Thursday morning, we had the luxury of sleeping in and making leisurely preparations to go to the airport mid-morning. Flying out of Key West, the airport that’s a little over a mile from our house, is a fantastic luxury; thankfully American’s mileage redemption is the same from here or Miami.
We got a cab through TaxiASAP, our locally-based version of the non-Uber app. (It’s awesome.) We got to the airport waaaay too early, because 1) it’s never busy at check-in or security, and 2) there are 4 gates, all in one room. We got coffee while we waited for our flight.
It was our first time flying from Key West to Miami. It’s 25 minutes in the air and there are amazing views up the Keys and across the Everglades. If airfare from here is even close in price to MIA or FLL in the future, we’re for sure doing that.
Leaving our little island is always a little bit sad. Just look at it!
We landed at MIA and had a little over an hour before our next flight. We got a colada and cortadito, then grabbed empanadas from Half Moon. When you’re going to leave South Florida for a while, you should stock up on Cuban food.
Our flight to Charlotte was a little under an hour and a half, and we had time to fill water bottles and get a beer before hopping our flight to Europe. I was beyond thrilled that Matt and I had a 2-seat row to ourselves, a few rows from the restroom in the first economy section. I’m really terrible at long flights (worse at overnight flights), so having a little space to ourselves is a plus. Then my wiggling can only annoy him, and he’s stuck with me.
We took off at 4:30 in the afternoon on the long journey to Frankfurt. We had seatback TVs with a million movie options, and USB chargers built into the seats. I had neck pillows and earplugs, plus the pillow and blanket from American. I figured if I ever had a chance of sleeping on a flight, this would be it.
We had a surprisingly good dinner (vegan pasta) and free Heinekens. We synced up our TVs and watched Elvis & Nixon, which was mildly entertaining. By that point everyone was closing their windows and turning off their lights, so we decided to try to sleep too. While my earplugs helped a little, it was still as awful as expected. Basically, it was many hours of dozing off, waking up, being sore, and adjusting in my seat. It sucked.
They turned the lights on at 6am Frankfurt time, and started serving breakfast. I saw sunrise over Europe.
We really liked that the GPS map showed shipwrecks. Matt noticed the Titanic on there at one point.
We landed in Frankfurt at 6:50am and pulled in near this monster:
Passport control was easy and customs was nonexistent, so we were on our way to another terminal to catch our connection fairly quickly. We were flying SAS to Copenhagen, so that required walking to the other terminal and finding check-in. We wandered around for a while until we discovered the boards telling us where to check in; SAS was being handled by Lufthansa, which was basically every single check-in desk in the terminal.
Lufthansa’s check-in was 100% automated – scan your boarding pass, enter bag info, put it on the belt, and off it went. It was magical and made me sad about the way we do things in the US. (We also noticed that at no point in the entire process did anyone check our IDs – not even at security, where they inspected Matt’s leftover empanada he’d brought all the way from Miami.)
I got some Euros from the cash machine, and we bought 1 Euro water at the duty-free store (the best deal in the airport). When we got to the gate we discovered it had been moved to the other side of the airport, so we had to go down a million stairs, through a long tunnel, and emerge on the other side. Our flight was boarding when we arrived, and we had to take a shuttle bus to the little plane. It ended up being right near our original flight, so we’d done a lot of walking for nothing. Granted, we did have to recheck our bags.
Our flight to CPH took 1:20, and the views coming in were great. While waiting for our bags, we activated our Copenhagen Cards by writing the start date and time on them. Scandinavia is very trusting! The CPH card includes free fare on all public transit, plus mostly free admission to all major attractions in Copenhagen. By the end of our stay there, we both agreed that it was a spectacularly good value, and it was great to not have to think about paying to get around.
We made our way to the airport train station and got on the train to the center of the city. Our hotel was about a half mile away, but the cobblestones along the way made it seem a lot farther with rolling suitcases. It was too early to check in, so we left our bags at the hotel and went to go find lunch.
We walked over to Torvehallerne, a huge market with food and drink stalls. It was overwhelmingly awesome. After wandering for a while, I decided on a lemongrass tofu banh mi, and Matt went for the fiskediller, a local specialty involving a giant fish-ball-patty-thing.
