City Visit: Copenhagen
Many cruisers who visit Copenhagen only stay for a couple of days. We understand, they perhaps have only a month or two in their cruising schedule — perhaps much less. But Copenhagen deserves your time. We certainly had lots of time for Copenhagen.
It’s truly one of the most amazing cities in Europe (in our opinion, in the top 3). It’s charming without being cute. Friendly without the fake smiles. Stylish without the pretension. Historic, yet cutting-edge modern. Beautiful, yet humble. Sophisticated, yet down-to-earth.
Perhaps the best word to describe the vibe in delightful Copenhagen is cosy or confortable. You get the feeling that there is no stress going on here — not even during rush hour. We stayed in Copenhagen for a week and could have stayed for a month!
Our marina is a few metro stops from the center of town, but a 5-minute ride to the Amager Strand metro station. Copenhagen has a big bicycle culture, so we didn’t hesitate to unpack our folding bicycles and take them on the metro with us. Bicycles are allowed on the metro outside of rush hours (7.00-9.00 and 15.30-17.30). You need to purchase a ticket for your bicycle (DKK 13 in 2016). The walk to the metro station would have taken us around 15-20 minutes.
We explored the Christianshavn area on our bikes on the first day. It’s the part of Copenhagen that most resembles Amsterdam with it’s criss-crossing canal system. Some of the canals have guest harbours, but your boat needs to be less than about 45 feet to get a space. The cobblestone streets, cafés, canals and beautiful architecture made for an interesting morning of exploration.
A common site in Christianshavn, Copenhagen
Live-aboard boat in Christianshavn, Copenhagen
Seagull protecting its territory in Christianshavn, Copenhagen
One of the marinas in Christianshavn
Yet another marina in Christianshavn
Afterwards, we had lunch on the sunny terrace at Almanak, part of the restaurant group housed in “The Standard” building. The lunchtime smørrebrød is fantastic and we can recommend the superb dinner menu as well. We had dinner there last summer.
“The Standard” houses the restaurants “Almanak”, “Studio” and “Verandah”
Lunch at Almanak in Copenhagen
The next day, we did the shopping thing and hit the Strøget area. The Strøget is Copenhagen’s pedestrian shopping street and includes most of the major Danish brands and Design houses. Ilum, Illums Bolighus, Georg Jenssen and Royal Copenhagen are all here. We had lunch at Café Europa which turned out to be a nice surprise. We weren’t expecting the food to be so good as it’s located just at the Amagertorv square. Usually, restaurants that are well-located don’t have to try hard to get people in the door, so the food quality and the service suffers. Not in this case. We had a delicious 3-plate smørrebrød menu and the service was quick and friendly. Then it was back to the metro before the 15.30 “bicycle curfew” and back to the marina and our dog, Senna.
Luckily, she’s used to us leaving during the day (for work) so she usually sleeps while we’re away. We’ve been leaving her on the boat for about 4 hours with no problem at all, as long she gets a long walk before we leave. And of course a long walk when we get back to the boat. It hasn’t been very warm in Copenhagen, around 18 degrees, so if we leave all of the smaller windows open, it’s not hot in the boat. We leave a couple of fans running for Senna as well.
Day four was a rainy one, so we decided to walk to the National Aquarium, “Den Blå Planet” (the Blue Planet). It’s a large aquarium that’s a breath-taking architectural masterpiece in itself. Five different wings show five different water environments, such as the deep oceans, the amazon jungle, coral reefs, or the baltic sea. It’s well worth a visit on a rainy day.
We bicycled to Slottsholmen on day 5. The tiny island of Slottsholmen is home to the former royal residence of the kings and queens of Denmark, Christianborg palace. It’s quite a huge place to visit, so you can buy tickets for the entire palace, including the stables, or for just some of it. We opted for the royal kitchens and the ruins underneath the palace, this time around. The ruins are fascinating because the tour tells the history of the palace, from it’s humble beginnings in the 11th century, through to the 20th century. The palace was torn down and built up as a bigger and better version several times. It was also victim of fires three times in its more recent history and had to be built up again from its rubble.
We spent our last day just strolling through the streets of the city center and bicycling through Nyhavn, basking in it’s ambience, its cosiness. We had lunch at the fish restaurant on the top floor of the Illum department store — not bad but not the same standard as Almanak or Café Europa.
Charming little outdoor restaurant next to one of the canals
View of the architectural masterpiece the “Black Diamond” library and national photo museum.
It’s easy to see why Nyhavn is one of the most popular social spots of Copenhagen.
Former lighthouse boat, now moored in Nyhavn
Nyhavn on a bright and beautiful afternoon
One of the many renovated former harbour depots in Christianshavn
A beautiful morning in cosy Copenhagen
Panorama of Copenhagen’s inner city from the Christianshavn district
Tomorrow morning, we will set off for Møns Klint, one of the most famous Danish landmarks, and the marina Klintholm
Even though Copenhagen has a number of marinas, even a few in the center of town, we chose the one in Kastrup because it was the most dog-friendly.
Located near the National Aquarium and just a 12-minute metro ride into the center of Copenhagen, it provided us with the best of both worlds — the space for dog walking and playing and nearness to the city. In addition, it’s located next to Copenhagen’s most popular beach, Amager Strand.
It uses the system of green and red places — your can used any place marked green (meaning the owner will not be back for at least three days). When in doubt, you can ask at the marina office. We arrived early enough to get a place for our boat, which is no mean feat. There is only one place in the marina for a boat that’s 55 feet (17 meters) long. This is the biggest disadvantage of having a long boat. You can’t just fit in anywhere like a 36 or even 40 footer.
