Sunday, August 25, 2019

2019 Global Tour- Part 1: Copenhagen

Pre-Trip Preparations

Today is Sunday, August 25th and I could not wait to get this blog going! We've been extremely busy getting ready for the longest trip of our lives (by a few days I think.) This trip we've dubbed "Kleinfelters' 2019 Global Tour" is 31 days long and we'll be touring 13 cities in 8 countries. It will involve 5 flights, 2 ocean cruises, and 2 train trips, plus lots of shorter/smaller transportation. We've rented three apartments through Airbnb and are also staying at two traditional hotels. Needless to say, we've been planning and looking forward to it for a long time and it's almost surreal that we leave in three days now.

We've run into several "hiccups" this week. The biggest is that my sister who was booked on this trip with us is no longer going. That changes lots of things, so we've frantically been calling, emailing, etc. to make these changes. 
It has become a family tradition to make matching t-shirts for a big trip like this. Everyone helped brainstorm the design and do the work to produce our custom shirts. We started doing it to help keep track of our little kids when we traveled and because it's fun. It's not really necessary anymore, but kids grow up so fast, so we'll keep doing it while everyone still thinks it's fun. Also as we were packing, we couldn't find our Fish Extender. That's the thing hanging above. It's a gift exchange hanger used on Disney Cruises. Ella and I whipped this one up last minute.  It's nice that she has become quite the little seamstress. She may even start an Etsy shop when we return.

We're all packed now. I have two more days of work and then we'll get haircuts and last minute house things done on Wednesday before leaving for the airport for our 9:05pm flight. We definitely get noticed and get a lot of comments about our baggage. We have packed seven carry-on bags because it is more economical and actually it is easier to stay organized this way. Everyone is responsible to carry and keep track of one specific color. But we pack a day's worth of clothes in each bag. Then we launder the clothes and pack them back in the same bag. I made a spreadsheet that tells us what to wear and what to wash each day. My job is the planning. Marc's is staying up late to do the washing!

For those new to our travel blog, this is Kyrie. I'm the mom. I'll type in blue. Mostly I take the pictures and usually leave the writing for my husband Marc. He'll write in black. If you see other colors, that will be the kids! 

DAY 1: Leave Chicago

Wednesday, August 28th, 2019 

Today is the day! We will leave for the airport at 4 pm to avoid rush hour traffic and give us plenty of time if anything unexpected occurs. We will eat dinner at the airport and board the plane around 8:30pm for our 9:05pm take off. 

This flight will connect in London to our destination of Copenhagen, Denmark. There will be a 6 hour time difference in London and we'll lose one more hour when we arrive in Copenhagen. So, we'll get into Copenhagen around 5 pm local time (10 am Central time) and by the time we make our way to our apartment, we hope to find dinner nearby and go to bed by 9pm to get our bodies on local time. Hopefully our bodies won't remember that it's 2 pm in Chicago!

Here's a quick overview of our trip: Fly to Copenhagen and spend two nights there. Then we will board an Italian Cruise Line (MSC) which over the course of a week will take us to four ports (Warnemunde, Germany and Bergen, Flam, and Geiranger which are all in Norway) then it returns to Copenhagen. When we disembark the ship, we will fly to Edinburgh, Scotland and stay for three nights. Next, we'll catch a train to York, England for a night and get on another train to London for four nights. From there we'll drive to the port of Dover and board Disney Cruise Line's ship, the Magic. She will take us across the Atlantic Ocean ultimately to New York City. This will be our third time on the Magic; the second Transatlantic voyage for us. We LOVE returning from Europe this way. After busy, busy touring days in Europe, we know we will get a chance to slow down and relax. We will gain an hour back approximately every other day and return rested versus jet lagged! The Magic will take us to 4 ports prior to NYC: Portland, England, Cork, Ireland, and Sydney and Halifax both in Nova Scotia, Canada.  

Yesterday, it hit me that Summer is essentially over for us! We closed our pool on Monday. We will get back at the end of September. Since this trip begins in Northern Europe, we will almost immediately be plunging into Fall weather with a forecast of highs in the 50's and rain in Norway.  No complaints, just a realization.

America is beautiful too, but looking forward to new scenery

Warning: We will update this blog as often as we can, but there will be typos, the pictures usually lag behind the text. More commentary will occur for previous days' posts as someone new weighs in. It won't be a complete version until a week or so after we get home!

Wow, Kyrie's been busy telling the whole story of what our trip will be!  Well, now the trip has begun for real.  Not too much to say about today.  Since our flight doesn't leave until 9 o'clock tonight, we had plenty of time to get ready and get the house ready for us to be gone for some long.  It was a very relaxing day.

We arrived at the airport at 5 pm and had plenty of time to check-in and then find some dinner.  Some of us had Big Bowl (excellent!) for dinner and the rest had hamburgers - can't remember the name of the place.

Our flight tonight goes to London and then we have a couple hours before we fly to Copenhagen.  The flight boarded a little late, but probably had the doors closed on time.  But then we sat on the tarmac for about an hour before it was our turn to take off.  That made me a little nervous about our connection in London, but I figured they had probably anticipated at least some of that delay and we probably won't arrive too late.

