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Crowds round the Mermaid

The Kastellete Windmill

Street Entertainers in Nyhavn

What can be said about Copenhagen that hasn't been said before?

A sense of civilisation will often draw you to a city, but once there, the noise and dust will soon leave you longing for that unspoilt island. Copenhagen never really gets you like that. It genuinely does have a bit of everything.

Its true that the crowds still flock to the harbour tours and the statue of the little Mermaid (rather disappointing If you have never seen it), but the views from the walls of the Kastellete fortress next door are just stunning, and seem to have yet to be discovered by the tourists.

Purely in the interests of research, Pat, under much pressure, has carried out some exhaustive investigation into Shopping in Copenhagen. Read her Guide to Copenhagen shops below.

Nyhavn, down by the harbour, is the main restaurant street. In summer, the whole road is lined with tables and chairs and street entertainers vie to keep the diners amused. We were particularly taken with one loony performance artist who spent half an hour taking the mickey out of passers by, to the great amusement of adjacent diners. There is also a wide range of musical entertainment. With the possible exception of a solitary 12 year old girl, who really did need extra violin lessons, they were uniformly excellent. One combo included an old dear on a saw (yes - a saw).

Near Nyhavn is Iver Weilbach & Co, the chart agents. A paradise of pilot books, harbour guides, and charts. (Not open weekends)

Then there is the Tivoli. Overpriced, but worth it for the experience - even in a thunderstorm...

The Tourist Office near the central station gives away free town maps and what's on guides. These also have a useful information section for tourists.

Pats guide to Shopping in Copenhagen

Shopping HaulPurely in the interests of research, I dragged myself from my pit, donned my comfiest walking shoes and headed into town for some retail therapy....sorry, investigation. Strøget, the main shopping drag, is made up of several pedestrianised streets. Fortunately, or unfortunately for the bank balance, June appears to be SALE time and the handbag shop Neye had up to 50% off!! So in your interest dear reader I braced myself and entered. Quick to spot local customs I soon had several bags in my grasp, a true native, you would have been proud of me.

Next a good browse through Illums Bolighus, a wonderful shop full of lovely scandinavian design, you really need to come here with a transit van and a very healthy bank account, 'cause you won't know where to stop.

The two main department stores are Illums and Magasin, the latter being the biggest. Both are pretty good and I made some purchases on your behalf and can assure you the service is very good. I bought some quilt covers - it saves washing them out - so far I have bought Dutch covers, German and now Danish, I have to say the quality of the Danish ones are much superior or maybe it was the joy of snuggling down under clean sheets at last!

There are plenty of places to park the weary feet and enjoy a coffee or beer or even ice-cream if that's your fancy (did I tell you I thought I had died and gone to heaven when I discovered liquorice ice-cream here..it's yummy!) and watch the world go by.

There are loads of little shops in the side streets and these are worth exploring. So if you fancy a piece of (overpriced) Amber or a luurvely snowflake jumper which still smells of sheep or something stunningly designed then Strøget is your place. If it's raining and you miss the blandness of British shopping malls then try Fisketorvet, a modern shopping centre, with food malls, cinema complex and of course shops. If you do though, you'll miss out on the street entertainment ever present in Strøget, singing Laps in full national dress to a really rather good Danish version of Showaddywaddy?

As for me, well I came away with rather to many bags to lug home from the station, and have been moaned at ever since that the for'ard cabin looks like a department store. As I keep telling them IT'S RESEARCH!

All donations for any further research should be sent to the “Keep Pat in the Black Campaign” otherwise known as KPITBC.

Marinas - in the City

The pilot books indicate that ChristiansHavn Canal is the ideal spot. Situated immediately across the river from the town centre, the whole area looks rather like a part of Amsterdam. Frankly, we thought it was not the best on offer. It was busy (expect to raft up at least two deep), and facilities were minimal. It wouldn't be so bad if the area around the boats had some activity, but it doesn't.

Across the river, Nyhavn is the centre of the harbour tour industry, and is also the main restaurant strip. It's lively and fun, but facilities are non existent and you may find yourself rafted up to a restaurant boat.

Further north, Langelinie gets a poor press, but on our visit, we thought it had the most promise. It may be subject to wash from the harbour (not our observation), but there were mooring places available (bows to the quay, stern to a buoy) and facilities appeared to be adequate. The main issue is that the marina is squeezed between the huge cruise liner terminal to the north, and the line of tour buses visiting the adjacent Mermaid statue to the south. (The whole area around the Mermaid has been redeveloped to cope with the crowds)

Marinas - outside the city



Outside the city centre you can go north, south, or east. To the south is a trio of marinas in the Strandparken nature reserve. Frankly, these are dormitory marinas for Copenhagen locals, and are therefore only for dedicated masochists (i.e. us). Of the three, Vallensbæk, arranged in a cluster round a lovely wooded setting, is the prettiest. Ishøj, next door, has the most in terms of services (chandlery, Volvo dealer etc), but consequently ends up looking a bit like a large boat show. Brondby, where we stayed, is the least attractive, (unless you are into power stations). All marinas are notionally within reach of the S-Tog, Copenhagen's local metro, although Brondby is a brisk 2km walk away. All have the usual facilities including reasonable restaurants. None have shops, although there are supermarkets by the S-Tog stations. Hundige, to the south, has a huge Bilka hypermarket in its shopping centre.

Other options include Dragør, a pretty old port just south of the airport, and next to the new bridge to Sweden. Berthing in the ferry harbour (boxes are available) is the better bet as the yacht harbour seemed full. The only link to Copenhagen is a bus service.

Useful resources
North Sea Passage Pilot
Cruising Guide to Germany and Denmark by Brian NavinThe essential bible
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