, in particular, has some of the most gorgeous countryside in Europe. We arrived at Copenhagen Central Station about five and a half hours later, a half hour later than expected.

We checked in at the Manon Les Suites hotel (see review of hotel at bottom of article). We were pleasantly surprised at the size of the room and overall swank factor of the hotel.

IMG_8434

After we checked in, we went over to the Tivoli Gardens. Click here to see the full write up of this magnificent park. We walked around the park and gardens for a bit. It was a pretty crowded, as you might expect of an amusement park on a warm summer evening, but the layout was done so well that you just didn’t feel cramped. Every now and then, this formal marching band would just appear on one of the main paths, then disappear after a brief show. Dreamy.

Once we had walked up a good appetite, we went to the Nimb Restaurant and had some drinks and a savory dinner on their private terrace as we watched the people go by.

Day Two

We went on the The Culinary Experience food tour. This was a four hour, four kilometer (2.5 mi) walking food tour.

It was delicious, even though the rain tried but failed to ruin it. We got to see some some very nice sights that most tourists never see, and our guide gave us a great historical perspective of the areas we went through and even how the food itself changed over time. It was very nice.

We did the one hour canal tour from Nyhavn. It was a guided tour that went up the main canal and around some of the smaller ones. It was fun and educational, plus we got some great pictures from the water.

After leaving a wine bar, we got ambushed by a really bad thundershower. We were all soaking wet, even though we had umbrellas. Returned to the hotel and ordered pizza delivery!

Day 3

Lounged around a bit in the morning, then went and had a great hamburger at Halifax Burger Restaurant for lunch. This is one of the places I formally reviewed on the restaurant list. You must go here if you’re in Copenhagen!

IMG_8545

We did the Urban Tour, which is a 3 hour 15 kilometer (9.3mi) bicycle tour. There were frequent stops for our guide to tell us the historical perspective of things around us. The clouds built up during the tour – did we make it without getting drenched? Click here to find out.

After the bike tour, we walked around some, did some more window shopping, then had dinner at Peder Oxe. Cool name for a restaurant, eh? It was a pretty unique place. Check out the review of it at the end of this article.

 

Day 4

Once we checked out of our hotel, we left our bags with the front desk and took the metro down to the National Aquarium of Denmark (Den Blå Planet). Very well done aquarium and media presentations.

IMG_8608

Click here to check it out. Also got lunch at the cafe, which wasn’t half bad, and was also included in the restaurant reviews.

Well, that’s it. We went back to the hotel, got our luggage, and walked over to the train station. A great visit with our friend Melissa. The rain tried to douse our fun a couple of times, but we didn’t let it ruin our good time!


Accommodations

Manon Les Suites – Good location. It was a 15 minute walk from the train, and we easily walked to all of our attractions.

Nice hotel suite. Around $400/night. Sounds pricey, but it really was a suite and it was very roomy for three guests. A private master suite with full bath. Comfy day bed in living room and half bathroom. Could even sleep another on sofa in living room. Refrigerator and sink. Full bath has no shower door, causing bathroom floor to essentially flood. Not a malfunction, typical European shower design.

IMG_8577

Awesome and unique pool, which we ooo’d and ahhh’d over but did not swim in, this time…

Restaurants

Click here to see the full reviews of all the restaurants we went to, complete with pictures, addresses, and The Travelin’ Man’s recommendations.

Copenhagen Restaurants

These are the restaurants we went to during our trip to Copenhagen with our friend, Melissa. First of all let me say right up front that restaurant reviews is an area in which I could use some improvement. As I indicated in the “About” section, I have very simple tastes. And I almost always forget to photograph the food before we all start digging in. But I do feel like I’m getting better, so thanks for hanging in there with me!

Aquarium Cafe

Location: Inside the aquarium.

Recommendation: Since this was a cafe, I won’t do a full review. But please note that once you’re out at the aquarium, you are a good ways off from anyplace else to eat. So either eat before you go, bring your own, or enjoy the cafe. I had the fish and chips and it really wasn’t bad at all. At least go get a cup of coffee and sit out and enjoy the spectacular view.

 

Fru Nimb

Location: Inside Tivoli Gardens

Venue: Excellent atmosphere, sat outside on their private terrace. They had table umbrellas and heaters. It looks and feels very swanky, and while it wasn’t cheap, it wasn’t nearly as pricey as I had expected. We had an excellent time and even had a surprise visit from a peacock (no, we didn’t eat him).