Zach fell asleep almost instantly and Kyrie and the girls fell alseep soon after takeoff.  Jacob and Max took longer and they didn't sleep very well.  I could hardly sleep at all.  I couldn't find a position that didn't make my neck hurt.  Eventually, I did end up falling asleep - mostly after the kids started waking up.

Day 2 -  Travel to Copenhagen, Denmark

Breakfast/Lunch at Jamie Oliver's
The plane landed in London only about 30 minutes late (about 11:15am, so it wasn't too bad.  Plus we found out that we didn't have to go through immigration yet, since we were boarding another flight.  So that was a bonus.  We had plenty of time to get through the airport and grab some lunch before boarding our flight to Copenhagen.

The flight to Copenhagen was fine and there was no line at all at immigration, so we breezed right through.  Then we had to figure out how to get to our Airbnb.  Kyrie remembered that we had planned to take the train.  So, we did eventually figure out that it was two zones away, bought the tickets and got to the train platform a few minutes before the train arrived.

We use the Visit a City app to get around, and it's pretty amazing.  Just put in all of your plans before you leave and it will tell you step by step what your schedule is and how to get to each place.  It even figures out the exact transportation you should use and give great walking directions to each stop.

It's cool that SO many people ride bicycles around here. I was more afraid we'd be hit by cyclists than cars as we walked the half mile or so from the train station to our apartment building. 

The tall gray building is where our apartment is. It's called the Lighthouse and has won numerous design awards. 

A great start to the trip to eat outside on this nice evening.
So, we got off the train and made our way to the apartment.  We met with the owner's representative and briefly looked around the apartment.  It wasn't quite ready for us and we were ready for dinner, so we walked to a place that they recommended that was only a block away and had some decent Italian food (and the girls had nachos, that they didn't like.) We were delighted to find two restaurants right there and also passed a bakery and grocery store - very convenient!

Ella: The nachos were disgusting!

Our apartment is in the black tower in the distance

The apartment is probably about what I would expect.  Seems like a typical European place.  White walls, white bedding, white cabinets.  Very sparse furnishing.  But, it's clean and reasonably comfortable.  It fits all of us - that's the main thing!  Don't know much about the location yet, but I'm definitely glad that the restaurants and groceries are so close.  Being so close to the train station is quite noisy however.  I think we're all tired enough that it won't matter tonight though.

I've got a load of laundry in the tiny washer.  Once that gets it the dryer it's time for bed!


It's cute how Marc thinks magically we're near a grocery store, bakery, and restaurants. Wait 'til he discovers we're only about ten minutes from the port we leave from too. LOL! Of course, they were some of the main features I looked for when I chose this apartment many months ago. And having a washing machine with separate dryer was on the top of the list.

I think this apartment is a little more upscale than typical. It's clean and smells nice. All the windows are appreciated especially since it's quite warm but the breeze through the windows cools it down nicely. 

Day 3 -  2 am Sandwich, Copenhagen Walking Tour, Tivoli 

Despite the fact that we were all quite tired, we had a tough time sleeping last night. I'm not sure of all the details yet since I'm the first awake this morning a few minutes before 5 am enjoying my espresso and adding pictures to the blog. I will just say that I fell to sleep pretty well at 9:30 pm but when I awoke at 1 am there seemed to be a party in the kitchen. Marc was assisting Zach who was eating a peanut butter sandwich and Zoe was talking about the "show" that she'd witnessed out the window. It sounds like a club is nearby and the music continued until 2 am or so. Max was awake too and Jacob may have just been talking in his sleep. I gave the three really awake kids melatonin. I don't know if it helped, but it was quiet in the apartment after that...just not outside. 

I got a lot of rest even if it was only another hour or two of sleep after that. It appears everyone is sleeping well now though.
Yeah, well we all went to sleep fine last night right around 9pm which was awesome since it's such a big time change and it was only 2pm at home.  But, like Kyrie said, everyone except Ella was awakened in the middle of the night by extremely loud music!  It sounded like there must have been a street party going on outside, but I didn't see anything.  I assume there must be some club nearby, but I have no idea where.  Anyway, I think I woke up first and just tried to ignore it.  It was too hot to close the windows, but even if we could I don't think it would have helped much.  Then Zach woke up and he seemed to think it was almost morning.  He kept getting out of bed and he wanted to wake up Jacob and Max just to have something to do.  He kept looking out the window and saying that it still wasn't getting light out.  Eventually, he went into the kitchen and made himself a peanut butter sandwich.  By then, Max and Zoe had also woken up.  At that point, I checked the time to try to figure out how long we could expect the music to continue.  It was 2:05am at that point and I figured the music would go til 3.  Thankfully, it stopped much sooner.  Probably at 2:30am.  I hope that was a one-time problem, but I kind of doubt it.  At least we're only staying here one more night.

By the way, there is also a train that screeches by every 20 minutes or so throughout the night.  But compared to the music it's easy to ignore!

