Well that was odd…got a mild cold while I was here, thankfully only for 3 days…
I decided to try the long distance bus to Berlin…which should be interesting given that there should only be 49 people on this bus yet there are 50…
Ok anyways, onto my 3 days in Denmark! NOT just Copenhagen, actually. I was telling people I had 3 days in Copenhagen but I was only in the city itself for one day. I was staying in Roskilde, a city about 20 minutes outside Copenhagen by train. It’s a gorgeous city, and given how close it is is to Copenhagen I highly recommend for everyone to make the trip out. I did a lot of walking on my first day. I walked to and along the harbour. And kept walking. And kept walking. Eventually, the harbour views become fjord and farm views. Not complaining; it was lovely to have those kinds and views and trails a 20 minute walk from a city.
Oh, I forgot…I wanted to open this post with a giant rant about how I could never return to Copenhagen Central station and be perfectly happy for the rest of my life. I will forever associate that place with all things negative.
The first thing…it’split into 2. Depending on where your train comes in, you may have to go up a set of stairs (or elevator) and cross the road to actually get to the station itself. This makes a bit more sense now that I know Copenhagen central is actually the biggest train station in all of Europe…but after Stockholm and Oslo, both impeccably clean and organized, Copenhagen was a shock. It was loud, dirty, full of what were either backpackers or homeless people essentially camping out along the edges (OK they were probably backpackers and not actually camping out BUT SHOCK OF THE MOMENT PEOPLE), and the outside of the station smelt like pee. And then to make matters first I had no idea which train I wanted to get to Roskilde. I asked at the information desk and the lady said to me “we have thousands of trains coming in every day,”
Umm yes OK I figured, given that this was a TRAIN staion (I didn’t actually say that).
“But the next train to Roskilde is at 4pm, platform 26.”
“Thank you” I breathed in relief. I bought my ticket and followed the signs to platform 26.
Remember how the station is split into two? Well to get to platform 26 I had to exit the station and cross the street. I was sweaty, tired, hungry, and just wanted to get to Roskilde.
“Eff this” I muttered as I illegally crossed the street to save myself a 5min walk. I saw a train waiting, and I started to walk faster. As I approached, though, I noticed “SJ” printed on the side. I slowed. SJ were Swedish rail trains. I looked up at the screen. “To Göteberg.”
I went clammy and could feel my breathing get heavier and my face get hot…what the hell? Did that lady even know what she was talking about? I had to grit my teeth to prevent myself from full out crying. I saw one of the train attendants outside, and asked whether this train stopped at Roskilde. She shook her head. “You’ll want a regional train for that.”
OK. Thankfully I’m pretty good at talking myself down. “Go back to the main station. Wait 10 minutes, then walk around and see if you can find where the train to Roskilde actually departs from.” I thought to myself as I trudged back the way I came.
I groaned and swore some more as I lugged my bag up the stairs and illegally crossed the street once more (I refuse to take elevators with a 14kg bag). As I entered into the main station again I happened to glance at the screen to my left and one word caught my eye. ‘Roskilde”.
“YES”. I yelled. Out loud. I think. I actually can’t remember but that was the wave of relief I needed.
I walked down to the next platform and double checked with a station attendant that this train did indeed stop at Roskilde. After a 6 hour train and an adrenaline/panic filled half hour, I was on my way.
So that was my travel day…to reiterate I hope to never find myself back at that station again…
Anyways, back to my first day.
I had planned to walk around the town, and then head back home. But after my harbour/nature walk I remembered a cafe I had looked up as a potential refuge. I ordered their brunch, and spent the next 2 hours enjoying my meal and tea, and people watching. Afterwards I felt re-energized and went to the Roskilde Cathedral to continue my explorations. Plus the lady was super sweet and let me in for 39kr instead of 40kr because I was one coin short. The cathedral (domkirke) was gorgeous, and a must-see (in my humble opinion). The 12th century building (and a UNESCO site as of 1995) holds the tombs of deceased royalty, including Fredrik 5 and Christian 1. Some of the chapels are breathtaking, especially the ones of white marble and with richly decorated frescoes. I spent about an hour taking in the history that the cathedral holds, as more people wandered in to take refuge from the rain.
This took me to about 4pm, at which point I was finally ready to call it a day.
Copenhagen! I had planned to go for lunch at a street food market, then walk back to city hall for free walking tour I’d signed up for.
When will I learn that my visits to food markets are just not meant to be? As I attempted to follow my giant map, the route I needed to take was blocked by construction. As I consulted google maps, it was useless at providing me ways without passing through the construction. Defeated, I decided to just find a cafe around the city to eat something and prevent the caffeine headache I could feel coming on. After about 15 minutes of walking,I came across a diner. My cravings for breakfast food intensified, and my choice was made. I had hashbrowns, pancakes, bacon, and coffee and it was a glorious time.
The walking tour was very well done. I went through Sandemans New Europe Tours, which took us around the main city sites in about 2.5 hours. When I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed in a new area and unsure what I’m looking at, I find walking tours are a great way to get introduced to the city. For me, the only thing on my Copenhagen list was take pictures at Nyhavn, and so figured a walking tour would be a good way to spend the afternoon.
That night, I was trying to plan out my trip for Fredericksborg Castle, somewhere I had been dying to visit since I first sawy photos a few months back. As I entered my journey into the Danish route finder, I swore again (another recurring theme) because everything that came up was at least an hour and a half. And the train routes,w hich were about 10 minutes shorter than the bus, involved several transfers, any of which had small red information marks, indicating that something was disrupting their regular schedule.
I decided to go to bed. Everything could be figured out the next morning.
I ended up taking the bus, as it stopped a bit closer to me than the train, and involved no transfers.
Fredericksborg castle is a beauty to behold. In the 17th century, it was built as a royal residence for King Christian IV of Denmark-Norway. Sadly, a fire destroyed the original building in 1859, but what stands now is commonly referred to as the “Versailles of the North” due to its impressive Renaissance-style architecture. The interior is absolutely gorgeous, especially the chapel and the great hall.
I recommend using the audio guides if you go (they’re free with admission) as there aren’t a lot of signs in the rooms.
And that brings us to here. If I had more time in Denmark I would have taken a extra day in Copenhagen (to do the food market lol) to explore some of the districts, and then would have done a full day exploring the other sites around Fresericksborg (such as Kronberg and Fredensborg Castle).
Until next time!
Next up, Berlin!