copenhagen (tuesday, 26/6)

Anyone who’s heard me rave about places visited knows I, without doubt, love a city by the water. I love Stockholm because it’s a city of a thousand islands. I love Manhattan for infinite reasons, one of which is its proximity to water. The one thing I love about Hoboken? The view of Manhattan across the Hudson, which is undoubtedly a body of water with low glamour levels.

Naturally, I’d love Copenhagen for its proximity to the water, amongst other things.

Tuesday was my last full day in Copenhagen, so when Honey asked if there was anything special I wanted to do or see, I only had one response. Sure, I had bought a travel guide to Copenhagen, but, as you can imagine, it’s done little more than score a free trip to Europe. Lucky. However, what I did read was Bill Bryson’s Neither Here nor There: Travels in Europe, so I had the only answer I could up with – Den lille havfrue, the Little Mermaid.

There are some tourist attractions locals will never be able to understand the allure of. No New Yorker will ever admit to walking through/past/on the perimeter of Times Square. I hate passing through Port Authority for that very reason, and it’s two avenues and two streets away. Not far away enough for me. Empire State Building. Wall Street’s Charging Bull. Ooh, look at me, I’ve got a bull’s balls in my hands, aren’t I clever?

I think we all know the answer to that.

Still, Honey, myself and a very sleepy Walter drove into town with this particular mission. Having lunch while the baby was still asleep would be an added bonus and proof that the gods of leisure do love us. “There it is,” Honey pointed. I craned my neck….Nope, nothing. “Right over there, that tiny little thing, do you see it?” I looked harder. Oh! That green thing sticking out above the trees, yeah I see it!

Full disclosure – that wasn’t it. That was the statue of some important man who is, of course, dead and obviously overlooked by a fairy tale mermaid.

Look for the crowds and that’s where you can be sure to find overplayed tourist attractions.

See the Mona Lisa for a textbook example.

I think I would have liked this rockborne statue more if it was less of a tourist site and just a statue of a contemplative woman on a precariously balanced rock in the water.
Here’s my tip to you – don’t make the mermaid a destination. Take a peek if you happen to be by the area. Otherwise, just tell all your friends that you saw her but it was just too crowded to take a decent picture. Anyone who’s seen the crowds knows it’s believable. The weather had picked up a bit as we walked through the park. At times, when the clouds parted, it was warm enough to peel off our coats. But once those clouds found their way together, it was game over and back to Jersey fall climates.

Amalienborg Slot is made up of four 18th century palaces around one very large square. It was relatively empty both times we passed through, although Honey mentioned that whenever the Danish royal family makes an appearance on their royal palatial balcony, everyone comes out to see. This is the official residence of the Danish monarch, Dronning Margarethe II.

Apparently her son is pretty handsome but also prettily happily married. Oh well, that’s another monarchy lost to me.

With Walter now awake (courtesy of some obnoxiously loud police sirens) and shoving a croissant in his gob, Honey and I looked for a place where we could follow suit. We walked to Pastis, another Danish version of a French bistro and were preparing to settle into our table-for-two outside when we were stopped. Buggies are not allowed in the outdoor area. Absolutely positively no way around it. Better find a parking space around the corner or behind a tree because it’s not allowed in the restaurant’s outdoor seating. Since Walter was already awake, it wasn’t a problem for him to move to a highchair. I’d say he was delighted at the prospect. However, we watched as another couple with a sleeping baby, only a few months old at best, tried to sit at the table next to us. I’m still a novice at the lip reading/sign language, but the look on the waiter’s face said absolutely not a chance in hell is your sleeping child allowed to stay sleeping in his/her buggy next to you while you enjoy the rare chance at a quiet lunch. No way.

Now. I’m no expert in customer service but does this feel wrong to anyone else? I doubt this would happen in New York, an often child-unfriendly city. While misbehavior is rarely tolerated, it seems a bit stupid to chase off clientele who want to enjoy the pleasure of a quiet lunch while their child sleeps. Planning around a kid’s sleep patterns is akin to playing roulette and when you win, you’d like to think you win big.

I think I’ve made my point.

Honey and I both had the sandwich boeuf rôti, mine a bit rarer as not-pregnant women can. I’d like to know how any human can possibly eat this as a sandwich without looking like a complete disaster… or at least ending up that way.

There were mixed greens, caramelized onions, beets, gherkins, tarragon cream, melted gruyere on a warm focaccia bun, tomatoes and, of course, meat. There was also a side of pickled vegetables in a creamy mustard – the entire combination was well-thought and the meat was cooked absolutely perfectly. We also shared a side of fries, and quickly discovered how much Walter loves ketchup. Service aside, it was a fantastic meal.

We walked back along the waterfront, passing the Operaen, Copenhagen Opera House, with its cool waterfront design. It was so exciting, Walter couldn’t handle being in the pram anymore and had to get out and walk. I mean run. I mean run, toddle, sit down and repeat.

We got home and unwinded with some grapes (Walter) and some videos on YouTube, including Twinkle Twinkle Little Star (also Walter), Little Snowflake (go on, guess) and Jimmy Kimmel’s hit video, I’m F*cking Ben Affleck (definitely not Walter). Before long, we were on the road again, collecting Peter and heading into town for a wonderful dinner hosted by friends Ole and Marianne in their gorgeous apartment.

We started off with crayfish tails, accompanied by sliced avocado, fresh dill, lemon, mayonnaise, butter and rye bread. REAL rye bread which, for the sake of comparison, is nothing like what Jersey diners serve. Much love to Jersey diners. After a bad nosedive into homemade pickles, I panic at the sight of fresh dill and mayo has a way of making me sick, but I happily spread the avocado on my bread, layered on a few pieces of crayfish and squeezed lemon juice on the whole mess of it. AMAZING. I’ve never had crayfish before and these little beauties were so unbelievably sweet and delicious. If I had been told this was all we were having for dinner, I would have been rub-my-belly happy.

But, of course, there was more. We had penne in a garlicky cream sauce with bacon chunks and heaps of spinach. It was good, stick-to-your-bones comfort food. Sometimes you need it, no matter how healthy you try to be.

Our side was a Caprese salad, another favorite of mine. It was as if Marianne and Ole knew me and my cheese-love before we even met.

Over coffee and conversation, we played a game of Guess that Jelly Belly Flavor while Walter ransacked all the dogs’ toys. Turns out, I’m pretty good at this game. French vanilla and toasted marshmallow taste surprisingly similar. Piña colada is a fun treat. Bubblegum is digsuting and was spat out immediately (sorry, Mom). Anything that tastes like bubblegum – but isn’t – should NOT be trusted. Chaptsick, I’m looking at you.

Filled to the bursting point after such a lovely meal, we said our farewells, and Honey and I took Harry home via a walk through the park. It was nearly 9:30pm, but the sun was still out and poking through the trees. Mind you, these weren’t parks in the Central Park or hometown park fashion. Let’s call these domestic forests with loads of walking trails. And slugs – there were loads of slugs and even though they were openly waiting in the middle of the road, I nearly squashed a few, thinking they were leaves.

Slug guts and pink suede should never meet.

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