It's funny, I've kind of been thinking of today as Day 1, but I guess it's really Day 3 - this vacation is flying by!

Kyrie was up early (of course) and picked us up some pastries from the bakery.  They were really good and pretty different than the pastries at home.  I had one with some kind of almond paste in it.

Today is the only day we have to tour Copenhagen, so we spent the whole day exploring.  We started by looking for the Little Mermaid statue, but took a wrong turn somewhere and then kind of got sidetracked.  Maybe we'll see it tomorrow morning before we leave.

If this sign says "The Little Mermaid" it led us astray
After that, we headed for city hall where we had signed up to go on a free walking tour of Copenhagen.
City Hall

I would say the tour was alright.  She did tell us a lot about the city, but mostly what I can remember from it was that the city burned down a lot.  Here are a few other facts from the tour.  Some Bishop founded the place, but then apparently he didn't.  People there don't mind paying a lot of taxes (38-68%) because they get a lot of stuff (free health care, free school, retirement (at age 74), etc.)  Beer was invented there, but it was really bad until the guy's son went to Germany and brought back a new recipe.  Our guide was from Colorado by the way.  Might have been better if a Danish citizen actually did the tour.

There are definitely more bikes than cars in the downtown area.  Everyone seems to have a bike.  The city does a good job of having bike lanes that are basically as big as the car lanes and also seems to have plenty of places to park bikes.  Most of the bikes that I saw weren't even locked up.

During a break from the tour we picked up hot dogs for lunch. It was difficult to get regular mustard even though I kept pointing at it. The lady really wanted to put the brown mustard on it (which was very good by the way.)

Eventually, we got a little tired of the tour...

This is Nyhavn.  A very beautiful spot in Copenhagen where we ditched our tour and continued on our own.

We did some shopping and snacking...

And then got caught up in some school project where they were trying to get as many people as possible into a picture (and they got bonus points for getting a bride and groom)

Then we went to Tivoli Gardens.  This really great old amusement park.  It is actually the second oldest amusement park (the oldest one is Dyrehavsbakken.)

The park is really pretty.  Lots of gardens and trees.  Hard to believe it's in the middle of a city!  I would have really liked to see it at night, but we were too tired to stay quite that long.

We're big fans of amusement parks. We'd first heard of Tivoli Gardens mentioned as a place Walt Disney had visited and perhaps found inspiration from to build Disneyland.

My favorite thing there was this really great old roller coaster called Rutschebanen.  The thing is kind of insane.  The ride operator actually "sits" in it and pulls on the brakes if the coaster gets too fast.  Although, I really doubt they ever put on the brakes.  The ride operator (who isn't strapped in or anything) was standing half the time and seriously just seemed to be showing off and enjoying the ride himself.  I really don't know how the guy even stays on the coaster, we were flying out of our seats as it was and we had lap bars!

A scene from Hans Christian Anderson Fairy ale Ride

The rest of the park was mostly more modern, but had plenty of charm and had something for everyone.  I was surprised by how many restaurants were there.  Several of them looked pretty fancy.

I'm surprised Marc didn't mention that he is now without his preferred (no foreign transaction fee) credit card. We ate dinner at a restaurant outside on the deck. Zoe reached for and knocked the credit card off the table and through a slot just wide enough for a credit card apparently. There was no retrieving it. At least I had mine to pay for dinner and the treats the kids wanted after dinner (ice cream and cotton candy.) While they got their treats with my credit card, I browsed some shops and conveniently for Marc had no means to make any purchases even if I had wanted to. I was intrigued by a whole confectionery dedicated to licorice. They even had licorice soft serve ice cream. It made me think of my Norwegian friend from Chiropractic school who loves licorice. It must be a regional thing. She also loved bacon, but I'm not expecting to see a special bacon store in Norway. 

Licorice Shop
We walked approximately three miles from our apartment just to get to our three hour walking tour, afterward we walked another mile down the shopping street to Tivoli ,and all around the amusement park. After ten hours on our feet, we gladly paid two cabs to take us home! 

Well, it's time for bed - tomorrow we board our cruise to Norway!

Zach – I liked the pirate boat ride.

Day 4 - Little Mermaid

We had a much better time sleeping last night.  There were some fireworks soon after the kids went to bed, but other than that is stayed reasonably quiet throughout the night.  Only the screeching train, which we’ve somehow adapted to almost immediately.

In the morning we had more pastries from the bakery nearby and then took another walk to find The Little Mermaid.  This time we found it without any trouble.  It wasn’t much to see, but we didn’t have high expectations and it was really close to our apartment.  We had a relaxing morning of playing at the playground and getting packed up to go.

At 11:30 am, we were picked up by a taxi and by 12:30 pm we were checked in for our cruise and already on the ship.  We were a little unsure of how that would work, since it said that boarding time was 1:45 pm, but everything went great.  Our rooms were even ready when we found them!

(We've decided to make the cruise part 2 since we took up so much space with just Copenhagen!)  

Click here for part 2!