Recently, I did something unusual…I posted on “Stuttgart Friends Who Like to Travel” Facebook page, “I am an older, single woman looking for a traveling companion. I don’t have a car, but am willing to share expenses with someone else who might need company. I’ll be in Stuttgart cat sitting until August 2 and then plan to travel to Spain, Portugal and Morocco. I’m pretty easy going and adventurous. I’m ok with traveling alone, but thought I’d post this and see where it leads. . “
Taking the initiative like this was a first for me. Normally, I’m the one responding to someone else’s post. As a result of the post, I met another lady who was interested in traveling with me. A date was set and she came over to my apartment to become acquainted. We went to lunch together at a local Italian restaurant and I throughly enjoyed getting to know her. After talking with her over lunch, I learned cthat she is a night person versus a morning person, is single, teaches and is also a grandma. We have a lot in common.
After lunch, we went back to my apartment and jointly made plans for a trip to Copenhagen, Denmark from Stuttgart, Germany. We compared train travel times (13.5 hours) and costs ($280) to plane travel times (1.5 hours) and costs ($242) and booked our plane tickets for the following Tuesday. Together, we looked for a place to stay while in Copenhagen. I looked at Airbnbs while she looked at hotels. We settled on a hotel, Good Morning City Copenhagen, at $145 a night in a central location which served a hearty breakfast for an additional $13. I loved the way we were working together to make the most of this trip. I’m so used to doing things alone and this was wonderful…not to mention that I’ll be able to split the hotel costs in half!
On Tuesday, we met at the Stuttgart airport and got on a 9:40am Lauda flight to Copenhagen. I was allowed to take a small suitcase and a personal bag on board that would fit under the seat since I paid an extra fee of $14. There were snacks and beverages available, but they had to be purchased. The 1.5 hour flight went smoothly.
After we arrived, we took the train from the airport to Copenhagen’s central train station using our previously purchased mobile Copenhagen Card. Our hotel was located near the central train station and was easy to find using Google maps.
After checking in, we found that we had one double bed instead of two beds as requested. The room also had no AC and it was hot. We opened all the windows, but it was a long night.
The next morning, after waking up with a damp nightgown from sweating all night, the hotel switched us to another room with two twin beds and gave us a fan. Our stay improved considerably after that!
The longer I was with my new traveling companion, the more I started to appreciate her. She never complained and was so easy going. She deferred to me in decision making and I had to be careful that I didn’t overwhelm or consult her. Another thing that I liked about her is…the girl could walk! She had no trouble keeping up with me even when we walked more than seven miles a day!
Before arriving, we purchased the Copenhagen Card for four days for $147 because it covered all transportation, including canal rides, and gave us entry into over 82 places of interest including world class museums and popular attractions. It was well worth it as we used it extensively in our quest to get our money’s worth!
The first day we decided to visit Tivoli Gardens, the second oldest amusement park in the world built in 1843 and was the inspiration for Walt Disney’s Disneyland and Hans Christian Anderson’s The Nightingale. It was two blocks away from our hotel and it was listed as a very popular tourist attraction. While I thought it was going to be lovely gardens, it turned out to be an amusement park with numerous exciting rides, restaurants, performances and a lake surrounded by beautiful flowers and weeping willow trees. We enjoyed the park, but we found that the premium time to visit is on a Friday night when it comes alive with thousands of colored lights which create a fairy tale atmosphere and when popular musicians perform at a free concert. Oh well, live and learn.
After we left Tivoli Gardens, we took a long walk along one of the beautiful Copenhagen canals where many young people were sunbathing among many architectural wonders such as the Black Diamond library building. Our long walk continued to the central historical area where we found the iconic canal lined with numerous colorful restaurants and shops featured on many postcards. After all the walking, we had worked up an appetite so we stopped at an interesting restaurant, NyhavnsKroen, located on the canal front and the waitress recommended Norway’s Official National Dish, Crispy Pork. She brought it out and I swear it looked and tasted like good ole NC pork rinds with a side of potatoes. What a surprise! However, it did cost more than NC pork rinds at 169 kroner or about $19.30. I cleaned my plate because it was delicious and I wanted to get my money’s worth!
Afterwards, we walked on alongside the canal and was able to catch a canal boat tour covered by our Copenhagen Card. It was getting close to sunset and the ride was beautiful and relaxing. Seated next to me was a charming lady from Israel who told me she was once in a concentration camp as a baby. I have always found that everyone has a story. I was glad she was willing to share hers.
The canal boat passed by the famous statue of The Little Mermaid inspired by the story by Hans Christian Anderson. She was so small and I was surprised to learn she is Copenhagen’s most visited tourist site.
Afterwards, we caught the bus back to our hotel and collapsed in our new room with the twin beds and fan. Wonderful first day in Copenhagen!