Here’s some basic information about Kastrup marina:
- Showers and toilets
- Laundry facilities
- Marine supplies/clothing shop
- Fuel station
- Environmental station for disposal of hazardous waste (used batteries, oil, etc.)
- Playground, beach and parks
- Free WiFi
- Telephone number for the marina office: 3250 2127
- Email for the harbour office: firstname.lastname@example.org
Freja was finally ready to go. Small repairs finished, hull polished, water tanks filled and galley provisioned. We took advantage of having our car by buying more heavy items than we really needed at the moment (anything that comes in a jar or can). We also drove to a big garden center to get some planks for Carl to make our fender boards. We bought two “deck” planks – the ones you’d use to make a deck or a terrace. They’re supposed to last about 10 years of normal “deck use” and are already treated for humidity ingress. All Carl needed to do was to drill some holes, round off the corners and sand them a bit.
We decided to make the very first leg of our journey a short one, so that Senna, our dog, could slowly become accustomed to the movement and heeling of the boat. We chose a beautiful anchorage only 2 hours’ sail from Vindön, just before the port of Ellös.
We plan to do longer and longer legs to get her used to sailing. Our limit will be 6-7 hours. She can “hold it” that long. We do have a small rug made of artificial grass that she can use, but she hasn’t had to yet. Her first trip in the dingy to get to land was a big success. She loved it!
Senna jumped right into the dingy from the stern stairs.
Our second leg ended at Mollösund, an incredibly charming fishing/summer cottage village with a small marina. It’s worth the time getting there early or staying an extra night. If you like seafood, you must walk over to Larssons Fisk (fisk=fish). We bought some salmon and plaice almost right off the boat (the shop opens right after the fishing boat docks and unloads the daily catch). They also have the most fantastic shrimp mix that they call “Mums”, which means “Yum”. And it is indeed yummy. It’s the most delicious variation of “Skagen Röra” I’ve ever tasted. It even beats the one sold at Lisa Elmqvist at Östermalmshallen in Stockholm, for those of you who know Stockholm and that famous seafood shop and restaurant.
Freja docked in front of the “fish processing” building in Mollösund.
On the way to Larssons Fisk
A window in the village of Mollösund
Looking into the window of a fishing cabin. Mollösund, Sweden
A lovely mailbox in the village of Mollösund, Sweden
The old windmill in Mollösund
A rowboat in swedish colours; Mollösund, Sweden
Typical “fishing cottages” in Mollösund. Many have been converted into summer cottages.
The marina in Mollösund is small, but if your boat is under 40 feet, you’ll be able to find a place unless it’s high season – the month of July. Most Scandinavians are on holiday in July, so popular marinas are full by 14.00. Some marinas accept reservations; otherwise you’ll have to get there early. Needless to say, the beginning of May is not high season. The electricity was not even turned on the marina, and not a single restaurant was open. Mollösund does have a surprisingly well-stocked grocery store about a 2-minute walk from the marna, and two fresh fish shops.
Restaurants, cafés and bars surround the marina, but they don’t open until the beginning of June. Diesel and gasoline is available at two different stations on either side of the marina entrance.
It’s cold on the west coast of Sweden in the beginning of May! You need to dress for winter sailing.
After a leisurely three-day drive up through Germany, Denmark and the south of Sweden, we are finally back onboard Freja.
We will be spending the next 10 days or so on mission number one, organising the boat. You see, last summer, when we moved most of our things onto the boat, we had only two days to unpack our boxes. All 22 of them. This did not make for a logically organised boat. Nothing was documented, either.
So here we are, on the island of Orust in Sweden, going through each drawer, closet, storage hatch and shelf, trying to decided what the most logical place is for everything. Anodes and other heavy parts and tools go towards the center line and as low in the boat as possible. Lighter spares and equipment can go towards the starboard and port sides and higher up. Everything is to be documented, labeled and placed on a boat diagram.
Hanging up a painting of sailing in the Swiss Alps.
We started with our clothes. Easy enough as we have only one hanging closet, one large drawer and two large shelves per person. Ok, we are cheating by hanging up our foulies in the workshop hanging locker.
Trying to find a place for everything, and then documenting it in a spreadsheet.
Then we attacked all of our spare parts, after that, our tools. For the past three days, we’ve been organising all of our “stuff” and doing nothing else except walk Senna, our dog.
Senna, our dog, finding her place on the boat.
Mission number two is to acclimatise Senna to living on the boat. We are moored alongside the dock at the moment, so getting off and on is reasonably easy. She’s a big dog that weighs around 35 kgs, so we can’t just carry her under one arm to get her onboard. We do have a gangway, but at the moment we are getting by with just placing her two front paws onboard and then lifting her back end onto the deck. She seems to have no problem with the limited space on the boat. She’s eating her usual dog food, which is a good sign. She gets several walks a day around the island of Vindön, but she isn’t keen on swimming yet. Perhaps because the water temperature is only 7°C at the moment.
Senna feels confortable on the foredeck
Which brings us to the weather. Sweden is not known for having summery weather in early April — a fact than I tried to explain to Jacques. As it’s usually springtime warm in Geneva in April, he couldn’t quite believe me. Well, he does now. Our first 2 days were a “balmy” 13°, but then it started raining. This morning it was only 3° — that’s close to freezing.
We do have heating on the boat, of course. In fact, we have there different ways to heat the boat — the diesel powered Eberspächer marine heater, two Dyson heaters for when we are hooked up to shore power, and the reverse cycle on the air-conditioning system which can heat up to 30°, also for when we are on shore power. So we are at least not going to freeze!
We use Command Strips to hang our paintings. They come right off if you decide you don’t want the artwork there anymore.