Menu: English translations on the menu. The menu is pretty fancy, with a French influence. Melissa and I both got the chicken. It was very delicious and cooked perfectly. I would have preferred a breast versus wrestling with the entire half chicken. I know, poor Travelin’ Man! There was also a roast beef dish, a tar tar, veal, lamb, etc. Jana got the fish, which was superb; kind of wish I had chosen that. Notice the little nicks on the top of the food, “Wait! Forks down I gotta get pictures…”

Drinks: We were a little overheated, so I started with a refreshing cider and switched to the house white for dinner. The wine list tried a little too hard to be diverse and ended up having a bit of an identity crises. But the prices were reasonable, considering the venue, and you will find something you like.

Recommendation: Our server was top notch, everything arrived hot, and there was no long delay on dinner drinks. So if you’re in the mood for a slightly more formal, sit down and take your time kind of dinner, then I definitely recommend this place. We would come back here again.

 

Halifax Vesterbrogade (aka Halifax Burger Restaurant)

IMG_8576

Location: Vesterbrogade 72, 1620 København V, Denmark. Literally right across the street from where we were going for the bicycle tour.

Venue: Fantastic burgers here. We were on our way to Copenhagen Cycles for our bicycle tour and stopped in here for lunch. Very cozy burger-joint style, sort of an American 60’s kind of flair. Big comfortable booths.

Menu: This is where they shine. Pick your burger option from one of many, then the bun, then any add-ones and sides. This is definitely a Travelin’ Man spot!

Recommendation: The service was very good and the staff was friendly. Food was delivered hot and delicious with a smile. We will add this to our must do list each time we come to Copenhagen.

 

Peder Oxe

Location: Gråbrødretorv 11, stuen, 1154 København K, Denmark. Literally inside the square at Gråbrødretorv.

Venue: It was raining so I wasn’t able to get a decent picture, but it is absolutely cozy and cool inside the square. Several nice bars and restaurants here. We got there early, so we had drinks at Huks Fluks, then just walked (stumbled) across the square to dinner. The rain was blowing around pretty hard, so we opted for a spot inside. The place is pretty cool inside, it used to be a monestary. It’s especially interesting downstairs if you can get a table there.

IMG_8674

This is a pic from last time we came and sat downstairs.

Menu: I would call it mostly Danish with a French influence, which is quite popular in Copenhagen. It’s a little on the pricey side, but not too much so. I had the Striploin steak, which was good, but Jana got the venison and it was outstanding. Melissa got the lobster soup, which was salty, but tasty.

Drinks: Very good selection of French, Italian and Spanish wines, with a few others sprinkled in. Prices were in line with other fine restaurants in Scandanavia, which is to say expensive. 😛

Recommendation: We actually came here last time we were in Copenhagen, and it was top notch both times. Service is excellent, food is delicious, and the wine selection is great. What more could you ask for?

Copenhagen Aquarium

Copenhagen Aquarium

Recommendation

The Travelin’ Man’s Overall Recommendation: VERY GOOD*
(surprisingly good, exceeding on some levels)

  • What did I like the most: Wide variety of exhibits and great interactive media.
  • What is the biggest area for improvement: Wish the free bus had more locations for pickup.

Logistics

The aquarium is located at Jacob Fortlingsvej 1, 2770 Kastrup, Denmark. This is a bit outside the immediate area so we had to take the subway to get here, which was pretty standard for subways. There were kiosks inside the subway stations where we were able to get our subway tickets. The tickets are time bound one way, so be sure to only buy what you need. There is also a free bus that goes to the aquarium, but the pickup location was not convenient to our hotel.

We paid 170 dkk ($27) for entry at the entrance. You could easily spend two or more hours here.

The Aquarium

This aquarium is up to expectations in terms of what you would expect for an aquarium in a major metropolitan area. The media types used throughout are very modern, and offered in multiple languages, including English.

IMG_8588

For example, the above is a touch screen info center located at each exhibit and is based on the actual fish in the respective tank.

As for the exhibits themselves, everything here is as you would expect including individual, specialized displays, even had one for piranha (above lower left). There really is a lot to see here.

And of course the humongous tank that had the more exotic fish and sharks. They also has a glass tunnel where you walked through the large tank.

IMG_8596

And I just love sea horses, but the sea horse dragons are even better! I could sit and watch these things for hours. Wait….where’d everybody go? Jana?

Yup, found Jana and Melissa sitting outside enjoying the fantastic view at the cafe. They serve up a pretty decent lunch and serve wine and beer. Of course I had…..fish!

