Saturday, August 29, 2015

A FEW DAYS IN COPENHAGEN - BLISS!

Well, hello there! It's been over a year since I've posted anything.  What better way to get back in the game then to share a few pics and details about my most recent trip--heaven it was!

One week in Scandinavia, five days in Northern England, a week at Oxford participating in the Oxford Experience, and a few days in London.  Three-plus glorious weeks in spectacular countries.

It's too exhausting (for me, anyway) to include everything into one post so I will devote several posts to this trip.  Hope I can remember how to do this...here we go....

Copenhagen

It's always fun to start planning a trip figuring out where to go.  My friend, Leslie, and I participate in the Oxford Experience every few years.  This was our fifth year!  We always visit another country before we head to Oxford and this year it was three of those gorgeous countries that make up Scandinavia--Denmark, Sweden, and Norway.  And this time, my sister Tammy joined us.  Super fun!

We started in Copenhagen arriving at the train station after 8:00 pm.  By the way, the metro from the airport into the city is the way to go--even with our luggage.  Less than 15 minutes, escalators and elevators and all for $6 each way!  Then we made a mistake--we should have taken a taxi to our hotel from the metro station.  Instead, we rolled our  bags over cobblestone streets for what seemed like forever (supposedly a 7 minute walk from metro to hotel--nope) and I tried not to make eye contact with anyone.  Too ridiculous.  But, that's part of the education of travel, right?

Spectacular weather in Copenhagen for the few days we visited.  Cool breeze, bright blue skies with white puffy clouds and a few dark clouds for contrast.

The night we arrived we did the obligatory trek to see The Little Mermaid--a 20-30 minute walk from our hotel along the canal path.  Since it was light until after 10:00 pm it was a perfect first night site to check off our list and get some exercise in after the long flight from Phoenix.


                                                    Snapped this pic around 10:00 pm



Walked by this row of gorgeous homes on the way back to the hotel from the Little Mermaid.

"Come unto me"
Matthew 11:28
After breakfast we went straight to the Church of Our Lady (Vor Frue Kirke) to see the original Christus by Bertel Thorvaldsen who died in 1844.  My spirit was lifted just standing in front of this welcoming  magnificent piece.

                   
The words written above the resurrected Christ, "This is my beloved Son: hear him"  Mark 9:7



Along the sides are the twelve Apostles.  Peter is depicted above holding "the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shalt be bound in heaven" (Matthew 16:19)

Rosenborg Castle Gardens
After taking in the beauty of the Christus and the works of Thorvaldsen we walked over to the Rosenborg Castle and Gardens.  

Rosenborg Castle


Details, details

Which one is your favorite?  



    I'm not a fan of animal heads all over the place but I liked this guy--plus he's a wood carving.









                                            Attention to detail in this pretty stairwell.


I've always heard that Denmark has the best pastries in the world.  Ummm, yes, Denmark does have the best ever.  The above pastry was hands down the best I've ever had--it's a yummy sugary cinnamon snail roll drizzled in chocolate called a Directors Snail.  Had one for breakfast every morning at our hotel--wish I had one right now.


This dahlia pic represents our time at the Tivoli--don't ask me why this is the only pic--the gardens were very pretty and we went on one ride.  Stayed about an hour.  If I had kids with me, would have stayed longer.



           Took a train and then a bus out to Frederiksborg Castle - easy, peasy - and it's always nice  getting out of the city and into the country a bit.

Frederiksborg Castle 


Our reason for traveling 45 minutes out of Copenhagen was to see over 20 original Carl Heinrich Bloch paintings of Jesus Christ--these beautiful paintings did not disappoint.  The above depicts the angel Michael comforting Jesus following his time in the garden of Gethsemane.



                               I love the exuberant greeting that Elizabeth is giving to Mary



                                                             Just look at that ceiling!


                                            The gardens were very Danish--neat and tidy.




                                                                    Lunch with a view


                                                                     A bike or two....

