Sunday morning, we slept in til 10am and then walked over to the main train station to get coffee and breakfast sandwiches. That’s when I discovered the glory that is Joe and the Juice, and their amazing ginger lattes. (I later discovered that they’re opening one in Miami Beach, so at least I can go there pretty regularly.) Since Europe is approximately 400% better at food quality than the US, we had some basic but fresh and delicious sandwiches on nice rye flatbreads to take with us on the train.
We boarded the train to Helsingør (otherwise known as Elsinore) and had a pleasant 45-minute ride mostly along the coast. At the end of the line, we hopped off and walked through the cute little down toward Kronborg. There was a big event venue there, plus the Maritime Museum of Denmark, which was underground at the port.
It’s Hamlet’s castle!! This was a pretty hardcore nerd moment for us.
Alas, poor Yorick.
Helsingør is situated at the narrowest part of the Øresund strait, which runs between Denmark and Sweden. You can easily see Helsingborg from there.
You can buy Yorick water at Kronborg castle, in case you were wondering.
This is in the inner courtyard:
We took the castle tour, which wound its way through multiple sections of the castle. The rooms were surprisingly spare compared to the more recent castles. (These furnishings are from the 17th century.)
A thing we learned about Danish castles – they burned down a lot. Seriously. They were rebuilding them all the damn time.
And they used animals as decor. I guess hipsters do that nowadays too. I just wouldn’t want to have to step on a boar every morning.
The ballroom was gigantic. This photo doesn’t even do it justice. It’s monstrous.
This guy is hanging out in the chapel, just being creepy.
After touring all the aboveground property, we descended into the depths beneath the castle. This was even more nervewracking than it would generally be, because not only was it a dank castle basement with uneven cobblestones and probably ghosts, the flashlight vending machine was broken and we had to use our cellphones instead. There were little rooms everywhere that you’d have to peer into, wondering what was going to jump out and attack you.
Thankfully, we only found Holger Danske down there, and we knew to expect him. He’s there protecting the castle, and looking pretty badass doing it.
After Kronborg, we walked over to the M/S Maritime Museum and had lunch at the cafe, which was on the very lower level of the belowground building. We knew we were supposed to buy tickets to go in, but could not begin to figure out where the actual entrance was from there. The entire building is built in a downward spiral from ground level (it’s a ship-shaped dry dock, essentially), so we finally decided to go back outside, up the steps, and start from the actual beginning.
After getting our fill of maritime nerdery, it was time to visit a new country. (Matt has actually been to Sweden before, but I hadn’t.) We walked over to the ferry terminal and bought tickets to Helsingborg. We even got a discount with the CPH card, which was awesome.
The ferry’s shop was having a special on Tuborg and a shot of Gammeldansk. When in Scandinavia… you drink liqueurs that taste like dead people. It’s bad.
It was only about a 20 minute ride across the strait; it took longer to load the ferry. (Not the passengers – there weren’t many of us – but the trucks crossing over to Sweden. The ship had a very fancy truck drivers’ lounge, too!)
The ferry terminal on the Helsingborg side was in a little mall full of fast food restaurants, and looked a lot like a cruise terminal. The town was larger than Helsingør, but almost totally deserted late on a Sunday afternoon. The majority of the shops were closed. (We didn’t mind much; the main reason we went over there was just to set foot in Sweden, and maybe have a beer.)
We happened across this imposing structure while wandering around, so we decided to check it out. Rather than climb the many, many stairs, we found an elevator with an operator who charged a few Euros to take you to the top. Worth it!
There was a big park at the top called Slottshagen, and this huge tower, which is the only remnant of the Medieval castle that once stood there. It’s called Kärnan.
The tower wasn’t open, but the view from the top of the hill was pretty spectacular. This is looking back toward Denmark.
We climbed back down the stairs, which are protected by gargoyles that didn’t scare Bally one bit.
We decided to grab a beer before heading back, so we found an open bar called Pitchers that was showing soccer games. We hung out there for a bit, then walked back to the ferry, which was even less crowded on the return trip. The ferry terminal is conveniently upstairs from the train station on the Denmark side, so we went downstairs and found our train back to Copenhagen.
Rather than stopping at the main train station, we continued on to Norreport, then hopped on the 6A bus to Westerbro for dinner. (Seriously, public transit in Copenhagen could not be easier. We loved it.) Our destination was Von Fressen, a German-focused restaurant with a large vegetarian and vegan menu, plus excellent beers and cocktails. It was basically made for us.
The place was nuts when we walked in, but we found a little table and figured out how ordering worked (at the bar). I had an excellent veggie burger and a cocktail, and we sat watching the large group in the bar area get larger and drunker. It was impressive. By the time we went to leave, they had filled up the entire entryway and the front steps, so we had to fight our way out of the place.
We walked a few blocks to the bus stop and Matt realized he didn’t have his CPH card. That was immensely upsetting because it was so valuable, not to mention convenient. He knew he’d had it on the train from Helsingborg, so we decided to go back to the restaurant and look around. We fought our way back inside, and Matt went to go search by the table while I went to the bar to see if anyone had turned it in. I asked the bartender, “Have you seen a–” and he held up Matt’s CPH card. Hooray! We were very relieved.
We took the bus back to the Rathouse and walked to the hotel. On the way there we passed the bar next door called Southern Cross, which had a crowd of British and Australian people standing outside smoking, drinking, and yelling (well, talking loudly). We decided we needed to go in there at some point, but definitely not while there were people spilling out onto the street. We headed up to our room and found the Colts/Broncos game on TV with Danish announcers, which was hilarious. I fell asleep around 11pm.
Miles walked: 12.94 / 36.06 total