All in all, this was a top notch aquarium experience. Come here. Bring your kids! Sorry that I don’t have a crazy Melissa picture here to finish with, she was on her best behavior here….


* Each area is rated on a scale 1-5, with 1 = poor, 3 = good, 5 = exceptional
How did this do compared to what I had expected: 4
How well were the logistics handled: 4
Was the staff helpful and friendly: 3
Overall execution and presentation: 4
Total score: 15
4 – 8 is POOR (was not at all what I expected and/or was not worth the time/money)
9 – 10 is OK (quality of the experience was a little low, but I enjoyed it)
11 – 13 is GOOD (met expectations, would recommend, would do again)
14 – 15 is VERY GOOD (surprisingly good, exceeding on some levels)
16 – 20 is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED (outperformed my expectations, great value)

 

 

Copenhagen Bike Tour

Copenhagen Bike Tour

 

Recommendation

The Travelin’ Man’s Overall Recommendation: VERY GOOD*
(surprisingly good, exceeding on some levels)

  • What did I like the most: The tour itself was very thorough and original, did not overlap knowledge from our canal tour or food tour.
  • What is the biggest area for improvement: I didn’t care for the back peddle braking system.

Logistics

This was The Urban Tour  with bicycle tour company Cycling Copenhagen  (http://www.cycling-copenhagen.dk)

They are located at, and the tour started at: Cycling Copenhagen, Westend 4, 1661 København V, Denmark.

It was a 12km (7.5 mi) ride around the northwestern part of Copenhagen proper. The cost was 299 dkk, and it lasted about two and a half hours. There is a guide that leads the tour and stops at key points along the way to give you historical perspective on the area or particular landmarks.

IMG_8547

Our tour guide was Jacob, and he rocked it! He was friendly, energetic, and knowledgeable. Since the weather was a bit dreary, we were given ponchos….”just in case” haha. The owner of the tour company came out to wish us bon voyage, it was a nice touch.

The Bikes

IMG_8567

There were two different types of bikes. The white one in the previous section being displayed by our guide was a pretty standard three speed with front and rear brakes on the left and right handles respectively. Others had one like mine, shown here. Also a three speed, but it had the old timey rear brake system where you  reverse pedal to apply the rear brake, and the front brake was on the left handle. Not a big deal, really, although I prefer the models with both brakes on the handles.

Even though it was an urban tour, I didn’t have to use the bell one time! That never happens in Stockholm!

The Tour

We just love bicycle tours and try to take them when we can, mostly determined by the weather. What better way to experience an area than with the wind whipping through your hair, and with no windshields or obstacles blocking your view…

IMG_8668

You can see the exact route we took above. I tracked us using my Fitbit. While it is advertised as a 12km ride, my Fitbit tracked it closer to 14km (sorry, that last little blip was where I forgot to turn off Fitbit tracking). But this could just as easily be an error in the way Fitbit measures it, for example look at 3rd and 4th kilometer, looks kind of suspicious to me. I would trust the pros, but really, we’re only talking 2k here.

IMG_8563

Anyhow, we went through some really nice areas. Above is the front side of Christiansborg Palace. If you read my article on the canal tour, then you saw the back side of this from inside the canal. Yup, The Travelin’ Man gets around.

 

 

 

Jacob took us to a little known sort of private gardens where we got off our bikes and walked around a bit. Absolutely stunning, and the gardens aren’t too shabby either!

IMG_8573

This is a fabulous view of some of the downtown buildings. This just looks ultra contemporary to me. Even with the dreary, overcast weather, this view looks fresh and bright. Copenhagen has done an excellent job modernizing their skyline without compromising historic integrity. Case in point, look at the next picture.

IMG_8574

Definitely not one of my better pictures, but this used to be two cement silos (there is another one to the right). They were hideous to look at, especially in light of the city beautification project, but they were not able to take them down. So they built (high dollar) apartments around and through the silos. Absolute engineering genious!

IMG_8560

Jacob led us through a cemetery that is also a popular park. The idea being to celebrate life by making the cemetery a beautiful park that people can enjoy. And some pretty famous people resting here, as you can see.

And of course just a ton of other great things we saw on this tour. As you may have caught on, it was quite dreary during this tour, and the threat of rain seemed to be increasing as we neared the end of the tour. At one point, we were stopped at an intersection waiting for a light, and Jacob informed us we were only two minutes away from base.

Jana pointed down the street, “We’re not gonna make it”- you could literally see the heavy rain splattering down on the cobblestones AND you could see it moving in our direction! The light turned green and suddenly we were all Tour de France contenders in a every-man-for-himself race back to base!

