weekend get-away with my visitor

Despite Josh’s first flight being delayed and him needing to switch to another flight, which involved two layovers instead of one, he made it! We were both worried on Friday that we were going to lose time together, but in reality, he arrived only a few hours later than the original plan. I am so grateful that he was able to get here. Even though I no longer had to wake up early to get him at 7:15 from the airport, I wasn’t able to sleep in—I was too excited. I had to kill time in the morning, so I decided to go for a short run, though I took a different path than the one I usually run with Adina. I also used the time to update the itinerary I planned with Josh, as I still wanted to make the most of our daylight time on Saturday.

I got to the airport with an hour of time to spare, but I ended up enjoying my time in the Arrivals area. I realized that something I should probably do for a writing exercise is going there again and writing about what I see, as watching people reunite with their loved ones proved to be very entertaining. There were smiles, tears of joy, big hugs, and little kids running. I was so anxious for it to be my turn, but people-watching did help pass the time. When Josh texted me that he landed, I waited in the line of people. It was amazing to finally see him.

After dropping off our bags, our first destination was a late lunch (it was 2:30 at this point) at Kalaset, a place I hadn’t been before but had on my must-go list. It was incredible food with a huge menu, and we were both starving. We went to the Christiansborg Palace, the same place I had gone with my Danish class, except this time we had tickets to explore all the rooms. There was one pretty room after another, and we were able to go at our own pace. I wanted to get to the top of the Round Tower by the time the sun set, so we walked directly there afterward. It was a beautiful view. In honor of Valentine’s Day, I made a reservation at The Union Kitchen for us that night, which is a fancy restaurant that I had only visited for brunch before. I heard that dinner was even better, and I was not disappointed. They have a lot of different “balls” such as salmon, falafel, and vegetable, and they also have gluten-free french fries. It was also pretty close to our hotel. We were both exhausted when we finished dinner, but we still went to the hotel Ice Bar to get fun drinks. It was freezing cold even inside the enormous cloaks they gave us to wear, but we still had a good time.

On Sunday morning, we woke up pretty early to get to Mad and Kaffe for breakfast, as Adina and Goldie had told me that their waitlist fills up quickly, and they do not take reservations. We arrived only a half hour after they opened, but we still didn’t even get a table inside. Luckily, it was nice and sunny outside, so we sat under a heated tent, snagging the last one of those tables that they had. It was definitely one of my favorite meals we had all weekend. The concept is designing your own brunch, so you order 3, 5, or 7 little “plates” of items on the menu, and they come together on a platter.

We headed to the Nyhavn Canal area, and we pretty much spent the entire day there. We walked along the water, and I took Josh to the trampolines. It was so warm that at some points, I took my jacket off. We had booked a canal tour, and we went on that hour-long tour that departed right near the canal. It was cool to see the city from the water’s perspective. We passed the Black Diamond library, the Opera House, the Little Mermaid Statue, the bridge leading to Christianhavn, and several other Copenhagen landmarks. I selected seats at the back of the boat, as these were not covered by glass and it was easier to see everything. The tour guide stood at the front and talked to us on a microphone, explaining everything we passed.

After the tour, we weren’t done on the canal. We decided to get drinks at one of the restaurants where you sit along the water, and Josh also got one of the classic waffle-on-a-stick desserts, while I got gelato from the same place. I had never seen the area so crowded with tourists; in addition to being there on a Sunday, there was not a cloud in the sky, and it was the warmest I have ever been in Copenhagen. It really was an amazing afternoon. Then, we headed to our segue tour meeting spot. I hadn’t segued since I went with my group in camp on our CIT trip, and Josh had never been before. Our tour guide was fantastic. She did a great job of sharing factual information about the sights we passed, as well as funny stories and jokes along the way. There were only six people on the tour, which also meant that she could give us each individualized attention and take pictures when we stopped, which was very nice. That hour ranked among our favorite activities all weekend.

Here are some interesting things we learned from the tour guide:

  • The main clock tower chimes at random times; it does not chime on the hour, half hour, or quarter hour like most other clock towers. For example, it rang at 3:55.
  • The Little Mermaid statue is the second most underwhelming statue in all of Europe. I turned around to look back at Josh when our guide said this, as I had literally just been telling him how not-exciting it was when I went with Goldie a while ago. Later, Josh asked the guide what the first most underwhelming statue is, which is apparently the Manneken Pis in Brussels.
  • When we stopped at the Amalienborg Palace Square, we learned that each of the buildings belongs to a different member of the Danish royal family and that the flags flying on top of each castle indicates whether or not that particular family member is home at the time.