There was a Mikkeller beer booth, too, so we were set. We ate outside in 70-degree weather, only a 20-degree difference from Key West.
We used the public restrooms on a street corner and were amazed at how clean they were. The attendants had offices in the bathrooms. AMAZING.
We felt very much at home in Copenhagen within an hour, and this is one of the reasons why – the bikes. Oh my god, all the bikes. I loved it.
I’ve never seen so many bikes in one place in my life. I don’t know how you parked yours and ever found it again. We bike everywhere here, too, but it’s still a small town! This was incredible. Also, every major street had a dedicated bike lane separated by a curb or other obstructions. It’s a bike wonderland there, and I’m really envious of the way they prioritize non-car transportation in Denmark.
We walked back in the direction of our hotel, passing the Round Tower along the way. This part of town was a series of huge pedestrian/bike streets lined with shops; Strøget was the busiest of them. Conveniently, our hotel was only a couple blocks from it.
We still had time to kill before check-in, and wanted something very low-impact to do. We’d been awake for more than 24 hours and were dragging. Thanks to the Copenhagen Card, we were able to hop on a canal tour easily!
It took about 15 minutes for the boat to load up and I nearly dozed off during that time. I managed to not actually fall asleep on the boat, though, and woke up when we sailed off. We headed down the canal that surrounds Christiansborg Castle, then into the main canal. The narrator on the boat was announcing in four different languages, which was really incredible.
Looking toward Nyhavn:
Here’s Papirøen, or Paper Island. It’s the home to Copenhagen Street Food, a ton of awesome little food booths. Look at all the people sitting outside – it was like this everywhere we went in CPH. People love hanging out outside on the water with their friends. No wonder it’s the happiest country.
The opera house:
We sailed down a side canal past Noma, to see the edge of Christinia (Freetown). It’s a huge commune right in the middle of the city. Here are some liveaboards, just like at home.
Here’s the canal through Christianshavn:
And Vor Frelsers Kirke, with the spiral staircase on top.
The tour boat dropped us off an hour later around 3:30, and it was finally time to check into the hotel. I feel like the walk back is a total blur – we got our bags, hauled them up in the tiny, tiny European elevator, got out our power adapter and phone chargers so we could recharge our totally dead phones, and fell into bed. I kept dozing off while Matt was in the bathroom and then starting violently awake, because it felt like I was panicking while falling asleep. Going to sleep when you’re that exhausted is an absolutely terrible experience.
We slept from 4 to 8pm, and it was glorious. The loud music in the courtyard of the hotel woke us, because on the weekend they have a pretty awesome little cocktail bar and club there. I felt like a human again, and we were ready for dinner. We changed clothes, I put on a jacket (it was in the 60s! Amazing!!), and we walked the half mile or so over to Tivoli.
Going to Tivoli at night, while drowsy and jet-lagged, was a great idea. Everything is surreal and trippy. And, holy crap, it was crowded. It was the weekend and there was a free concert about to happen, so it was packed.
We wandered around most of the park and then headed toward one of the restaurants Matt had researched earlier, Færgekroen Bryghus. We got a table right on the lake, overlooking this pirate ship. We ordered two of their beers, and sat there being entertained by all the very noisy ducks on the lake.
The restaurant had blankets at every chair, which we soon discovered was pretty universal there. It’s all part of the hygge (‘cozy’) concept in Denmark, and it’s absolutely the best.
The food was great – we had fresh mozzarella and I had an elaborate vegetable dish on top of pureed celery root – and we were once again pretty sleepy by the end of it. We decided to take another spin around the park to see if we’d missed anything.
We picked up some souvenirs, and stopped to watch some of the free concert (Julius Moon and Minds of 99). The whole park around the stage was absolutely packed. We stopped to grab a couple beers at the biergarten, climbed to the top of the waterfall to overlook the park, and then decided it was time to head back.
(That was Matt’s new nickname for the evening.)
On the way back to the hotel, we stopped at Irma to grab a couple beers for the room. Our selections were Obama and Miami Vice, obviously. We got to the room at 11:30pm, looking forward to plenty of sleep.
Distance walked on Thursday/Friday: 11.89 miles