 



Lots of clean, simple style in Denmark -- bikes everywhere - women in skirts and dresses riding bikes to and from-- couldn't get a good pic of anyone actually on a bike to illustrate because they zipped by so fast.  Fresh fish/seafood as you can image.  Danish pastries galore.  And the city is very clean--did not see trash or graffiti.  We walked everywhere putting in around 20,000 steps daily--which was good given all the good food.  Only took a taxi once and that was back to the metro station to return to the airport.  Although I would recommend taking a taxi from the metro station to the hotel for any new visitors (unless you travel with only a backpack but I doubt any backpackers are reading this blog!).

Next post: Stockholm

Sunday, August 3, 2014

THOUGHTS FROM AN AUNTIE TRAVELING WITH HER NIECE

First, let me tell you that my niece is not your typical sullen 16-year old.  She is delightful, smart, and curious about everything.  I wasn't nervous about this trip until a good friend of mine asked if I was stressed about being in charge of my niece's safety.  Umm, no, not until right now, I thought.

Last night in London - hotel splurge - loved it!

And, I really wasn't.  I'm a seasoned traveler and raised by two parents who were very safety consciousness.  I say my prayers and then try not put myself in tricky situations.  Meaning, I don't walk down dark streets, hang my purse on my chair in restaurants, stand too close to subway/tube doors, stay out too late (mostly because I'm an early to bed, early to rise girl), etc.  Of course, bad things can happen no matter what you do to take precautions, but so far so good in my travel experience.

A no agenda day in London

I looked for the least stressful way of doing things on this trip.  For instance, we flew non-stop from Phoenix to London which, while more expensive, was easier than a connecting flight.  And instead of flying to and from Paris out of London, I knew it would be less stressful and far more fun to take the train.

Nancy Mitford Plaque on Curzon Street
We also stayed at hotels which included breakfast--a huge time saver and made for an easy start to the day.


Typically when I travel, I'm all about getting up early and hitting the road.  This time I booked later trains, didn't rush through breakfast, spent one day in London and one day in Paris without an agenda.  This all helped reduce stress and tiredness.  And I wanted my niece to experience the joys of wandering through neighborhoods and parks without a schedule or plan.

James Purdey & Sons holds the Royal Warrants for guns and rifles 



My niece also needed a break from a lot of decision making, so I made a rough outline of our trip based upon her interests, and presented her with just one or two daily choices.  First trips to Europe are overwhelming so I tried to keep her her head from spinning too much!

Last night in London dinner at Rules
I booked ahead special restaurants for first and last nights in London--The Wolseley and Rules (a family favorite).  Favorite Paris restaurants were booked once we arrived in that gorgeous city (although my favorite, Cafe Constant, doesn't take reservations).

Fortnum and Mason window shopping

Last night visit to Fortnum & Mason
A joyful trip to two beautiful cities with a delightful traveling companion.  I really couldn't have asked for more.


Saturday, June 14, 2014

PARIS WITH A 16 YEAR OLD - Part II


We headed out to Versailles for a look see.  The temps plummeted that day and we were not properly wrapped up.  But, hey, we were at Versailles so who cares?


         I must have taken 20 pics of these gorgeous halls and ceilings so I will share a few with you.


                           No matter which way you look, gorgeous colors, designs, texture, art...


      Clean lines in cool colors in the entrance halls and then a bit more embellishment once inside...











                                                      I love these window latch details






It was freezing--not kidding.  Our teeth were chattering so we quickly posed and then headed back to Paris.


                    The rest of our trip was spent wandering the streets of Paris, going to museums,


                                            eating French delights, and people watching.




                                               And, a trip to Berthillon's is always a must!


                                                    Love the doors in European cities




For our last night in Paris, this brave 16 year old tried escargot (snails).  She didn't love it but she's glad she tried it.  I ate them up--they were served in a pesto sauce--so delicious.



           Now, back to London for one more night and then home.  Our trip wrap-up is up next!