We headed to Tivoli after sitting and resting our legs, which was especially exciting and well-timed because it was the last day of the winter season. Josh bought a one-time entrance pass, and I used the season pass I bought last week, but we both added rides once we got inside. We did the Star Flyer ride, which happens to be the highest carousel in Northern Europe at an impressive 80 meters tall. It was actually way higher than I expected once we got to the top, and the view of the city was incredible—especially at night. We had also bundled up for our night in Tivoli, and I am really happy we did that because the wind was really intense. We even had to leave our phones outside the ride instead of within our zipped jacket pockets because the wind was so strong. We planned to eat dinner at Tivoli (google said the park closed at 11pm), but when we went into the food court at 9, we learned that it was closing. We had been too caught up in all of our activities to eat a real meal since brunch, so we were both starving. I looked up nearby restaurants and suggested we eat at Riz Raz, the amazing Mediterranean place I had eaten at on my first ever night in Cope. It was a good choice because they have a buffet, so although I didn’t eat until 10pm, at least it didn’t have to be later. When we got back to the hotel, I reviewed quickly for my Danish quiz the next morning.

Monday was another beautiful and sunny day, although it was much less exciting to go to class when I knew our fun day would start right after I got out. My Danish quiz was fine, and I’m glad I didn’t get more stressed over it. Luckily 2/3 of my afternoon classes were randomly canceled that day, so I only ended up “skipping” one class, which is great. I changed our itinerary for Monday afternoon because after talking to some people in my first class, I learned that the Church of our Savior was open, and it was an experience we wouldn’t want to miss. I canceled our lunch reservation and we went to the Glass Market instead, as I wanted to make sure Josh got to see that. He got a classic Copenhagn open-faced sandwich with fish, and he loved it. I’m glad he got to try the most “authentic” version of the food here during his visit. I also tried a new place within the market, and my favorite part of that was the yummy feta, shrimp, and lime salad I ate.

We headed across the bridge to the Christianhavn neighborhood, where we climbed the 400 steps to the top of the famous Church. The climb was way more exhausting than we expected, and we were both definitely out of breath by the time we reached the top. I think there should have been some sort of warning about this. 🙂 However, the climb to the top was very worth it. The view was absolutely incredible, and it makes the Round Tower seem like an ant’s perspective of the city. We also learned the other day on our canal tour the urban legend behind the church: the architect jumped from the top of it (killing himself) when he realized his mistake in constructing the staircase in a counter-clockwise direction, which meant he would go to hell.

After we descended the stairs, we decided to walk about Christiania so Josh could see the “free town,” and we also stopped in a Christianhavn cafe to get coffee. We ate dinner at Paludan Cafe that night, one of my favorites. We brought the “hygge” card game that Josh had brought (so cute!), and basically, they are just cards with discussion topics on them. The idea is to create a cozy atmosphere with the people you love. We were distracted by one conversation, and before we knew it, just one of the prompts had kept us busy for over an hour. As we ate our dinner, Adina and Goldie stopped by to meet Josh and chat. That was really fun, and we traded stories about our weekends. We left Paludan after three hours, and Josh and I headed to Bastard Cafe, the board game bar. We played a few card games, as well as two games of chess. He beat me in our first game because he used the 3-move-checkmate I had totally forgotten about since my childhood chess-playing days. However, the next game lasted over an hour, and we were both very concentrated. I won that one. 🙂 We decided we are going to try and play more because we both enjoyed playing the game as kids. Josh also loved the environment of Bastard Cafe, and we had fun drinks there too.

Tuesday was our last full day together, and after getting a quick breakfast, we headed to Hillerød for the day, which is about a 40-minute train ride outside of central Copenhagen. The main attraction there is the Frederiksborg Castle, which was truly an exquisite site. It didn’t look real. We had lunch at the restaurant inside the castle gardens, where we both had super fresh fish open-faced sandwiches. Then, we spent a few hours walking around the gardens, looking at the pretty ponds, trees, and buildings. We planned to go inside the museum itself, but by the time we got there at 2:45, it was too late to explore, as they closed at 3 (the website said 4…). We left the castle property and walked through the town of Hillerød, which was nice, and it was not nearly as crowded as is the center of the city. We walked around until it was almost sunset, and on the train ride home, we got to look at a beautiful pink, orange, and purple sky. We had dinner that night near my apartment at Mæxico, a Mexican restaurant I hadn’t eaten at yet. It was very good. We talked about all our “favorites” from the weekend, and I found it hard to pick just one meal, activity, or day that was better than all the rest. Josh said that he hadn’t had even one “great” meal…each one was better than great!

We ended the day with another game night at Bastard Cafe, and Goldie and Adina came to play with us, too.

It was sad to say goodbye, but I am so happy to have had this weekend together, and I know it is one that I will not forget.

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