Monday, 22 October 2012

Copenhagen, Denmark

The train ride to Denmark was pleasant and after travelling inter Europe by train, I don't know why you would opt to fly unless on a tight budget. It may cost a bit more and take longer but the journey is much smoother, the seats have more space, no lines, checking in or getting to the station 2 hours before departure and you get to see some lovely scenery and it is a great chance to have a nap, read a book, or make notes for your blog.

Bright and early on the train

When we first arrived in Copenhagen we stored our bags in lockers at the central train station as we knew our accommodation was a bit out of town and wanted to start looking around right away. Although my first impressions were this-is-just-another-European-city, once we got amongst and started exploring, I realized it had it's own vibe going on and is a really cool place.

Dude looks like he has a headache

We strolled the streets and stopped in at a corner liquor store to purchase some Weiss beers then sat alongside the canal and drank them watching the locals walk their dogs and the tourists on their boat tours.


Enjoying a delicious beer

Our accommodation was a fifteen minute train ride out of the city center. The place was owned by an old couple and I felt like we were staying at my grandparents! Sneaking in late trying not to wake anyone up.

It was a bit of a rush back into the city as the restaurants all closed at about half 9. We decided on a little old  wooden pub for dinner despite the annoying magician doing tricks for beers also dining there.

Had been waiting for this big wiener schnitzel since my ill fated trip to Salzburg earlier in the year with Jessica where all we ate was pretzels. It was far too big which please Dom as he got to help me out.

The meat came on a massive platter with a separate plate

Food envy

Tuesday we trained into town and fueled ourselves with cakes and coffees for breakfast, had a quick look around the shops and then went on the hunt for the free bikes located around the city for tourist and locals to use. It took a long time to actually find two working bikes.

Love eating whatever I want for breakfast on holiday!

Haven't seen these for sale in years! Ah the memories

We headed out to Cristiania, the part of town the hippies run, where not even the police bother to patrol anymore. The little town is quite large, I think of a Splore/Coromandel town mash up when I try to describe it, lots of art made from old bikes and metal etc, lots of colour, even a green light district for all your marijuana growing needs.

After leaving the colourful, weird but oddly wonderful Christiana we went in search of The Little Mermaid  a tourist attraction I didn't even know existed until we arrived. The Author of the story Hans Christian Anderson was born here in Copenhagen.

The Little Mermaid

Looks like a jigsaw puzzle I once had

Although Copenhagen is flat, the wind made the cycling a bit hard going, so by the time we got back to the city we were well in need of a beer stop. Whilst enjoying our delicious beer and watching the well dressed Danes, some kids tried to steal our bikes, they thought it was hilarious.

Time for a refuel, we gorged on fresh bread and cupcakes before exploring the Copenhagen Design Museum and discovered the Danes are really good designers, the rumours are true. Upon exiting, our bikes were well and truly stolen this time.


Must be time for another beer....

The meatpacking district sounded quite cool, we found a stylish restaurant where we over fed ourselves on 6.9% IPA's and anti pasti.

So delicious

A short sweet visit to Copenhagen, highly recommend visiting this place. Lot's to do and see, friendly culture, delicious food and beers, and again very well dressed humans!

We set the alarms ready for our early train ride to Hamburg.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Stockholm, Sweden.

Training began in March, perhaps a little too soon, perhaps too much too often for a brand new runner or perhaps, as I keep hearing it was IF not WHEN, being the reason behind the injury that stopped me doing what I had worked so hard to do.

Whatever the reason I had an amazing weekend in Stockholm and was proud to support the people that got the best view of this beautiful city, the ones running 21 km around it!

Dom and I landed at an airfield that looked the size of the one you’d find in Thames and took a 2 hour bus ride into the city in peak traffic. After a quick map check we made it to our hotel located perfectly located, only a short walk to the city centre. We wandered through the city centre over to the start point of the half marathon to pick up Dom’s information pack. Thankfully wearing my big black glasses to hide a few sneaky tears creeping up – in case you haven’t gathered I was devastated to not be picking up my own pack.

View towards downtown Stockholm

My first impressions of the city (which were confirmed right throughout our time here) is that the Swedes have good jeans and great genes. I had heard it was a stylish city and for me it definitely wins the prize for its particular style not really diverse but still right up my alley.

We dined on Italian on our first night, me sympathetically carbo loading with Dom, be rude to leave him doing it by himself! After a short stroll we headed back to our hotel to our teensy single beds for a good night’s sleep before the big day.

Our second and third nights were spent at City Backpackers, literally 100 meters down the road where the rest of our runner friends and supporters were staying. At check in we met our friends then headed back to the start line to scope it out and so others could pick up their packs. As a group we strolled over to the island Gamla Stan weaving through the cobbled streets and headed over to check out the town hall for a look.

City Hall

The half marathon started after 4pm in the afternoon so we soon got back to the hostel for everyone to gear up and make their way to the start line. 

Dom Graeme Nat Kitaj

Over 16,000 people ran that day – the sea of people took nearly an hour to all begin the race as they crossed the start line in stages. We waited at the 12 & 19 km mark so we could see all the people we knew halfway and again nearing the end.

Support Crew

Everyone put in such an awesome effort, I’m most proud of Dom for doing it in a super fast hour and 45 minutes bang on his target!

After the race was over it cold down pretty fast and there was a great need for beers and food! Our group, 30 strong, headed to an Asian restaurant where the food was just above average but at least the beers were over 3% not like the sort you get in your 7/11.

Smiles all round

Some of the ladies x
The restaurant soon turned into a night club as the host had promised (I thought he would wait till I finished my dinner first).  We all had a good boozy night out and a fun filled walk home filled with cell phone music and side of the road sausage stands.

Sunday morning we set off in search of a cafe said to have really good coffee by a man in the group that knew his beans. The walk turned out to be longer than expected but we got another good look through Gamla Stan and also Sodermalm where we arrived at our destination. As it turned out the girl behind the counter was a Kiwi! The flat whites were destined to be good.

In the afternoon the rest of our friends had to head back to London, thankfully we still had another day in Stockholm before setting off to our next destination. We hired bikes from City backpackers for a cheap 50 Krona. Biking always gives a better perspective of any city, it is quick, you see a lot, go at your own pace and stop whenever and wherever you like.

Checkin' out the view

Stockholm is very pretty and green, lots of old buildings and lovely islands to explore. While on our travels we came upon a boat shed by a river with a small coffee & danish shop in it. We had a romantic stop which was swiftly ruined by cheeky ducks forcing me to dine alone, standing up, over away on the side of the road.

Date spot

View from date spot

Add a danish and coffee


Until this cheeky guy came along and ruined it!

We biked back over to Sodermalm, the trendy part of Stockholm and stopped for a well deserved beer after putting up with Dom trying to run me off my bike most of the afternoon. 

Well deserved beer
Plenty of these on our travels

Dom being a menace, a complete menace

Chillin' on the bike

Good spot to look out over Stockholm

Tempted to swap the pushbike for this one

Dinner was made in the hostel before turning in for the night excited for to following day, part 2 of our trip… Copenhagen