But Jana was right, we didn’t make it….although it was very, very close and we only got a little bit wet. But it sure was an exciting way to end an already fabulous tour!


* Each area is rated on a scale 1-5, with 1 = poor, 3 = good, 5 = exceptional
How did this do compared to what I had expected: 4
How well were the logistics handled: 3
Was the staff helpful and friendly: 4
Overall execution and presentation: 4
Total score: 15
4 – 8 is POOR (was not at all what I expected and/or was not worth the time/money)
9 – 10 is OK (quality of the experience was a little low, but I enjoyed it)
11 – 13 is GOOD (met expectations, would recommend, would do again)
14 – 15 is VERY GOOD (surprisingly good, exceeding on some levels)
16 – 20 is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED (outperformed my expectations, great value)

 

 

Copenhagen Canal Tour

Recommendation

The Travelin’ Man’s Overall Recommendation: GOOD*
(met expectations, would recommend, would do again)

  • What did I like the most: Historical perspective from guide was quite good
  • What is the biggest area for improvement: Some windows open from previous ride which made those seats by the window too wet to sit in since it was drizzling

Logistics

IMG_0031

This is The Grand Tour. You can pick it up from Gammel Strand or Nyhavn. It’s the same tour. The cost is 80 ddk ($13) and it lasts about an hour.  You’re in a standard flat boat, which is needed to get under some lower hanging bridges; there is no bar, snacks, or bathroom, and it’s non stop. It’s a guided tour, and it leaves every 10-30 mins (summertime).

You can book in advance online, but I recommend just walking over to one of the two boarding areas a half hour or so before you want to leave.

The Tour

Overall it is quite informative and covers many of the major landmarks in the area. The windows on the boat open all the way up and over your head, which makes for great views.

The Black Diamond, the Little Mermaid, Christiansborg Palace (from the back), and the Copenhagen Opera House to name but a few. It was a bit dreary when we went, so the pics aren’t my best work.

The captain drifted around behind the Little Mermaid for a bit so we could all get a good pic. I thought that was a nice thing to do.

Overall a great way to acclimate yourself to the area. Jana and I also did this tour last time we were here and we liked it then, too.

IMG_8478

And I guess Melissa didn’t see the sign under the window about keeping hands and arms inside the boat. Yes, it was in English! Punk.


* Each area is rated on a scale 1-5, with 1 = poor, 3 = good, 5 = exceptional
How did this do compared to what I had expected: 3
How well were the logistics handled: 3
Was the staff helpful and friendly: 3
Overall execution and presentation: 3
Total score: 12
4 – 8 is POOR (was not at all what I expected and/or was not worth the time/money)
9 – 10 is OK (quality of the experience was a little low, but I enjoyed it)
11 – 13 is GOOD (met expectations, would recommend, would do again)
14 – 15 is VERY GOOD (surprisingly good, exceeding on some levels)
16 – 20 is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED (outperformed my expectations, great value)

Quick Update

Hello all,

Just wanted to send you a quick note about some recent changes to the blog. The list of “Tours” under Stockholm was getting too long, so I broke out all the boat rides and cruises and gave them their own category (still under Stockholm).

I also moved the article about Fjäderholmarna Island under the “Boat Rides and Cruises” list. But here’s the great news, when I moved that article, it occurred to me the article was one of my fisrt and wasn’t really up to the high standards of The Travelin’ Man! So I have completely gutted it and restructured it, and I added reviews of the restaurants, including the ones we went to with Melissa and Brandi while they were here, and there are a ton of new pics, so please give it a read and see what you think. Click here to see it now.

THANKS ALL and have a great day!

Copenhagen Food Tour

Logistics

This was The Culinary Experience Tour.  It covers about 4 km (2.5 mi) over about 4 hours and has seven tastings. The tour costs 850 ddk ($135). The tour starts and ends at Torvehallerne, which is the new covered market areas.

Our guide was Birgitte, and she really rocked it. She was very knowledgeable about history, landmarks, and the restaurants, and she had an energetic and friendly style.

See the two pictures above that detail the names and addresses of all the places we went, as well as a map of the tour, which was primarily around central Copenhagen.

The Tour

We met outside the Torvehallerne market area. Birgitte gave us a very informative historical perspective on how the covered markets came to be here, and the impact of their presence on the local area.

