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June, 2006

Copenhagen, Denmark
pictures for the impatient...

We traveled to the Rotary International Convention in Copenhagen. The convention was a fabulous experience, but not necessarily photogenic! Between sessions we had some opportunities to explore this beautiful city.

Day 1 - Flying Iceland Air makes the trip to Europe quite tolerable. It's about 5 hours to Reykjavik - a chance to stretch your legs before the final four hours or so to Copenhagen. After arriving at the airport in Copenhagen and picking up the train to the convention center, we registered with Rotary, took a shuttle bus to our Hotel and joined several thousand fellow Rotarians at Tivoli Gardens. We had several hours to listen to music, eat a little food and enjoy a few fireworks before exhaustion overcame us and we headed back to the hotel.

Day 2 - We got up fairly early the next morning and hit the streets. We covered several miles before catching a train to the convention center for the morning session. At noon we had a break that was just long enough to hop the train to Vor Frelsers Kirke. The spiral staircase around the outside of the spire is inspired! The urban legend regarding the staircase is that when the architect climbed the staircase after its completion he realized it spiraled in the wrong direction, causing him so much distress he threw himself from the top. Didn't happen. That evening we took the train to Malmö. We believed our Rotary provided transportation pass covered the entire region. We found out later we stole a free ride from Copenhagen to Sweden across the new bridge. We had a nice dinner, took a few pictures and returned without getting caught. We promise we'll buy a ticket if we ever get the opportunity to make the trip again!

Day 3 - Each day got warmer as the week progressed. It finally reached the mid 80s and we were dressed for the 60s or less. Most hotels do not have air conditioning. We had to leave windows open to cool off enough to sleep, but then you couldn't sleep because the sun came up at 3am. During the noon break and we headed for Royal Copenhagen porcelain factory. Following the afternoon session we headed for the Botanical Gardens. After walking around the grounds for a couple of hours we grabbed a bite to eat and decided to walk all the way down to the Little Mermaid. First we had to climb the Round Tower - the 100 foot tall tower has a spiral ramp on the inside - 7 and a half turns to the top. Then, we stopped by Nyhavn to watch people for a while, and headed north-ish to Amalianborg Palace. We watched the changing of the guard. From there we walked along the harbor to the mermaid. I never cease to be amazed by the total lack of respect people exhibit for such an important piece of art. People regularly climb up on the statue, sitting on her head (and worse). It's disappointing. By now it was after 10 pm and we caught a train back into downtown and our hotel.

Day 4 - The final day of the convention was busy and we didn't get out late afternoon. It was still warm but the clouds were coming in fast. We managed to catch the last tour boat of the day. That evening we just wandered around a bit, taking random pictures of 'stuff.' Probably the most impressive feature of Copenhagen are the bicycles - EVERYWHERE! Always look twice before crossing the street - in many cases the bicycles are faster than cars and have little sympathy for pedestrians. And for every bicycle on the road, there are dozens parked in racks all over the city.

Travel Day - No pictures in Copenhagen today. Once our bags were packed and we were checked out of the hotel it was difficult to pull the camera out of the bag for a shot. We walked to the main station to catch a train to the airport. We got on the wrong train, which turned out to be a high speed express train to places far away. In just a few minutes we realized our mistake. Again, this was a route not covered on our transportation pass. In 10 minutes the train made its first stop and we got off. We found we were at the very last stop on a line covered by our pass. We got on the next local returning to town. It took a half hour to get back where we started. Fortunately, we had started out with plenty of time. We arrived at the airport to find a huge mess - twenty some thousand Rotarians trying to get home all at once. We worked our way through the system and settled into our seats for a 4 hour flight to Reykjavik and our Icelandic Adventure!


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