IMG_8460

Once inside, we went over to a an artisan cheese maker called Arla Unika. The cheeses were exceptionally good, but especially the blue cheese. I’m not a big fan of blue cheese, but I must say this stuff was exceptional. I never had a cheese melt in my mouth like that. BirgitteExplained that part of the secret involved using a yogurt base. The fruit wine that accompanied the cheeses did a good job melding with the flavor of the cheeses. So yes, a very small plate, but what a grand tasting!

 

IMG_8461

Next, we stepped over to the cheese house Bornholmer Butikken, which specializes in products from the island of Bornholm, Denmark. Of special note was the black licorice. Even folks who don’t care much for the stuff seemed to enjoy it. Very mellow, with a smooth, sweet aftertaste.

We walked through a beautiful area in the center of Botanisk Have (Botanimal Garden). Birgitte Got out some locally produced honey and some taste sticks. Once you taste this pure golden honey, you realize how corrupt all other honey is! It really was that good folks.

As you can see in the pictures, it was a bit overcast. It did, in fact, rain a couple of times while we were walking, but we had a lively crew that was unwilling to let a little rain spoil the fun.

After the Botanical Gardens, we walked to Aamanns Deli. This was a sit down stop. The deli itself was quite cozy, and there were a few local folks inside enjoying a meal. Birgitte brought out a platter for each of us that had four small open face sandwiches (called smørrebrød). These are quite popular in Copenhagen.

IMG_8640

The idea behind smørrebrød is to combine a variety of meats, vegetables, and other ingredients to produce a new, unique flavor. Different restaurants and deli’s all have their chefs trying to create the perfect taste combination that the locals will discover and flock to. And of course Aamanns was doing quite well at this.

Now with substantial food in our bellies, we crossed the canal and ventured through the uppity neighborhood of Jens Juels Gade. Birgitte gave us the history of how it was once a slum of sorts, with each house containing three or more families.

IMG_8473

The next stop, also a sit down, was at the Nørrebro Bryghus Danish microbrewery. Here we each got a light, med, and dark ale to sample. I liked all three of them. The dark had a unique, lasting flavor to it. My favorite was the middle one. Rich and full, but not as heavy as the dark one and more robust than the light. Yup, I finished all three of mine!

Now the next place just doesn’t sound real fancy, and there is no way for me to sell in that way no matter how hard I try, so I’ll just come out with it; it was a street stand that served gourmet hot dogs. See, I knew that was going to be tricky.

IMG_8474

But seriously, you get to pick the type of wiener/brat, bun type, and any fixings. I got to tell you folks, short of my own backyard, these are the best hot dogs I have ever tasted. I later realized that I had forgotten the name of the place, so we went back a little while later, and they had vanished….like it never happened.

IMG_8476

What better way to finish up a great food tour than with some candy. We headed over to Sømods Bolcher (candy maker). We sampled some hard candy and some carmel, all was melt in your mouth delicious. They make the candy the old fashioned way and even use old original equipment from the turn of the century.

Then we finished up where we started, back at the food market.

 

Tivoli Gardens of Copenhagen

Tivoli Gardens of Copenhagen

 

IMG_8444

Easily the most beautiful amusement park I have ever seen. Do you remember “I Dream of Jeannie,” the TV show from the late 60’s? Recall how she had a fully furnished living room down inside that tiny little bottle she lived in? Well this amusement park is just like that.

IMG_8459

You look around at all the rides, ponds, gardens, and restaurants, and you ask yourself, how the hell did they get all this stuff in the middle of town and in such a seemingly very small area. It’s truly amazing. I’m sure it is actually the bottom of some genie’s bottle.

IMG_8441

And there are quite a few rides packed in here, and not cheap rides like you might see in other amusement parks, some of these are really decent rides. And the restaurants, OMG. Tons of restaurants at all levels of quality. Seriously, like 20 places to eat, probably 80% were sit down decent restaurants.

The other 20% would be fast food, street food booths, and candy vendors. The smell of cotton candy, hamburgers, and popcorn tells your senses your are definitely in an amusement park!

 

 

IMG_8439

We sat at one place for drinks. We were surrounded by the beautifully landscaped gardens and literally right next to a pond used for the bumper boats. From where we sat, we could see most of the biggest and scariest rides all around us, and we were entertained by hearing the screams from the passengers. It was awesome fun! No, of course we didn’t ride anything. But we sure had fun laughing at those who did!

IMG_8446

Oh wait, we did find one ride us old folks could handle, haha! She makes it look so easy!

Later, we had dinner at Fru Nimb, which is reviewed on the restaurants page. It was an unforgettable experience sitting on their private terrace, people watching while having a delicious dinner and wine with our friend from the US, Melissa-The-Shark-Tamer. We love you girl!

Good times.

The Train

The Train

Train from Stockholm to Copenhagen

Logistics

We got our round trip tickets online at sj.se for about 1200 kr each ($150). The train ride is around five hours each way. We left Stockholm Central Station on time, and arrived at Copenhagen Central Station a half hour late.

IMG_8635

The seats were preassigned. The rows were two seats on each side. We all sat together in the same area. The seats, even though they did not recline, were very comfortable. And about as roomy as a first class ticket on a plane, though not as wide. There was ample storage overhead. Each seat had a large pull down table, and there were two power outlets in the center console.

There is, of course, a bathroom on each car. There was a bistro in car 5 that served snacks, sandwiches, and drinks, including beer and wine.

 

The Ride

IMG_8412

As you would expect, the scenery across southern Sweden is absolutely stunning. And keep in mind that these pictures were taken from the high speed train while zipping through the countryside.

IMG_8411

Coming from the city, we sometimes forget what the wide open country looks like. Beautiful sprawling pastures, lush green forests, and calm clear lakes and ponds. You can almost smell the fresh air even inside the high speed train as it dashes through the scenery.

IMG_8416

And the train is so quiet, it’s very easy to take naps or have quiet conversations. For the most part, it is a very smooth ride, but there was some side to side jostling later in the trip out. I assume this was because we were at a higher rate of speed to make up some lost time. There are frequent stops at most of the major towns to pick people up and drop others off.

IMG_8423

Then you’ll cross the Øresund Bridge. The bridge runs nearly 8 kilometres (5 miles) from the Swedish coast to the artificial island of Peberholm in the middle of the strait. The crossing is completed by the 4-kilometre (2.5 mi) Drogden Tunnel from Peberholm to the Danish island of Amager, then on to Copenhagen.

For us, the relaxing and scenic voyage on the train is part of the enjoyment of the trip

Hagaparken

 

The Park

IMG_8142

This is a massive and beautiful sprawling park across the lake from the Stockholm University campus. Not only is it a gorgeous display of nature, but it also has the Haga Palace, King Gustav III’s Pavillion, botanical gardens, a Chinese pavilion and gardens, a Turkish Kiosk, and it is also the site of the Swedish Royal Burial Grounds.

What’s more, we didn’t even know all those things were there; we came to see the butterfly house and aquarium, which are also on the grounds! All in all an amazing park that you could easily spend an entire day exploring.

I will review the attractions we visited, over and above just walking around the beautiful lake and park, and I will make updates when we make future trips to see the other things. So if you’re a follower of the site, you’ll get an email when I add more content to this article.

The Butterfly House

IMG_8148

Ok, I know what you’re thinking. This just seems wrong on so many levels. What exactly is a butterfly house anyway? And even if there is such a thing, can a manly-man like the Travelin’ Man even be seen attending such a place? And given the long, dark, cold winters of Stockholm, how could you even sustain an environment for a, er um, butterfly house?

Well, it really is quite amazing. When you walk into this place, you literally almost choke to death. The humidity goes from crisp and clear to a thick 100%, and the temperature is suddenly near 100 degrees f (38 Celsius).

IMG_8168IMG_8163

But then you recover, and you look around and see a tropical forest, with jungle plants, ponds, and yes, butterflies!

 

There is also a koi tank and even some giant spiders, scorpions, and other tropical insects and fish.

 

Now it is a small area, but you will definitely see many different species of butterflies. We used our prepaid Stockholm pass to get in at no cost, so I don’t know what the admission is to get in. Note, too, that the aquarium is included with the admission.

The Aquarium

IMG_8153

This is actually part of the butterfly house. Don’t go in expecting some great aquarium like in Chicago or Atlanta. This is a very small side show. I will say that some of the advertising I have seen for this place tries to make it much more than it is. Yes, there are fake animals. For example, we never saw an alligator or crocodile as depicted in the adds, or a live hippo. So that is a little misleading and works against them in terms of online reviews.

But to kill a little time, especially if you have some smaller kids, this is a good place. Just set your expectations accordingly.

IMG_8200

The thing that I, personally, enjoyed the most was the sea horses. They have a good display here with several live specimens.

 

There re is also a pretty decent shark tank, with some small sharks in it, and a well developed coral reef with more tropical fish.

So as a standalone attraction, it’s not so impressive, but imbedded inside the magnificent Hagaparken and attached to the butterfly house, you can’t really go wrong.